Chicago’s Best Architectural Sights

The Windy City offers art and architecture at every angle.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

THE SELFIE OP: THE CLOUD

It doesn’t soar high into the clouds like Chicago’s skyscrapers, but it’s one of the city’s most photographed, most recognizable and most loved landmarks. Inspired by liquid mercury and constructed of steel, the centrepiece of Millennium Park was designed by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor. The mirrored, bean-shaped cloud offers picture-perfect reflections of the skyline and is the ultimate selfie spot.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

THE EYE WONDER: THE AQUA BUILDING

While it’s a residence building, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to take in all of its architectural splendour. Quite the opposite, in fact. From the outside looking up from below, the 82-storey building on North Columbus Drive, constructed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, looks like a liquid and languid wave of concrete floating into the sky. It has many claims to fame, including being the largest project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a female.

Photo courtesy Celeste.

Photo courtesy Celeste.

DESIGNER SIPS: CELESTE

Didn’t think your cocktail could stand up to the design factor in Chicago? Guess again. The ones served up behind the bar at Celeste’s three-storey home are nothing short of works of art. Head up to the second floor to the gilded Deco Room, pull up to the bar, and pick from one of the unique, expertly crafted cocktails. Can’t decide? Their menu divides the sippers by levels of intrigue and intensity – Waxing Crescent cocktails are great for beginners, Half Orb cocktails take it up a notch, and the Full Moon selects deliver the ultimate experience. Our top picks? The spiced Hidden Gem (a mix of rum, grappa, pineapple syrup, tea and cardamom bitters) and the refreshing, bright citrus Kisa Drykkur (vodka splashed with Cocchi Americano, grapefruit juice and a drop of honey).

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

GO GOTHIC: THE TRIBUNE BUILDING

Completed in 1925, this neo-Gothic building came about after the Chicago Tribune newspaper enlisted a competition to design its new home. The winners were New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, who incorporated rocks and bricks various reporters had collected from around the globe into the structure. Take a close look on the façade and you’ll see pieces from the Great Wall of China, the Notre Dame in Paris, Abraham Lincoln’s tomb and even from the Taj Mahal.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

WHITE SOX VIBE: WRIGLEY FIELD SEATS

Can’t get a ticket to a White Sox game? Snapping up a coveted seat at Wrigley Stadium can be a challenge, but to get a tiny dose of the Wrigley experience all you have to do is plunk yourself down in one of the old stadium seats that dot the city centre and feature depictions of life in Chicago as illustrated by local artists.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

THE BEST VIEW: JOHN HANCOCK BUILDING

One of the most famous buildings in the city, standing as the 7th tallest building in the United States at a staggering 100 floors, the John Hancock Center is not only an impressive wonder from the ground but also offers one of the best vantage points of Chicago’s impressive architectural skyline from the 94th floor observatory.

Photo courtesy Kimpton Hotels.

Photo courtesy Kimpton Hotels.

THE BOUTIQUE STAY: MONACO CHICAGO

Set up at the Monaco Hotel in the Loop area of the city, the location is key for two reasons: one, it’s close to the main subway lines; and two, you’re just a short walk across the bridge into the downtown core to catch all the architectural wonders and a pay a visit to Millennium Park. And it stands on its own, design-wise – rooms are rich and decadent in warm reds, purples and creams, and come with window nooks so you can cozy up and catch the view of the city and the river from your room.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

Photo by Justin Harrington.

LOOK BELOW: CHICAGO’S BRIDGES

Don’t miss out on taking in the bridges that connect each side of the city over the Chicago River. Walking below or across, you can take in some of the gothic detailing.

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2014 Issue of Travel & Style Magazine.