Chicago, Illinois, has something for everyone, from sightseeing in Millennium Park to shopping to your heart’s content down Magnificent Mile. But, with the wide variety of areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in Illinois’ largest city, choosing where to stay in Chicago can take a bit of extra consideration.
First-time visitors may want to stay in areas east of the Chicago River like The Loop and River North. These neighborhoods are major hubs of activity and home to many of the best hotels in Chicago. Veer west to districts like West Loop to dig into a world-class food scene or Wicker Park to browse vintage shops and discover stunning architecture.
Need help choosing the perfect lodgings for your Chicago holiday? Check out this comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Chicago, Illinois!
Best places to stay in Chicago, IL
Chicago is so steeped in culture that you can practically feel it around every street corner. Each neighborhood in the Windy City has a unique atmosphere and claim to fame, all as interesting and eclectic as the last. But which area is right for you to choose a hotel to stay in?
The Loop is settled between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. This downtown area is the favored choice for most travelers as its home to iconic Chicago tourist attractions like ‘The Bean’ and Grant Park. Head north to Streeterville, where families can find fun by the lakeside and endless shopping along Magnificent Mile. Hotels in these districts tend to be upscale and historic.
Venture out of the city center to Lincoln Park, teeming with German heritage, or Wicker Park, full of funky bars and a flourishing gallery scene. The styles of accommodations in these neighborhoods are a mix of budget and luxury, with character and plenty of pizzazz.
The best areas to stay in Chicago, IL, are:
✓ The best district for first-timers to stay near Chicago’s most popular attractions
Heading to the Windy City for the first time? Stay at The Loop, Chicago’s bustling downtown. This is the prime district for quintessential Chicago sightseeing, from art galleries and theaters to famous parks and historic architecture.
Art aficionados should stop by the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. In the evening, catch a broadway level production, comedy show, or music performance at The Chicago Theater. Explore 300 acres of green space at Grant Park. Take an obligatory photo at Cloud Gate, known as The Bean, and mosey through Millennium Park.
Even if you’re stuck to just 24 hours in Chicago, be sure to stroll or bike down the Chicago Riverwalk, admiring the ornate, beautiful architecture of the Wrigley Building. Take an architecture tour cruise along the river to see more French Beaux-art and Art Deco-style buildings.
If you’re traveling to Chicago with a classic downtown experience at the top of your list, you’ll want to stay at one of the prestigious, usually high-end hotels in The Chicago Loop.
History and luxury collide at downtown Chicago’s Hotel Blake. This boutique hotel offers great bang for your buck with its city center location and attention to detail, like how each door has a unique photo taken around Chicago. Unwind in your modern room among pops of color and newspaper-style wallpaper that outline the hotel’s history.
Staypineapple’s prime location for shopping and sightseeing and its lavish decor make it a top pick for staying downtown. Enjoy pineapple sugar cookies upon arrival and pineapple mugs in your room to use with the Keurig. Book the Millenium Park King Suite to wake up to unparalleled views of The Bean and Lake Michigan.
The Pendry is a high-end accommodation situated on the northern end of The Loop. The sleek, minimalistic designs of the rooms contrast the romantic, atmospheric ambiance of the public spaces. Cozy up next to the fireplace in the Pendry Bar, or pour some bubbles at the glamorous rooftop bar, Chateau Carbide.
The JW Marriott is known for unmatched opulence. It’s a great option for traveling on business as it’s located in the heart of the Financial District. Upgrade to access to the executive lounge for ergonomic workspaces and unlimited refreshments. The rooms were inspired by the luxury of a Pullman Sleeper Railcar.
✓ The top-rated neighborhood to stay in Chicago for live music and vibrant nightlife
Base yourself in one of Chicago’s trendiest and edgier districts, River North. North from The Loop, you’ll find buzzing nightlife, stylish bars, and upscale restaurants around every corner.
Music fans will love the indie music venues. Jam out at the House of Blues to live folk, rock, or hip hop. At Michelin star-reviewed GT Fish & Oyster, feast on plump raw oysters, tuna tartar, and fresh shrimp cocktail. Then, make your way to the trendy rooftop deck at Celeste for spectacular Chicago views, cocktail in hand.
Art lovers will find an oasis at theMART, North America’s largest showcase of design studios. Stop by in the evening to see the world’s biggest video art installment projected on the side of theMART facing the Chicago River.
River North hotels balance class and elegance with bold designs and a distinct Chicago personality. You’ll find a mix of budget to five-star accommodations here.
Hip and contemporary, ACME Hotel offers mid-range affordability near lavish shopping streets and trendy cafes. Avant-garde-styled rooms feature the newest tech from Bowers & Wilkins sound systems and Amazon Echo. Chill out with a craft cocktail or their specialty barrel-aged whisky in the low lights and vintage setting of The Berkshire Room downstairs.
Kinzie Hotel offers incredible value, a jaunt away from top attractions, and a plethora of lively bars. The relaxing, polished rooms’ contemporary art and murals of Chicago make the perfect setting for your Windy City stay. The nightly complimentary bar drink doesn’t hurt, either!
The playful energy at Moxy starts with check-in at the bar and continues to Pac-Man and foosball at The Game Room. Budget-friendly Inner circle rooms include lightboxes to communicate with neighbors, and City View rooms look out on River North. On-site restaurant Zombie Taco has you covered whether you need brunch or a late-night munch.
The Langham is a paragon of five-star elegance and grace. Each room guarantees floor-to-ceiling views of either Lake Michigan or the Chicago River to enjoy as you relax in this skyscraper sanctuary. Refresh with afternoon tea in the sophisticated Pavillion lounge before an evening out in River North.
✓ The best area to stay in Chicago for family-friendly fun on the waterfront and top-notch shopping
Streeterville is the perfect starting point for families looking for museums and a lively boardwalk atmosphere on the coast of Lake Michigan. The Chicago Children’s Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Navy Pier are all at your doorstep.
Stroll down Navy Pier’s classic boardwalk with the Centennial Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, a funhouse maze, and more. At the end of the pier, take in the Lake Michigan horizon and panoramic view of the Chicago skyline behind you. Beside the pier, splash in the waves at Ohio Street Beach, or head north to the Gold Coast’s Oak Street Beach, two of Chicago’s most beautiful beaches.
Magnificent Mile is 13 blocks of retail therapy at its finest. Starting from North Michigan Avenue, shop ’til you drop at high-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and a plethora of designer brands.
Hotels in Streeterville are typically mid-range to luxury, with lots of space for families and couples to spend time comfortably.
Ivy Boutique Hotel’s spacious rooms and chic design are a favorite among families and couples. Opt for a suite for ultimate comfort with a separate living room and their raved-about deep-soak bath. In the summer months, join Sunset Yoga at the Sky Terrace, or take a ten-minute stroll to Ohio Street Beach.
Book your getaway at the Hotel EMC2 upscale boutique, located between Magnificent Mile and the Lakefront Trail. Rooms are modern yet evoke aesthetics of the 1920s with features like Bluetooth phonograph speakers. For global cuisine, dine at science-lab-themed Albert (yes, as in Einstein!) and enjoy the contemporary open space kitchen.
Immerse yourself in peak luxury at Loews Chicago, and find your home away from home in rooms exuding class and comfort. Choose a lakeview guestroom for spectacular views of Navy Pier, the Centennial Ferris Wheel, and glittering Lake Michigan. Dine alfresco with sweeping views of Chicago at the rooftop lounge, Streeterville Social.
Conveniently located in The Water Tower Place, the Ritz-Carlton is as deluxe as it gets. From the marble-detailed lobby with sparkling chandeliers to legendary service, The Ritz makes five-stars look easy. The rooms are sumptuous enough to make anyone feel like royalty while maintaining modern touches with abstract art.
✓ The recommended neighborhood for fans of an old-world European atmosphere
Make Lincoln Park your base if you’re looking for a quaint neighborhood with charming boutique shops and restaurants with a European flair. The strong German heritage can be felt throughout Lincoln Park, from Gene’s Sausage Shop & Deli to the Berlin Wall Monument.
Swing by the Lincoln Park Zoo and visit over 200 species of animals, including gorillas, lions, and polar bears. Nature enthusiasts will find bliss meandering the flourishing gardens of the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
Browse local shops, bakeries, and cafes down North Lincoln Avenue and soak in the character and charm of this quaint neighborhood. Test European-style beauty products at the Merz Apothecary, then grab a pastry at Cafe Selmarie. Connect with Lincoln Park’s German roots at the Prost traditional bierhaus.
Lincoln Park hotels have a lot of character and strive to convey this district’s blend of European and Chicago culture. They’re often on the budget-friendlier side while maintaining high ratings.
If you’re on the hunt for a bargain-priced hotel room without sacrificing quality, you’ll love the Hotel Versey Days Inn. Murals and paintings of Chicago culture adorn each room, with a focus on Broadway and Rock ‘n Roll. The funky design will certainly inspire you to embrace your Chicago travels.
Villa D’Citta provides a rustic Italian Bed & Breakfast experience in the heart of Lincoln Park. Named one of the world’s top 10 urban BnBs by the Huffington Post, Villa D’ Citta features a private deck, gardens, jacuzzi, and DIY panini station. Each room’s Tuscan vibe is perfect for a romantic getaway.
Hotel Lincoln is a mid-range boutique hotel and foodie haven neighboring the Lincoln Park Zoo. Indulge in the 12-course sushi dinner guided by Japanese experts at Sushi Suite 202, then hit the J. Parker Rooftop Bar. Soak in panoramic views before heading back to your vintage-inspired room.
✓ The best neighborhood to stay in Chicago for vintage shopping and trendy cafes
Welcome to artsy Wicker Park. To the west of the Chicago River are Chicago’s best speakeasies, coffee shops, artisanal eateries, and quirky antique stores. If vintage is your thing, you’ll love staying in the Wicked Park district.
Walk down Hoyne Avenue and appreciate the iconic architecture of stately Victorian homes. Where North Damen, West North, and North Milwaukee Avenue meet, the historic district of Wicker Park is flourishing with a new wind of indie culture. Peruse Store B Vintage, where old is new again, and dive into the vinyl oasis at Reckless Records.
Find the entrance to The Violet Hour speakeasy (psst. . . a hint: look by the mural!) and enjoy craft cocktails in the intimate ambiance. Fun-loving couples will find the ultimate date night at Emporium Arcade Bar.
Are you a little bit hipster at heart? Get a great deal on urban-chic hotel rooms in Wicker Park.
The Hyatt Place provides reasonably priced lodging near Wicker Park’s energetic core. The ultramodern interior design tells the story of Wicker Park’s culture while providing a relaxing atmosphere. The rooms are airy and bright, thoughtfully laid out with a separate sitting area and couch. Enjoy a nightcap from the Kennedy Rooftop bar.
The Robey combines modern style with art deco elegance in the center of Wicker Park, all at economical rates. The triangular shape of the Tower Rooms offers 180-degree views of Chicago, while The Annex Lofts are great if you need extra space. Visit the Cabana Club’s outdoor pool and watch the trains passing by.
Wicker Park Inn is a quiet boutique bed & breakfast housed in one of Chicago’s iconic two-flats, along a private residential street. Small touches will make you feel at home, like freshly prepared breakfasts, including handmade muffins. Each room has cozy and unique floral prints, exposed brick, and modern amenities.
✓ Top-rated neighborhood for foodies to dig into Chicago cuisine
On the west side of the Chicago River, nestled above Little Italy, you’ll find West Loop, a lively community of foodies, sophisticated cafes, funky food joints, mom-and-pop sandwich shops, and everything in between. Stay here if you can’t wait to explore the Chicago food scene.
Arm yourself with an appetite and set off down Randolph Street, known as Restaurant Row, for some of the best eats around Chicago. Indulge in the epitome of fine dining at Oriole, and try the famous “pig face” from Girl & the Goat. The best burger in town can allegedly be found at The Loyalist, but go taste it for yourself to be sure.
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You’ll also want to stop by Fulton Market. The urban area is full of warehouses converted 50,000 square feet of restaurant options ranging from family-owned joints to fancy, exclusive bistros, rooftop dining, and trendy bars.
West Loop lodgings honor the area’s industrial history with upscale, modern, renovated spaces.
Hampton Inn does mid-range luxury right. The rooms are minimalistic without losing touch with Chicago roots. They’re decorated with photos of the city, and large windows give you a birds-eye view of West Loop. Relax on the terrace, or drink up at the self-serve taps with flowing local craft beer at Fulton Tap.
The Emily is one of West Loop’s elite hotels. Located in buzzing Fulton Market, you’ll be minutes away from artisanal cafes and shops. Chill out by a fire pit, or catch a cult classic at the Rooftop Cinema Club. The rooms are tastefully decorated with bold designs.
Feel the pulse of West Loop energy at The Hoxton, a high-end option with a modern twist. Grab a nosh in the lobby’s Cira restaurant, or head down to the jazzy Lazy Bird bar. Mid-century-inspired rooms with modern facilities will have you relaxed and rejuvenated to enjoy your Chicago adventures.
Indulge in the upscale Japan-Chicago fusion experience that only Nobu can offer. The zen rooms are dedicated to providing a tranquil retreat with a teak wood soaking tub and natural decor. In the evening, make your way to the Rooftop for exquisite cocktails and unbeatable views of the Chicago skyline.