Exploring Chicago in Winter


Lisa Niver in the three story wine tower at Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk

I loved exploring the attractions and dining at Esquire at Cooper’s Hawk in CHICAGO before I spoke at the Travel and Adventure Show in January 2023. Thank you to Chicago CityPASS–I loved everywhere I went but The Bean and the Art Institute of Chicago Impressionists collection were my favorites! I did love the views from SkyDeck and 360Chicago–one has THE LEDGE and the other has TILT and the CloudBar however both have spectacular city views. The Field Museum exhibit, “Life’s Greatest Mystery,” on what happens after we die was provocative and the Shedd Aquarium was having a free weekend so I will explore there further on my next visit! Watch my videos below to join me on my adventures:

CHICAGO CityPASS adventure #1 —Field Museum

“See the world’s wonders at the FieldMuseum. Experience SUE, the largest, most complete, and best-preserved tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered, descend into an ancient Egyptian tomb, and explore over 10,000 years of Chinese history and culture. With 4.6 billion years in one place, you’ll be taken around the world and back in time.”

CHICAGO CityPASS adventure #2 Shedd Aquarium

“Shedd’s exhibits share incredible animals from around the world. Dive deep into coral reefs and flooded rainforests and stroll along the craggy Pacific Northwest coast. Beluga encounters, beach clean-ups and 360 virtual dives with Caribbean reef sharks are all tools that deepen connections with wildlife and inspire you to recognize that our waterways are home to beauty worth saving.”

CHICAGO CityPASS adventure #3: SkyDeck on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower and THE LEDGE

“Step outside the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck!” Do you feel BRAVE?


“Cloud Gate, aka The Bean is one of Chicago’s most popular sights. The monumental work of art anchors downtown MillenniumPark and reflects the city’s famous skyline and the surrounding green space.”

CHICAGO CityPASS adventure #4: Art Institute of Chicago

“View the greatest Impressionist collection outside Paris. Stand before classics like Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, and travel the globe through galleries featuring the art of ancient Greece, Japan, Africa, and the Americas–5,000 years of art and culture in the ♥️ of Chicago.”

CHICAGO CityPASS adventure #5 360CHICAGO: 94th floor of the John Hancock Building

Ready to TILT in the SKY & DRINK at CloudBar? “Experience breathtaking 360-degree views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront and four neighboring states from 1,030 feet above The Magnificent Mile. Observatory on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building with a tilting glass lookout!”

Dinner at Esquire by Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk was founded in 2005 –and now has 54 restaurants and counting. Are you part of the largest wine club in the world? There are over 600K members. Guests pick up their wine each month at their local location. At Esquire which is the flagship location in downtown Chicago–there is a three story wine tower as well as tasting room, wine-shop, bar and large dining room. There are celebrity chef dinners which have included Chefs like Tyler Florence, Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall as well as wine collaborations with celebrities like John Legend, Zach Brown Band, Katie Lee, Francis Ford Coppola and global wine club trips!

At Esquire in downtown Chicago, where I ate, there is a Visiting Chef Series which brings celebrity chefs to Chicago – so people can experience their cooking. Brooke Williamson, winner of Top Chef, Judge on Chopped has her menu there RIGHT NOW! Esquire also has the largest wine collection in Chicago with over 1,600 selections of Cooper’s Hawk, Classic & Famous, and Cult wines from around the world. They have won a Best of Excellence Award from Wine Spectator for the last 3 years.

Cooper’s Hawk is the official wine of the SAG Awards – with two custom blends each year that are on the tables and served that night! I loved my dinner and especially the Cooper’s Hawk Prosecco.

Thank you again to Chicago Travel Show, CityPASS and Cooper’s Hawk for an amazing visit to CHICAGO!

Lisa Niver at Cloud Gate “THE BEAN” in Chicago’s Millennium Park

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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