Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Chicago is not only one of the most exciting cities in the United States, but it also offers one of the best skyline views in the country, and there are few things better than enjoying them with a drink in hand. Come just before sunset and you’ll get an even more awe-inspiring view of the architecture as glorious colors fill the sky. For the best experience, be sure to head to one of these great Chi-town rooftop bars.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
The J.Parker Lounge at Hotel Lincoln is located on the 13th floor and is considered more of a hidden gem than a super trendy spot jam-packed with crowds. At this swanky rooftop bar, you’ll find lots of comfy couches for relaxing and you can look forward to handcrafted cocktails as well as a fabulous respite from above the city with spectacular unobstructed views of the lake floating high above Lincoln Park. It boasts a retractable roof and tasty bites like pork nachos, truffle fries and outstanding burgers.
Godfrey Hotel’s I|O Rooftop Lounge is a sunny River North rooftop that offers a fabulous brunch during the day with delicious mimosas served alongside heavenly eats like chilaquiles, sweet potato hash and crab cake Benedict. As the afternoon turns to evening, look forward to uninterrupted views of the southern Chicago skyline set against the brilliant glow of the city. After the sun goes down it’s time to party, with lots of mixing and mingling as well as tables with bottle service, great for groups of friends, celebrations and romantic liaisons. Among the panoramic skyline view are a fire pit, video wall, retractable roof, sparkling water elements, and more.
RAISED is an indoor/outdoor lounge on the third floor at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel. It offers breathtaking views that overlook the city skyline from the open rooftop deck and private VIP greenhouse. Look forward to indulging in tasty cocktails and craft beer paired with small plates, and of course those fantastic views. The chefs focus on all local ingredients that are sourced within 200 miles, including bar classics with unique twists and an emphasis on steamed buns and frites. There are over three dozens wines by the bottle that can be ordered and more than 40 beers by the bottle from local breweries.
Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant is often named the very best bar in the Loop and it’s surely one of Chicago’s most stunning, with a top-floor oasis at the Chicago Athletic Association, perched 13 stories above Millennium Park with Lake Michigan beyond. It’s truly the highlight at this gorgeous hotel, providing an especially romantic place for a happy hour drink along with stunning views of the lakefront, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain. A popular haven among the locals, enjoy very well-made seasonal American plates meant to be shared and refreshing artisan cocktails in this elegant setting with one of Chicago’s best views.
Ideal for summertime cocktails, the Devereaux is an upscale rooftop lounge located on the 18th floor of the Viceroy Chicago. Look forward to sexy blue lighting that reflects off the swimming pool, a sweeping view and a New American menu for dining too, including favorites like pickle bites and fried chicken paired with a Salty Dog or Haymarket Speakerswagon Pilsner. A Hollywood-style oasis, it’s incredibly glamorous and an ideal place for a date among a well-dressed crowd.
Waydown, named after a song by Illinois native John Prine, is the rooftop bar and lounge on the seventh floor of the Ace Hotel Chicago. Drawing inspiration from the long and storied tradition of Midwestern watering holes, it offers outstanding views of the downtown Chicago skyline, strong drinks with an inspiring list of cocktails (favorites include the frozen espresso martini and a nutty sherry colada), fantastic bar snacks like crab kimchi dip and a Mexican food platter, along with nightly music.
Apogee is an elegant outpost set atop the 26th floor of the Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel. It’s renowned for its innovative cocktails with drinks so picture-worthy they’ve become an Instagram staple. Some of the creative and unique options include cocktails with edible paper butterflies and other theatrical individual or shareable drinks, including beverages served in glass bongs, or perhaps flavored with tobacco. On chillier nights, there’s a great lawn section with fire pits for cozying up to with the perfect drink. You might want to arrive early to take advantage of the boutique hotel’s full-service spa first. One of the few boutique properties in the city, it offers massage (including hot stone massage), facials, waxing and more.
This rooftop lounge on the 13th-floor of The Robey offers spectacular views of Chicago in an area not really known for its rooftop vistas – in fact, it’s the only rooftop bar in Wicker Park. A hidden gem if you will, it has a “Mad Men” feel with a stylish, dark interior and an intimate space with a wraparound terrace that’s ideal for enjoying the illuminated skyline. The Up Room is also a great spot for a date night – the secluded alcove in the bell tower is cozy and also ideal when the weather isn’t cooperating. In addition to the scenic views and magical ambiance, the cocktails are nothing less than phenomenal. The refreshing slightly spicy mezcal Oaxacan on Broken Glass is a must-try.
Streeterville Social Rooftop Bar offers an oasis on the third-floor of Loews Chicago Hotel. The large terrace is an ideal place to relax and wind, kind of like a Zen space right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city. It features comfy swing chairs, giant Jenga, large grassy areas and, of course, fabulous views of the lake. A wonderful place to be on a sunny afternoon, order up a tiki cocktail to sip while watching the sun go down. They’re so good you’ll probably want to stick around long after the city lights start sparkling against the night’s sky. There’s also a bistro portion with skyline views, tables, couches and a bar with an international street food menu.