Where to Stay in Chicago (According to a Local)

Visiting Chicago and not sure where to stay? Chicago is such a large city that it can be overwhelming picking a place to stay at let alone which neighborhood.  I have put together a local’s guide to the best neighborhoods to stay on your next trip to Chicago as well as my top picks for the best hotels in Chicago for every budget.

Where to Stay in Chicago

Most people visiting Chicago stay in the downtown area including Magnificent Mile, the Loop, Streeterville and River North, since they are close to most of the major tourist attractions. These are all great areas to stay in Chicago but there are a few other neighborhoods worth considering for more of a local feel.

Magnificent Mile/Michigan Avenue

There are many hotels located on or close to Michigan Avenue. This is a convenient area for tourists as it is close to many attractions including 360 Chicago, the Lakefront and beaches, the Chicago River, Navy Pier and Millennium Park.  The Magnificent Mile is a popular area for shopping with three shopping centers, luxury designers and labels, and popular brands.

Pros: Central location, close to many tourist attractions, close to shopping
Cons: Very crowded, full of tourists, can be loud

These are my top choices of hotels if you want to stay on or near Michigan Avenue.

The Peninsula Chicago.  If you are looking for a luxury hotel, The Peninsula Chicago is one of the best hotels in Chicago. It is a 5 star hotel with a world renown spa and a half-Olympic length swimming pool overlooking the Chicago skyline. It has a central and convenient location right off the Magnificent Mile, close to shopping and less than a block from 360 Chicago. I used to live right next to this hotel, and it is popular with celebrities.Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Gwen Hotel Chicago.  The Gwen Hotel Chicago is conveniently located off the Magnificent Mile and is connected to The Shops at North Bridge, which provides guests with enclosed access to shopping. The hotel was ranked #1 in Chicago and #8 in the world according to Condé Nast The Best Hotels in the World: 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. This is a great choice for those traveling to Chicago in the winter, as it has an outdoor winter rooftop with fire pits and heaters as well as outdoor curling and igloos. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites. All-suite hotel with fridge and microwave in room. Great location just steps from Michigan Avenue and one block from Lake Michigan.  Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

River North

River North (where I live) is another convenient location. It is also close to numerous bars and restaurants, but noise can be a problem at night especially during the weekends.

Pros: Close to the river and other attractions, full of restaurants and bars
Cons: Noisy at night, crime can be an issue in some areas at night.

Best Hotels in River North:

ACME Hotel Company. This is a new, modern, stylish and unique hotel located in downtown Chicago 2 ½ blocks from the Magnificent Mile in River North.  Offers great value and great service.  Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Best Western River North Hotel. Amenities include free high-speed Wi-Fi, deeply discounted parking, room service, fitness center, indoor pool and sun deck. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Loop

The loop is the central business district in Chicago and it is mostly full of business offices. It is busy during business hours during the week, but it is a great for those visiting during the weekend as it is more quiet at night.

The Loop is well known for State Street (where you can find Macy’s, Target and many smaller stores). Macy’s State Street (formerly Marshall Fields) is a National Historic Landmark and it is known for its holiday window displays.

Pros: Close to many tourist attractions including The Bean and Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Skydeck at the Willis Tower. Close to numerous theatres including the iconic Chicago Theatre.

Cons: Can be empty during weekends and at night.

Best Hotels in the Loop:

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton.  LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton is located on the iconic Chicago River, on the corner of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue, just minutes away from Millennium Park and the city’s theater and business districts. Many or their rooms as well as their tri-level rooftop bar have amazing views of the Chicago River. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.  Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is a unique boutique hotel conveniently located right across The Bean and Millennium Park. It is a short walking distance to two ice skating rinks as well as The Art Institute of Chicago. The hotel has several bars & restaurants including Cindy’s, the popular rooftop restaurant and bar which offers panoramic instagram worthy views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Families will enjoy spending time in their Game room where you can play billiards, shuffleboard, foosball, and other games for free. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

West Loop

West Loop is a great area for foodies as it home to many of the best restaurants in Chicago. Fulton Market District was once an industrial area, but it is now a real hub for creative types, brimming with galleries, boutiques, and some of the city’s best bars and eateries. It is a short walk to the Loop and not far from Willis Tower.

Pros: More of a neighborhood feel, lots of restaurants
Cons: Not close to the “el”

Best Hotel in West Loop:

The Hoxton Chicago. The Hoxton Chicago is a trendy hotel located at the corner of Lake and Green Street in the heart of the Fulton Market District. They have 182 rooms in three sizes – Snug, Cosy, Cosy Up and Roomy – plus a rooftop pool, fitness studio, unique meetings and events space, The Apartment, and three bars and restaurants. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

You can compare West Loop hotels here.

Wicker Park

This area is a bit far from Chicago’s tourist attractions bit it is a great area for visitors looking for a more local feel. It was considered more of a hipster neighborhood.

Pros: Residential neighborhood for those that want to feel like a local, full of restaurants.
Cons: Not as close to tourist attractions but close to Blue Line

Best Hotel in Wicker Park:

The Robey. The Robey is a unique an stylish hotel in the heart of Wicker Park/Bucktown with 180-degree views of the city skyline, including tree-lined streets and the steel girders of L train stops. The The Robey offers guests an array of room amenities including a flat screen TV, air conditioning, seating area, Le Labo personal care products, exclusive guest discounts to a myriad of local shops, access to Bucktown Athletic Club, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel houses four food and beverage outlets. Their rooftop lounge, Up & Up, is located on the 13th floor of the hotel and offers city views.  Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is the city’s most charming and historically rich residential community, where tree-lined streets are dotted with a mix of million-dollar-plus homes and classic three-flat apartment buildings and sidewalks buzz with energy from families, DePaul University students, young professionals, fitness buffs, and visitors to the city.

Lincoln Park can be a great area for families looking for a quiet and safe neighborhood. This is one of Chicago’s wealthiest areas.

Pros: Quiet neighborhood; close to Lincoln Park and North Avenue beach
Cons: Not as close to the el train so might be harder to get around.

Best Hotels in Lincoln Park:

Hotel Lincoln, JdV by Hyatt. Hotel Lincoln, JdV by Hyatt is an upscale boutique hotel with an eclectic-meets-collegial vibe, offering 184 guest rooms, executive meeting space, a lobby-level European-style coffee bar, a spacious rooftop lounge with panoramic views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, and the acclaimed Perennial Virant helmed by award-winning Chef Paul Virant. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Chicago Getaway Hostel. Affordable Style in Chicago’s Chic Lincoln Park Located in Chicago’s affluent Lincoln Park, the Chicago Getaway Hostel is one of the nicest hostels in Chicago for those on a budget. Located in a stately 1928 Georgian Revival landmark, guests can enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, free linens, free housekeeping, a 24/7 chef-caliber kitchen and a BYOB policy. They also offer nightly events like pub crawls, brewery tours and barbecues. Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

You can compare Lincoln Park hotels here.

Lakeview

Lakeview is another nice neighboorhood with some hotel options. Although not as close to the downtown area and major tourist attractions, it is not far from the lake and has many restaurants.

Wrigleyville (the name given to the area surrounding Wrigley Field) is located within Lakeview. This part of Lakeview is noisier and more crowded especially during game days.

Pros: More of a neighborhood feel
Cons: Not as close to many tourist attractions

Best Hotels in Lakeview:

Majestic Hotel. Majestic Hotel is located less than a mile from Wrigley Field in a nice residential part of Lakeview. Offers great value as well as free breakfast, wi-fi and in room fridge. click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

Hotel Zachary.  Hotel Zachary is a distinctive Chicago boutique hotel located righ across from Wrigley Field. Offering spacious accomodations, locally infused dining and cocktails & event space. 
Click here to see the latest prices and click here to read reviews.

You can also search for more hotels below:


Booking.com


Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:

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