Chicago hotels are known for their hospitality, their elegance, and their style. As America’s premier “Third Coast” destination, Chicago is filled to the brim with hotels ranging from historic charm to the epitome of luxury to comfortable basics. Because the city is such a perennially popular destination in the warmer months (and around the holidays, when the city’s Christmas spirit really gets into full swing), many of the hotels can book up fast. So, a good rule of thumb when planning a trip to Chicago is to nail down your hotel reservations as soon as possible.
Of course, you’ll want to choose your hotel based upon a few factors. First should be where you want your base of operations to be, considering the things you want to see and do while in town. Second, of course, is budget. Staying at the Park Hyatt Chicago in the heart of Michigan Avenue may be an attractive option, but may also be a bit outside of what you’d planned to spend on this trip. The third factor is your preferred style when traveling. Are you with a significant other on a romantic getaway? That’s one kind of hotel, versus the different kind of option you might need with the kids in tow.
Fortunately, there are dozens upon dozens of other hotels in various neighborhoods that represent the full spectrum of lodging options available in a cosmopolitan city like Chicago. You can find everything from cozy budget options to elegant romantic rooms to distinctive boutique suites. Hotels can be found in neighborhoods all across the city, too, like the centrally located Magnificent Mile and the trendy neighborhoods of Streeterville and Gold Coast. You could also opt to stay further out from the city center but closer to other types of attractions in places like the South Loop and Old Town.
Check out our guide below to see the types of hotels you might look into while in Chicago and the areas you can find them in.
First, common neighborhoods that visitors to Chicago like to stay in:
The Loop: Called “The Loop” because it’s bounded by the circling elevated rail tracks, this neighborhood roughly encompasses the heart of Chicago. Some of the city’s most iconic luxury hotels are found here.
Streeterville: This area is just north of the river and to the east of the River North area. You’ll find many luxury and mid-range hotels.
Magnificent Mile: The stretch of land on either side of Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River, this area is filled with luxury shops, fast fashion, and high-class hotels.
Andersonville: This artsy community well north of the city center is home to Chicago’s vibrant LGBTQ community. It’s a quirky destination with artistic attractions, the Swedish American Museum, trendy cocktail bars, and boutique hotels.
River North: As its name implies, this area is north of the Chicago River and to the west of Streeterville. You’ll find iconic restaurants and hotels ranging from luxury to quite affordable.
Gold Coast: Just to the north of Streeterville, the Gold Coast is a very wealthy area that hugs Lake Michigan up to the south end of Lincoln Park. You’ll find mostly a combination of old-time luxury with budget options mixed in.
Lincoln Park: The area west of the Park, this region is mostly residential with a few hotels thrown in. It’s a great place for families to stay because it’s close to kid-friendly attractions.
Chinatown:Located south of the South Loop, this is a good option for those looking to experience Chinese American culture. It’s also relatively close to the Museum Campus as well as Soldier Field.
South Loop: This large swath of the city runs from Buckingham Fountain down to about the Stevenson Expressway. Hotels here are going to be very different in style and price, depending upon how far north into this South Loop you want to stay.
Old Town: Old Town is a popular area with shops, bars, family-owned restaurants, and high-end residential offerings. Here you’ll find a couple of hotels that cater to visitors looking to explore downtown, including the famous Hotel Lincoln.
The styles of hotel also vary and should play a role in your decision about where to stay in America’s second city. Here’s a selection of different styles of hotel.
Budget: These hotels are going to be your best bet financially, but may not offer too many extra amenities and are likely to not allow pets. They are also more likely to be further out in the city.
Mid-Range: This style of hotel is probably what most people will go for, and encompasses several of the other categories on this list. These hotels will offer several basic amenities and go a little further for not much more in the price column.
Luxury: Chicago is full of luxury hotels, from the Waldorf Astoria to the Peninsula Chicago. These hotels offer the best of the best and will require a significant investment. However, you can get better deals if you visit in the off season.
Family Friendly: These hotels are familiar with those traveling with kids, and you aren’t going to feel out of place with the twins running around behind you as you check in. They’ll have things like trundle beds, a pool, and perhaps even a game room.
Business: These hotels are for those in town on a mission. They’ll offer things like a business center, complimentary coffee and tea (and maybe breakfast), and a smooth operation that helps you get in, out, and on with your day.
Boutique: Some of the most enjoyable places to stay in Chicago, boutique hotels offer a unique experience that you won’t find at the chain places. Whether it’s a distinctive décor, an award-winning restaurant, or something undefinable, you’ll truly cherish what makes this hotel special.