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Old May 14, 12, 11:01 am   #1
 
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Hotel to view the Chicago Air and Water Show

I'm thinking of heading up to Chicago for the Air and Water Show in August and was contemplating of trying to view some from my hotel balcony or roof-top terrace so I could relax with a beer and not deal with crowds the entire time. I've stayed at many hotels in Chicago and the best one I can think of to fit the bill would be the Waldorf Astoria (Elysian) in one of their suites with a east or north facing balcony. Since I've never been to the actual show, I'm not 100% sure if the air show part would be visible from the WA.

Would any of you agree, disagree or have other suggestions? I prefer Hilton but Marriott will do as well.
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Old May 14, 12, 11:57 am   #2
 
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North Ave. is the locus of activity for the Air & Water Show.

I live just north of Belmont and see the beginning & end of a lot of the flight activity. In other words, I see jets heading to/from North Ave., see them getting into formation, turning around, etc., but have to crane my neck (or miss entirely) to see the more vertical stunts such as the sky divers, etc. I'm not sure how far south you can go for optimal viewing.

If you're at the Elysian (I don't know of anyone in Chicago who calls it the Waldorf Astoria, unless they've just started to rebrand it), I suspect your east/northeast view would be obstructed by the buildings along Michigan Ave. However, there might also be some obstructions looking to the north, too.

The Sutton Place Hotel and Ambassador East are further north--putting you closer to the action--but to the best of my recollection neither has balconies and each may have visual obstructions.

Your best best--assuming you can guarantee an east view on a high floor--would be the newly reopened Hotel Lincoln on Clark St. just north of North Ave. There's nothing but park & trees between the hotel and the lake. No balconies, however. They do claim to have rooftop yoga classes, so you might also find the rooftop is open during the air & water show. Do realize, however, that a rooftop deck is no guarantee of a fantastic view. My building has a rooftop deck, but the eastern portion is off-limits for various reasons.
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Old May 14, 12, 12:17 pm   #3
 
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It's definitely the WA now. It was rebranded a couple of months ago. I've been there since the change and it was an odd mix of stationery with one name, doors with another. I'm glad I was familiar with the Elysian as the cabbies didn't know it as the WA yet.


Thanks! I'll look into those other hotels.
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Old May 14, 12, 4:26 pm   #4
 
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You might also consider reserved spots at either Castaways or Bravo Zulu Lounge in the middle of North Beach. Not quite as comfortable as your own hotel room, but the view can't be beat, the crowds should be tolerable, the places have a/c and they serve beer.

Bravo Zulu Lounge was new last year; I'm not sure if they'll set it up again, but the prices were quite reasonable, under $100 if I recall correctly for open bar and a buffet.
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Last edited by legalalien; May 15, 12 at 9:40 am..
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Old May 15, 12, 6:49 am   #5
 
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Thanks! That looks perfect.

Food, drinks and planes? I'm in!
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Old May 15, 12, 8:33 pm   #6
 
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It's farther from the action, but the upper floors of the Swissotel would probably get you an okay view. As for the hotel itself, It's certainly not at the same level as the WA but I think they just rehabbed the whole place.

More of a longshot, but the Radisson Blu in the Aqua building might be an option too depending on how high a floor you can get.
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Old May 15, 12, 9:25 pm   #7
 
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I stayed at the Swissotel during the first trip I ever took to Chicago I looked at their rooms recently and they are definitely quite different.

I decided to buy a spot at Castaways, you can't beat the location and drinks are included. Probably will just stay at the WA anyway since I do love the hotel but I won't have to book the Astoria Suite to get a balcony. Though maybe I'll get upgraded to one like last time. That was lovely.


Thanks again!
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Old May 16, 12, 11:34 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
I stayed at the Swissotel during the first trip I ever took to Chicago I looked at their rooms recently and they are definitely quite different.

I decided to buy a spot at Castaways, you can't beat the location and drinks are included. Probably will just stay at the WA anyway since I do love the hotel but I won't have to book the Astoria Suite to get a balcony. Though maybe I'll get upgraded to one like last time. That was lovely.


Thanks again!
Assuming you're able-bodied, I'd strongly suggest walking to Castaways from your hotel. Traffic (car, bus and even pedestrian) is a nightmare during A&WS weekend.
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Old May 16, 12, 11:11 pm   #9
 
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Yep, it's only 1.2 miles between the two so I'm definitely walking.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 10:27 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legalalien View Post
You might also consider reserved spots at either Castaways or Bravo Zulu Lounge in the middle of North Beach. Not quite as comfortable as your own hotel room, but the view can't be beat, the crowds should be tolerable, the places have a/c and they serve beer.

Bravo Zulu Lounge was new last year; I'm not sure if they'll set it up again, but the prices were quite reasonable, under $100 if I recall correctly for open bar and a buffet.
Old thread but I just wanted to thank you again for this suggestion. Castaways ended up being perfect. Walked to Castaways and started the morning with mimosas in the shade. No sunburn or sand in my shoes.

We did have an interesting view from our balcony at the WA yesterday afternoon as well. We couldn't see the planes as they were low to the water but as they went up high for the acrobatics and circled around the city, it was pretty awesome. A side view of some of the acrobatics was actually very impressive.

So it worked well. Ended up easily staying in my favorite Chicago hotel and enjoying the air show with no hassle.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 10:32 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
Old thread but I just wanted to thank you again for this suggestion. Castaways ended up being perfect. Walked to Castaways and started the morning with mimosas in the shade. No sunburn or sand in my shoes.

We did have an interesting view from our balcony at the WA yesterday afternoon as well. We couldn't see the planes as they were low to the water but as they went up high for the acrobatics and circled around the city, it was pretty awesome. A side view of some of the acrobatics was actually very impressive.

So it worked well. Ended up easily staying in my favorite Chicago hotel and enjoying the air show with no hassle.
Thanks for the update...I was wondering how your trip went! And we had beautiful weather this year.
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Old Aug 21, 12, 9:10 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
Castaways ended up being perfect. Walked to Castaways and started the morning with mimosas in the shade. No sunburn or sand in my shoes.
Glad it worked out well! Thanks for the update.

I ended up being out of town this year. The show alternates between Thunderbirds and Blue Angels, and I seem to have a knack for scheduling out of town travel when Blue Angels perform. F-16s are cool, too, but....
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