Chicago is a great city to visit, with plenty of things to see and do in any season. There are plenty of places to stay, too, although finding a cheap hotel in Chicago might be tricky, especially in the high season. The city’s many nicknames include “The Windy City” (Chicago’s proximity to Lake Michigan does make it extremely windy, although there is some debate about where the nickname actually comes from), so while visiting during the low season will save you some money overall, remember to pack your sweaters and scarves!
As in many cities, hotels right in the center of everything in Chicago are more expensive than the ones a bit further away from the center. The good news with Chicago, however, is that the city’s public transportation system is so efficient and intricate that you can book a cheap hotel in Chicago that is not right in the city center and still be only minutes away from the main attractions. Of course, if your visit is only a couple of days then you will probably want to try to get a hotel that is as close to the things you want to see as possible – there is no sense in wasting precious vacation time on the bus or train.
You may have heard of the famous Chicago Loop – this is the part of downtown Chicago where you will find most of the city’s attractions, and most of the city’s more expensive hotels. Finding a bargain hotel room on or near the Loop is a rare experience, but if you are visiting in the low season it never hurts to look. Otherwise, consider the budget hotels located away from the Loop (but not too far away!) in neighborhoods like Lakeview or Lincoln Park to the north and Bridgeport-Chinatown to the south.
Some of the budget hotels in Chicago you may want to consider (all located just outside the downtown area, but within easy reach via public transportation) are the Old Chicago Inn (in Lakeview just a few blocks from Wrigley Field), Villa Toscana (also close to Wrigley Field as well as the city’s vibrant GLBT nightlife), the Days Inn Chicago (an affordable “boutique hotel” in the Lakeview/Lincoln Park area that is the home away from home for lots of touring rock bands), and the Benedictine Bed and Breakfast (for some real peace and quiet, this Bridgeport B&B is the perfect choice – and yes, it is really run by Benedictine monks!).