If you're planning on visiting Chicago anytime soon, you might be wondering how to get the best deal on a hotel in the city. This guide points you toward luxury options, low-budget steals, and the hotels that offer the best overall values.
Choosing the Right Time to Visit Chicago
If you're flexible about the dates when you're going to be in Chicago, you have several factors to consider.
Is scoring a good deal on your hotel at the top of your priorities list? You'll want to visit the city during the winter, after the chaos of the Christmas season wears off. Rates are generally low in January, but they start to climb again as the weather warms up. November might also be a cheap time to go. Bear in mind that if you visit during the winter, you may have to deal with unfriendly weather conditions, so plan accordingly.
Spring and autumn are also good times to visit. These times are cheaper than summer, and they offer mild weather. However, you should have a list of indoor attractions to keep you busy in case rain starts to pour. It's always fun to take in the city's many museums.
Summer is the most popular time to visit Chicago. Understandably, hotel rates skyrocket during the sunny season. The advantage of going in summer is the warm weather, and you might also catch an event in the city. The Puerto Rican Parade and Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, and the Chicago Pride Fest are all in June. In July, you might catch Taste of Chicago or the Square Roots Festival. August brings the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Air and Water Show.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Chicago, IL:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts displaying average nightly cost trends by star rating class in Chicago, IL. Analyze these illustrations to determine the cheapest months to book a room in Chicago for upcoming travels.
Chicago’s Luxury Hotels
4 Star Average Prices: $205.37
Want to feel like an A-list celebrity while you're in Chicago? When cost is a minor concern and you're looking for five-star treatment, check out the following Windy City hotels:
Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago.
The Trump name is synonymous with over-the-top luxury, and this hotel is no exception. It is one of only 10 hotels in the world to have a Forbes five-star rating for both its hotel and its restaurant. Expect stunning views of the city and unrivaled service and amenities.
The Langham Chicago.
This landmark skyscraper, designed by Mies van der Rohe, invites guests to enjoy its gorgeous views and convenient location. It is close to the Loop, the Magnificent Mile, and Millennium Park. Inside the spacious rooms, you'll find handmade wood furnishings, large bathrooms, and other opulent touches.
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago.
This AAA five-diamond masterpiece of hospitality features an award-winning spa and health club, spacious rooms with large tubs that are perfect for soaking, and private bars. The rooms also have top-notch sound systems so you can plug in your iPod and immerse yourself in your signature sounds.
The Peninsula Chicago.
The Far Eastern vibe at The Peninsula will make you feel like you've been transported to a new realm of luxury. Stop by the spa to unwind before you head to the hotel's gourmet restaurant, and then retire to your room to soak in a beautiful view of the city.
Chicago’s Most Budget-Friendly Options
3 Star Average Prices: $134.81
If you're going to be too busy exploring the city to care much about how well-appointed your hotel is, you'll probably want to book a room that is as cheap as possible.
Hostelling International Chicago.
This one is a hostel rather than a hotel, but you're still getting affordable hospitality in one of the world's most captivating cities. The hostel is clean, the staff members are friendly, and you can expect to meet fellow travelers who can share their experiences and advice with you. There are between 8 and 10 beds per room.
Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago.
This hotel offers a convenient location downtown, making it easy for you to explore the sights and sounds of the city. Basic amenities, such as in-room coffeemakers and free HBO and Showtime, will make your stay as comfortable as it is affordable.
Chicago's Essex Inn.
When you stay here, you might score a room with a lovely view of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. In your room, you'll find colorful decorations, an LCD TV, and a comfy work desk. Complimentary shuttle services make it a breeze to get to Chicago's top attractions, including The Magnificent Mile. There is also on-site coin-op laundry.
The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago.
The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center's building is more than 120 years old — it's the perfect place to absorb Chicago's history while you stick to your budget! The rooms are spacious, and many of them offer a view of Lake Michigan. Upgrade to a Deluxe room if you decide you have a little wiggle room in your wallet.
2 Star Average Prices: $97.91
Which Chicago hotels have real discounts?
No matter what kind of lodging you're looking for in Chicago, you want your stay to be as easy on your wallet as possible, right? Use these tips:
Get a group together to travel with you. Most hotels offer fantastic group discounts. You could save nearly 25 percent at the classy Westin Chicago River North. The average group savings at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago is more than 28 percent! Depending on when your group goes, you might be able to score even deeper discounts.
Look for AAA hotels. Most hotels are happy to give AAA discounts, so be sure to take this into account when you're booking. Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown is a classy option that offers discounts to AAA members as well as to seniors and individuals who are in the military.
Use your age. If you're a member of AARP, you might be able to get a great deal on your hotel stay. The Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago is one of many hotels in the city that offers better rates to seniors.
Ask for a military discount. As a thanks to the nation's service members, many hotels — including the Park Hyatt Chicago — offer special rates to those who serve in a branch of the military.
The discounts you receive will depend on the hotel's policies and the season when you book. Even if a hotel doesn't advertise online that they offer a particular discount, it doesn't hurt to ask, just in case there is a hidden way for you to save money.
Reasons to Choose Chicago
There is no shortage of reasons why you should choose Chicago as your next destination:
The architecture: The Willis Tower, formerly called Sears Tower, is the second tallest building in the U.S., and it is only one part of Chicago's unforgettable skyline.
Navy Pier: Visit during the summer to get some thrills on Chicago's waterfront.
Lincoln Park Zoo: This is one of the nation's oldest zoos — and admission is totally free!
The Magnificent Mile: If you're a shopaholic, you'll want to spend most of your time in Chicago combing through this strip of stores. There are both big department stores and eye-catching boutiques.
The food: Enjoy local fare as well as dishes from around the world.
Chicago's past visitors have said that the city is a “fascinating” and “lively” place. Head to the Windy City to see for yourself why so many people love it there.
Chicago’s Best Values
Do you want to strike a balance between luxury and affordability? The following hotels offer more than you would expect for the price.
Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza - Chicago.
One Hotel Planner expert who visited here remarked, “This hotel is in a great location that is attached to the Merchandise Mart… it provides a welcoming atmosphere. The food is delicious! … this hotel can accommodate up to 700 people for any social occasion and up to 1000 people for corporate events with additional breakout rooms as well.” The rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Chicago Downtown.
Enjoy free Internet access, an up-to-date fitness center, and a stellar location that makes it easy to explore all that Chicago has to offer. The property's outdoor rooftop pool is the perfect way to unwind in the summer. If you're in the Windy City on business, you'll appreciate that the hotel is close to Bank of America and PepsiCo.
Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago.
Guest reviews give the Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago a 4.5 out of 5 rating. These high marks are thanks to the hotel's boutique styling, complimentary breakfast, and perfect location. It's in the Bank of America Theater, so it's the ideal place if you and your friends are heading to Chicago to see a live show.
The Silversmith Hotel.
This gem in Chicago's financial district features modern, glamorous styling and excellent amenities. Grab a cocktail at the restaurant. Rely on the friendly staff to try their best to accommodate your needs and wants.
A visit to Chicago Recapped
In many ways, Chicago remains to be America's last great city. Though the pulse of America has long been eclipsed by New York and Los Angeles in terms of population, Chicago has everything, except overbuilt infrastructure and rocketing prices of its coastal rivals. It's impossible to pass a chance to discover the city, as it is home to the O'Hare International Airport, the national headquarters for major airlines, and Amtrak's Union Station, the hub of every cross-country route. Chicago was regarded as the crucible of innovation. It is on the shores of Lake Michigan that America first saw suburbia and skyscrapers, most of which are still standing. Almost everything is less expensive.eating out costs much less, and even high class downtown hotels are comparatively inexpensive. Visitors of Chicago are bowled over by its superb skyline, ranging from the Sears tower to Michigan Avenue's parklands and museums. Guests can visit the highly ambitious Millennium Park, or shop at Macy's, one of the oldest and grandest department stores in the region. To get a feel of the city, tourists can ride a cruise boat with the view of Chicago River's bridges during sunset, or head out on a sunny summer afternoon at Wrigley Field, and catch a game of baseball in action.
'What makes me love Chicago? That's a kind of difficult question to answer. Let me think. There is a million things I could list that really make me love Chicago!'
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said this when a young girl asked him during one of his presidential rallies in 2007. A long time has passed since then, and the man himself has grown to become one of the most loved American presidents of all time. What hasn't changed, however, is the fact that his answer echoes the sentiment of millions of other people who love Chicago, their Sweet Home Chicago.
From Theodore Dressier's 'Sister Carrie' to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Chicago has umpteen cultural and social references embedded in its very existence. That apart, it is still one of the best planned cities in the world, one of the best run municipalities in the world, one of the busiest cities in North America, one of the coldest places to be on Christmas and one of the finest cities you would want to be in if you are a jazz or blues fan.
From the Town Hall to Michigan Avenue, Chicago and music go like Huckleberry and Tom, different but compatible. Hence, if you are making a much awaited trip to Chicago anytime soon, be sure to explore these hidden nuances of this city of love, labor and life. Rising above regular tourist stuff, jumping from one sight to the next without really caring for either, is definitely not going to make you any happier in Chicago.
Living Cheap in Chicago
For some travelers, finding cheap hotels is an indescribable joy that heightens the spirit of their tours. If you happen to be one among such thrifty tourists, you are going to love Chicago A LOT, because there are over 200 Chicago hotels that can be called positively cheap but definitely not low-quality.
Music fans can definitely lodge around the Michigan Avenue and enjoy the busy streets, hallowed Motel Music Studio and of course, the spectacular sight that is Lake Michigan. While opting for an economical hotel in Chicago, the only thing you must remember is that you won't be getting any mind-blowing facilities with it. If a no frills attached accommodation does it for you to get through the night, then these are the best options for you.
Among the Chicago hotels that occupy much of the Michigan Avenue hospitality space, Congress Plaza is a popular name known for quality and comfort at cheap prices. Another popular pick is Comfort Suites Michigan Ave., located at a short distance from Lake Michigan. Bellwood Hotel, though it may not appeal to connoisseurs of aesthetics, can get the job done as well, without hurting your credit card too much.
Stepping Up to The High-Life
Chicago may not be the richest city in the world (or America, for that matter), but it certainly features a fair share of luxury hotel and resort establishments that regularly cater to wealthy tourists who can afford to let their purse strings loose every once in a while.
Among all the luxury hotels in Chicago, Sofitel Chicago takes the top prize. Known for its exotic interior decor in the style of English aristocratic homes, Sofitel provides the utmost comfort to its patrons.
Similarly, Hyatt Regency in Chicago is a no mean deal either. Located in the most prime part of the city, Hyatt Regency is known for its excessively luxurious global cuisine restaurants. Other notable mentions include Marriott Heritage, InterContinental, Hilton Hotel Chicago and Park Avenue Chicago.
Spending Time Wisely in Chicago
In the year 2014, Chicago attracted over 50 million tourists, a whopping number in its own regard. Being a city of high repute and cultural heritage, tourists must ensure that they spend their time in Chicago wisely, not trying to cram too many sights in too short a time span.
Here are some of the most famous as well as not-so-famous things to see or visit in Chicago.
Magnificent Mile provides the best opportunity for tourists and visitors to satiate their shopping cravings with more or less every brand of good market standing operating factory outlets along this mile-long stretch. Add to it a minimum of 500 restaurants and you are looking at a true wonderland that you would love to get lost in.
Navy Pier is another understated attraction in Chicago that you must make it a point to visit. Chicago is also home to other mainstream tourist attractions Sears Tower and Museum Campus that will automatically take the top spot in your itinerary.
Lincoln Park, Millennium Park and Grant Park are three of the most famous public parks in Chicago, worthy of your time.
Hotels Near O'Hare Chicago Airport
The O'Hare Airport in Chicago is among the busiest airports in North America, handling heavy traffic all year long.
Since most tourists use it as a point of entry into Chicago, it is quite expected that a number of cheap hotels as well as luxury ones occupy the immediate vicinity of it.
It would not be (it should not be, at any rate, as long as it's not Christmas!) too difficult for you to find a good deal with a good hotel near the airport.
Getting Around in Chicago
Chicago is a very finely built city that can incorporate heavy transport quite easily. With an extensive network of lanes, streets and highways inside the city and a vast system of expressways outside of it, Chicago has ensured that it can sustain a good traffic reputation, as long as it is not disrupted by inclement weather.
When in Chicago, tourists are best advised to use private taxi cabs for getting around from one place to another. Many hotels in Chicago operate their own sightseeing shuttle service that can be extremely convenient if you don't wish to go around looking for trustworthy cab deals.
For those in the know of the fabric of the city, local Amtrak network should be good enough to travel anywhere in the city, round the clock.