Chicago's Must See Riverfront
By Marley Henderson
On the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, is the second most visited city in the United States behind New York City. The multicultural city is home to 77 neighborhoods and thrives on the integrity and diversity of the communities.
Although Chicago has significant crime and poverty rates, the 20th century has brought years of flourishment for the riverfront city.
This year, 2018, has been an especially exciting time for the development of a flourishing city. The introduction of new developments offers visitors and locals an array of activities to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer.
The Chicago riverfront is the place to be. The Odyssey Chicago River cruise has been in high demand since its recent introduction. Guests spend their time enjoying an elegant brunch, lunch or dinner, offering upscale dining and entertainment. The unique water tour will bring you from the Navy Pier to a stunning vantage point in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Coming in 2019 is the 312 RiverRun project; a riverfront redevelopment that will connect multiple parks with one path stretching almost two miles, creating the largest recreational hub in all of Chicago.
The path will extend across 95 acres of North Side parkland and will include facilities that initiate a variety of athletic activities for pedestrians, cyclists, and runners.
This initiative is to be launched with the Riverview Bridge, a 1,000-foot-long, 16-foot-wide concrete structure above the river, serving as the longest footbridge in Chicago.
Art on theMart
Since its launch on September 29, 2018, Art on theMart has quickly become an irreplaceable landmark along the Chicago River and Riverwalk. TheMart is celebrating Chicago’s legacy of public art and diverse culture by introducing an exclusive media space like no other in an urban context.
The long-term public art installation employs state-of-the-art projectors to display art on the nearly three-acre Riverwalk wall, the world’s largest permanent projection system solely dedicated to art projections.
Introduced in May 2018, the new Frank Lloyd Wright Trail in Illinois is a self-guided architectural adventure featuring 13 Wright-designed buildings throughout the state.
Chicago Blues Museum
Opening 2019, as the birthplace of modern blues, the Chicago Blues Museum will celebrate pioneering artists and the generations of musicians who have been influenced by the blues and continue to carry on its traditions. Situated near Millennium Park, it will be filled with history-driven interactive displays, tributes to local legends and Chicago blues memorabilia, as well as a performance lounge and restaurant
Chicago Music Hall of Fame
From Chaka Khan and Chance The Rapper to the Buckinghams and Benny Goodman, Chicago has left a substantial mark on the music industry. And the Chicago Music Hall of Fame is set to document it. The museum will be headquartered in Little Italy, above the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
The venue will be entirely experiential, allowing guest to not only see photos and memorabilia but to hear music, see videos and listen to musicians tell their stories in collaborative exhibits. The museum will celebrate all genres from local talent, including a theater, restaurant and banquet space.
As the Field Museum celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018, the biggest dinosaur ever discovered makes its debut in the late spring. The 122-foot-long titanosaur will take up a third of the Museum’s main hall, with its head peeking over the 28-foot balcony to the second floor.
Fortunately, the titanosaur won’t be lonely. Life-size, detailed replicas of giant flying reptiles, as well as state-of-the-art hanging gardens.
The gardens will be made of 3D printed plastic and will contain over 1,000 live plants. The four garden structures, the largest of which is 35 feet wide, will be suspended from the ceiling and will have the ability to be lowered to the ground for special events and occasions.
The plants themselves will be hydroponic, growing in volcanic rock and receiving water and fertilizer from the ceiling. These additions mark the beginning of a transformation of the iconic hall.
Chicago’s most anticipated cocktail bar, Kumiko, inches closer and closer to opening. Well-known mixologist, Julia Momose, will showcase her crafted skills at an intimate, Japanese inspired spot in one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods — West Loop.
In addition to roughly a dozen a la carte concoctions, guests can also let the bartenders dictate the experience by indulging in the omakase menu. For non-alcohol drinkers, it won’t all be about the booze as Momose plans to have a spirit-free selection of drinks as well.
Kumiko will be offering tasteful bites of food you can enjoy during this unique experience.
The Pan-Asian clubs restaurant group with the highest-grossing independent eatery in America is coming to the North River of Chicago, to open Tao. As one of the world’s top hospitality companies, Tao Group has taken over a 126-year-old building that used to house several nightclubs and is transforming it into a massive singular, multi-level nightclub.
The 34,000-square-foot space features a 20-foot-tall mural, lofty brick walls, illuminated archways, topped with a subterranean vibe. Based on the premier group's other locations dispersed across the world, diners should expect to see items like sushi and Peking duck on the menu.
Wells Street Market
Located in the neighborhood Loop, Wells St. Market already has revealed an astounding lineup of award-winning chefs for its 2018 opening.
The 10,500-square-foot space is a go-to food hall and market offering standout dining options just near the water.
With nine fast-casual restaurants offering a host of elevated, yet approachable cuisine, in addition to a full bar with counter service and floral shop, you’re sure to find something for the entire family to love.
The exquisite dining, drinking, and shopping options make the Market the perfect stop-off at any time of day, from quickly picking up lunch to enjoying cocktails after work and the far and few between.
A luxury lake view boutique hotel, Hotel Zachary promises an authentic neighborhood experience. Combining a vibrant, modern aesthetic, with rich, classic elements, the hotel is one of the most distinctive accommodations in Chicago. Guests will experience thoughtful amenities and artistic touches in each room, to locally infused dining and signature cocktails.
The hotel will include Chicago favorites Big Star, West Town Bakery and Smoke Daddy. It is slated to open in the spring. Located near Wrigley Field, hotel designs are inspired by world-renowned Wrigley Field architect, Zachary Taylor Davis.
The Wheelhouse Hotel
Rooted in history, this spunky hotel brings intimate, luxury lodging to Chicago’s riverfront. The hyperlocal experience at The Wheelhouse Hotel will let guests enjoy a comfortably unique experience, with a selection of restaurants, bars, and lounges, particularly the speakeasy-style bar, Tinker to Evers.
With modern decor, retail space, restaurants and more, The Wheelhouse aims to please just about everyone.
Sophy Hotel – Hyde Park
Sophisticated and eclectic, stylish and artistic, the Sophy Hotel embodies the craft and passion of art, science, literature, and music.
A soft color palette welcomes guests with a warm lounge, including style seating and a double-sided fireplace. Geometric motifs are found in the bar with metal and lattice patterns of floors reflection the scientific discoveries of the past.
A full-service restaurant with a contemporary library and eclectic art collection are a few of the hotel's additional highlights.
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Marley Henderson grew up in Ipswich, on the north shore of Massachusetts. She has a passion for travel and photography and enjoys the beach, boating and skiing.