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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Cheat on Broadway With Chicago

The Second City fancies itself a purer theater town than New York, favoring acting over hype, and tiny gems over $100-a-seat blockbusters. Put that claim to the test by checking out some of this season's most promising shows.


1. Where to Stay

The James   

Directly above the LaSalle Bank Theater—which hosts Kathleen Turner in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (3/27–4/7)—the new Hampton Majestic (from $149) offers budget rates in the heart of downtown’s theater district. The gold- and marble-heavy Beaux-Arts lobby elevates the property above its Hampton Inn brethren, as do flat-screen TVs and in-room massages and pedicures.

Just blocks from Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile, hip newcomer the James (from $259) offers sexy velvet daybeds and incredible room service from Primehouse, the new lobbyside steak restaurant from the always-dramatic David Burke (owner of New York’s davidburke & donatella). For intermission munchies, skip the in-room minibars: There's a Trader Joe’s across the street.

For higher thread counts, the Peninsula Chicago's suite-style rooms (from $525) have his-and-hers dressing tables and bedside control panels. Take a dip in the penthouse-level solarium pool, and lap up views of the castlelike Water Tower, home to the Lookingglass Theatre (co-founded by former Northwestern student David Schwimmer).

Published on Mar 21, 2007 as a web exclusive.

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