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Chicago Hotel Neighborhood Choices

Pros and Cons of Various Hotel Locations in Chicago

This page helps you find a convenient and reasonably safe Chicago hotel neighborhood within your budget. You learn the pros and cons of the most popular areas to help you make the best choice.

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Chicago hotel locations choices are:

  • North Michigan Avenue
  • The Loop – Grant Park - Millennium Park
  • River North
  • Greater Chicago
  • Lincoln Park
  • O’Hare Airport
  • Midway Airport

  • A word about parking

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North Michigan Avenue

This is my favorite Chicago hotel neighborhood.

Think of North Michigan Avenue "The Magnificent Mile" as the Fifth Avenue of Chicago. You'll find upscale shopping, upscale hotels, upscale dining, upscale everything. This is Chicago’s premier hotel neighborhood.

Michigan Avenue North makes a great area for walking. You'll find even a pleasant Lake Michigan beach at Oak Street (on the “Gold Coast” near where Michigan Avenue meets Lincoln Park).

A short walk or quick taxi ride brings you to much of what there is to do in Chicago.

Hotels here tend to be more expensive, but these same hotels tend to give the largest percentage discounts in the downtown area to Priceline users.

Typical hotels used by in the Chicago hotel neighborhood include

  • the Drake,
  • Marriott Chicago Downtown,
  • Millennium Kickerbocker,
  • Omni Ambassador East (home of the famous Pump Room Restaurant),
  • Omni Chicago,
  • Sheraton Chicago Hotel Tower,
  • Sofitel Chicago Water Tower,
  • Sutton Place Hotel,
  • Tremont (Mike Ditka’s Restaurant),
  • W Hotel Lakeshore,
  • Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago, and
  • the friendly Wyndham.

The Loop—Grant Park—Millennium Park

The Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River marks the boundary between Michigan Avenue North and the Loop. This is where you will find Donald Trump's new Chicago tower..

The Loop puts you in downtown Chicago, one of the great centers of American corporate power.

Pleasure travelers also like the Loop and adjacent Grant Park. No area is more central to enjoy Chicago.

Landmarks here include Union Station, the Marshall Field Department Store, Sears Tower, the Art Institute, Lyric Opera, and fine Chicago Symphonic Hall.

Travelers love Millennium Park in the Loop. Located south and east of the Michigan Avenue bridge, Millennium Park offers a simply amazing outdoor cultural environment that is fun for all ages.

Although Michigan Avenue North may be more pleasant for walking—especially in the evening—you'll find the Loop more convenient for cultural activities.

You're close to Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium (the largest indoor one in the world), Navy Pier (in the North Michigan Avenue zone), and on and on.

Be sure to check out the always fascinating tours of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. (Opens in new window.) Its boat tours are especially enjoyable on warm days.

Unlike many city centers, the Loop remains vital and reasonably clean. You'll notice less deterioration than you experience in many U.S. city centers. In fact, the area called the Loop keeps expanding southward with new construction.

However, stay on busy streets, especially at night.

Like North Michigan Avenue, the Loop offers numerous large hotel choices like the excellent

  • Palmer House Hilton,
  • Hyatt on Printers Row,
  • Swisshotel Chicago, and the huge but pleasant
  • Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive overlooking the Chicago River.

On the other hand, North Michigan Avenue offers a wider selection of newer hotels with larger rooms.

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River North

Priceline often combines River North with its adjacent North Michigan Avenue zone.

Next to both the Loop and Michigan Avenue North—just north of the Chicago River—River North places you in Chicago's most lively entertainment district convenient to most everything. Top North Michigan Avenue stores are just a short walk away.

Young or young at heart singles and couples especially enjoy staying in this neighborhood, which includes some of Chicago's best-known restaurants and clubs.

River North tends to have smaller hotels, which fill up faster, although Priceline does use the larger Westin River North here. The Westin offers a great location overlooking the Chicago River, next to the House of Blues.

A very nice and upscale new hotel addition here is the very "green" Hotel Felix, the first hotel in Chicago to be Leed silver certified.

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Greater Chicago

Greater Chicago takes in the area southwest and south of the Loop from near the Sears Tower and United Center to near Soldier Field on Lake Michigan. It includes the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.

Often, Greater Chicago provides less expensive accommodation and parking—an important issue downtown.

If you are planning to attend a game at Soldier Field, United Center, or US Cellular Field (the White Sox), this area works for you. However, all neighborhoods mentioned so far are reasonably convenient to these sports venues.

As more and more empty commercial buildings and factories are converted into condos and apartments, this area becomes more lively in the evening, which helps keep you safer.

Always walk and park along streets that remain busy in the evening. You need to be more aware of your safety here than in the other neighborhoods discussed so far.

In Greater Chicago, Priceline uses the Marriott Chicago Downtown Medical District Hotel among others.

Lincoln Park

Although somewhat isolated from downtown, many travelers nevertheless enjoy staying in this quieter semi-residential area, adjacent to extensive Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan.

There are several excellent hotels in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, fine small restaurants and pubs, and pleasant streets for walking.

Wrigley Field brings much vitality to this area in season.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) brown and red line rapid transit trains take you from the Lincoln Park neighborhood to Michigan Avenue North and the Loop (as well as onward to Chinatown and US Cellular Field) every few minutes.

O’Hare Airport

Frequent Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) blue line trains connect O’Hare Airport International Terminal and the Loop area.

Chicago's BEST hotel prices are generally in the airport area.

You find all the usual airport hotels, such as the Doubletree Chicago O'Hare, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, and Westin O'Hare.

And, you won't find a more convenient Priceline airport hotel than the Chicago O'Hare Hilton, which is easily reached by either walking or airport train from all main terminals.

If the downtown neighborhoods are sold out or too high-priced during a large convention, O'Hare may have the discounted room rate you need.

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Midway Airport

Staying in this rather isolated area appeals most to those who have early morning flights.

Use CTA orange line trains between Midway and the Loop to transcend Chicago traffic. There's a covered walkway between the CTA station and Midway terminal.

If you have trouble finding good discounts in any central Chicago neighborhood, try changing dates. Your intended visit probably conflicts with a large convention or sports event.

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Whatever Chicago hotel neighborhood you choose, have a great time in the Windy City!

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