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Downtown Chicago’s Ultimate Guide to What’s Open

Chicago’s downtown area, known commonly as the “Loop” is typically bustling with the activity of residents and travelers alike during the much-anticipated summer months. 2020 had different plans for Chicago so things have been looking pretty different during one of the best times to visit the Windy City. However, since July 27th, Chicago has entered “phase four” of the reopening plan, so things have finally started to look up. The city has properly adapted to keep travelers interested and locals happy to finally enjoy their beautiful city while staying safe. 

So What Does Phase Four Mean?

Phase four is the fourth step of the Protecting Chicago plan in place to cautiously reopen the city while simultaneously considering the health of citizens and travelers. During phase four, guidelines will include:

  • Bars, taverns, and breweries without a food license will only be allowed to serve customers if they offer outdoor seating. 
  • Indoor dining is available at 25% capacity.
  • Museums and Zoos may operate at 25% capacity.
  • Movie theatres and music venues may operate at 50% capacity.
  • Face masks and physical distancing are highly recommended and at times mandatory for entrance.

As for hotel and lodging facilities, The Ivy Hotel is open and taking extra measures to assure the safety of all our guests including face mask enforcement, sanitization stations at check-in, no-contact housekeeping services, and more. 

What’s Open Downtown?

While things were shut down for quite some time ever since the city entered phase four of the reopening plan Chicago has slowly begun to resemble it’s typically robust and engaging self. Chicago is still one of the best places to visit for amazing food, out-of-this-world museums, and entertainment experiences even during these strange times. 

Treat Yo’ Self on the Magnificent Mile

Let’s face it, shopping hasn’t been what it used to be. Since phase four, many local stores have eagerly reopened their doors to welcome in interested shoppers. The Magnificent Mile has started to finally resemble its typical self with a sprawling stretch of stores for interested shoppers to peruse and abuse their wallets within. Within steps of the Ivy Hotel, the Magnificent Mile is the perfect way to kill some time and give your wardrobe a much-needed refresh. Check out just some of the open stores below. 

  • The Disney Store – Perfect for the whole family.
  • Anthropologie – Grab a nice candle for positive vibes while at home. 
  • Crocs – Explore Chicago in comfort and in style. 
  • DSW – Everyone’s favorite designer shoe warehouse.
  • Express – Fashion-savvy options for men and women. 
  • Garrett’s Popcorn – Pop in for a perfect Chicago snack while shopping. 

Enjoy a Rooftop Patio

Would it really be summer in Chicago if you didn’t find yourself in one of the many gorgeous rooftop patios around the gorgeous city? Not only are these outdoor activities and safer all around, but they’re some of the most exceptional ways to capture amazing memories with loved ones while in the city. Some of our personal favorites include:

  • The Sky Terrace at the Ivy Hotel – This is the #1 rooftop bar in Chicago, you’ll have to see why for yourself by heading to the top floor of the Ivy Hotel.
  • Offshore – Grab a craft cocktail and oysters on the half-shell at this rooftop bar with Lake Michigan views. 
  • Tanta – Argentina tastes with thoughtful cocktails in the heart of River North. 
  • Homestead on the Roof – Beautiful rooftop with a 1000-sq foot garden surroundings.
  • Bernie’s – Seasonal fare with stunning views of downtown. 

Explore Chicago Museums 

One of the most exciting parts of Chicago entering phase four has been the reopening of some of the best museums not only in the country but also in the world. Whether you want to marvel at the ancient tomb of an Egyptian mummy or want to get up close to beluga whales, Chicago’s museum scene has a favorite for just about anyone. 

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is ready for you to dive back in, but does require tickets to be purchased in advance

Museum of Contemporary Art

If you’re looking for a serene and relaxed way of getting back into Chicago’s museum scene, the Museum of Contemporary Art is where you’ll wanna be because admission is FREE all weekends in August. 

Field Museum 

The Field Museum is open and Sue is excited to welcome back visitors. Make sure to check out the Know Before You Go guide before visiting. 

Art Institute of Chicago

What better way to enjoy beautiful sites while physically distancing than by visiting one of the best art museums in the world? The Art Institute is back and requires tickets to be purchased in advance


Need Hotel Accommodations?


The Ivy Hotel 

Located near the Magnificent Mile in Chicago’s Loop

The City Suites Hotel

In the heart of Boystown, accessible by the Red Line train

The Willows Hotel

Located at the edge of Lakeview and Lincoln Park, accessible via Brown Line train

The Majestic Hotel

Located in the heart of Wrigleyville, accessible via Red Line train

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