What’s New in Chicago

There’s never a shortage of things to see, do and eat while in Chicago. After a trip here last year to cover the Laver Cup, I can attest to the fact that this city is loaded with shops, museums, architecture, deep-dish pizza and more!

The latest and greatest of options are included below, from a two-and-a-half hour food tour around Wrigley Field to Nobu Hotel Chicago, a serene space set to open in early 2020.


Top-rated tour company Chicago Detours’ new Architecture of Money and Power Financial District Walking Tour shares the opulent architecture of Chicago’s downtown financial corridor and secret stories of flamboyant characters from Chicago’s past.

Chicago Board of Trade
[Chicago Board of Trade]

The 2.25-hour tour, which takes place mostly indoors, visits grand landmarks like The Rookery and the Chicago Board of Trade, then heads to the area’s gritty “back door” for drinks in an old-school dive bar under the “L” tracks.

Chicago Food Planet has teamed up with Gallagher Way to showcase culinary options around Wrigley Field. The 2.5-hour Wrigleyville Brunch Crawl at Gallagher Way includes Buffalo Chicken Waffle Cones and Homemade Cracker Jack Beignets, to freshly baked quiche and more. In between tastings, a guide will share fun facts about the Wrigleyville neighbourhood and architecture, insider stories about the Chicago Cubs and unknown tidbits about Gallagher Way.

Unity Temple
[Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple; photo by Brian Crawford on Flickr]

The Wright Around Chicago World Heritage Tour takes you to two of the designated sites in the Chicago area, Unity Temple and Frederick C. Robie House, magnificent buildings of the Prairie period. The tour also takes in Wright’s Home and Studio, the birthplace of American architecture, where both World Heritage sites were designed.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s paramount architectural achievements have recently received UNESCO World Heritage designation. With tickets priced at USD $170, this event runs through January 2020 from 9 am to 4 pm and includes guided tours, coach transportation, lunch and a prosecco toast.

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The famous Brick Bar will be in Chicago from January 31 to February 2, 2020, and will consist of over one million LEGO ® bricks transported and assembled into the ultimate nostalgia trip.

The bar will feature sculptures made completely from Lego bricks as well as an abundance of blocks for people to shape into their own creations. The session will involve building competitions for prizes, a table tennis competition played on a Lego built table with over 22,000 bricks, a wishing well and more. Admission to the Brick Bar is on a first-come, first-served basis with limited tickets available.

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Andy Warhol – From A To B and Back Again is the first US retrospective of Andy Warhol since 1989 — and reconsiders the work of one of the most inventive, influential and important American artists. This Art Institute of Chicago exhibit reveals new complexities about the artist and introduces a Warhol for the 21st century. Featuring more than 300 works, the exhibit runs through January 26, 2020.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019 edition, titled … and other such stories, forms an expansive and multi-faceted exploration of the field of architecture and the built environment globally. Developed through a research-led approach, the biennial addresses the potency of space, architecture and the natural world. The Biennial, free and open to the public across all citywide locations, runs through January 5, 2020.

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For the first time in over 30 years, the NBA All-Star Game returns to The Windy City. NBA All Star 2020 is a week-long basketball celebration that brings together the world’s most talented and passionate athletes before a global audience.

It’s one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year and features a full slate of events designed to make Chicago the basketball capital of the world. The 69th Annual NBA All Star Game takes place on February 16 at the United Center.

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[Omakase Yume]


Michelin has awarded stars to five new Chicago restaurants. The list includes Kikko (chef Noah Sandoval’s new restaurant), Mako, Next, Omakase Yume and Yugen, all in the West Loop, reinforcing the neighbourhood as a top culinary destination and highlighting Japanese omakase as a new dining trend.

José Andrés
[José Andrés]

José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup announced that its beloved Jaleo brand will open in the River North neighbourhood of Chicago in mid-2020. As a pioneering brand that popularized tapas dining in the U.S., Jaleo brings alive the spirit and flavours of Spain as seen through the creative lens of Spanish Chef Andrés and his team.

Catalog, a new retail, food and entertainment annex, wraps around the base of the Willis Tower. The 28,870 square metre (300,000 square foot), five-story space will have a curving glass skylight and a publicly accessible rooftop green space expected to open in spring 2020.

Restaurant offerings will include Brown Bag Seafood Co., Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, Shake Shack, Sweetgreen, Rick Bayless’ Tortazo and a food hall by Urban Space.

[Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Shanghai]

The world’s largest Starbucks store, Starbucks Reserve Roastery, just opened on the Magnificent Mile. The store occupies 3,995 square metres (43,000 square feet) and spans across four stories.

The Reserve features on-site roasting of its rare Reserve beans, interactive tours, exclusive drinks inspired by Chicago culture and tradition and a kitchen full of desserts, breads, pizzas and salads from Italian bakery Princi.

After having visited Shanghai’s Reserve Roastery this summer, I highly recommend a stop here to take it all in!

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[21c Museum Hotel Chicago]


Set to open in early 2020, the 21c Museum Hotel combines a 297-room boutique hotel, a multi-venue contemporary art museum and an independently branded, chef-driven restaurant in downtown Chicago. 21c Museum Hotel will feature rotating curated exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a roster of cultural programming based on collaborations with local and national arts organizations.

Nobu Hotel Chicago
[Nobu Hotel Chicago]

Offering 115 stylishly appointed guest rooms and suites, Nobu Hotel Chicago is centrally located in Chicago’s West Loop Neighbourhood and famed Restaurant Row. Guests can indulge in new-style Japanese cuisine at the renowned Nobu Restaurant on the ground level or experience ‘Nobu on the Roof’ complete with elegant indoor and outdoor bar space looking out onto Randolph Street. The hotel is scheduled to open early 2020.

Z Bar at The Peninsula Chicago
[Z Bar at The Peninsula Chicago]

Forbes Travel Guide listed The Peninsula Hotel Chicago’s – Z Bar on their 2019 Verified List. Z bar is one of only 44 bars from around the world named on this list. In February 2019, The Peninsula achieved Forbes Five-Star status across all 10 of its hotels, resulting in The Peninsula Hotels being the first and only hotel brand to achieve the highest possible Forbes Travel Guide rating for all of its properties.

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