Our latest hotel in Nashville just happens to be located 440 miles due south—about a seven-hour drive—from our first hotel in Chicago, making it an ideal destination for a safe road trip getaway. We’ve got your itinerary planned with perfect pit stops along the way for a round-trip adventure.
Soak in the views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline at Virgin Hotels Chicago’s Cerise rooftop bar for socially distanced sunset cocktails and dinner. Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for an early morning wake up call to hit the open road and leave the city behind.
Outbound through Shawnee National Forest
Grab cold brews and breakfast sandwiches from Two Zero Three and take the I-57 south where you’ll reach Shawnee National Forest by midday in about a five-hour drive. Set between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and spanning roughly 400 square-miles, commune with green woodland hills, dazzling lakes and ancient rock formations as far as the eye can see. Hike along the Rim Rock National Recreation Trail for incredible views along the escarpment, tackle a portion of the River to River Trail or seek out breathtaking Jackson Falls. Don’t miss the Garden of the Gods wilderness area for the most dazzling views of the rolling forest atop dramatic sandstone cliffs.
From Shawnee, it’s only about a two-hour drive to reach the brand new Virgin Hotels Nashville where you’ll be ready to enjoy a little rest and relaxation. Take a dip at the rooftop The Pool Club and indulge in some Southern comfort and sunshine Virgin Hotels-style with cheddar crab dip and local craft beers. Located just off Broadway in the heart of Music City, the best of Nashville is at your doorstep—or you can simply stay in and revel in the charms of our spacious and stylish chambers, and a nightcap onsite at Commons Club.
Inbound through Louisville, Kentucky
When it’s time to head back to Chicago, take the I-65 north through Louisville, which you’ll reach in about a three-hour drive, making it the perfect midway pit stop to stretch your legs and do some exploring. Home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, the famed horserace was postponed from earlier this summer to September 5 with spectators in attendance at a reduced capacity. If you can’t snag one of those coveted tickets, the Kentucky Derby Museum has also reopened with limited capacity for small tours of the historic grounds. In the spirit of the Derby, don a fabulous fascinator, sip a mint julep at the café and buy a bottle of limited edition 21st anniversary 2020 Woodford Reserve Derby bourbon to get you through the rest of summer—and maybe even into the fall!
Written by: Shayne Benowitz