Thompson Chicago

For an evening out and about in the Gold Coast, you would do well to make your home base at the Thompson Chicago. It’s a fine place to escape for an anniversary or any other special occasion that you see fit. After all, it’s right next to dozens of night spots, the charming brownstones along Cedar Street, and other byways to stroll around as the sun sets or rises, depending on your own inclinations. 

When you step into the lobby you’ll see the deft hand of British designer, Tara Bernerd. All around you’ll find nods to Chicago’s skyline (look at the repurposed TV sets on display), along with posh nods to men’s fabrics such as tweed woven into the chaise lounges, oversized chairs, and more. 

Thompson Chicago

You’ll also want to take a look at the art next to the interior staircase which features a rotating cast of paintings and prints. Of course, you’ll also see unique contemporary pieces in your room, curated by’s Bill Powers, a New York art gallery owner. It’s also worth noting that they recently unveiled their “Secret Stairwells,” which feature bold and fanciful pieces by local artists. Those happen to be in the interior exit stairwell, so make sure and check out those out during your visit.

Thompson Chicago

And on up to your room, which features all manner of amenities. All told, there are 247 rooms here and they all feature a range of luxe bath and spa products, in-room safes, stylish rain shower heads, and terrycloth robes. I think the robes are the perfect thing to wear whilst eating your breakfast, which will be another highlight of your stay here. The pastries are divine and guests can also order full breakfast with Intelligentsia coffee. You can learn more about each of the room types here and visitors who need to run off for an errand or event can take advantage of the house car which can drive guests up to five miles away if need be. 

Thompson Chicago

Guests who might be looking to host an event in the future can inquire about their meeting spaces (above), which can accommodate up to several hundred persons. The Thompson also happens to have six two-level penthouse loft suites with sweeping views of the city.


A Casual Taco-centric Spot of Note

Velvet Taco

The Gold Coast has never been known for Mexican eateries, which makes it a bit an outlier for Chicago neighborhoods in this culinary checklist. A few months ago, Velvet Taco arrived on the scene but a mere margarita toss from the Thompson. Based in Texas, this tiny eatery specializes in tacos that bring together tikka chicken, fried paneer, Cuban pork, and ahi poke. It’s a nice twist on this staple, and there isn’t a taco over $6 on the menu. Grab a seat or head across the street to Mariano Park to eat and people-watch.


Stay Up All Night With Chicago’s Most Well Known Zebra

Tucked into a Art Deco style apartment building on nearby State Parkway, the Zebra Lounge is the place to go for a drink or two whilst catching up with the piano stylings of various Chicago musicians. The pianoforte is right to your left as you enter and the tiny bar makes for a great place to sip a martini. You can call out requests (gently, please) and my top honors here go to Tommy Sklut, who tickles the ivories and sings out loud on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. or so. It’s a low-key place to round out your evening before going back to the Thompson for some shut-eye. 

Photos courtesy of Thompson Hotel Chicago, Velvet Taco