The 7 Best Hotel Rooftops in Chicago

Kristine Hansen | February 01, 2018

Over the last five years, the rooftop-hotel scene in Chicago has turned up the heat, with nearly every neighborhood offering an option—not just downtown or in the Loop. And it’s not solely one type of property flaunting this chic amenity. Whether it’s Cindy’s perched on top of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel with Millennium Park views, or Raised’s industrial vibe overlooking the Chicago River at Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, never before has there been this many choices. And, being Chicago, where the climate definitely dances through the four seasons, most rooftop bars feature glass-enclosed indoor spaces that don’t crimp on the view but keep things cozy.

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Chicago Athletic Association

Why it made the list

Every nook and cranny in this former men’s club turned hotel is eye candy—the rooftop Cindy’s included, where a vaulted glass-paned ceiling and exposed-brick walls host communal-style seating at picnic tables. Both a sommelier and “spirit guide” ensure the drinks list is super creative (and reads like poetry), while the dinner menu features hearty fare like dry-aged duck breast with caramelized yogurt and parsnip agnolotti weaving in pears, chai spice and pistachios. Brunch might mean pastries or quiches prepared in cast-iron skillets.

Harkening to the city's Golden Age of architecture, this his Read More


LondonHouse Chicago

Why it made the list

On the South Side of the Chicago River, along Wacker Drive, the rooftop space (called LH Rooftop) spans the 21st and 22nd floors. The outdoor terrace is on the highest level. “Small bites” drive the food menu while classic cocktails are a specialty. A floor below is a chic indoor spot with, in one area, dim lighting, purple walls speckled with metallic paint and plush turquoise bar-height chairs. What’s different about LH House is that you can eat brunch here (from “bowl” dishes to a short-rib omelet)—not just after-dark fare. Most ingredients are sourced from Closed Loop Farms, right in the city.

Get a glimpse of Chicago's iconic Art Deco era at this two-t Read More


Soho House Chicago

Why it made the list

The rooftop space at this West Loop hotel—built in a former factory warehouse—resembles a California beach-house (light blue and khaki fabrics on the sofas, with blue-and-white-striped chaises poolside). Retractable glass windows connect indoor and outdoor areas while twinkly lights overhead are a cute touch. Nava’s Middle Eastern cuisine is a nice departure from the “burgers and fries” selections at most rooftop bars.

Occupying a former belt factory in the West Loop, this priva Read More


Hotel Lincoln

Why it made the list

On the city's North Side, in trendy Lincoln Park, The J. Parker's views are of Lake Michigan and the neighborhood's namesake park. The space is huge, with seating for 140 people outdoors and 55 in the intimate indoor bar that's attached. Offering breakfast and dinner, the menus dabble in comfort foods--from French toast to grilled-cheese with truffle frites--and some of the signature cocktails are named after books, such as "The House on Mango Street," "High Fidelity" and "Devil in the White City."

Directly across from Lincoln Park, this historic property ha Read More


Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

Why it made the list

Perched above the Chicago River on West Wacker Drive, VIP areas at Raised: An Urban Rooftop Bar’s are born out of former greenhouse structures on the third-floor rooftop. (During inclement weather, a massive indoor space with boho-style fabrics and furnishings is open year-round.) Food skews whimsical, such as house-made push-up popsicles and pickled vegetables in glass jars. Many of the cocktails are served in etched coupe glasses for retro flair.

The cosmopolitan Renaissance Chicago, on the south bank of t Read More


Virgin Hotels Chicago

Why it made the list

Naturally, a hotel run by Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson is going to be a must-be-seen-here kind of place, which is exactly the vibe at Cerise, on the 26th floor. The indoor space is back-lit in red (hence the “cerise” name, which means cherry in French), the ceiling is plaid and cushy beds are draped with plush coverlets and pillows. A fireplace keeps things cozy after sunset, as do heat lamps outdoors, where half-moon-shaped sectionals are outfitted with tons of throw pillows.

The world's first Virgin Hotel offers loads of tech-age amen Read More



Why it made the list

One of the original rooftop bars in Chicago (it opened with the hotel in 2009), the vibe at ROOF is very South Beach and the line continues to curve around the block if it’s a nice night out. On Friday and Saturday nights, guest DJs fill the place with tunes. Food skews Western Mediterranean (think empanadas, lamb and paella) and the cocktails are super inventive, like the “Liquid Lunch,” marrying basil, rosemary and lemon with spirits.

The atmosphere at this sleek spot, topped by ROOF, one of th Read More

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