Despite its iconic skyscrapers, luxury shopping district, and Michelin-star restaurants, Chicago is still a down-to-earth destination for budget travel and boasts a buzzing hostel and cheap hotel scene. Dotted across the city from Grant Park and the Loop into the neighborhoods, these hostels make the list of Chicago’s best, whether you’re a student or a seasoned traveler.
HI Chicago Hostel, Chicago
Private bedroom at HI Chicago | Courtesy of HI Chicago/Hotels.com
For location, few hostels come better situated than HI Chicago, just a few blocks from Grant Park, Lake Michigan and the Art Institute. With single-sex and co-ed dorms, as well as private rooms for two, it’s a great option for solo travelers, thanks in part to its active social program, including complimentary breakfast, access to the kitchen and common areas, welcome receptions, and free daily activities to explore the city with fellow travelers.
Guestroom at Urban Holiday Lofts | Courtesy of Urban Holiday Lofts/Expedia
One of the cheapest hostels in Chicago, Urban Holiday Lofts more than makes up for in price what it lacks in a downtown location. Guests can explore the hip neighborhood of Bucktown with its lively restaurants, bars, galleries and nightlife. The converted warehouse offers an industrial-style decor, partitioned into lofts available as private or shared for up to eight, as well as single and unisex options. With a communal guest kitchen, on-site laundry, and a lounge with a billiards table, Urban Holiday Lofts is a great crash pad that won’t break the bank. And, if it’s a downtown jaunt you’re after, it’s only a short train ride away from the Loop.
A stylish boutique hostel-hotel hybrid in River North – close to downtown, the Magnificent Mile, and the trendy Fulton Market district, Found is a more refined option than your average hostel. With a mix of private rooms and dorm-style ones for up to three people, with female-only options, each room is kitted out to hotel standard but at hostel rates. It offers a communal kitchen and lounge along with daily events and a great concierge service to help you settle into your stay. And, if the mood takes you, its Blind Dragon speakeasy-style bar has its own karaoke suites so you can sip on classic cocktails and belt out your favorite tunes.
Something of a party hotspot, the Wrigley Hostel has a big personality, thanks to its Wrigleyville location. Check out all the area has to offer – the Wrigley stadium, restaurants, bars, and a busy nightlife, not to mention many a Cubs fan. The colorful dorms are shared or private and can sleep up to 10, with complimentary breakfast served each morning. Socializing here is a must, with the program of activities including movie nights, free walking tours, BBQs, and bar crawls, along with games aplenty in its own cheery bar.
Housed in a historic building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Getaway Hostel is one of the city’s biggest, with a capacity of up to 450 guests. And, with a retro-contemporary mix of decor and design elements, it’s one of the more stylish hostel options on offer. Dorms can sleep up to 12, but smaller dorms and private rooms are also available with en suite and shared bathroom facilities. Despite its size, it still focuses on the community side of hostel life, with complimentary breakfast and coffee, a large shared kitchen, a lounge and nightly movie specials, along with other scheduled activities, bike rentals, and tours.