Best Areas to Stay in Chicago, Illinois

Americas, Chicago, Illinois, United States  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in Chicago – A guide to the windy city

Chicago is located in the state of Illinois, northwest of the United States, on the southwest coast of Lake Michigan.

Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York and Los Angeles. It is a city that stands out for its great cultural scene and its cuisine, including the famous Chicago-style hot dogs and pizzas.

Among the most iconic monuments of Chicago, its Cloud Gate stands out. The iconic metal sculpture in the shape of a bean can be found in Millenium Park, in Downtown Chicago.

Chicago has a continental climate, with very cold winters, warm summers and many clouds during autumn and spring. Therefore, the best time to travel to Chicago is between spring and summer.

The Chicago-O’Hare International Airport is the main gateway to the city and connects it with other destinations in the United States, as well as with countries in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world.

When it comes to moving within the city, Chicago offers many options, including an elevated metro system (called Chicago L), commuter trains (known as METRA), buses, taxis and apps, so moving between its different neighborhoods is not a complicated task.

Among the must-see attractions of Chicago, the Navy Pier stands out. It is an old pier converted into a commercial area, with many restaurants and bars, ideal to discover the nightlife of this metropolis.

As for the best areas to stay in Chicago, Chicago Loop is an excellent choice, thanks to its central location and multiple metro stations to move to other neighborhoods (See accommodation in Chicago Loop). On the other hand, staying at River North Gallery allows you to discover the most exclusive side of Chicago (See accommodation River North Gallery & Magnificent Mile).

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Chicago, Illinois.

The best areas to stay in Chicago, Illinois

1. Our favorite area: Chicago Loop

Chicago Loop (also known as Downtown Chicago) is considered the financial and commercial district of the city, with large office buildings and shops on State Street that make it very attractive for shopping enthusiasts.

It is in this area that you will find Millenium Park, the main vegetable lung of the city, as well as the Theater District, ideal to enjoy the most recent theater plays of Chicago and get caught up in the culture of this great city.

Similarly, this district has a large number of museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cultural Center of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Museum of American Writers.

Chicago Loop has the best public transport connections in the city, with elevated rail stations such as Quincy, Monroe, and Jackson, to name just a few.

Furthermore, Chicago Loop is one of the best areas to stay in Chicago for its variety of hotels of all types.

Chicago Loop - Best areas to stay in Chicago

Chicago Loop – Best areas to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in Chicago Loop - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Chicago Loop – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Central location
  • Good restaurants
  • Great public transport connections
  • Best area to stay without a car
  • Shopping area
  • Best area for sightseeing

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown

Located just 4 blocks from the shops, restaurants and entertainment venues of the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, this hotel offers a 24-hour bar.

from US$134
Budget

Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago

Just 1 block from Millennium Park, Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi.

from US$59
Luxury

JW Marriott Chicago

This historic hotel is located in the Chicago Loop area of the city’s financial district and offers a luxury spa and an indoor pool.

from US$299
 

 

 

2. River North & Magnificent Mile

The most exclusive area of the city is, undoubtedly, the River North and Magnificent Mile, located north of the Chicago Loop and across the Chicago River.

Magnificent Mile, in particular, is the unofficial name given to Michigan Avenue, a great commercial artery of Chicago with stores of globally renowned brands and art galleries.

On the other hand, River North is one of the best areas to stay in Chicago for foodies , thanks to its high-end restaurants that offer all kinds of international cuisine.

River North and Magnificent Mile also stand out for having luxury-type hotels, ideal for demanding travelers. As a result, it is not the cheapest area to stay in Chicago.

This area connects with the rest of the metropolis through public transport and is also a good place where to stay in Chicago for nightlife.

River North & Magnificent Mile - The most exclusive area to stay in Chicago

River North & Magnificent Mile – The most exclusive area to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in River North & Magnificent Mile - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in River North & Magnificent Mile – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Exclusive restaurants
  • Great nightlife
  • Luxury-type hotels
  • Connected by public transport
  • Best area for shopping
  • Art galleries

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

The St. Clair Hotel – a Red Collection Hotel

Set in a historic European-style skyscraper, this hotel is 1 block from the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. It offers free Wi-Fi.

from US$94
Budget

Hotel Cass – A Holiday Inn Express

This hotel is located in the trendy River North district of Chicago, a 5-minute walk from the shopping and dining options on the Magnificent Mile.

from US$59
Luxury

The Westin Chicago River North

Overlooking the Chicago River, this hotel is located in the theater and business district of downtown Chicago, 6 blocks from the shopping area of Michigan Avenue.

from US$224
 

 

 

3. Old Town

The Old Town of Chicago is one of those charming neighborhoods that deserve to be explored, to discover the history of the great city of Illinois.

Walking its streets, you can see an interesting contrast of buildings dating from before the Chicago fire of 1871, along with shops, restaurants and modern bars.

The Old Town of Chicago is located north of Downtown and has outstanding attractions such as The Second City, a comedy club where important American comedians took their first steps.

The Old Town is one of the best areas to stay in Chicago, combining the best of a cosmopolitan city with relevant monuments.

This historic neighborhood, in addition to being very pedestrian-friendly, connects with other areas of Chicago through public transport.

Old Town - Where to stay in Chicago

Old Town – Where to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in Old Town Chicago - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Old Town Chicago – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Pedestrian-friendly
  • Restaurants, bars and stores
  • Charming neighborhood
  • The Second City
  • Historical buildings
  • Connected through public transport

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Hotel Lincoln

    This trendy hotel is across from Lincoln Park, a 10-minute walk from the zoo. It occupies a modernized historic building and offers a restaurant and rooms with free Wi-Fi.

    from US$74
 

 

 

4. Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of the greenest neighborhoods in Chicago, thanks to the park that gives its name to the area, where you will find a zoo, a botanical garden, and the Peggy Notebaert Natural History Museum.

This neighborhood, located just north of the Old Town of Chicago, also stands out for its cafes, gourmet restaurants and all kinds of venues dedicated to gastronomy.

Lincoln Park is also a good place to stay in Chicago to get to know the music scene of the city since it has venues revolving around blues, rock, and indie, among other musical genres.

When moving to other neighborhoods and attractions, you can take the elevated metro at Fullerton and Armitage stations.

Lincoln Park is also one of the best areas to stay in Chicago for attractions such as the Chicago History Museum and the Riverpoint Shopping Center.

Best areas to stay in Chicago - Lincoln Park

Best areas to stay in Chicago – Lincoln Park

Accommodation in Lincoln Park - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Lincoln Park – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Green areas
  • Concerts
  • Great food

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham

Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, just 2 miles from Wrigley Field, this boutique hotel combines the culture, music and art of the city.

from US$74
Budget

Inn at Lincoln Park

This charming historic hotel is located in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods of Chicago. The property has European-style rooms.

from US$54
Luxury

Hotel Lincoln, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

This trendy hotel is across from Lincoln Park, a 10-minute walk from the zoo. It occupies a modernized historic building and offers a restaurant.

from US$89
 

 

 

5. West Town

The West Town of Chicago is located, as its name indicates, west of the Old Town and is a district full of life and charm, ideal for young travelers.

It is one of Chicago’s hipsters neighborhoods par excellence for having many vintage and second-hand clothing stores, cafes and bars.

West Town is also home to parks like Eckhart Park, with an indoor pool, as well as areas built for playing baseball or resting on the grass, taking a break from the bustle of the city.

West Town is one of the best areas to stay in Chicago if you want to know the more alternative side of this metropolis.

Public transport options in West Town include elevated metro (blue line) and buses. Likewise, like most of Chicago, it is a very pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.

West Town - Where to stay in Chicago

West Town – Where to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in West Town - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in West Town – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Hipster area
  • Best area for vintage shopping
  • Eckhart Park

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Wicker Park Inn

The Wicker Park Inn offers easy access to the city’s main attractions, such as the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park.

from US$104
Budget

Holiday Jones

This hostel offers a lounge and rooms with free Wi-Fi. The establishment is close to unique bars, notable restaurants and live music venues.

from US$49
Luxury

The Robey

This historic hotel is 3 miles from the shops, restaurants, and entertainment of Magnificent Mile. The hotel serves meals and provides free Wi-Fi.

from US$129
 

 

 

6. Lakeview & Boystown

Lakeview is located in the northern area of Chicago, west of Lake Michigan, and it is precisely its beautiful views of the lake that give it its name.

Within this great district, the Boystown neighborhood is located, famous for being the gay area of Chicago, with many clubs and LGBT-themed bars that make it one of the best areas to stay in Chicago for nightlife.

Lakeview also contains several commercial arteries such as Belmont and Lincoln Avenue that make it a good place where to stay in Chicago for shopping.

In the same way, in the surroundings of Lakeview and Boystown, there are different elevated metro stations that make it easier to travel to other places in the city.

Another important attraction of Lakeview is the Wrigley Field baseball stadium, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Lakeview - Accommodation in Chicago

Lakeview – Accommodation in Chicago

Accommodation in Lakeview & Boystown - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Lakeview & Boystown – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Gay area
  • Good for shopping
  • Wrigley Field Stadium

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

City Suites Hotel

Located in the Boystown neighborhood, this Chicago hotel is decorated in Art Deco style and offers free Wi-Fi and a daily breakfast.

from US$84
Budget

Majestic Hotel

The historic Majestic Hotel offers free daily breakfast and easy access to Chicago’s attractions and is close to Wrigley Field.

from US$59
Luxury

Hotel Zachary, Chicago, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, this boutique hotel is next to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. It offers a restaurant.

from US$139
 

 

 

7. West Loop

West Loop went from being an industrial area to becoming a neighborhood full of life, thanks, in large part, to its well-known Restaurant Row, where you can taste all kinds of dishes.

This neighborhood, which is located southwest of the Old Town, is also home to the Chicago French Market and Randolph Street Market, which make it one of the best areas to stay in Chicago, as there is always something to see and to do in its streets.

As far as public transport is concerned, West Loop has metro stations such as Morgan and Clinton, in addition to the Ogilvie Transportation Center, from where you can catch commuter trains.

West Loop is also famous for its nightlife, with nightclubs for all types of audiences.

The accommodation options at Chicago’s West Loop are suitable for all types of budget and include luxury-type hotels, apartments and hostels.

Mary Bartelme Park - West Loop - Best areas to stay in Chicago

Mary Bartelme Park – West Loop – Best areas to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in West Loop - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in West Loop – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Restaurant Row
  • Wide variety of hotels
  • Ogilvie Transportation Center

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Hotel Lincoln

    This Chicago hotel is 1 mile from the shopping, dining and entertainment district of the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, in the heart of the West Loop.

    from US$119
 

 

 

8. South Loop

South Loop is one of the best areas to stay in Chicago if you are looking for peace of mind during your stay, but without sacrificing a good location, as this mostly residential area is near the Chicago Loop or Downtown area.

Furthermore, the South Loop has many iconic attractions such as the Adler Planetarium, where events and astronomy exhibitions are held, constantly.

Another point of interest in Chicago’s South Loop is the Field Museum of Natural History, with exhibitions dedicated to Aztec and Egyptian culture, dinosaurs, and more.

South Loop connects to the rest of Chicago through metro stations such as Roosevelt and LaSalle Street.

As in most of the city, the accommodation options in South Loop are varied, so choosing a hotel in this area of Chicago will depend on the budget and the date of the trip.

South Loop - Where to stay in Chicago

South Loop – Where to stay in Chicago

Accommodation in South Loop - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in South Loop – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Peaceful area
  • Field Museum of Natural History
  • Adler Planetarium

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago

    The Congress Plaza Hotel is located opposite Millennium Park, on iconic Michigan Avenue, and offers elegance, luxury and history in Downtown Chicago.

    from US$69
 

 

 

9. Chicago-O’Hare International Airport

O’Hare International Airport in Chicago (ORD) is one of the most important air terminals in the United States, in addition to the main hub of United Airlines.

This airport is the main gateway to Chicago and, besides connecting it to other US cities, it also has flights to various international destinations.

Staying in the O’Hare International Airport area of Chicago is ideal for travelers in transit who stop in the city or for those planning a short stay.

Also, going from the airport to other areas of Chicago is easy, because it has its own metro station (blue line), buses and other means of transport.

The surroundings of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago are one of the best areas to stay in Chicago if you have an early flight to another destination.

Best areas to stay in Chicago - Near O'Hare International Airport

Best areas to stay in Chicago – Near O’Hare International Airport

Accommodation near O'Hare International Airport - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation near O’Hare International Airport – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Chicago:

  • Best area for a stopover
  • Connected by public transport
  • Great area for short stays

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Comfort Inn O’Hare – Convention Center

    Located in Des Plaines, less than 3 miles from O’Hare International Airport and a 5-minute drive from the Allstate Arena, this hotel offers Wi-Fi, an airport shuttle service and daily breakfast, all free of charge.

    from US$84
 

 

 

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