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Where to Hotel Rooftop in Chicago

May 10, 2012 at 4:17 PM | by | ()

Sudden waves of warmer weather in Chicago and all that talk last week about theWit’s new retractable roof left us with one summery something on the brain: more hotel rooftops. Chill beverages, a staggering skyline against the Lake, a spot to kick up your feet under the sun or moon – no way to deny the power of a stellar hotel rooftop lounge.

With rooftop season starting now, where will you go? Start with our latest favorites, an ascending tour of exactly where you want to be under balmy Chicago skies.

Shanghai Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago, 4th floor
With a new permanent outdoor bar, cushy new daybeds, and a summer theme that’ll take you back to Shanghai’s golden era, the Peninsula’s tucked-away rooftop lounge is cosmopolitan exotic in all the right ways. We like the livelier, busy Friday and Saturday nights here, especially with a signature Golden Apple cocktail in hand.

Terrace Rooftop at Conrad Chicago, 5th floor
The Conrad’s rooftop is a favorite for its free Sunday night movies and lots of chill space to spread out. This season’s new programming twist brings a mix of both old and new movies, some that haven’t even hit the theaters yet. You’ll get to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the Avengers while sipping cocktails like the sweet-sour Ferris Fizz or cherry-topped Superhero – just some of the special bevvies created just for the flicks.

NoMI Garden at Park Hyatt Chicago, 7th floor
Weekday happy hours reign supreme at the atmospheric NoMI, though you’re bound to find a crowd here almost any night of the week. That's not to say you should miss the lunch hour, the only time of day you can now get a reservation. We really dig the newly dapper, J. Crew-dressed servers (think gingham tops, navy pants, boat shoes) and the cozy garden lounge appeal, which speak to NoMI’s word of the season, “garden prep.” Pretty spot-on for this classy but cool rooftop lounge surrounded by a high-rise embrace.

J. Parker at Hotel Lincoln, 13th floor
We can hardly wait for the mid-June reveal of Hotel Lincoln’s new rooftop bar, mostly because we don’t know of any other rooftop with such sweeping views of Lincoln Park all the way to the city. Great nosh can be expected from Chef Paul Virant, who also runs the show in the hotel’s famed farm-to-fork Perenial Virant. And we hate to give this up, but, damn, this will be an awesome spot to watch the Chicago Air & Water Show.

Terrace at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, 16th floor
You won’t find more unique views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and the historic Tribune Tower than you will from the Terrace at Trump Chicago… nor will you likely spend as much on rooftop apps and cocktails. But we digress. The views from this posh garden escape are well worth the indulgence, especially on Wednesday and Saturday nights when you can also enjoy unobstructed views of the fireworks at Navy Pier. The Terrace also just expanded its seating for up to 196 guests, so that means you’ll get a seat sooner, too.

ROOF at theWit, 27th floor
So there’s that amazing, big-dog-of-a-retractable roof that we shared last week, but here’s why locals and visitors have been waiting in line since ROOF opened in 2009: the clubby, Vegas coolness. From the inside enclaves to the main outdoor lounge with its giant fire pit or the cozy Hangover lounge, you’ll bounce with the crowd, ogle the sexy dancers, get dizzy over the staggering views, feel the need to do shots. And the Sunday day party scene? It rivals some of the best in the Chicago.

Photos: Peninsula Chicago, Conrad Chicago, Park Hyatt Chicago, Hotel Lincoln/Facebook, Trump Chicago, theWit

Archived Comments:

So many good options!

Am excited to see what the J Parker looks like but I'd do the Trump if I had to choose. ROOF looks like it might be a little too crazy for me. I will have to have a lot of tequila to make it through.

In other news: I miss Chicago!