Visitors seeking savings without sacrificing proximity to top attractions, award-winning restaurants, and cultural venues should consider these cheap hotels in Chicago. Some are hyper-local lodgings that include breakfast and build in socializing opportunities. Others offer the privacy of apartment living. All are conveniently located near stops along Chicago’s inexpensive public transportation system.
The Best Cheap Hotels in Chicago
Watching your budget? Consider booking one of these 10 cheap hotels in Chicago.
Don't Miss: Top Tours in Chicago
Affordability, location, and Chicago kitsch make Freehand one of the best cheap hotels in downtown Chicago. It’s in the River North entertainment district three blocks from Michigan Avenue, within walking distance of Lake Michigan. A relaxed, college dormitory vibe permeates the hybrid hostel-hotel of 137 efficiency-sized, individual queen and king guest rooms, a duplex penthouse suite, and 80 quad rooms with two twin-sized bunk beds each. All have private bathrooms. The lived-in 1970s den look starts in the homey lobby with vintage couches, board games, and Chicago outsider art. Hotel staffers say some items were found at area flea markets and consignment stores. Locals love coffee bar Cafe Integral and funky Broken Shaker, which serves craft cocktails and a street food-inspired menu.
Amenities: Rain shower, Argan bath products, HD TV (no TVs or phones in some quad rooms), 24-hour guest kitchen and laundry room, free passes to Energi Fitness center, and Chicago tour discounts.
Homewood Suites By Hilton Chicago Downtown
Located inside the River North neighborhood’s upscale Shops by Northbridge mall, the 234 one- and two-bedroom suites have separate sleeping and living room areas plus fully equipped kitchens. Guests enjoy full hot breakfast daily as well as complimentary dinner receptions Monday through Thursday serving wine, beer, and food. The lobby offers all-day coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and cider. The hotel has a complimentary grocery shopping service and rooftop indoor pool with city views. It is one block from Michigan Avenue and public transportation stops.
Amenities: Hot breakfast included, spacious rooms, 42-inch LCD flat-screen TVs, full-size refrigerators, fitness center, self-service laundry room, pool, 24-hour travel essentials shop, and free weekday newspaper delivery.
Hosteling International Chicago
HI Chicago, also known as the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel, is in the heart of Chicago’s Loop near Michigan Avenue, Lake Michigan, and the Museum Campus. The hostel has plenty of sunlit community spaces for guests to socialize and play billiards and ping-pong. A total of 100 beds (with bedding provided) are divided among dormitory-style rooms of 10, eight, or four beds each. There’s one double occupancy room. Each floor has separate men and women’s bathroom and shower facilities. Guests enjoy complimentary continental breakfast and access to a shared kitchen and dining room. Train and bus stops are nearby. Volunteers lead hyper-local tours exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and vibrant food, music, and arts scenes.
Amenities: 24-hour reception, continental breakfast, weekend happy hour, self-service laundry room, and complimentary city tours and guest activities.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile
A convenient location and affordable comforts of home make this Streeterville neighborhood hotel one of the best cheap places to stay in Chicago. You can walk to shopping and dining on Michigan Avenue and go strolling along Navy Pier and the Lake Michigan shoreline. The comfortable 158 rooms and 28 suites are decorated in cheery powder blue, crisp white, and dove gray with hardwood floors. Some rooms connect, making them appealing to families. Guests enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast buffet.
Amenities: Hot breakfast, spacious bathrooms, cable TV, fitness center, self-service laundry room, and lobby ATM.
Club Quarters Hotel, Wacker at Michigan
The 247-room hotel’s location, privacy, and convenient complimentary amenities make this Club Quarters property one of the best cheap hotels in Chicago. Reserve a Club Room to cover your basic overnight needs, or opt for a larger room with a kitchenette and seating area. Inside the Mather Tower office building, a National Historic Landmark, Club Quarters Hotel is steps from the Chicago Riverwalk, the theater district, Michigan Avenue, and Lake Michigan. The hotel’s social lounge has complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks 24/7. Guests can dine at the on-site Italian restaurant or have food delivered from area eateries.
Amenities: Mobile check-in/out, mobile-key enabled locks, flat-screen LCD TVs, iPod docking stations, 24-hour fitness center, in-room yoga kits, self-service laundry room, complimentary wireless printing, and loaner iPads.
Best Western River North Hotel
Frugal guests staying at this 150-room hotel enjoy plenty of the same perks provided by more expensive Chicago properties. Start with the rooftop deck, offering impressive city skyline views, and then enjoy a swim in the full-sized indoor pool or grab complimentary coffee in the lobby. Guest rooms and suites are surprisingly spacious, decorated in muted shades of blue and gray. The hotel restaurant, Pizzeria Ora, serves Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and American breakfast.
Amenities: Fitness center, cable TV with HBO, room service, low daily parking rates, concierge, porter service, and VIP Shedd Aquarium tickets.
When it first opened in 1850, the converted Chicago Park District Fieldhouse in the River North neighborhood offered affordable social and recreational opportunities to the local community. Today Fieldhouse Jones honors that history by welcoming budget-conscious travelers to stay in lodging that still has a sports theme. Grab a meal or snack at DropShot, the on-site cafe and snack bar, or hang out in the gymnasium lobby lounge. Lodging options include private rooms, suites, loft apartments with kitchens, and dorms. All accommodations feature forged metal furniture, oak flooring, subway-tiled bathrooms, and works by Chicago artists. Guests get complimentary coffee and a locally baked empanada for breakfast.
Amenities: Spacious bathrooms, breakfast included, flat-screen TV with cable, self-service laundry room, low daily parking rates, and eco-friendly bath products.
Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago-Downtown
The 145 guest rooms and 27 suites at this South Loop hotel located near Willis Tower cater to both vacationers and business travelers. This is one of the best cheap hotels in Chicago for families because up to four children age 11 and under eat free at the on-site restaurant, Sunny’s Bar and Grill. Children age 18 and under stay overnight free. Added value amenities include in-room movies, video games, and the seasonal rooftop pool and sundeck.
Amenities: Complimentary fitness center, pool, 32-inch flat-screen HD TVs, iPod docking stations, low parking rates, essentials shop, and 24-hour concierge services.
One of the most popular neighborhood-centric cheap hotels in Chicago is the Annex Lofts section of The Robey. This converted 1905 warehouse features loft-style guest rooms with queen, twin, or bunk beds. “Industrial chic” describes the polished concrete floors, exposed pipes, brick walls, and minimalist, custom built-in furniture. The seasonal rooftop pool and sprawling outdoor terrace afford panoramic views of neighborhood streets and Chicago’s skyline. Annex guests have access to the main hotel’s cafe and other public spaces.
Amenities: LG HDTV, La Labo bath products, minibar, bathrobes, outdoor pool, terrace, and complimentary bicycles.
Urban Holiday Lofts
This Wicker Park neighborhood hotel six miles from downtown is one of the cheapest places to stay in Chicago. The 25 rooms at this hostel-style hotel have bed linens and are decorated with the work of local artists. Some rooms have full private bathrooms. Guests enjoy complimentary continental breakfast and share a kitchen and the Urban Sky lounge. The hotel is located near train and bus stations and close to trendy bars, restaurants, clubs, and boutiques. Hotel policy guarantees you’ll meet other out-of-town visitors because Chicago-area residents can’t stay here.
Amenities: Continental breakfast included, limited free parking, 24-hour reception, shared computers, concierge, self-service laundry room, and discounts for city attractions and tours.
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Don't Miss: Top Tours in Chicago
—Original reporting by Kit Bernardi