An essential stop is the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s ArchiCenter, housed in the Monadnock Building at 330 South Dearborn Street (312-922-3431). It offers dozens of guided tours, by foot, by bus, or by bike. There is also a Visitors Information Center in the Pumping Station across from the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue.
The best way to visit the Auditorium, which is in a building now housing Roosevelt University at 430 South Michigan, is to attend a performance there so you can enjoy the perfect acoustics of this meticulously restored and stunning concert hall. At the University of Chicago is the Robie House, at 5757 Woodlawn. This is a classic Frank Lloyd Wright building. The Art Institute is famous for its collection of French impressionist paintings, and the Historical Society has excellent exhibits on the city’s past.
As for hotels and restaurants in Chicago, there are a few that are particularly significant historically. The Palmer House in the downtown area, at State and Monroe (726-7500), is a busy commercial place, but it still has its lavish Potter Palmer-era lobby. There are also the more elegant North Side hotels, like the Drake (140 East Wallon Place at Michigan Avenue, 787-2200) and the Ambassadors, East and West (1300 North State Parkway, 787-7200 and 787-7900). The Ambassador East contains the famous Pump Room, with its agreeable bar and handsome restaurant. A moderately priced restaurant favored by Chicagoans is the Berghoff, 17 West Adams, a landmark building and one of the city’s classic ethnic eating places. Fodor’s Chicago , a handy all-around guide, has other good suggestions.