WendyCity’s Nightlife tours — three of them now! — began with an idea a couple of years ago. I wanted to create a fun, intelligent night out in Chicago for my adult guests. Not really ‘tours,’ they are small group, evening experiences of the city. I set out to bring together history, style, humor, pleasure and relaxation. The first Nightlife tour centered on the Palmer House Hotel and the 1950s.
People enjoyed it (see their comments) – and still do!
The Palmer House lobby (featured image by Stephanie Barto) is the glorious highlight of my 1950s Nightlife in the Loop tour. Not that the 1927 interior necessarily conjures the 1950s, but with the help of the historic images, video, and music that I share with my guests, we may as well be sophisticated midcentury urbanites sipping a cocktail while watching Frank Sinatra perform in the Empire Room.
My next tour didn’t start out as a Nightlife tour, but when the historic Chicago Motor Club finally opened its doors as a Hampton Inn Hotel – beautifully restored – I knew it had to be the focus. My Roaring 20s: Art Deco and Decadence tour begins and ends in this splendid 1928 lobby:
After a feast-for-the-eyes Art Deco architectural walk, we relax here in view of the 1928 Model A (!), and really feel ourselves part of that heady era of jazz, speakeasies, flappers, talkies, Al Capone, Al Jolson, radio, trans-Atlantic flight, and sleek style. What fun and fascinating Chicago history to dig into! We toast the end of Prohibition with the lobby bar’s exclusive Giggle Water (don’t stir it).
My newest tour is a mind-boggling celebration of the 1960s in Chicago, specifically focused on the Gold Coast. I loved how this Nightlife experience came together: the route begins at the grand Drake Hotel, from which we take an easy city walk past the site of the original Playboy Club, on to storied Rush Street, deeper into the beautiful Gold Coast, and finish at the Public Hotel and its internationally famous Pump Room. I found amazing images, video, and music to take us back to the 60s… and man, it’s a swinging, swanky, sexy time!
Like my other Nightlife tours, we enjoy some food and drink while we relax and dig into Chicago’s crazy rich history.
Each Nightlife tour begins at 6:00 pm, involves less than a mile of walking, and ends at 8:30 pm. Food and drink are up to you – many choices at each venue. I would love to share a Chicago evening with you!
Marilyn (at the Pump Room) approves.