I feel like I've experienced a good portion of Chicago, but there's one thing I've always wanted to do: afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel. I've actually never even been in the hotel. Shameful. Well, I'm making it my goal to do the holiday tea at the Drake before the season is over.
I was hoping tea at the Drake was a super old tradition, but it really didn't become a daily tradition until the 1980s. However, it is incredibly cool that Queen Elizabeth had tea at the Drake in 1958 and the Empress of Japan had tea at the Drake in the 1970s. Afternoon tea takes place in the hotel's traditional Tea Lobby 365 days a year. The tea lasts about an hour and a half and includes all sorts of fancy goodies and live harp music.
Here's a few more fun facts about the Drake Hotel:
Brothers Tracy and John Drake opened the Drake Hotel in 1920. (The building was acquired from the Potter Palmer estate in 1916.) The hotel stayed in the Drake family until they lost it during the Great Depression. Today, it's a Hilton hotel.
The Drake was the first hotel in Chicago to offer air conditioning and color televisions in every guest room.
The hotel's bar Coq D'or opened the day after Prohibition was repealed.
Supposedly one of the most famous seafood restaurants in town, the hotel's Cape Cod restaurant has seen a huge amount of celebrities over the years. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio even carved their initials into the wooden bar, and you can still see it today!
Princess Diana stayed at the Drake during her only visit to Chicago in 1996, one year before her death