On the Scene

Plan a trip around what’s new, exciting and creating buzz in downtown Chicago

The High Life

When Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago opened in 2008, the ninety-two-story residential tower with a hotel added a new point of interest to the city skyline. And it only gets better inside.

Donald Trump’s three grown children helped design the hotel to represent a new generation of luxury, and their vision is carried out in sleek furniture, high-end materials, personalized service and major touches of glamour.

Trump Tower features 165 guest rooms, 121 suites and 53 spa rooms. All offer incredible views of Chicago through ten-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows, making you feel at the center of the city’s energy.

The suites are posh and polished, with silver and purple sofas, electric fireplaces, Bose stereo systems, full kitchens and limestone bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. In the bedrooms are king-size beds with dramatic zebra wood headboards and fluffy duvets. Don’t feel bad if you rarely leave your room—or its heavenly bed—during a weekend-long stay.

But if you do emerge, the spa is a good next stop. Try facials designed by celebrity skincare expert Kate Somerville or indugle in a decadent gemstone massage, which uses oil infused with real diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires.

Dining options at Trump Tower include modern American fare at Sixteen. Or head to Rebar, a trendy lounge specializing in cocktails and neo-Japanese cuisine, set just above the Chicago River.


Wing It

The Art Institute of Chicago has built—literally and figuratively—on its outstanding collection of modern and contemporary art with its Modern Wing. The 264,000-square-foot addition, which opened in 2009, has allowed the museum to increase its galleries as well as add an education center and a café and restaurant. On the first floor are spaces showcasing photography, film, video and new media. One level up are galleries for contemporary art, focusing on the 1940s to the present, with works by the likes of Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella. And the third floor is devoted to modern European art, with an impressive array of works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti and Max Beckman, among others. If anything could enhance the Art Institute’s three-thousand-piece collection, it’s this new museum-within-a-museum.


Hot Eats

These downtown eateries satisfy the craving for inventive food in a cool setting.

Mercadito The first Chicago outpost of the popular New York taqueria offers creative and upscale takes on Mexican food using seasonal ingredients (pictured at right).

The Purple Pig This Mediterranean-style eatery maintains a culinary focus on “cheese, swine and wine.”

Girl & the Goat Executive chef Stephanie Izard, a Top Chef winner, crafted a menu featuring thirty items: ten vegetarian, ten meat and ten fish.

EPIC Set in a loft-like space, this restaurant specializes in French spins on American dishes.


Live on the Edge

For a new look at the city—and a test of courage—step out onto The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago. Emerging from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, the glass boxes offer the chance to seemingly walk out into mid-air 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive. Think you can do it?



Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine. 

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