Photo of Chicago

About Chicago

A city whose rapid rise to riches spawned a rough – even brutal – reputation, America’s third largest city has long been rehabilitated as the civilised capital of the Mid-West. It now stands as a lakeside cultural and commercial mecca dominating in the wide expanses of America’s rich agricultural and industrial heartlands. The best places to stay in Chicago are ideally situated to make the most of this thriving city, whether you're here for business or pleasure.

Here “cultural” does not just mean symphony orchestras, Picassos and Rembrandts, though Chicago has more than its fair share of those. Chicago culture is American culture in all its guises, highbrow and popular, which is partly why 44 million visitors a year make their way to this city on the shores of Lake Michigan.

What To Expect

The Windy City is the place to experience all-American urban life at its finest, encompassing the dramatically vertical cityscape of the Loop business district (Chicago was home to the first skyscrapers), the clackety El Train system, the cavernous grandeur of Union Station, the Wrigley field baseball stadium, and Frank Gehry’s fantastically-shaped Pritzker Pavilion.

Then there’s the distinctive Chicago takes on American food classics:, deep dish pizza, juicy beef sandwiches and their gourmet version of the hot-dog.

And that’s before we consider Chicago’s status as one of America’s street musical powerhouses. The city that began the blues revolution personified by a long list of great names, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy, whose influence is still strongly felt on a thriving late night club scene.

The writer Nelson Algren summed up Chicago best: ‘Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.’ Here’s our selection of the best places to stay in Chicago to experience that reality in a city that offers everything to the true connoisseurs of American life.

Where To Stay - Which neighbourhood?

  • The Magnificent Mile is everything you'd expect downtown Chicago to be: full of glorious skyscrapers, superb restaurants and museums galore. It truly is the place to be!
  • The CBD, or Central Business District, is ideal for those on work-related trips.
  • Stay around the Gold Coast if you fancy spending your days relaxing on the beach or wandering around the plethora of high-end shops.
  • Wicker Park has undergone significant development in the past decade or so, and is now a haven for artsy creative types. This uber-cool neighbourhood is sure to impress!
  • Lincoln Park is a good place to base yourself if you don't want to be right in the thick of it. However it still boasts a wide range of bars, restaurants and live music venues and there's plenty to do close by - stroll around the huge Lincoln Park with its free zoo; check out the local museums; ndulge in some retail therapy along Armitage Avenue.

What Not To Miss

  • Culture vultures should make sure to visit The Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Take in breathtaking views of the city from the 360 Chicago Observation deck - just be sure to remember your camera!
  • Head to Wrigley Field and watch a Cubs game before enjoying the lively atmosphere in the surrounding bars afterwards.
  • Take a break from sightseeing and stop off in Millennium Park - filled with architectural structures, a live music stage and a Ferris Wheel.
  • If you're looking for a classy way to spend an evening then go see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center.

Given its immense popularity, to avoid disappointment be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Chicago get quickly filled up.

Best places to stay in Chicago

The Magnificent Mile

  • The Virgin Hotel is all about fun and great hospitality. The Commons Club is a must for cocktails and if you pop in between 7 and 8pm, you'll be able to indulge on the house!
  • Housed in a skyscraper designed by the architectural legend Mies van der Rohe, The Langham offers “British-style” luxury combined with majestic views of the cityscape, the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan. Understated elegance in the heart of this cosmopolitan metropolis.
  • Hotel Palomar also ticks the family boxes with a great indoor pool, bunk-bed rooms, family friendly dining and even hula hoops in the fitness rooms to keep all ages happy!
  • The ACME Hotel is downtown Chicago's alternative lifestyle boutique hotel, created with an eye for design and a high-tech vibe. Hip and trendy, but not forbidding, you are invited to “blow your mind, not your budget.”
  • Freehand, Chicago. “A relaxed community vibe” distinguishes this home from home in Chicago’s vibrant River North neighbourhood, home to some of the city's best art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Here you'll find Innovative design, and an offering of affordable shared and private rooms.
  • For all carnivores, a good steak is a must and you'll find one of those at The James. This chic property is well situated and boasts David Burke's Primehouse which is regularly voted Chicagos No. 1 steakhouse.
  • One of the best places to stay in Chicago for families is the Dana Hotel & Spa. It might not be the cheapest option, but you'll be spoilt for choice in terms of great facilities and the location is ideal for exploring the city.
  • Arguably the grande dame of Chicago Hotels, The Peninsula is a city landmark. Perfectly situated and towering above an entire city block of the Magnificent Mile, it is famous for its stained-glass wall and gilded lobby ceiling, as well as three award-winning restaurants. The ultimate Chicago stay.
  • Milenorth is a lively property on the Magnificent Mile and close to Navy Pier. The bar is popular with residents and locals alike, it's in the heart of Chicago's restaurant and shopping area, and it's great value too!
  • You can rely on the Four Seasons group to deliver a superior hotel experience and the Windy City’s Four Seasons is up to the mark with its Lake Michigan views, and superior facilities, location, and staff friendliness.


  • Chicago Athletic Association doesn't initially appear to fit the family bracket, but this is a top choice - with suites available and an enviably central location. Their retro rooms are spacious and smart, plus there's a lovely restaurant to boot.

The Gold Coast

  • The Pump room restaurant is one of the reasons to book the Public Chicago. The farm to table style dining, offering reasonably priced delicious cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere, has been pioneered by award-winning chef Jean-George Vongerichten. The Public is also a good choice for the design conscious - this Ian Schrager property will not disappoint.
  • The Thompson Chicago is a trendy hotel, again in a great downtown area, which oozes style from every pore. Nico Salone is a great spot for cocktails, dinner or a bit of both, and the locals seem to like it too!

Wicker Park

  • The Robey is situated in the heart of Wicker Park, and occupies the art-deco Northwest Tower building. Accommodation is fresh and contemporary, plus there's a roof top pool and bar affording fantastic city views.

Lincoln Park

  • Dating back to the 1920s, the Hotel LIncoln is a funky vintage-style property set in the Old Town Triangle off Lincoln Park, which showcases original artwork from local artists. Hip contemporary style and a good springboard for exploring the city’s rich artistic offerings.

For An Apartment

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner

Travel Information

  • Best time to visit - Chicago is a great destination year round, but if you want warm weather, come in the summer with the average daily temperature reaching 26-33°C in July. This however is peak season, so for a quieter (but still warm) alternative consider coming in May or September.
  • The winters are bitterly cold, especially with the added effect of wind chill, however the snows bring their own charm and turn the city into a sparkly beauty.
  • You can either fly into Chicago O'Hare Airport or Midway Airport, both of which are well served by public transport links into the city.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Chicago

  • Freehand Chicago (Near North Side) 217 rooms from AU$125

    Value chic  -  With doubles from as little as $85 per night (or only $25 per person if you're prepared to share a dorm) it's unbeatable value
    Great walks  -  Every Saturday morning, the hotel arranges for pay-what-you-like walking tours.
    Kayaking  -  Explore Chicago from an unusual angle on a kayaking water tour.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Trendy hostel and hotel offering chic but affordable accommodations in exciting downtown Chicago. Popular and busy bar serves craft cocktails and light meals. Rooms are hip with a boutique appeal, high-quality furniture in dark woods, walls decorated with crafts and an effortlessly cool vibe. See More

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  • The Robey Chicago 69 rooms from AU$198

    City Style  -  Chic accommodation in a historic building evoking memories of bygone years
    Local exploring  -  Make the most out of The Robey's location to truly get to know Chicago
    Sights nearby  -  Head over to Wrigley Field and enjoy a Cubs game or give the Lioncoln Park Zoo a visit
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Situated in Chicago's Wicker Park, The Robey is set in the art-deco former Northwest Tower building and provides boutique, upmarket accommodation. Expect fresh and contemporary design. Café Robey serves up French-American fusion cuisine and cocktails are served on the rooftop lounge. Superb! See More

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  • Acme Hotel Company Chicago (Near North Side) 130 rooms from AU$272

    Sights nearby  -  Willis Tower and John Hancock Observatory to name a few!
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Hip hotel with boutique-appeal and sophisticated rooms overlooking the skyscrapers of down-town Chicago. Rooms are sleek and monochrome with splashes of colour and kitted out in gadgetry galore. The Berkshire Room bar is a trendy spot for young Chicagoans to unwind with a craft cocktail. See More

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  • Hotel Lincoln Chicago (Illinois) 184 rooms from AU$220

    Great walks  -  Go for a stroll through Lincoln Park which the hotel overlooks.
    Sights nearby  -  Wrigley Field is nearby.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.

    On the north side of Chicago opposite Lincoln Park rests the newly renovated Hotel Lincoln. Rooms are mostly lake facing with local art works and all facilities. This fun-loving hotel houses the farm-to-fork Perennial Virant restaurant and a rooftop bar for stunning views. Great spot to explore. See More

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  • The Talbott Hotel Chicago 149 rooms from AU$248

    City Style  -  This hotel harks back to glory days of Chicago in the 1920's- a masterpeice of gleaming marble and vintage fixtures
    Designer Shopping  -  Just down the road you will find the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue, famed for its designer shopping
    Hotel Entertainment  -  20 East the hotel's restaurant is somewhat of a local hotspot and tends to become lively on the weekends
    Sights nearby  -  The renowned House of Blues music venue is less than a mile away and well worth a visit
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A glamorous great Gatsby style hotel, in a beautifully refurbished 1920's building in downtown Chicago. The comfortable and spacious rooms have been carefully crafted by local designers. The popular on site restaurant draws crowds, as do the cocktails at the vintage bar. An elegant spot. See More

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  • The Hoxton Chicago Chicago (Fulton Market) 182 rooms from AU$262

    City Style  -  Offering a sophisticated and stylish air in an exciting, gourmet neighbourhood a short journey from the city centre
    Business meetings  -  The hotel boasts excellent meeting facilities and rooms perfectly suited for the travelling businessperson
    Local markets  -  Fulton Market takes its name from the world class food markets and dining in the area
    Sights nearby  -  The Oprah Winfrey show is filmed at the nearby Harpo Studios, a popular attraction

    A high-end luxury hotel in easy reach of the city centre and Chicago’s best nightlife spots, ideally designed and equipped for business or pleasure. Public spaces and rooms are bright and elegant, making excellent use of space, and the rooftop pool and range of restaurants won't fail to impress. See More

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  • Public Chicago Chicago (1301 N State St) 285 rooms from AU$264

    Sights nearby  -  Willis Tower, John Hancock Centre and the Art Institute of Chicago are all famous in their own right and worth a visit.
    Great walks  -  Walks on the Lake Front Trail or through Chicago Park District.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.

    Part of the Gold Coast neighborhood, this personal, luxurious and lively hotel caters to all guests' needs while offering prime location in Chicago. Rooms are plush down to the cotton linen count. The Pump Room bar is popular with all and award winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is worth a try. See More

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  • The James Chicago (Illinois) 294 rooms from AU$264

    Lively  -  David Burke's bar is popular with the local Chicago crowd/
    Views  -  Higher rooms offering great view of the Chicago cityscape.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.

    This flagship chic hotel one block away from Miracle Mile is well finished and a swanky affair in a prime location. Rooms are spacious and plush with spectacular views. Between David Burke's Primehouse steak house and the range of spa treatments it is a fantastic city break spot See More

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  • Chicago Athletic Association Chicago (Illinois) 241 rooms from AU$279

    Sights nearby  -  Millennium Park is in close proximity to the hotel.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Full of character

    Gentleman's club in the early 1800s now opens its Venetian Gothic doors to business travellers, leisure seekers and city slickers. Large, retro rooms boasting Millennium Park views. Cherry Circle Room catches the essence of its former dining purpose. Remember the bar up on Cindy's Roof Top Terrace. See More

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  • Milenorth Chicago (Illinois) 215 rooms from AU$286

    Sights nearby  -  Willis Tower and the John Hanncock Centre are worth a visit for spectacular views of Chicago.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Full of character
    Outstanding location

    This boutique, lively hotel on the Magnificent Mile and 5 minutes from Navy Pier is luxury and location in one. Rooms are contemporary modern and airy. The rooftop houses a popular bar and restaurant enjoyed by locals alike. Great spot for a city break with restaurants and shops all around. See More

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  • The Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago 293 rooms from AU$295

    City Style  -  A suave sophisticated hotel with twin staircases and vintage elevators in the heart of Chicago
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    An iconic and elegant building in the Loop's financial corridor. Named for its grey marble exterior, the rooms mirror this toned down grandeur, with the odd splash of colour and quirky design. With a range of bars and restaurants, an excellent gym and spa they have all the bases covered. See More

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  • Viceroy Chicago Chicago 180 rooms from AU$314

    City Style  -  A historic 1920's facade married to a glorious waved glass tower, with interiors by TAL Studio- the result will not disappoint
    Sights nearby  -  Just down the road is the Oak Street Beach, a sandy shore of Lake Michigan where one can swim and lounge in the sun
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A magnificent hybrid of old and new, a perfectly preserved 1920's facade attached to a glistening glass tower. Inside you will find the same paradoxes, the rooms are spectacular and so are the views from their floor to ceiling windows. The rooftop bar draws a crowd, as does The Somerset downstairs. See More

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  • The Publishing House Chicago 13 rooms from AU$330

    Local markets  -  Check out Randolph Street Market, the West Loop’s monthly vintage bonanza. Its food-focused rival is Chicago French Market
    Hideaway  -  With plenty of books to choose from in the hotel library, curl up in one of the reading nooks
    Views  -  Stunning city views
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    A boutique B&B offering hip design in the trendy West Loop. Featuring a heaving library and author-themed rooms with books to match. A home-cooked breakfast feast is provided for each guest and there's a round-the-clock pantry. A charming and central base to explore the city from. See More

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  • St Jane Hotel Chicago Loop 364 rooms from AU$345

    Romantic Break  -  With late night room service, elegant design and plush bedrooms, the St. Jane is an ideal romantic stay in Chicago
    Local exploring  -  Located in the city centre, with Chicago's museums, sights and nightlife all a short walk away
    City Style  -  Housed in The Carbide and Carbon Building, a stylish downtown Chicago landmark
    Great walks  -  Walking tours around the city and its landmarks are available from the hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    This beloved Chicago landmark houses over 300 stylish art-deco rooms within its gold-leaf tower. Socially conscious, the hotel donates a percentage of its profits to The Jackson Chance Foundation. Ideal for couples and families exploring Chicago, with its great on-site dining and timeless style. See More

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  • Hotel Palomar, Chicago Chicago (Illinois) 261 rooms from AU$352

    24 Hour room service
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.

    This boutique hotel in the River North district offers an indoor pool, in-room spa treatments, restaurant and popular bar. Rooms are modern with designer bathroom features. Business and fitness centres on site. Proximity to Navy Pier, Michigan Lake and Chicago's landmarks and galleries. See More

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  • Thompson Chicago Chicago (21 E Bellevue Pl) 247 rooms from AU$411

    Lively  -  Salone Nico is a favourite of Chicago bussiness types on an evening.
    Sights nearby  -  Buckingham Fountain is a must see, as well as 'The Bean'.
    Great walks  -  Grant Park and Lincoln Park are both worth a visit.
    Views  -  Either of Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyline.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet

    Among the Chicago Mansions, this lively and trendy hotel offers prime location for Magnificent Mile and lakeside views. Contemporary rooms with noteworthy comfortable beds and waterfall showers, offering room service as well as Nico Osteria restaurant for fine Italian cuisine and wines. See More

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  • Virgin Hotel Chicago (Illinois) 250 rooms from AU$425

    Sights nearby  -  The Willis Tower or John Hanncock Centre - both offer great views of the city.
    Lively  -  Bar and entertainment readily avaliable.

    Perfect for the modern traveller or business getaway in Downtown Chicago. Two-chamber rooms with all the mod-cons are contemporary and luxurious. With five restaurants on site there is much choice, as well as the spa and fitness centre. Location is perfect for theatre, shopping and food lovers. See More

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  • Dana Hotel & Spa Chicago (Illinois) 216 rooms from AU$630

    Great walks  -  North Beach, Lincoln Park and along Michigan Lake all offer great locations for a stroll in the city.
    Sights nearby  -  Museum of Contemporary Art and Navy Pier are all within walking distance.
    Local markets  -  The famous American Girl store is close by.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.

    In a prime spot this boutique hotel boasts breathtaking Chicago views from the Vertigo Sky Lounge. Modern, spacious rooms offer mini bar and in-room spa treatments. Enjoy the onsite gym and spa, the global cuisine restaurant and popular bar. A great place for all the family to explore a vibrant city See More

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  • The Peninsula Chicago Chicago (Near North Side) 339 rooms from AU$733

    Spa  -  The Peninsula Spa is inspired by Ayurvedic and Asian philosophies, wih massages and therapy treatments to soothe any ailment.
    Sights nearby  -  The Museum of Contemporary Art, Driehaus Museum and beloved Chicago Water Tower are all a 5 minute stroll from the Peninsula.
    Lively area  -  Located in the Near North area of Downtown Chicago, along the electric Magnificent Mile.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool with views over downtown Chicago's skyline.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    The Peninsula exudes dignified grandeur. Rooms feature touches of high-class elegance such as Bernaudaud china, soaking tubs in bathrooms and specially commissioned art. Impeccable views of glittering downtown Chicago from most rooms and suites. Pool, gym, spa, three award-winning restaurants. See More

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  • The Langham, Chicago Chicago (Near North Side) 268 rooms from AU$806

    Sights nearby  -  Located right next to the ostentatious and famous Trump Tower and less than a mile from the Museum of Contemporary Art.
    Kids Club  -  Fully staffed.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel

    Overlooking the Chicago river and surrounded by down-town Chi-town skyscrapers, this hotel is a glamorous choice for the discerning traveller. Rooms feature a cream canvas, dark polished woods and royal purple throws. Gym, spa, pool. Exclusive private members' club with city views. Restaurant, bar. See More

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  • Four Seasons Chicago Chicago (Gold Coast) 346 rooms from AU$843

    Sights nearby  -  In downtown Chicago there is a multitude of architectural splendour, museums and art galleries in the near vicinity.
    Views  -  Panoramic views over Chicago and Lake Michigan.
    Spa  -  Body treatments, facial, massages and sauna.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool

    All rooms and suites are stylishly furnished with French furniture, floral motifs, art adorning the walls, and shades of plum, champagne, rose and dove grey. Beautiful views over Chicago or Lake Michigan. Spectacular indoor pool under a domed skylight. Gym, full-service spa, jacuzzi, restaurant. See More

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