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The stylish exterior of FOUND, Chicago
Photograph: FOUND ChicagoThe stylish exterior of FOUND, Chicago

The 8 best cheap hotels in Chicago

The best cheap hotels in Chicago include stylish new hotels, upscale hostels and plenty more budget-friendly options

Allison Yates
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Allison Yates
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Chicago has no shortage of spectacular hotelseven if you’re traveling on a budget. You’ll find hip and affordable accommodations year-round in the Loop and throughout the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. While some no-frills hotels simply offer a cozy bed (with so much to explore, you won’t spend much time inside anyway), others feature social events like yoga and happy hours, ideal for solo travelers looking to mingle. Whether you’re visiting for the first time, passing through for work or you’re a local ready for a well-deserved staycation, the best cheap hotels in Chicago balance cost and quality, allowing you to get on with exploring the world-renowned Chicago museums, restaurants, summer festivals and Chicago attractions.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in Chicago.

Best cheap hotels in Chicago

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

River North’s Freehand Chicago boasts a head-to-toe vibe of funky vintage, breezy tropical, and geometric decor. Room options include private, shared, and a penthouse luxury suite. Head to happy hour at in-house bar the Broken Shake, or walk a few minutes to some of the best steakhouses, cocktail bars, and restaurants in River North. Try Three Dots and a Dash for tropical cocktails and Roka Akor if you’re hungry for Wagyu beef. Other amenities include a fitness center (where you can run on a treadmill under a mural by local artist Sentrock) and curated tours and activities.

Standard rooms from $72

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Streeterville

Minutes from Oak Street Beach, the sprawling Lakefront Trail and consumer mecca the Magnificent Mile, Selina is your go-to hotel if you crave proximity to both shopping and waterfront fun. This Gold Coast hotel has colorfully decorated private and shared rooms and keeps the needs of digital nomads in mind—if you have to squeeze in a few remote work days, just head to the hotel’s coworking space or private meeting rooms. Solo travelers will also enjoy the in-house movie theater, shared kitchen and a social events calendar that includes yoga and wellness activities.

Rooms from $108 

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The Willows Hotel
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Housed in a charming historic Lakeview building, this boutique hotel is simple yet elegant. The lobby’s funky animal portraits and cowhide chairs make a bold impression, but it’s the prime location that seals the deal. Just steps from Lincoln Park, guests have easy access to the Lincoln Park Zoo, miles of footpaths, and countless quaint picnic spots (and the Lakefront Trail is also nearby). The surrounding blocks are flanked by bars, restaurants, and local shops, and if you want to venture out of the neighborhood, the Diversey Brown Line station is less than a half-mile away by foot.

Rooms from $70

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Kenwood

For the best gateway to exploring one of Chicago’s most vibrant South Side neighborhoods–home of the Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Chicago–while enjoying stunning lakefront views, you can’t beat this Hyde Park hotel. The Chicago Lake Shore Hotel features a large outdoor pool and basic-yet-comfortable rooms. Hop on the nearby Lakefront Trail to walk, cycle and run, or head to 49th Street Beach or admire the skyline views at Promontory Point. There’s no in-house dining, but you’re minutes from the neighborhood’s stretch of bars and restaurants, like acclaimed Southern fare at Erick Williams’s recipient of a Michelin Bib Gourmand, Virtue, or hip music venue The Promontory.

Rooms from $130

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  • Hotels
  • River North

 

FOUND Chicago feels less like a sterile hotel and more like you’ve stepped into your chic city-living dreams, complete with quirky vintage vibes. Choose between cozy and colorful private or shared sleeping options, and make new friends in the numerous community spaces within the hotel. Explore the city with souvenir-worthy illustrated maps (the Chicago Riverwalk is nearby) and come home to a dimly-lit bar with a robust selection of craft cocktails. Discounted parking is available if you arrive by car, and long-term rentals get access to residential-style concierge, mail delivery and laundry rooms. 

Rooms from $100

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • United Center

Hotel Chicago West Loop’s central location on the Near West Side takes you off the typical tourist path. Take a short bus ride to Little Italy or Pilsen, the historic heart of Chicago’s Hispanic community; watch the Chicago Bulls or Chicago Blackhawks at the nearby United Center; or head to a festival or concert in Union Park. The hotel’s amenities include a fitness center and complimentary coffee—though nearby cafes like Muse Coffee Studio or Froth may tempt you to skip the free java. The varying accommodations—king, queen, full and bunk bed options are available—are simple and decorated with colorful Chicago-themed art.

Rooms from $109

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  • Hotels
  • B&Bs
  • Douglas

This small, family-owned and -run guesthouse is nestled in Bronzeville, the city’s historic African American neighborhood and former home of notable residents like Gwendolyn Brooks, Louis Armstrong and Ida B. Wells. The owners of Villa DuBois Guesthouse set out to design a hotel that truly feels like home, outfitting the property with rooms that are cozy-yet-tasteful and boast lots of natural light. Guests enjoy dedicated parking spaces and access to communal outdoors spaces. Plus, you’re just a ride on the Green Line away from the Loop, McCormick Place and the Lakefront.

Rooms from $40

Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago
  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

The standard rooms here aren’t likely to win any design awards, but step outside the doors of this South Loop hotel and you’ll find yourself amidst the bold and colorful murals that dot the Columbia College campus and across from the sprawling oasis of Grant Park. Grab a bite at the two on-site restaurants—Luna Cafe and Thai Spoon—or walk a few blocks north to find grab-and-go dishes at Beatrix Market. You can’t beat the price and location of this accommodation if you want to be close to The Loop.

Rooms from $120

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