Where to Stay in Chicago: Best Areas & Hotels

Written by Lura Seavey and Carri Wilbanks
Updated May 20, 2021
We may earn a commission from affiliate links ()

Figuring out where to stay in Chicago may depend on the reason for your visit, whether you are here for a family vacation, a romantic holiday, or a shopping trip. The Downtown, including the area known as the Loop, contains several of the city's top historic sights. The upscale Magnificent Mile has hundreds of retail shops and is located alongside the lively Streeterville neighborhood, which is home to the entertainment and amusements of Navy Pier.

To the north, the affluent Gold Coast district has several beaches, and the Lincoln Park neighborhood has lakefront parks and a free zoo. These are all among the best places to stay in Chicago, and you can find a variety of good hotels in various price ranges in these areas.

Where to Stay in Chicago for Luxury

Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile

The Kimpton Gray Hotel in downtown Chicago goes above and beyond to ensure that guests have everything they need, providing complimentary toiletries, like lip balm and deodorant, as well as "loaners" of anything, from international plugs & cell phone chargers to humidifiers. Rooms are modern and minimalist, and the hotel is conveniently located in the financial district, just two blocks from The Rookery and surrounded by theaters, museums, and spas.

Overlooking the Riverwalk, The Langham, Chicago offers floor-to-ceiling river-view suites and a full range of amenities, including a pool & hot tub, fitness center, and even children's activities. Club Level packages include breakfast, afternoon tea, and butler service.

In the heart of the Magnificent Mile, The Peninsula Chicago is surrounded by shopping that will keep the whole family happy, from Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue to the Disney Store and Hershey's Chocolate World. Families will appreciate dedicated children's activities and babysitting to enable a night out or perhaps a relaxing visit to the Peninsula Spa.

North of Lincoln Park and Wrigley Field, The Guesthouse Hotel is well worth the ride into town. It is just blocks from the shore and Montrose beach, dog beach, and the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. This home away from home offers boutique suites with fully-equipped kitchens, private terraces with grills, washers and dryers, as well as spacious living and dining areas.

Where to Stay in Chicago: Mid-Range

Chicago River
Chicago River

In the heart of the opulent Gold Coast neighborhood, the Thompson Chicago, a Thompson Hotel has an excellent location near Oak Street and Oak Street Beach. Rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with floor-to-ceiling windows and unique artwork.

In the Streeterville neighborhood, just a few blocks from the many attractions at Navy Pier, Loews Chicago Hotel offers tastefully decorated and well-appointed rooms and the use of a fitness center and lap pool. This hotel is also environmentally conscious, as is the nearby Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago, which offers free bicycle sharing and helmets. This pet-friendly oasis has spacious window seats, engulfed in sumptuous draperies, which overlook the city and the neighboring Riverwalk.

As the name suggests, the Hampton Majestic Chicago Theatre District is located in the heart of Chicago's performing arts area in the Downtown/Loop neighborhood, conveniently attached to the Private Bank Theater. A five-minute walk takes you to the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park, and there are many historic buildings and museums nearby. Your stay includes modern amenities and a hot breakfast with a wide selection.

Where to Stay in Chicago on a Budget

Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park

Although the city's less expensive lodgings are priced higher than most destinations, there are some options with reasonable rates that are in good neighborhoods. The Hotel Versey - Days Inn is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, just a few blocks from Diversey Harbor and a 20-minute walk to Wrigley Field. The lobby immediately gives you a sense of its upbeat, quirky atmosphere, where you will find Chicago murals in the clean, well-kept rooms.

Comfort Suites Michigan Avenue / Loop has a wide range of amenities to match its higher end standards but also offers some very affordable rooms in its perfect location on the Riverwalk, close to the Chicago Children's Museum and Navy Park.

You can also find some very affordable options at the pet-friendly La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, which is close to the Skydeck Chicago and the Money Museum, and is across the river from Union Station. A hot breakfast is included, a rarity in the city, and there are self-serve laundry facilities.

Where to Stay in Chicago for Couples

Chicago Pier
Chicago Pier

For a quiet, romantic getaway, snuggle up in one of the suites at the Welcome Inn Manor Bed & Breakfast. Within this restored brick mansion, you will find an eclectic mix of antique Victorian furniture, unusual artwork, African sculpture, and Nat King Cole memorabilia. If you don't have a car to make the drive into the city, the hosts will happily drive you to any of Chicago's attractions, including the nearby Hyde Park's Museum of Science and Industry and Oriental Institute Museum.

In the Gold Coast neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Magnificent Mile, The Talbott Hotel is freshly renovated and has a trendy but personal European feel and five-star service. The hotel's restaurant has an outdoor dining area where you can enjoy seeing passers-by smile at the giant ladybug cow climbing the hotel's fa├žade above the entrance.

This is close to the popular shops and bistros of Oak Street, as is the neighboring Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Rooms here have a simple elegance while offering the newest technology. The hotel has every amenity one could expect, from a fitness center and lap pool to a full-service spa and babysitting, and a worry-free "no tipping" policy.

North of the city center in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and less than two blocks from Apollo Theater, Villa D'Citta is a bed-and-breakfast that has six impeccable rooms with private baths. This Chicago Greystone building oozes with character, decorated in a traditional old-world Italian style. Your stay includes the use of a well-stocked dream kitchen, although you can call for room service if you prefer to cuddle in front of your own gas fireplace.

Where to Stay in Chicago for Families

Aerial view of the Lincoln Park Zoo
Aerial view of the Lincoln Park Zoo

For families looking for five-star accommodation, check out the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. The brand is known both for being family friendly, and the Chicago property is no different. The elegant hotel features excellent Lake Michigan views and a stellar location along the Magnificent Mile.

As for kid-focused amenities, there is a hotel ice-cream man who makes room service calls that allow you to create your own sundae. There is also an indoor kids' clubroom with video and boardgames, arts and crafts, and a space to watch movies. Babysitting (for an extra fee) can also be arranged with 24-hour advance notice.

Also try the popular Ace Hotel Chicago in the West Loop neighborhood. This industrial chic hotel has an artsy, retro vibe - some rooms are stocked with records and turntables, while others have guitars as wall art, and mid-century modern furnishings are in all. For families, we recommend the suites, which have separate kitchenettes and a private terrace. There is also an excellent restaurant on-site.

The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel is also right on the Magnificent Mile and caters to families looking for a luxury hotel experience. In a 1930s landmark building, this Art Deco-style hotel features a mix of spacious rooms and suites, the best of which come with terraces facing Michigan Avenue. On-site amenities include a restaurant and well-equipped gym.

Finally, the Viceroy Chicago is another top family hotel. In the Gold Coast neighborhood just off the Magnificent Mile, the hotel has a glamorous but homey vibe with plenty of art and design touches. The rooms and suites are creative and colorful and come with fabulous lake or city views from floor-to-ceiling windows. They also come with relaxing amenities, like rainfall showers in spacious baths and Nespresso machines. Away from the rooms, you'll find a rooftop terrace with a seasonal swimming pool, a gym, and restaurant.

Where to Stay in Chicago near the Airport

Aerial view of Chicago

Chicago is home to two airports: Midway (MDW) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD). Both are international airports, although O'Hare has more international flights. If you are arriving late at night or leaving early in the morning, it may be easiest to stay near the airport.

One of the best choices near Midway Airport is the Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport. Located on the Midway Hotel Center Campus, it is just two blocks from the airport, but don't worry, you don't have to walk. There is a free shuttle bus. The rooms are modern and comfortable, and kids stay free. A complimentary breakfast is included, and there is a swimming pool.

To stay within walking distance of O'Hare, try the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport. The hotel has underground walkways to the domestic terminals and from here, you can connect to the international terminal. The Blue-line train to downtown is also here. Rooms are modern and comfortable at this 4-star property. Amenities include an indoor swimming pool and a restaurant.

Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired.

More on Illinois