Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean having to compromise on style or location when you’re headed to the Windy City. From the contemporary to the characterful, there are plenty of cheap hotels in Chicago, so you can make your money go further at the city’s many restaurants, bars and cultural hubs.
Longman & Eagle
Budget Hotel, Inn, Bed and Breakfast
Every room at the Longman & Eagle has its own distinct character | Courtesy of Longman & Eagle / Booking.com
Stay in the heart of Logan Square at this much-lauded restaurant’s inn-style guest house. There are only six rooms available, with each varying in size and price. Every room has its own distinct character, and you’ll find quirky design elements as well as original artwork throughout. This hotel is not for those seeking a quiet or sedate spot necessarily – the downstairs bar is especially noisy – but if you’re looking to be in the thick of the action, you can’t get much better than the Longman & Eagle.
Something of a hostel/hotel hybrid (for its full hostel version see Holiday Jones), FieldHouse Jones takes over the old 11-story Borden Dairy Depot located in River North area – within walking distance of the Gold Coast and the Loop. Its innovative take on flexible room types and bed arrangements offers everything from dorm-style bunks to loft-style apartments with kitchens. With the community as its focus, it also features a lobby lounge and café, as well as fun design elements such as vintage slot machines and local artwork, making it a great spot to hang out and socialize.
For a location that’s just blocks away from the Magnificent Mile, this lifestyle boutique hotel hits the spot. The ACME Hotel offers great value for money, with high-tech design features in its rooms and a complimentary coffee room service available. Add-on features include the option to rent Apple Watches from the front desk to upgrade your stay. And with West Town Bakery, Bunny Slope (an alpine-themed hot tub experience) along with hip cocktail spot The Berkshire Room all on-site, there’s plenty to keep you occupied without even leaving the hotel.
With its chic, contemporary vibe and focus on sustainability, the Felix offers visitors a chance to lessen their carbon footprint. As one of Chicago’s first eco-friendly hotels with Silver LEED certification, a stay here is both luxurious and low impact. There’s also a Michelin-recommended sushi bar, coffee shop and French bistro on-site, as well as a fitness center.
Located in the heart of Wicker Park, one of Chicago’s most vibrant and creative neighborhoods, the Ruby Room offers a more intimate, chilled-out inn-style experience. The small selection of rooms on offer are immaculately furnished, and block-booking is available. And as part of Ruby Room’s healing and wellness focus, guests have access to yoga and meditation programs, a secret garden and discounts on spa services. It’s worth noting that to enhance the relaxation aspect of your stay, rooms don’t have telephones or TVs.
No need to sacrifice a downtown location for a good price. Located about as central as you can get in the Loop and just a few blocks from Millennium Park, the Club Quarters is a smart option for business or vacation stays. There are a variety of elegant rooms, from single club rooms to extended-stay apartments. All guests have access to the 24-hour fitness center, with the handy added option of having exercise equipment delivered to your room. There’s also plenty of food to choose from, with snacks available in the hotel living room and bigger bites served up at the Elephant & Castle restaurant. If the in-house food doesn’t take your fancy, the hotel will happily order takeout direct to your room.
This River North boutique offers a relaxed and laid-back stay just a few blocks from the riverfront and the Magnificent Mile. Each room is bright and airy, with local artwork adorning the walls. Offering its guests a few well-considered perks, including 24-hour access to the fitness center plus a complimentary drink per night and hors d’oeuvres served in the Double Cross lounge, it’s the little touches that make the Kinzie an attractive option. Pets are welcome as well – there’s even a doggy room service menu.
For the style-seeker who’s after character and cool vibes from their stay but without the price tag, the Freehand is a strong contender thanks to its vibrant decor and well-appointed downtown River North location. From dorms to private rooms and penthouses, each room is styled with Instagrammable art, and guests are offered access to shared kitchen and lounge facilities if so desired. Socializing is actively encouraged as the Freehand offers its own tours and activities to help you navigate the city. For drinks, head to The Broken Shaker bar – a Miami import and all-out hipster hotspot that serves an excellent array of cocktails and hosts regular DJ nights.