Get us in your inbox

Harold Washington Library
Wikimedia CommonsHarold Washington Library

8 downtown places to get Wi-Fi for free

Written by
Lisa Ghisolf

Maybe you're tired of smelling like you've been steeped in coffee. Maybe you're broke. Or maybe you want an alternative to the café and coworking scenes. Chicago is full of free options to get your Wi-Fi on without paying for it. Here are eight great options:

1. The Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St Aside from a beautiful space with frequent gallery shows, Wi-Fi is free to all.

2. The Art Institute, 111 S Michigan Ave What's more inspirational than a day working among Matisses and Monets? Admission is free all day on winter weekdays until February 10, and Thursday evenings from 5–8pm for Illinois residents.

3. Virgin Hotel Chicago, 203 N Wabash The new flagship property from Richard Branson calls free Wi-Fi a right, and who am I to disagree?

4. Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, 230 N Michigan Ave Complimentary lobby Wi-Fi is just a plus when you're working amongst music memorabilia.

5. Hilton Downtown Chicago lobby, 720 S Michigan Ave Perhaps I'm swayed by the fireplace this time of year, but the free Wi-Fi and cozy niches make this easy.

6. Palomar Hotel, 505 N State St Getting here is a little less congested than the Michigan Avenue options, and hey, you might even score street parking.

7. HI-Chicago, 24 E Congress Parkway Chicago's hostel boasts a great meet-up space, with comfortable seating but no desks.

8. Chicago Public Libraries All libraries have free Wi-Fi, and surprisingly, it's pretty fast. Expect to take your phone calls outside, though. If you're downtown, the 9th floor Winter Garden at the Harold Washington Library is an airy space to while away a few hours with some natural light and ambience.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!