Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and its downtown is one of the most awe-inspiring in the world. High-rise buildings fringe the shores of mighty Lake Michigan. The culture that has poured out of this city in the past decades is well represented still today with theatres and music venues aplenty. And in the midst of it all, cheap hostels provide shelter for the many tourists who pass through the Windy City each year.
To begin with, finding the right hostel involves asking lots of questions about what you want and then doing all the research to find the right place for you. To help expedite this process, we have narrowed down that list to the best five, based on all the standard considerations like price and location, whilst looking into what makes each individual place stand out from the rest.
Dorms from $45/ night. Privates from $140/ night
Hostelling International prove their worth once more with the excellent hostel in a prime Chicago location. The Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park is practically a next door neighbour. Lake Michigan is on the other side of that park and the hostel’s surroundings are packed with things to do and see. The hostel itself has tonnes of great facilities including a restaurant, where free breakfast is served every morning. There’s a shared kitchen, library and games room, making for some good areas to meet fellow travellers.
Dorms from $34/ night. Privates from $63/ night
Located up by Lincoln Park, Chicago Gateway Hostel is a clean place with modern furnishings and orderly, well-appointed rooms. There is a subway station close by, making exploration of the city simple. The hostel has an excellent shared kitchen open 24 hours a day. Pool tables and bicycles are available for guest use, the latter for a small additional fee, and there are even some communal guitars available for the musically inclined. The hostel also offers family rooms.
Dorms from $37/ night. Privates from $101/ night
The Parthenon Hostel is a good choice for those looking for some decent communal facilities and opportunities to meet other travellers. With a library, large bar and restaurant, as well as a shared communal sitting area, there are plenty of places in the hostel to kick back and relax. Although some of the rooms are starting to feel a bit jaded, the property is still comfortable. Dorm rooms don’t feel too cramped and there is a free breakfast included in the room tariff.
Dorms from $36/ night. Privates from $141/ night
Baseball fans are more than likely to give this hostel a second glance based on name alone. That’s because, as the name suggests, Wrigley Field is right around the corner from the hostel’s front door. There is a bright colour motif to the rooms, which lends the hostel a playful vibe and there are some good communal areas throughout the hostel including a spacious wood-deck terrace with a barbecue, a game room with a pool table, and a shared kitchen. All in all, this is a great base from which to catch a game and in which to meet other travellers.
Dorms from $27/ night. Privates from $47/ night
Urban Holiday Lofts is a fresh and well decorated hostel that trades a central location for larger spaces in which guests can relax. Right in the heart of the hip Wicker Park neighbourhood, there is plenty going on locally, and the subway station heading downtown is minutes away on foot. The great communal space includes a games room with pool table, plenty of comfy sofas and a retro arcade games machine. Dorms hold between four and eight people. Each has a locker and a shared bathroom.