Chicago's Budget-Friendly Accommodations Include Hotels, Apartments, Hostels

Visitors to Chicago don’t need to limit themselves to traditional hotels for accommodations, although there are plenty of budget-friendly hotels to stay at throughout the city with amenities like free WiFi and breakfasts to stretch your dollars even further.

For those who wish to stay at a hotel, finding one for less than $150 a night in a metropolitan city like Chicago isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either if you know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and found several that meet your budget while still within walking distance or a quick CTA train or bus ride away from major attractions including the Museum Campus, Lincoln Park Zoo, Wrigley Field, theater district and the Magnificent Mile. In fact, to be truly budget-friendly, we considered more than just the room rate. We also took into account complimentary amenities and access to attractions either by foot or public transportation.

For those wishing to stay for extended period of time, Habitat Corporate Suites at Presidential Towers provides furnished corporate apartments rentals near the Loop making it an affordable alternative option while hostels like Hostelling International Chicago Hostel and Chicago Getaway Hostel are both centrally located and are a fun way to make friends while exploring Chicago’s popular attractions.

Realizing some of you need to stay near O’Hare International Airport, we included the Comfort Suites O’Hare which is just minutes away from both the airport and downtown Chicago.

10 Comfort Suites O'Hare
Conveniently located just minutes from O'Hare International Airport and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, this Schiller Park hotel is also close to area attractions like the Allstate Arena and the CTA train station. Downtown Chicago is only 16 miles away. There are a variety of shops and restaurants close to the hotel. Business travellers will appreciate free wireless high-speed Internet access in each room. The on-site Legends Sports Bar and Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner complete with 16 state-of-the-art wide-screen televisions so guests can enjoy watching their favorite local sports teams duke it out. Additional amenities include a free deluxe continental breakfast, USA Today newspaper, free local calls and room. All suites feature individually adjustable air conditioning and heating, coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves and satellite/cable TV. Whirlpool bathtubs are available in some rooms. A gym is available and pets are allowed (fees apply).

9 Habitat Corporate Suites at Presidential Towers
For those wishing to stay for an extended period of time in Chicago, Presidential Towers offers corporate apartment rentals near the heart of the financial district. This modern high-rise is a self-contained community with restaurants, a full-size grocery store, a car rental agency and many other services within the complex. It is directly across from both commuter stations, plus it is an easy walk to many restaurants and theaters, as well as the stores on State Street. They are fully furnished and range from 500 square feet studios to 1,105 square feet two-bedroom apartments and weekly housekeeping services are included. A health club membership and 27" television with basic cable (& Starz) and DVD player is included with every stay and high-speed internet access and enclosed parking are available.

8 Chicago Getaway Hostel
Most people don't consider youth hostels because they think they are just for young people traveling but that's not true. Hostels are often a great value for accommodations and often are situated in historical buildings with a wide range of amenities and leisure facilities on offer. The Chicago Getaway Hostel is located near the beach in Chicago's popular Lincoln Park neighborhood. In addition to free WiFi and breakfast, it's also a great place to meet travelers in its spacious, modern common areas, gourmet kitchen and outdoor patio. It offers both dormitory beds and private rooms and many have in-suite baths. It's also close to the Red and Brown train lines and several bus routes which makes it very convenient to get around the city and its attractions. Note that limited parking is available for $25 per night and property is NOT handicap accessible.

7 Hostelling International Chicago Summer Hostel
With its central location in the Loop, Hostelling International Chicago is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and business addresses in Chicago. Guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel including air conditioning, separate shower and tub and a mini bar. Shops, laundry service/dry cleaning, meeting facilities, disabled facilities and WiFi are available on-site. The hostel is within walking distance to Lake Michigan (with 18 miles of running and biking path), Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Activities from the hostel include free walking tours and excursions throughout the city. Guests also receive discounts to many of Chicago's best attractions, including Chicago Architecture Foundation, Bobby's Bike Hike, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the Hancock Observatory.

6 Days Inn Chicago
Just outside the bustle of the downtown area, the Days Inn Chicago offers a centered yet slightly off the beaten path for a Chicago hotel stay. The working group will enjoy easy and close proximity to the important financial district of Chicago, while those in the city for relaxation and fun will be within minutes of such sights as the Lincoln Park Zoo (practically across the street), Willis Tower, Water Tower Place, Navy Pier, museums and the theater district. O'Hare Airport is just 20 minutes from the hotel, which offers valet parking and offers easy access to public and private transportation. Guests can enjoy free wireless Internet access in each room, as well as satellite television and valet laundry and dry cleaning. A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning in a comfortable breakfast room. There is also a fitness center, as well as fully functional business and conference rooms.

5 Red Roof Inn Downtown Magnificent Mile Chicago
The Red Roof Inn Downtown Magnificent Mile Chicago hotel is placed strategically within walking distance to many of the area's most popular and important attractions. Business guests will enjoy an easy and fast commute to the major commercial, financial and trade districts while leisurely travelers are within walking distance to Navy Pier, the John Hancock Building, the Magnificent Mile and the theater district. A quick train ride away is Wrigley Field heading north or the Museum Campus heading south. Guestrooms of this beautiful building built in 1926 are equipped with modern amenities including wireless Internet access, comfortable bedding and mattresses and bathroom upgrades. There is 24 hour front desk service, a casual dining restaurant on-site and complimentary coffee.

4 BEST WESTERN Plus Hawthorne Terrace Hotel
Nestled in vibrant Lakeview neighborhood and steps from Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs), this charming Chicago hotel feels like a boutique as you walk up its paved brick path and enter under its striped awning. Guests enjoy the contemporary décor as they surf the web using the hotel's free WiFi, watch premium cable television on flat panel TVs or read the newspaper delivered to their door. Complimentary bottled water and in-room refrigerators and microwave ovens makes saving leftovers from nearby restaurants easy. Complimentary continental breakfast is included but there is a very limited seating area. The Red Line elevated train is steps away and guests can find themselves in downtown Chicago within 30 minutes. The area is packed with great dining options and runners will delight in the fact that the lakefront path is near to log those miles.

3 Ohio House Motel
The Ohio House Motel offers cleanliness and comfort in the heart of downtown Chicago. Every room fee includes free parking, free wireless Internet and free local calls. All rooms are equipped with cable television. The on-site restaurant, The Ohio House Coffee Shop (called the "World's Largest Little Restaurant"), is a quaint old-time diner that makes up for its small size with a huge economically-priced menu that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, Monday thru Friday (5:30 am-6:00 pm) and Saturday/Sunday (6:30 am-3:00 pm). Selections range from breakfast items like ham and eggs to patty melts and burgers, as well as salads and chicken wings...all under $10.

2 BEST WESTERN PLUS River North Chicago Downtown Hotel
A downtown Chicago hotel - guests save even more with free hotel parking and free high-speed Internet access. Special hotel amenities include an exercise facility equipped with cardiovascular equipment, sun deck with skyline views, indoor heated pool and business center with conference services. Guests also appreciate the extra touches including complimentary coffee and fruit in the hotel lobby and it also offers a full-service restaurant located on the premises. Best Western River North is in very close proximity to Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue and the Merchandise Mart, making it a great place for those attending trade shows. Business travelers are within walking distance to Chicago's Financial District and numerous corporate headquarters including Boeing and IBM.

1 Chicago's Essex Inn
Chicago's Essex Inn is directly adjacent to the famous Grant Park, giving business and leisurely travelers alike an advantaged starting point for their ventures into the city. Navy Pier, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Art Institute of Chicago, theater district, Magnificent Mile and the John. G. Shedd Aquarium are just a few of the popular attractions within minutes of the hotel. For those who intend to work while in the Windy City, the financial district is within walking distance. The airport is 25 minutes away and the hotel offers easy access to public and private transport options 24/7. Guestrooms offer flat screen satellite televisions, Internet access for a fee and many views of Lake Michigan and the cityscape. There is an outdoor garden and terrace area for watching passersby as well as two restaurants, a cozy bar and a free all-season rooftop swimming pool and fitness center.


Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her bucket list. An adventure seeker, she’s game for anything from mixed martial arts training to competing in obstacle course races. A self-proclaimed coffee snob and “greenie” who loves farmer-grown food and locally-grown craft beers & wine. She’s yet to find an outdoor beer garden she doesn’t like.  Mixing writing and food/drink is her specialty, especially when it involves travel. Visit her musings on her insatiable appetite for life at www.WanderingTastes.com or www.KarydesConsulting.com.

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Comfort Suites O'Hare 10Best List Arrow
Neighborhood: O'hare
COST: $$$$