The areas that we like the most for to stay in Chicago are the Magnificent Mile, River North, and the Loop.however they are not the only ones that are a total success.we explain you how these areas are and other recommended areas for you to choose according to your tastes and travel expectations.
Chicago is one of the great cities of the United States worth visiting.It is located on the east coast of Lake Michigan and is known for being a city punished by intense winds, hence its famous nickname: the city of winds.
It is also known as one of the major industrial centers of the United States, with one of the most important ports, plus an excellent network of roads and railways.
On a cultural level, Chicago is the centre of great universities, libraries, theatres and museums of international fame and is the place par excellence for jazz and blues.
As if that were not enough, it is the scene of an impressive architecture, and it boasts beautiful parks, restaurants for the most gourmand, and shops that attract many visitors.
If you are evaluating which is the best area to stay in Chicago, we will show you the most outstanding neighborhoods, so you will have a clear idea of the neighborhood that best suits your expectations.
The best areas to stay in Chicago
1.Chicago Loop: dynamic center
Thanks to the vitality of the young people who study at universities like DePaul and Columbia, in recent years the Loop has become more dynamic.Both Millennium Park and Lollapalooza have made the Loop one of the most popular concert venues.
Nightlife comes alive in its terrace bars and rooftop cafés, as well as its lounges, where you can enjoy excellent cocktails.
Since the Loop is the epicenter of the shopping scene, it offers a wide range of culinary offerings, from take-out to fine dining, and food stands such as Revival Food Hall, Forum 55, and Wells St. Market are popular in this neighborhood, and are ideal for savoring a bit of everything.There’s plenty to see, with skyscrapers, parks, public art, and world-class museums; explore the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Chicago Theater, and Cultural Center; and for open space, visit Millennium and Grant Parks.
As for communications, all regional public transport arrives at the Loop, where you can move freely by car, bicycle, bus, underground and even on foot, given the proximity of the tourist sites.
This area is one of the best to stay in Chicago, because the most interesting tourist places are just a few steps away, and you can select the type of accommodation in Chicago that best suits you: luxury, hotel-sports, historical, budget or pet-friendly.
– Loop accommodation
2.West Loop: vibrant area and close to the center
Located in the center of the city, it was once an industrial center, and has become a neighborhood full of the best restaurants, bars and boutique hotels.Its avant-garde atmosphere concentrates galleries, design and antique shops.
The busiest areas are located on Randolph and Fulton Market streets, the quintessential shopping and dining districts.
Entertainment is the order of the day, with many visitors taking tours through Union Park, or going into one of the arcades, famous for its classic video games, or visiting the Chicago Social Punch Bowl, a space dedicated to good food and bowling.
For skateboarders, the House of Vans is the ideal meeting place, and those who love climbing should visit the Brooklyn Boulders facility. If you’re not afraid of heights, enjoy the great view of the city at the Skydeck.The neighborhood offers a real city experience, with spectacular views from any of its skyscrapers, good connections, and proximity to places of interest.If you go by car, you won’t have any problems with traffic or parking, and there are plenty of taxis, which are easily taken on the streets.
– West Loop Accommodation
3. South Loop: Attractive community
Just south, near Grant Park and museums, it has become one of the most dynamic and entertaining residential areas in the city.
This is because the area is surrounded by both the lake and fabulous parks. The neighborhood, like the West Loop, also has an avant-garde atmosphere, thanks to the talent of its artists.
As there is an offer dedicated to entertainment, full of theatres, museums and parks, it is a place where open-air concerts and long-lasting theatrical performances are very welcome.
During the summer months there is a great deal of musical activity, and places like the Huntington Bank Pavilion and Soldier Field offer events while taking in the panoramic views of the city and lake.
There are an average of twelve restaurants, bars and cafes in the neighborhood for every five minutes of walking, and a large number of bars and taverns designed for evening entertainment.
Unlike the two neighborhoods mentioned above, South Loop offers a less concentrated shopping district, but you’ll find over 500 establishments, from shops to markets.
When it comes to major exhibitions, this area often hosts events such as the Chicago Auto Show and the Health Expo, both of which are held in McCormick Place convention centers.
South Loop is well connected: 32 public transportation lines, four subway stations and one train station, plus taxis and plenty of parking if you’re driving.
Staying in Chicago at South Loop gives you the advantage of being close to the stadium to see the Chicago Bears. Much of the hotel accommodation is within walking distance of the Willis Towers, Grant Park and Soldier
4.Field.River North: pure distinction
Located on the Chicago River, north of the Loop and east of Magnificent Ville, it is a modern area where antique shops, art galleries, production companies, photo studios and design firms abound.
The area has more restaurants, bars and nightclubs than any other neighborhood in the city, and during the summer it is packed with tourists.
One of its main attractions is the Navy Pier, a very popular place, since it offers shops, entertainment such as movie theaters, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and tours over the lake. The most visited places by adults are usually the Hard Rock Café and the House of Blues.
River North is as good as any other neighborhood and offers everything from quirky boutiques to famous brand name stores, with nearly 400 stores in total.
Although it’s known for its vibrant nightlife, you can still keep busy during the day by shopping at antique stores, visiting museums, or kayaking.
Public transport is accessible from this area, there are train routes as well as six bus routes, and taking a taxi is very easy, as they can be found everywhere.
– River North Accommodation
5.Magnificent Mile: Extreme Luxury
This strip is famous for its exquisite architecture and for housing the city’s most luxurious hotels.The neighborhood attracts many tourists, especially at Christmas time and during the warm months.
It is the ideal place to stay in Chicago for those who enjoy shopping in both boutiques and department stores, often attracted by this space located between North Michigan Avenue and Oak Street.
The architecture of its spaces is iconic, and it’s worth taking a look at such buildings as the Tribune Tower, the Wrigley and London Guarantee buildings, and the River Walk.
Take advantage of the tourist boat trips from the bridge over Michigan Avenue and visit the John Hancock Center for an unbeatable panoramic view from its observatory.On the Magnificent Mile you get the best seats to see Shakespeare’s theater, or any of the acclaimed plays that have triumphed on Broadway.
The area is famous for being a mecca for luxury shopping, offering over 460 stores, many of which are spread across three fabulous vertical shopping centers.
Getting into a taxi is easy, just raise your hand when you see one, during the summer months opt for the water taxi, ideal for a trip down the river, buses and subways are a great option for a low price.
As for sleeping in Chicago, the Magnificent Mile is home to about 70 hotels, mostly high-end.There is something for every taste and style: from boutique hotels to five-star hotels, as well as renowned international chains.
– Magnificent Mile Accommodation
6. Old Town: small and friendly
Located on the north side of the city and close to downtown, Old Town is one of the most historic residential neighborhoods.Its atmosphere is welcoming, thanks to its street festivals, and its neighbors are usually very close, so it is normal to observe picnics or celebrations along its streets.
The architecture of the entire area reflects the typical Victorian style. It is possible to admire picturesque houses, as well as narrow streets and cozy shops.It is also the ideal area to enjoy a good artisan coffee, charming restaurants and extravagant boutiques.
One of the most representative sites of the neighborhood is the baroque style San Miguel Catholic Church.
The neighborhood is the cradle of art.The annual Art Fair, held each June, makes this neighborhood a place rich in culture.
In contrast, Old Town is the site of America’s comedy theaters.The Wells Street is home to restaurants of different ethnicities and a number of bars. Stop at the famous Ale House bar, and House of Glunz to enjoy some of their drinks.
Given its proximity to downtown and Lincoln Park, Old Town is very close to tourist attractions.It offers easy access to public transportation, taxis and car rentals and is a good place to stay in Chicago, since the hotel offer is very varied.
– Accommodation in Old Town
Is this post about the best areas to stay in Chicago useful?We also propose you other similar articles from other American cities: Where to stay in Boston, where to stay in San Francisco, where to stay in Los Angeles
7.West Town: peaceful and close
Located at the northwest of the Loop, West Town is a wide area that includes sub-areas like Wicker Park, Noble Square, East Village and Ukrainian Village.It features many different events throughout the year, including fairs, festivals, art exhibits, concerts and markets, with many of the community events taking place in Commercial Park.
A must-see is Eckhart Park, which is beautifully located and offers a panoramic view of the city.West Town is also known for the murals on West Hubbard Street that stretch over eleven blocks.
One of the most interesting activities is to rent a kayak in Noble Square and take a guided tour of the river, while West Town is a mecca for vintage shopping and sampling homemade cakes.This is the reference area for buying classic cowboy boots from all over the Midwest.
It is also worth visiting the Polish Museum of America, where you can see the art, folk clothing and artifacts of the Polish community of the early nineteenth century.
The public transport in the area consists of four bus stops that provide direct access to the O’Hare International Airport, reaching the Loop in a few minutes.
It is easy to find accommodation in Chicago in this area, as the offer is varied and you can get excellent prices.
– Accommodation in West Town
8.Lincoln Park: nature nearby
This neighborhood is located in the north of Chicago, it is a green area full of ornate houses and it is a place full of history.
The activities include visits to the zoo, which is located in Lincoln Park, as well as its greenhouse with forty thousand plants, the Alfred Caldwell Pond – an oasis of peace in the heart of Chicago – and a cultural center.
Lincoln Park is a place where you can make unique purchases, from luxury pieces to trinkets, because it is an eclectic area, where you can find sales of vinyl or elegant baby clothes in many small independent establishments.It is a good place to taste fusion dishes and drink in the best bars in the city.
One of the best ways to get to this neighborhood and tour it is using the public transportation offered by CTA. Both bus and train services are vital for tourists and residents in this residential sector.
To sleep in Chicago, you do not need to find accommodation in the center to enjoy a real city experience.
– Accommodation in Lincoln Park
9.Theatre District: lively area
In the heart of the city you will find the district dedicated to theatre performances in establishments that still preserve the architecture of the golden age.
This tourist area has impressive buildings and is home to renowned theatre companies.If you’ve decided to stay in the district because you’ve managed to get tickets to the best Broadway attractions, enjoy its surroundings. Great theaters like Chicago, Oriental, Goodman and Cadillac Palace are just some of the best known.
Take advantage of the proximity to the Art Institute of Chicago – one of the best in the world – to admire photographs, artifacts, paintings and sculptures of different styles and periods.
Transportation options are quite convenient throughout the neighborhood, since you can find everything from taxis, buses, trains, trams, to bicycles. The area has a concentration of high and medium category hotels, so you have to consider prices according to the season, since it is a tourist district.
– Accommodation in the Theatre District
10.Lakeview: far from the center, but with unique attractions
Lakeview is a large and eclectic residential area where the famous Wrigley Stadium, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, is located.
The area is ideal for dining until late at night without spending too much, and also for shopping, although there are fewer establishments than in the other neighbourhoods mentioned above.
Lakeview is another area of Chicago where you can find comedy clubs.Its nights are vibrant, as it offers a number of bars with live music.
Once you tour this neighborhood, you’ll notice historic buildings such as the Athenaeum Theatre and Lake View High School. Among the neighborhood’s sights is Boystown, the most vibrant LGBT community in the United States.
In Lakeview it is not easy to find public transportation in some places, due to its large area and distance from the center, and there are few hotels and they tend to be concentrated near the stadium and Boystown.
– Accommodation in Lakeview
11.Airport area: new magnet for tourists
Not far from the city centre, 26 kilometres away, is the airport area: O’Hare.Whether you are waiting for a stopover, a change of plane, or because you have decided to spend the night nearby, this shopping area has several things to offer.
One of the attractions is the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, a large shopping area to enjoy the big fashion brands.
In Rosemont, the area next to O’Hare, which until a few years ago was dedicated to business and conventions, is now a great entertainment center. There, you can find restaurants, bars, shops, cinemas and theaters.
Other entertainment complexes, such as Allstate Stadium and Parkway Bank, are full of events, and at Des Plaines you have the opportunity to play in their casino.
Chicago is a city like no other. it has the architectural wonders, world-class museums, dynamic entertainment and award-winning food scene you’d expect from one of the world’s greatest cities. but we’re more than just another great city: our friendly residents, including the neighborhoods, and the soul of the Midwest really make Chicago the city you feel at home in.
- Not to be missed: Best Hotels in Chicago
Stay in Gold Coast (Chicago)
This is Chicago’s most prosperous neighborhood, and has been since its inception in the 1880s, when several millionaires flocked here after the Great Chicago Fire.Stately homes, luxury skyscrapers and designer boutiques line the streets, along with Rolls Royce and Lamborghini dealers.This area is home to a few shopping malls, including Water Tower Place and 900 North Michigan stores, but Oak Street is the most beloved center for upscale shopping, with designer stores such as Hermes and Prada, as well as high-end specialty boutiques.Other area attractions include the historic Water Tower and its small art gallery and the John Hancock Tower with its 360° Observatory with the Tilt experience, where visitors lean over a glass platform.
Oak Street Beach forms the eastern edge of the Gold Coast and offers some of the bluest waters you’ll see outside the Mediterranean.this neighborhood is considered the beginning of the Magnificent Mile, with Michigan Avenue starting at its southern end.The Gold Coast is north of Streeterville and south of Lincoln Park in the Near North Side area of the city.
Best hotels in Gold Coast (Chicago)
- Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
- Waldorf Astoria Chicago
- Ritz-Carlton, Chicago
- Park Hyatt Chicago
- Sofitel Chicago
- The Drake
- Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel
- Thompson Chicago
Best Restaurants in Gold Coast (Chicago)
- Velvet Taco Chicago – $ – Quiet place for margaritas and fun flavors, like chicken tacos and tikka.
- Nico Osteria – $$$$ – Exclusive, Italian seafood.
- Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria – $$ – $$$ – The best deep dish pizza in Chicago.
- Sprinkles Cupcakes – $ – Rotating menu of cupcakes, plus cookies and ice cream, plus a 24/7 ATM for cupcakes.
Stay at River North / Streeterville
Once an industrial area crossed by railroad tracks, the North River area was known in the early 1900’s as «Smokey Hollow» because its factories pumped out enough smoke to block out the sun.A new version of real estate in the 1970s brought in tons of artists, which led to this area having the second highest concentration of art galleries in the U.S., just behind Manhattan, a distinction it still has today.just east of Michigan Ave, there is a subsection of the North River, known as Streeterville, which houses some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, as well as attractions such as Navy Pier, the Museum of Contemporary Art and landmarks.architectural touchstones, such as the Wrigley building.Together, the River North and Streeterville areas make up the commercial heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, with brand name, boutique and vintage stores, plus trendy restaurants and bars.
River North and Streeterville are bounded on the east by Lake Michigan at Navy Pier, on the north by the Gold Coast, on the west and on the south by branches of the Chicago River.Michigan Avenue, also known as Mag Mile, divides the two areas from each other.
Best hotels in River North / Streeterville
- The Peninsula Chicago
- The Langham, Chicago
- InterContinental Chicago
- Omni Chicago Hotel
- Loews Chicago Hotel
- The Ivy Hotel
Best Restaurants in River North / Streeterville
- Quartino Ristorante – $$ – $$$ – The best Italian in ChicagoThis place is open all the time, so reservations are recommended for this place «where wine is cheaper than water».
- The purple pig – $$ – $$$ – Cured meats, lots of wine, lively bar.The best restaurant on the Mag Mile.
- Tanta Chicago – $$ – $$$ – Peruvian luxury food and excellent cocktails.
- Beatrix – $$ – New American food, with fresh juices and cocktails made with them.
- Bohemian House – $$ – $$$ – Central European food with a great selection of beer in a modern space.
Stay at the Chicago Loop
This is Chicago’s central business district, and one of the most important in the world.This is a perfect place for first-time visitors who want to be close to the action, and the area is best known for its amazing architecture, which includes the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest in Chicago.Other landmarks here include the Carbide and Carmon Building and the Chicago Theatre, and the area is also home to the city’s most beloved gathering place, Grant Park, which includes Millennium Park and The Bean, and is just north of the Art Institute of Chicago.At the southern end of the Loop, you’ll find the Museum Campus, home to the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium (America’s oldest planetarium) and the Shedd Aquarium.
The Loop is bordered on the north and west by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan and on the south by the Prairie and Chinatown districts.
Best hotels in the Chicago Loop
- Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
- The Palmer House
- Renaissance Blackstone Hotel
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco
- Kimpton Hotel Allegro
- JW Marriott Chicago
- Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
- The Silversmith
Best Restaurants in Chicago Loop
- Cafecito – $ – Cheap place for Cuban sandwiches and excellent coffee.
- The Gage – $$ – $$$ – Rate inspired by a new American pub.
- Acanto – $$ – $$$ – Casual Italian place with a wonderful outdoor space.
- Kramer’s Health Foods – $ – No vegan or vegetarian luxuries.
- Saucy Porka – $ – Affordable Asian/Latin fusion food.
Stay at Lake Shore East (New East Side)
This is a newer, «master-planned» neighborhood located inside the Loop in the northeast corner. This area was built recently, so it lacks the historic history of other parts of the city.But its location right on the Chicago Riverwalk, near the Chicago Architectural Foundation River Cruises shipping area, and on the border of Millennium Park, makes it a great place for visitors looking to get close to the action, while still getting enough of a good night’s sleep. Here you’ll find clean streets and beautiful modern skyscrapers, especially the Aqua, with its wavy face that mimics the flow of the river.
Lake Shore East borders the Chicago River to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, parks to the south (Grant, Millennium and Maggie Daley) and Michigan Avenue to the west.
Best hotels in LakeShore East Chicago
- Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park
- Swissotel Chicago
Best restaurants in LakeShore East Chicago
- Wildberry Pancakes & Café – $$ – $$$ – Breakfast and lunch only.Best Pancakes in Chicago
- Brown Bag Seafood Co. –
- Eggy’s Diner – $$ – $$$ – Small cozy restaurant offering Midwestern comfort food.