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Hands down the most spectacular view in Chicago can be had from Sixteen, the Trump International Hotel & Tower’s ode to fine dining. Through the restaurant’s huge floor-to-ceiling windows you can see the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and the Loop’s skyline. But the most surreal view is of the iconic Wrigley Building’s clock tower — it’s almost as if you can reach out and touch it. If the weather is decent, grab a drink on the terrace before dinner.
I also like the view from NoMI at the Park Hyatt, which overlooks Michigan Avenue and is particularly pretty at dusk. Terzo Piano is a must for lunch, as the fresh Italian restaurant looks out over Millennium Park from its perch in the Art Institute. And North Pond in Lincoln Park has gorgeous views of the park and an inimitable feeling of utter urban zen.
Some of the best views in the city are from the top of the John Hancock Center, at The Signature Room at the 95th. Perched atop one of the highest floors in the iconic building, the restaurant boasts a lofty, two-level dining room with wall-to-wall (and floor-to-ceiling) windows, with unparalleled views of the city.
Just a few blocks north of John Hancock Center is the Park Hyatt, whose restaurant, NoMI, boasts a diptych of city views. From its lush terrace, open seasonally, the entire western half of the city is in plain sight, while its dining room, facing east, has a panoramic view of Michigan Avenue and beyond, toward Lake Michigan.
Located on the sixteenth floor of Trump Hotel Chicago, which was recently named among the 2013 Forbes Travel Guide's Five Star Award winners, the aptly named Sixteen (also rated Five Stars) sits in the center of a sea of skyscrapers, all of whose spires and ornaments look as if they are within reach from a seat at this upscale restaurant. Down below, just west along the Chicago River, Bridge House Tavern has stunning boat-level views, its dining room accessible via a special elevator from street-level.