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. Or Chicago's new boutique hostel, Freehand, offers both shared and private accommodations in a hipster boutique-like setting.
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.
Hotel Chicago-Illinois Medical District
This newly renovated hotel near is just one block from the Blue Line train, and located close to the United Center, Randolph Street restaurants, and University of Illinois-Chicago medical district. With rooms starting at $139, you get amenities you'd find in a downtown hotel, like a 24-hour gym, free WiFi, a full-sized refrigerator. With not many hotel offerings in the trendy West Loop area, this 117-room boutique hotel provides a good value for visitors, hotel patients or business travelers. Fun fact: it's the first hotel by Joe Perillo, owner of Perillo Auto Group - a name synonymous with Chicago for four decades. (312-243-2900)
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: the property is NOT handicap accessible.
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.
With its central location in the Loop, HI Chicago is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and business addresses in Chicago. A night in the 500-bed hostel includes free WiFi, sheets and towels, breakfast, and shampoo. Guests can also use the shared kitchen, TV lounges, and washing machines. Guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel including air conditioning, separate shower and tub and a mini bar. The hostel is within walking distance to Lake Michigan (with 18 miles of running and biking paths), 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.
Hampton Inn Chicago Michigan Avenue
Hampton Inn has three hotels in downtown Chicago, all of which offer excellent value. They have clean rooms, free WiFi and a gigantic free breakfast (eggs, bacon, waffles, oatmeal, and fresh juices are among the buffet items). But unlike the carbon-copy Hampton Inns you may imagine along the interstates, this Hampton has character. Built in the old Chicago Automobile Association offices, this newly renovated hotel maintains the building's history, including its original art deco decor. There's even a Ford Model A car in the lobby. But people visiting Chicago on a budget will love it for its friendly staff and excellent location, just steps from Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. (312-419-9014)
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 children's playroom, a 24-hour Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, 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. The apartments are fully furnished and range from 500 square feet studios to 1,105 square feet two-bedroom apartments and weekly housekeeping services are included. Some have washers and dryers. A fully equipped kitchen, free WiFi, cable TV and a DVD player is included with every stay.
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.
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.
This ain't your daddy's hostel. This unique, hip, boutique hostel is located close to tourist attractions (less than a mile from Millennium Park in River North). There is a mixology bar serving signature cocktails and appetizers, a communal kitchen where you can grab a midnight snack, and freshly brewed Nicaraguan coffee for you in the morning. You can have private or shared accommodations. There's an event coordinator on hand to help you plan your time in Chicago (free walking tour, perhaps?) free WiFi, and a multilingual staff. Or there's a comfortable living room where you can just hang out and talk with other guests. (312 940 3699)
About Jamie Bartosch
Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.
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