10 Hotels in Chicago That Don’t Break the Bank

Find incredible properties for less than $250 per night in the Windy City.

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theWit's spa bathroom with a view
Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

There are many reasons why Chicago is one of the best cities in the United States, from the excellent food and public transportation to the friendly locals oozing Midwest Nice. Another reason to love the Windy City? It’s much more affordable than U.S. hubs on the coasts, and those low prices extend to its hotel scene.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the most affordable hotels in Chicago, all available for under $250 per night. With a wide range of locations and amenities like rooftop pools and Balmain bath products, these cool stays will help you fully enjoy your next Chicago vacation — without worrying about your budget.

Best Affordable Hotels in Chicago of 2022

Editor’s Pick: Pendry Chicago

Interior view of Pendry Chicago
Courtesy of Pendry Hotels

Why We Chose It

Pendry Chicago opened its doors in May 2021, and it’s already proving to be one of the coolest kids on the block.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Rooftop bar, 24-hour fitness center with Peloton bikes, smart TVs

Hotel Description

Pendry Chicago is housed in the former Michigan Avenue headquarters of the Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, so while the hotel only opened in May 2021, the structure has been a city landmark since 1929. The building still fully represents the swinging 1920s, with a cheeky champagne bottle shape, a black-and-gold Art Deco facade, and a gilded lobby that will make you regret not packing a flapper dress.

The 364 rooms are a bit more modern, with sleek black headboards and crisp white linens. For the best views — and the least traffic noise — book one of the Pendry Suites on the 35th and 36th floors (the “neck” of the champagne bottle). Though Pendry’s location means you’re only steps away from some of Chicago’s best restaurants, be sure to sample the in-house dining options as well. Venteux serves up classic French dishes, while Bar Pendry offers elevated small bites and boozy afternoon tea on Sundays. If you visit between May and October, you can also sip rosé and take in endless skyline views at the chic rooftop bar, Château Carbide.

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

Luxury King Room at Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile
Courtesy of Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

Why We Chose It

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile boasts luxurious interiors and French dining options, not to mention incredible views from every guest room.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

In-room spa treatments, Balmain bath amenities, pet-friendly rooms

Hotel Description

You can’t beat the location — a soaring glass high-rise off the Magnificent Mile — or the stylish, French-leaning design of this Sofitel outpost. The multilevel lobby greets guests with plush sofas and huge bouquets of fresh flowers, while the 415 rooms and suites come outfitted with beechwood walls, Bose speakers, chaise longues next to tall windows, and marble bathrooms with Balmain products. The 20th floor consists entirely of PURE Wellness Rooms, hypoallergenic spaces with air purification systems, feather-free bedding, and special mattresses.

In keeping with the Sofitel mother brand, the hotel features several French-themed food and drink venues. CDA serves up breakfast and lunch daily, with signature dishes ranging from banana bread French toast to steak frites. The buzzy Le Bar is a glass-walled stunner, where leather and faux fur accents pair well with craft cocktails and shared plates. Other amenities include an in-room spa menu, pet-friendly accommodations, and a 24-hour fitness center.

Sophy Hyde Park

Sophy Hyde Park

Sophy Hyde Park

Why We Chose It

Filled with artwork and serving all-day comfort food, Sophy Hyde Park makes a great case for exploring Chicago’s South Side.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $

Notable Amenities

Silver LEED certification, 24-hour fitness center, discounted garage parking

Hotel Description

Though it’s popular with prospective University of Chicago students and visiting parents, Sophy Hyde Park’s artsy design and excellent food could make any traveler consider setting up camp on the South Side. Behind its inconspicuous, almost industrial facade, the hotel hides warm and luxurious interiors. The lobby is a sign of things to come, with a double-sided fireplace, massive modern paintings, and edgy light fixtures. That same aesthetic extends to the 98 rooms, where you can expect artwork behind the headboards and in the bathrooms, as well as cozy throw blankets, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The in-house restaurant, Mesler, attracts both hotel guests and neighborhood residents with velvet booths, bookshelves, and — you guessed it — even more artwork. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. You can expect crowd-pleasing comfort food on every menu: think crab cake eggs Benedict for breakfast, fried chicken sandwiches topped with blue cheese for lunch, and seafood bucatini for dinner. On warm evenings, head to the restaurant’s outdoor dining space, The Sanctuary, where a firepit and overhead string lights create the perfect atmosphere for sipping cocktails and rehashing your day.

The Gwen

World's Best Hotels in Chicago
Courtesy of The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Why We Chose It

The Gwen is an Art Deco masterpiece, with luxurious amenities you wouldn’t expect from a hotel this affordable.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Moët & Chandon Champagne vending machines, complimentary bicycles, glamping tents

Hotel Description

The Gwen was named after Gwen Lux, a pioneering Chicago-born sculptor who designed the building’s Art Deco facade in the 1920s. The hotel’s design pays homage to its glamorous bones with newly renovated rooms and suites that are bright, spacious, and filled with artistic touches. Even the lowest-priced guest rooms come with full wall murals and marble bathrooms with robes and Molton Brown amenities, but the suites with terraces are worth the upgrade for their unobstructed views. The most unique accommodation at the hotel is the Gwen Lux Suite, which can be outfitted with a glamping tent on its 16th-floor terrace.

The Gwen has two main dining venues. The rooftop bar, Upstairs at the Gwen, is a great place to hang out no matter the season. While most rooftops shut down in winter, this one embraces the season with firepits and a curling rink. (Of course, you can always imbibe via the hotel’s Moët & Chandon vending machine.) Meanwhile, Kostali serves up Mediterranean fare for dinner, plus boozy afternoon tea on weekends. Be sure to call ahead to request specific amenities, which include free bicycle rentals, tote bags for shopping the Magnificent Mile, shoe shine service, and much more.

The Blackstone

Exterior of Chicago's Blackstone Hotel
Courtesy of The Blackstone

Why We Chose It

The Blackstone was a favorite haunt of Al Capone, but today it feels fully modern with spacious guest rooms and a tapas-forward Spanish restaurant.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $

Notable Amenities

Fitness center, in-room spa treatments, pet-friendly rooms

Hotel Description

A Chicago institution since 1910, the Blackstone has hosted everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to Al Capone. (The hotel’s ballroom even makes an appearance in the 1987 Paul Newman film, “The Color of Money.”) The historic property was adopted by the Autograph Collection in 2017, and it feels fully refreshed without ignoring its storied roots. While the gilded lobby exudes pure vintage glamour, the 335 guest rooms are clean and contemporary, with crisp bedding, local artwork, and marble bathrooms. Try to book an east-facing room for Lake Michigan views.

Though it boasts out-the-door access to Grant Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, the Blackstone encourages lingering with in-room spa treatments and cozy lobby cocktails. The star attraction, however, is Mercat a la Planxa. The restaurant mimics a Barcelona tapas bar (albeit a very modern and spacious one) with carafes of sangria, sizzling paellas, and classic tapas like patatas bravas, jamón serrano, and grilled octopus. It’s one of the buzziest restaurants on Michigan Avenue, so be sure to book a table in advance.

The Robey

The Robey Chicago Room
The Robey Chicago

Why We Chose It

Up in Wicker Park, The Robey is an industrial-chic property with amenities you won’t find downtown, including a rooftop pool and rooms with 10-foot ceilings.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: $24.65
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Rooftop pool, complimentary bicycle rentals, free Bucktown Athletic Club passes

Hotel Description

This historical Art Deco hotel stands tall and proud in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, and its hip, industrial-chic design perfectly matches its surroundings. The Robey occupies two buildings, each with its own set of rooms — choose from 69 Tower Rooms in the Northwest Tower, a former office building from 1929, or 20 Annex Lofts in the adjoining former Hollander Fireproof Warehouse, built in 1905. The former set is slightly more traditional (but still cool), with a mix of vintage and custom-designed furnishings. The lofts feature 10-foot ceilings and concrete floors, plus bunk beds that give off elevated college dorm vibes.

There are a few dining options at The Robey, including the curbside Café Robey, which serves seasonal comfort food for brunch and dinner seven days a week. Clever Coyote is the place to be for tiki cocktails and wings, while The Up Room lounge affords twinkling skyline views from its 13th-floor location. On the sixth floor, the Cabana Club is a summertime favorite, with a full bar and rooftop pool.

Virgin Hotels Chicago

16 Hotels With Five-Star Style for Less Than $200 a Night: Virgin Hotel in Chicago
Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

Why We Chose It

Imbued with a sense of fun and humor, Virgin Hotels Chicago is one downtown stay you won’t soon forget.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $

Notable Amenities

Fitness center, pet-friendly rooms (no fee), rooftop bar

Hotel Description

As with all Virgin properties, this hotel exudes a strong sense of fun from the moment you step inside. The lobby introduces guests to the overarching cherry red color scheme, while the Renaissance-style paintings of stuffed animals behind the check-in counter remind you not to take things too seriously. This is also where you’ll find the hotel’s centerpiece: a towering, circular bar, which you’ll definitely want to revisit a few times during your stay.

The 250 rooms and suites (or “chambers,” in Virgin-speak) are all excellent, with even the entry-level rooms coming with seating areas. All accommodations come with Smeg minifridges, smart TVs, and walk-in rain showers. On-site dining options include Miss Ricky’s, a ground-floor restaurant with daily brunch, plus a rooftop bar and a coffee shop. The hotel also offers some form of music or entertainment nearly every night, from DJ dance parties to Halloween costume pop-up shops.

Moxy Chicago Downtown

Entrance of Moxy Downtown Chicago

Courtesy of Marriott

Why We Chose It

Moxy Chicago Downtown skews toward younger travelers, with affordable room rates and a late-night taco counter.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $

Notable Amenities

24-hour fitness center, game room, podcast recording booth

Hotel Description

The Moxy brand, an offshoot of Marriott, was designed with millennial guests in mind, and every square inch of this hotel feels like an Instagram backdrop: the pink neon lights on the facade, the shuffleboard and foosball in the lobby, the common areas filled with cutesy throw pillows, the rubber duckies in every bathroom. There’s even a podcast recording booth for guests to use, in case the decor wasn’t quite hipster enough.

It may be playful (and affordable), but that doesn’t mean Moxy Chicago Downtown skimps on quality. The 156 guest rooms are compact — some come with bunk beds, and the showers are right next to the sleeping area — but they’re stylish and comfortable, with smart TVs, plush bedding, and views of either the skyline or art-filled courtyard. When you aren’t sipping craft cocktails and playing board games at the lobby bar, head to Zombie Taco, a late-night counter selling munchies and margaritas.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: Guest Room
Courtesy Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Why We Chose It

Directly across from Millennium Park, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is almost impossibly handsome and historic, especially given its low rates.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: Yes, $25
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Shake Shack room service, in-room spa treatments, free bicycle rentals

Hotel Description

A historic landmark directly across from Millennium Park, the Chicago Athletic Association dates back to 1893, though it was only transformed into a hotel in 2015. The Venetian Gothic exterior gives way to a stately lobby, with dark leather sofas, stone fireplaces, gallery walls, and gorgeous wood carvings. Accommodations range from classic rooms to a bi-level suite, but even the entry-level rooms have delightful touches like Bluetooth speakers that resemble vintage radios and benches made from repurposed pommel horses.

The hotel comes with seven dining venues, the crown jewel being the vaulted glass rooftop restaurant, Cindy’s. The dark and moody Cherry Circle Room serves up pricey steaks and martinis, while Milk Room is a Chicago-style speakeasy with only eight seats. There’s also a lobby lounge, coffee shop, billiards room, and Shake Shack outpost, which delightfully also delivers to your room.

Kimpton Gray Hotel

Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago

 Courtesy of Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago

Why We Chose It

Located in an ornate high-rise dating back to 1894, the Kimpton Gray Hotel is one of the most affordable stays in the Loop.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes, for IHG Rewards members; otherwise $12.99 for 24 hours
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Fitness center with Peloton bikes, yoga mats in every room, free bicycle and scooter rentals

Hotel Description

Located in the historic New York Life Insurance Building, built in 1894, the Kimpton Gray Hotel is one of the Loop’s most stylish properties. It mixes opulent architecture and modern interiors — the lobby is filled with velvet chairs and marble staircases, while the guest rooms feature sleek platform beds and globular pendant lights. It’s worth upgrading to a suite just for the spa-like bathrooms with deep soaking tubs.

On the top floor, Boleo is one of the coolest rooftop lounges in Chicago, with Latin-influenced cocktails, street food-inspired small plates, and a live DJ. The second-floor bar, Vol. 39, mimics the dark and luxurious aesthetics of the lobby. It’s definitely worth stopping by for an evening glass of wine or Old-Fashioned. Guests can also unwind with a soothing massage, either in a private spa space or in their own room.

Final Verdict

Chicago visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to affordable hotels. Our top pick, Pendry Chicago, is relatively new to the hotel scene but already stands out thanks to a gilded lobby and French dining options. If you love historical stays, book a room at The Blackstone or Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; both date back more than a century but feel fully modern with their sleek rooms and luxe amenities. And for a dose of fun and humor, you can’t go wrong with Virgin Hotels Chicago.

Know Before You Go

  • The best time to visit Chicago is between June and September, when the city’s urban beaches are at their best. Of course, you can find much lower hotel rates during the famously cold winters.
  • Whatever you do, don’t ask for ketchup on your hot dog. Chicago dogs are all about yellow mustard, chopped white onions, and sweet relish.
  • There’s nothing quite like seeing Chicago from the water, so it’s well worth joining the other tourists on a popular architecture river cruise.

How We Chose These Hotels

We evaluated dozens of the best cheap hotels in Chicago before choosing the options on this list. We considered elements like the property’s reputation, quality of service, design and architecture, location, and notable amenities. We also looked at each property’s dining options, whether there is a spa on-site, and the types of experiences available to guests. In determining this list, we evaluated numerous customer reviews and considered whether the property has collected any accolades in recent years.

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