Your guide to choosing where to stay in Chicago (2023)

Chicago, one of America's Coolest Cities, is a legendary sports city, home to iconic architecture across the country and a world-class dining scene, making it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the United States. No, Chicago is a huge city and deciding where to stay can be tricky.

Dubbed the second city after a fire that swept through the original metropolis, Chicago is the third most populous city in the country and the most populous in Illinois and the entire Midwestern United States.

Famed for its futuristic architecture, vibrant city life, house music scene, shopping boulevards, exceptional cultural attractions and miles of sandy beaches, Chicago's stunning skyline floats on the shores of Lake Michigan.

So if you want to eat deep dish pizza, dance the night away, see the best attractions, or even do a little bit of all of those things, you've come to the right place.
Accommodation is always a major concern for people coming to Chicago for the first time.

In this guide we'll look at:

  • 1. about chicago
  • 2. Choosing the best area to stay in Chicago
  • 3. Living on the Magnificent Mile or the Loop: Which Neighborhood is Better?
  • 4. Overnight Chicago Prices
  • 5. Chicago Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the best places to stay in Chicago to make the most of your visit.

about chicago

Chicago is not only the third largest city, but also the second most visited city in the United States, in part due to its central location.

As one of America's largest cities, Chicago capitalizes on this iconic status to attend numerous annual conferences and conventions, summer festivals, and sporting events that draw large crowds to the city.

The city is a true cultural melting pot and very rich in history. There's something for everyone in Second City, whether you're an art or music connoisseur, sports fan, foodie or outdoor lover.

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Chicago is divided into several boroughs, and depending on your priorities and preferences, each of these can be the best area to stay in Chicago. However, we suggest you consider one of the following quarters:

Hello co:In some cities, the city center or the central district in general is not the best place to go; However, Chicago is different. As the heart of the city, The Loop is one of Chicago's most iconic areas. While it's primarily a business district with few restaurants operating there, it's close enough to other tourist-oriented neighborhoods.

Glorious Mile:North of the Loop is the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's main shopping street lined with restaurants, luxury shops, and nightclubs. You'll also see a number of high-end boutiques here, and its proximity to the Loop makes the Magnificent Mile very central, one of the premier neighborhoods for entertainment and tourist fun.

Nordfluss:River North, popularly referred to as the party district, just west of the Magnificent Mile, is where people want to be entertained and seen. Proximity to the Loop and the Magnificent Mile also means it's well located.

Your guide to choosing where to stay in Chicago (5)

Goldküste:Away from downtown Chicago, Gold Coast, an upscale residential area, quieter and more relaxed than the neighborhoods above. You probably have to travel to see most of the sights as it's not in the center. However, the waterfront location and many restaurants offer a different feel than what you might find in other downtown neighborhoods.

Park Lincoln:Far removed from the Loop, Lincoln Park is not just a park, it encompasses the surrounding built-up area. Lincoln Park is the perfect place to stay if you are traveling with your family and the accommodation is quite affordable.

Choosing the best area to stay in Chicago

Choosing the best area to stay in Chicago depends on your reason for traveling and your budget, especially as a first-time visitor the answer comes down to preference.

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Here are Chicago's eight best neighborhoods:

The Loop - perfect for first-time travelers

One of three downtown boroughs, the Loop is often the first stop for travelers arriving in Chicago. With Lake Michigan to the east and the Chicago River to the north, the Loop is where you'll see the tallest structures that make up Second City's grand skyline.

Undoubtedly the most impressive part of Chicago, The Loop is filled with great theaters, a variety of world-class public art and the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the largest and finest museums in the country. You can also see historic Grant Park and its spectacular centerpiece, Buckingham Fountain in the Loop.

Lincoln Park: Best for those traveling with families

Formerly called Lake Park, Lincoln Park is a unique mix of college grads, young families and college students. The district was a haven for people who lost their homes in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

From a small Polish and German community to a vibrant, hip neighborhood, Lincoln Park is packed with impressive attractions like DePaul University, the Lincoln Park Zoo and St. Michael's Church, which survived the Great Fire.

Magnificent Mile - Ideal for luxury shoppers and night owls

Known as the Mall of Chicago, the Magnificent Mile, or Mag Mile for short, is the city's elite shopping district. The centrally located Mag Mile is the main gateway between the Gold Coast and the Loop.

There are numerous mid- and high-end shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars on the Mag Mile. Some of the notable landmarks in the district are the John Hancock Center, the Chicago Water Tower, the Wrigley Building and one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Let's say you're looking for the best part of Chicago to stay in and you want to be close to the best things to do in Second City, consider staying on the Magnificent Mile.

Streeterville: the ideal place for budget travelers

Located between the Mag Mile and Lake Michigan, the lively neighborhood of Streeterville is a great choice if you're traveling on a budget.

The main fun and famous attraction is Navy Pier. Navy Pier is a bright and lively entertainment center with parks, shops, lively rides, funfair rides and restaurants.

Whether you want to ride Chicago's Funhouse Maze, spin on a carousel, or fly high, you'll never run out of fun things to do at Navy Pier.

Your guide to choosing where to stay in Chicago (6)

River North - Best for travelers who enjoy nightlife

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The River North Gallery District, simply called River North, is home to the largest art galleries in both the United States and Manhattan. This stunning neighborhood has become Chicago's best nightlife, especially around Hubbard Street.

In addition to the many art galleries, River North is filled with an array of lively bars, popular nightclubs, entertainment venues, and fine dining. So if you are looking for the best Chicago accommodation for nightlife, River North is your best bet.

West Loop - Best for Foodies

Home to several Chicago cultural attractions such as deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, blues music and the Blue Brothers, the West Loop is best suited for foodies and travelers looking to enjoy Chicago's finest cuisine.

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The neighborhood is known for its food streets: Greektown and Little Italy. The West Loop is filled with a thriving gallery scene, several elite restaurants, and a few museums. Be sure to visit the New Maxwell Street Market if you're there at the weekend.

Gold Coast: perfect for luxury shoppers

One of the best neighborhoods to stay in Chicago, the Gold Coast is a historic neighborhood in the city's Near North Side community. The Gold Coast became famous after the Great Chicago Fire and is now one of Chicago's most exclusive areas.

This elegant neighborhood is filled with stately mansions, townhouses, skyscrapers, Michelin-starred restaurants and specialty boutiques. Head to Rush Street for the best nightlife or go shopping on Oak Street. There is always enough entertainment on the Gold Coast.

Wicker Park: Perfect for hipsters and cool hunters

Wicker Park is considered the city's hipster haven and is arguably Chicago's coolest neighborhood. In addition to its unique taco stands and donut shops, innovative restaurants, and local boutiques; Wicker Park is home to famous live music venues like The Empty Bottle and Double Door.

Wicker Park is packed with shoppers interested in alternative fashion and eclectic goods. Fashion lovers can always find everything they need, from vintage stores and high-end boutiques to high-end stores and national brands.

Living on the Magnificent Mile or the Loop: Which Neighborhood is Better?

Chicago is a fun and exciting city with quirky shops, amazing architecture, live music, amazing restaurants and exciting clubs. Without a doubt, Chicago is a city worth your money and time.

If you're serious about staying downtown and wondering where to stay in downtown Chicago, then your choice should be between the Loop and the Mag Mile. While the decision to settle in one of these two is a personal choice, certain factors may influence your decision to settle in one of the counties, such as:

preferred lifestyle

If you like peace and quiet and don't crave nightlife, then The Loop is for you. However, if you prefer noise, shopping, nightlife and the main tourist attractions, consider staying on the Magnificent Mile.

transportation needs

Chicago's robust transit system makes it easy to get around the big city. There is an extensive network of relatively cheap, safe and efficient trains and buses.
Whether you're on the Loop or the Magnificent Mile, you don't have to worry about commuting as you would use the subway, taxi, or bus.

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cost of living

Both districts have a moderately high cost of living. However, because of the upscale restaurants, shopping malls, and boutiques on the Magnificent Mile, you might be tempted to go out and spend more than those who live in the Loop's quiet, bustling areas.

Your guide to choosing where to stay in Chicago (11)

Where to Stay in Chicago - Prices

Depending on which Chicago neighborhood you're visiting, what type of lodging you prefer, and your budget, you'll likely be spending $150 or more a night on hotels. However, consider booking early to get a great room within your budget.

Suppose you are visiting Chicago for the first time. Consider staying in the Downtown Loop, which is right downtown with easy access to other parts of the city.

Wicker Park is best for hipsters and fashionistas, Gold Coast is perfect for luxury shoppers, West Loop is great for foodies, while River North is best for nightlife.

If you are on a budget, Lincoln Park or Streeterville are your best choices. And if you want to see the best of Chicago, stay on the Mag Mile.

You'd better look for different downtown Chicago hotels if you want to stay in this part of the city. But if you need a place that feels more like home and has a communal appeal, consider stayingSelina Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Just minutes from the Magnificent Mile, Selina offers a second floor cafe for late night events and an upscale bar/restaurant with charming booths. In the conference rooms and telephone booths of the restaurant there is the possibility of flexible working.

And the best thing is that the hotel has several amenities such as a fully equipped gym, a communal kitchen, a cinema room and the rental of rooms for events, bicycles and scooters.

Chicago Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's the best place to stay in Chicago?

    The best place to stay in Chicago, especially for first-time visitors, is the Loop, popularly known as Chicago Downtown or the Chicago Loop. Located downtown, the Loop is where it all happens, and from there you can easily navigate to other parts of the city.

  • What is the safest area to stay in Chicago?

    There are several safe places to stay in Chicago as all downtown areas are very safe. However, the safest area in Chicago is Edison Park, with a crime rate that is 77% below the Chicago average. The reason is probably that many Chicago police officers live in the borough.

  • Where should I avoid in Chicago?

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    Chicago's reputation has been badly damaged by conflict and violence. Therefore, people tend to perceive it as a dangerous city.

    However, the most dangerous places are the poorest and off the beaten track. Once you live in the best neighborhoods listed above, you're less likely to be ripped off. Be sure to avoid the following districts:

    • Garfield Park West and East
    • most complete park
    • Englewood
    • Riverdale
    • Washington
  • How many days do I need in Chicago?

    The number of days you spend in Chicago depends entirely on the purpose of your trip. However, you must spend at least three days to get the most of Chicago. If you have more days, consider exploring each of the eight best neighborhoods.

  • Is Chicago an expensive city?

    AccordinglyExpatistan Cost of Living Calculator, Chicago is the 13th most expensive city in the United States. So yes, it is relatively expensive. However, the city is somewhat affordable compared to similarly populated cities like New York. Monthly living expenses are $2,495 and can be lower in some areas like Streeterville.

  • Is downtown Chicago safe at night?

    Yes, downtown Chicago is safe at night because it's often full of pedestrians enjoying the restaurants and nightlife. There are several attractions in downtown Chicago, such as the Magnificent Mile, which is full of bars and restaurants and is therefore always crowded, even at night. So your chances of being mugged here are very slim.

  • Devo looking for the Loop or the Magnificent Mile?

    If you're into shopping, nightlife and dining, you should stay on the Mag Mile. This way you can experience the atmosphere and the people of Chicago. On the other hand, if you're not into shopping, dining or nightlife and prefer a quiet life, you'll like the Loop. So deciding where to stay between the two districts comes down to preference.

  • Selina Chicago Enjoy beautiful accommodations, coworking spaces and the ultimate community experience at Selina Chicago!


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