Where to Stay in Chicago
Whether you're going to Chicago for business or pleasure, you should afterwards have a better idea of how to approach your search for Chicago hotels and hostels.
Stay in Chicago – Downtown or Out of Town?
When deciding where to stay in Chicago, there are a several considerations to make. Cost, parking fees, proximity to public transportation, and proximity to major tourist attractions are all to be considered when researching your options.
Cost is often the most important factor for travelers. Who doesn't want to save a few dollars when purchasing travel accommodations? Fortunately for you, the Internet makes your search for cheap hotels in Chicago easier than ever. There are several websites that offer heaps of hotel reviews and convenient price searches. While Hotels.com is the typical way for travelers to begin their hotel search (they have an extensive and useful listing of hotel reviews), Kayak.com and Quikbook.com are up-and-coming portals that have flexible search features and highlight "secret" sales. You're bound to find some of the best deals around by utilizing these sites.
Location is typically the next most important factor when looking for places to stay in Chicago. Do you want to be in Downtown in the thick of the action? Or do you want to stay out of town a bit and utilize the city's quality public transportation options? When you consider that the price of hotel rooms will generally be higher in Downtown than on the outskirts, where you stay may be heavily affected by what you're willing to pay. The cheaper hotels in Downtown Chicago will still price at $125 a night for a single person. Staying outside of Downtown will often cut costs down to around $50, but quality and lack of public transportation to those areas may make it more difficult for you.
How close your hotel is to major tourist attractions may also be important. In general, the hotels along the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) and around the Loop will provide you with the proximity required to walk to most of Chicago's major tourist destinations. The Loop tends to be slightly quieter than the Magnificent Mile so keep that in mind. River North is just to the west of the Mag Mile and also makes a great target for hotels close to attractions.
Examples of hotels on and around the Mag Mile include The Drake, Marriott, and the Omni. Examples of hotels in and around the Loop include Allegro, Club Quarters, and Hotel Burnham.
Stay in Chicago – Airport Hotels and Hostels
Frequent business travelers know where to stay in Chicago: at airport hotels. A blend of lower costs and close proximity to the Blue Line of Chicago's public transit system makes airport hotels an attractive option for people seeing Chicago on a budget. Many hotels in and around the airport will start out less than $100 a night per person, and sometimes they cost considerably less. Most if not all of the Chicago airport hotels will offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. Combine the convenience of these hotel shuttles with the fact that the Blue Line runs 24 hours a day, and you'll see the advantage even better. As the Blue Line goes into the heart of Downtown, you'll also have easy access to the five best photo opportunities in Chicago.
For the truly budget-conscious traveler who still wants immediate access to Downtown, look no farther than Chicago's Hostelling International location in the heart of Downtown. Cost for a bed in a dorm starts at $29 per person. Organized sightseeing and nightlife activities as well as friendly, helpful staff will make seeing the city even more enjoyable while you stay at the hostel.
Photo by Serge Melki [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Flickr