Champaign, IL (WCIA)

Two Trips for the Fall and Beyond

By Marcia Frost

The summer may be over, but fall is a great time for short getaways. I visited two pages lately that have something for everyone in the family.

London House Chicago

The LondonHouse Chicago, a Hilton Curio hotel, has quite a history since the skyscraper was built in the 1920s. It was used as the London Guarantee Building and designated as a landmark in 1996.

The building has gone through many changes to combine the old with the new. One of the features that is most awe-inspiring is a second-floor lobby that has floor to ceiling windows and a contrasting modern feel to the rest of the building.

Despite its big part in the history of Chicago architecture, The LondonHouse is no stranger to contemporary amenities. I loved the touchtone screens at the elevators which asks what floor you wa6nt to go to and then tells you w6hich elevator is coming. The well-appointed fitness center has a ballet bar, and in the rooms, you’ll find comfortable robes, prestige amenities, and room service for delicious, creative breakfasts filled wit fresh ingredients.

If you want somewhere to eat with a view, you’ll have both at the LondonHouse Rooftop.  The Mediterranean small plates are large enough to share and there are more than enough to turn into a meal. They also have a selection of creative cocktails that change seasonally. Try to get a reservation in time for the sunset.

The LondonHouse Chicago is preparing for the holidays on the rooftop, starting with a Halloween party on October 29th with live DJs and a cocktail party. There will even be a chance to win an overnight stay for their New Year’s Eve Party.

It’s a quick walk from LondonHouse to many Chicago attractions, including Millennium Park and the Art Institute, and the many festivities coming to the Windy City. For some ideas, check out my story on 10 Locations I Love in Chicago During the Holidays.

Mall of America
Before the cruise started, American Queen Voyages (see story here) set up my friend, Lynn, and I at the Radisson Blu Mall of America. I had stayed here a few years before and it had quick accessible access to the Mall and I restaurant I was anxious to get back to.

This modern hotel fits right in with its convenience to the Minneapolis Light Rail, spacious rooms, a spa. and the Fire Lake Grill House. We arrived at the restaurant a bit late, but there was still more than enough to satisfy our appetites, including fluffy popovers, a treat I don’t get too often, a fresh burrata heirloom salad, mushroom gundi, and a Minnesota Wild Rice Soup so good we had to go back there for lunch the next day to have more.

The next morning, I took my scooter and we met with Dan Jasper, VP of Communications for the Mall of America. He was anxious to show us what was new and the best way to do it was with the Mall’s VIP behind the scenes tour, which is available for everyone to take.

For anyone who hasn’t been to Mall of America, it is far from a shopping center, it’s a destination. There are 15 attractions here, including a huge Nickelodeon amusement park, Sea Life Aquarium, Crayola Experience, and my favorite, Fly Over America.

We were able to preview some of the upcoming holiday events and they were exciting, especially the Christmas ones. You can see all of their events on their website.

Of course, there are stores at Mall of America, over 500 of them, and Minnesota has no tax on clothing and shoes so you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to those purchases.

Follow  Midwest Travel with Marcia Frost on Facebook and @Spiritstraveler on Instagram or Twitter for more travel ideas. Also, be sure to check out travel stories at the Wine And Spirits Travel blog.