Choosing The Best Area To Stay In Chicago
Choosing the best area to stay when visiting Chicago will depend on your reason for the trip and your budget, particularly as a first-time visitor, the answer will depend on your preference.
Here are the eight best districts in Chicago:
The Loop: Perfect for First Time Travelers
As one of the three neighborhoods downtown, the Loop is usually the first stop for travelers coming to Chicago. With Lake Michigan to its east and Chicago River to the North, the Loop is where youll see the tallest structures comprising the Second Citys magnificent skyline.
Undoubtedly the most stunning part of Chicago, the Loop is filled with major theatres, different world-class public art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, which is one of the countrys largest and finest museums. You can also see the historic Grant Park and its spectacular centerpiece, Buckingham Fountain in the Loop.
Lincoln Park: Best for Travelers With Families
Previously called Lake Park, Lincoln Park is a quaint mix of freshly graduated lawyers, young families, and college students. The district was a refuge for people who lost their houses to the 1871 Great Chicago Fire.
From a small Polish and German community to a fashionable and vibrant neighborhood, Lincoln Park is filled with stunning attractions like DePaul University, Lincoln Park Zoo, and St. Michaels Church which survived the Great Fire.
Magnificent Mile: Ideal for Luxury Shoppers and Nightlife
Streeterville: Ideal Place for Travelers on a Budget
Best Hotels In Wicker Park Chicago
Luxury: The Robey
The Robey is classy and historic, yet hip at the same time. The hotel has undergone a careful refurbishment. It has a modern feel but has kept an authentic sense of character and original features. Guests receive access to a pool, terrace, and fitness center.
Chicago is a legendary sports town and sports fans will love the hotel location, as you can hop in a quick fifteen-minute taxi and arrive at the United Center the home of the Chicago Bulls. See it on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Mid-range: Hyatt Place Wicker Park
Hyatt Place Wicker Park is as luxurious as mid-range hotels can get. It is easily one of the best hotels in Chicago, and its facilities set it aside from others in Wicker Park. You can dine at the hotels restaurant, work out in the gym, sip cocktails at the bar, or use the shared lounge. We recommend choosing a balcony room but, if you dont, there is a shared terrace as well. Compare prices and read reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Budget: Rays Bucktown Bed and Breakfast
Wicker Park is primarily residential, so there arent many hotel options in the neighborhood. Because of this, the nearest budget-friendly option is Rays Bucktown Bed and Breakfast a twenty-minute walk from Wicker Park center.
VRBO: Urban condo
Guests receive access to a gym and garage perfect for free off-road parking. Pets are also welcome, so you can bring your dog or cat along to get involved in the fun. See rates and availability on VRBO
Where To Stay For History Buffs: Hyde Park
Home to the University of Chicago, leafy Hyde Park hugs up against the lake south of downtown. This pricey neighborhood is rich in history. Here you can gawk at a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house , spend some time outdoors at the Midway Plaisance which was designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead , and see the homes of Louis Armstrong, Mohammed Ali, and Ida B. Wells.
Best Places to Stay in Hyde Park
- BUDGET: Chicago Lakeshore Hotel Just off the northern border of Hyde Park, the Lakeshore is the most affordable hotel in the area. The property is clean and modern and totally comfortable, especially for the price.
- MIDRANGE: Hyatt Place Boasting an indoor pool, fitness center, and a cafe on-site, this three-star hotel includes a complimentary continental breakfast and each room is fitted with a pull-out sofa bed and large flatscreen TV.
- LUXURY: Sophy Hyde Park Smart, art-filled Sophy offers large, modern, and colorful rooms that have hardwood floors, love seats, ottomans, charging stations, blackout drapes, and 55-inch flatscreen TVs.
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Downtown/the Loop Best Place To Stay In Chicago For First
Downtown/The Loop is undoubtedly the most famous neighborhood in Chicago. Home to the citys business district, this area of Chicago is packed with skyscrapers, lively theaters, and picturesque architectural landmarks. Millennium Park is must-visit, if just to take a photo with its world-famous statue: The Bean.
Its also dotted with incredible restaurants where you can sample some of the citys most delicious foodsyup, were talking about Chicago deep dish pizza and hot dogs. The best of the best is all right here.
As its designed in a grid pattern, navigating Downtown Chicago couldnt be easier even if you arent the best with a map. Youll love wandering the city streets and immersing yourself in Chicagos rich history and diverse culture.
Prefer public transit? The Loop isnt just a name, it refers to the rail that forms the hub of Chicagos elevated train system. Youll be able to get virtually anywhere in the city without a car from The Loop!
River North Best Place To Stay In Chicago For Nightlife
To the west of Streeterville and the Magnificent Mile is River North. Well known for its art galleries, museums, and boutique shopping, River North is also the epicenter for nightlife making it one of the best areas to stay in Chicago for those who want to party.
Sprinkled throughout this lively neighborhood is a great selection of bars, clubs, and pubs. Its where you can dance the night away under the stars, listen to great live music below the streets, or rub elbows with Chicagos elite.
But thats not allRiver North is also home to an amazing array of restaurants. Offering up everything from traditional American fare to fashionable fusions, your taste buds will be amazed by all the culinary adventures available in this area of Chicago!
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Practical Tips For Visiting Chicago
- The best time to visit Chicago is April May and again in September October. During these months, temperatures are mild and crowds are most manageable.
- Summertime is also a great time to visit Chicago, especially if you want to attend some of its unique festivals. Come prepared for large crowds, however.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes as you will do a lot of walking.
- Bring your own reusable water bottle.
- Be prepared for the weather and dress in layers, year-round. The breeze off the lake can make it feel really chilly.
- If you are looking for an easy-to-use guidebook for Chicago, you may want to get this Lonely Planet pocket guide. It also has a convenient pull-out map.
- If you are visiting Chicago with kids, theyll probably enjoy the city even more if they are already a bit familiar with it. Here you can find some nice childrens books about Chicago.
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Chicago Loop: Right In The Center
Amidst the majestic skyscrapers and the greenery of Millennium Park and Grant Park, there are several, expensive hotels, being in the middle of the Loop and a few blocks from the Magnificent Mile , but that guarantee you a stay with all the comforts.
The Loop is indeed the historical and economic center of the city of Chicago, with its countless clubs and entertainment opportunities, but its charm is due to the exceptional skyline, which includes the Sears Tower, the tallest skyscraper in America, and the particular-looking Aqua Tower.
Accessibility to public transport is well organized, of course, allowing you to move around the area easily and visit the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hancock Observatory, or admire the sculpture called The Chicago Picasso, made by the master of cubism in the Loop. Here are some tips on where to stay in the area:
Find accommodation in the Chicago Loop area
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Best Place To Stay In Chicago First
The Loop is a great place to stay as a first-time visitor to Chicago.
It allows you to enjoy all the touristy attractions while still giving you a good vibe that you are at home.
One of the best things about it is the abundance of things to do and places to see in this commercial district.
The 2 that you should definitely not leave without trying are:
- Buckingham Fountain: this landmark attraction is one of the largest and most beautiful fountains in the world. It is located in the heart of Grant Park. Whether it is summertime water and light shows or a fountain-side music festival, this is an attraction definitely worth checking out.
- Willis Tower Skydeck: ff you are not afraid of heights then this is definitely an experience you want in your memory bank. The Chicago Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor of the 110 stories high Willis Tower. It has clear viewing boxes all around which allows you to truly take in the beauty that is Chicago and all its surroundings.
Suggested accommodations in this area:
Where To Stay In Chicago Best Hotels And Areas
Chicago is the biggest and most populated city in Illinois and the third most populated city in the entire United States! Other than that, its also known as being one of the coolest places to visit around the USA. Its a great destination if youre looking for live music venues, amazing shopping opportunities, delicious cuisine, unique architecture, nice beaches and tons of museums!
Now that you decided to visit this beautiful city, the next question you might be asking yourself is where to stay in Chicago, am I right? And thats why Im here to help! This decision is quite hard, especially for people who are visiting for the first time, as the city is so big and diverse. Thats why I created this comprehensive guide on Chicago accommodation!
In the post below Ill tell you everything you need to know about the 7 best areas in the city, with hand-picked accommodation recommendations in each of them. Youll have everything you need here, the only thing left to do for you is pick the perfect room for your budget and preference and do it far in advance if you dont want to miss the spot accommodation in this city is quite hard to find!
Are you ready? Lets go!
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Chicago Neighborhoods: Where To Stay In Chicago
There are nearly 100,000 hotel rooms in Chicago, which makes deciding where to stay in Chicago a daunting task. I spent around 15 years of my adult life living in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, and its still one of my favorite cities to visit, so its about time I publish my neighborhood guide to Chicago. If you are visiting Chicago this summer, I can help you decide where to stay in Chicago. Many times, Chicago visitors stick to the city center, which is great but sometimes you want a more local flavor of a town, and staying in other neighborhoods is the best way to get a true feel for a city. Keep reading to find the best areas to stay in Chicago.
This post contains affiliate links. Buying through these links will not cost you extra, but I will earn a small commission.
Where To Stay In Chicago Neighborhoods & Area Guide
Chicago, the most populated city in the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States and the third most populated city in the US, is nestled along the Great Lakes shoreline. Well-recognized for its vibrant city life, music scene , shopping avenue, futuristic architecture, miles of sandy beaches, highly-distinguished colleges and universities, and prominent cultural attractions, Chicago has a gorgeous skyline that floats impressively over the banks of Lake Michigan.
A victim of a huge fire in 1871 that almost destroyed the entire city, Chicago is also known as the Second City for it literally is the second and improved version of the original metropolitan. Chicago is also known for literature. In fact, there are numerous world-renowned creative representations about this unprecedented city, including Karen Abbotts Sin in the Second City, Theodore Dreisers Sister Carrie, and Carl Sandburgs Chicago Poems.
Here is a fun fact Most of us may know Chicago as the Windy City, however, in reality, it doesnt even count in the list of Americas top windy cities.
Let us now explore some of the hippest neighborhoods in the metropolitan to help you decide where to stay in Chicago during your next visit.
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Best Hostel In Streeterville: Freehand Chicago
Set in stunning Streeterville is Freehand Chicago my top pick for where to stay in Streeterville. This charming hostel is built in a classic 1920s building and comes complete with stylish décor. It has a cocktail bar, a fitness center, and laundry facilities on-site. The location is a perfect base to explore the city, and you can expect lockers and towels to be provided.
Lakefront Trail And Navy Pier
Chicago is situated along the shoreline of the Great Lake Michigan. No visit to the Windy City would be complete without a walk along the Lakefront Trail and a visit to the historic Navy Pier.
Chicagos scenic Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile paved trail that follows along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. With separate lanes for walking, running, and biking, Lakefront is a favorite among the locals and tourists alike.
Head north on this trail from the Millennium Park area to get to Chicagos Navy Pier. The 15-minute walk along Lakefront Trail will allow you to admire Lake Michigan, watch the on-water boats, kayaks, and even wildlife.
Coming upon Navy Pier, you will find your excitement stirring as you can hear and see all the fun that is to be had here. Over the past few years, Navy Pier has become one of the most exciting and popular things to do in Chicago, especially if visiting with a family.
Other activities at Navy Pier include the Amazing Chicagos Funhouse Maze, Virtual Rush: Chicago virtual reality experience, and, of course, Lake Michigan sightseeing cruises.
Navy Pier is usually very busy, especially in the afternoon and on weekends. But to us, the crowds added to the fun and the unique atmosphere.
TIP: Our personal favorite is the Chicago Food Planet Signature Food Tour.
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The Loop Where To Stay In Chicago For First Time
The Chicago Loop is the most central area of Chicago downtown. It is home to some of the citys top sights and attractions. Whats more, as the city center you will be perfectly placed to explore the entire city.
The Loop is perfect for those planning to visit Chicago for the first time. With its diverse and plentiful array of restaurants, shops, and tourist sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You will be able to experience all aspects of this vibrant city within just a short walk of your hotel.
Some of Chicagos most iconic buildings and skyscrapers are located here, including Willis Tower and the Marquette Building. The Willis Tower in the west of the neighborhood offers panoramic views across the city from its 103rd story viewing platform.
Willis Tower is surrounded by other notable buildings within easy walking distance. The Rookery Building and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are both just around the corner.
One of the best areas to stay in the Loop is around Michigan Avenue. The avenue stretches right through the city center and is lined with top attractions, plentiful shopping streets, and excellent dining venues.
Michigan Avenue sits right between the bustling Theatre District and the beautiful Grant Park. Staying here will have you perfectly placed to explore the best the city has to offer, entirely at your convenience.
The Loop has plenty of accommodation options that suit all budgets, from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels.
Where To Stay In Chicago For First
The Loop is the center of the Chicago universe. Yes, it can be touristy but thats because its also home to many of the citys best attractions, including Millennium Park and the Chicago Institute of Art. The high-rise buildings give the area a very urban feel, and you can walk everywhere in the Loop too.
Best Places to Stay in the Loop
- BUDGET: HI Chicago Hostel Located in the southern part of the Loop, this hostel has a handful of different rooms, depending on your budget and level of privacy that you want: six-bed dorms, three-person private rooms, and private king-bed rooms with en suite bathrooms.
- MIDRANGE: Staypineapple This fun, quirky, and friendly hotel has rooms with extra-fluffy duvets, oversized pillows, soft robes, and huge towelseverything you want in a hotel for a cozy stay. Rooms also have coffee, tea, and unlimited bottled water.
- LUXURY: W Chicago Housed in a charming Beaux Arts building, the W is a sleek place to rest your head while in Chicago. The spacious rooms feature king and queen-sized beds, USB ports, huge TVs, plush robes, and complimentary bottled water.
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