Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States. It is a big metropolitan area that attracts tourists from all over the world who head to the city for the fascinating cultural scene, superb restaurants, and popular party venues. Also, there is a wide range of essential sights that you must see in Chicago, but it is also fun to wander around the neighborhoods and soak up some of the vibes.
Like most major cities in the US, Chicago can be a costly place to visit. It has a fair number of hostels that you can choose from, and each hostel has its atmosphere and character. Also, some have a more social atmosphere, while others feel a lot like a hotel. But usually, hostels offer an affordable and fun place to stay.
Top 5 Hostels in Chicago:
- 1. HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
- 2. Freehand Chicago
- 3. Holiday Jones
- 4. Wrigley Hostel Chicago
- 5. Urban Holiday Lofts
The 5 Best Party Hostels in Chicago
HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
Price: $27 to $33.5
HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel is a part of the Hostelling International chain. It’s also the second-largest hostel in the US, with more than five hundred beds available for guests. Also, the dorms are separated by sex, and they can accommodate either eight or ten people. Each dorm has an en-suite bathroom.
The hostel is situated in the center of the downtown university neighborhood. Also, it’s just a short walking distance to the Sears Tower, Michigan Avenue/Magnificent Mile shopping, Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, and much more. Also, public transportation is easily reachable with most train and bus lines only two blocks away.
This hostel also offers a good value for students or travelers who want to experience all the things that Chicago has to offer sans, making a big hole in the wallet. It also appeals to a wide array of tourists, and you’re sure to meet people from around the world during your stay here. Read more..
- Lots of room options, convenient location, and great value
Price: $40 to $52.25
Freehand Chicago is another well-liked hostel for backpackers and budget tourists in Chicago. It’s located in a 1920s-era building in the River North area. This district has a lot of Chicago’s boutiques, art galleries, and dining choices. Also, the hostel was formerly a hotel, and it has been redesigned to encourage a more community-based atmosphere. There are an on-site bar and a guest lounge where visitors can hang out. The staff is also multi-lingual, and they can help you arrange any number of tours and activities.
If you want a fun and simple place to stay that is conveniently located and a fair price, then Freehand Chicago is the right choice. Also, it is a good value hostel that has both private rooms and dorms available. Private rooms are either twin or four-bedrooms, and dorms sleep up to four people. Female only and co-ed rooms are available. Read more..
- Great location, convenient location to party, and lots of room options
Holiday Jones feels a lot like a boutique hotel, but it’s an affordable option for budget travelers. It’s located about ten minutes from the city center and is a great place to base yourself during your time in the city. It includes free Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast each morning, and individual security lockers if you’re staying in a dorm. There’s a shared kitchen that guests can use and a large common area with a foosball table, television, computers, and board games. In the surrounding area, you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants, shops, galleries, bars, and nightclubs. The hostel is also just a block from the Division Blue Line station, which will take you right into downtown. It’s also easily accessible from the airport.
The hostel has four and six-bed dorms that are split by gender. Also, there is a wide range of private rooms to choose from, including singles, twins, and three, four, five, and six-bed rooms. Read more..
- Good value for money, great amenities, and accessible to public transportation
Wrigley Hostel Chicago
Wrigley Hostel Chicago is a perfect hostel for all party maniacs. Highly recommended for concert-goers and travelers looking to meet new people Well-located right in the center of a famous party area Wrigleyville. The hostel offers fun social activities, like pub crawls, BBQ events, walk tours, and much more. Also, the free breakfast included is very sumptuous. Read more..
- Nice on-site bar, great location to party, and social atmosphere
Urban Holiday Lofts
Price: $8.60 to $18
Urban Holiday Lofts is another good choice in the city. It’s located in a one-hundred-year-old warehouse that has been remodeled into lofts. It also has a very social atmosphere where it’s easy to get to know other travelers from all over the world. It’s also conveniently located in the middle of Wicker Park, which is among the city’s most exciting neighborhoods. Also, it’s near to the metro and anything you might need, such as bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, shops, and art galleries. There are also a lot of places where you can listen to live music nearby.
The hostel is owned by Chicagoans who want to share their city with you. Also, they can suggest any number of activities or restaurants in the area, and they can give you an insider’s perspective on things to see and do.
The hostel has some great amenities, including free Wi-Fi throughout the building, luggage storage, laundry facilities, and a full kitchen that guests can use. There’s also a beautiful lounge area where guests can chill out.
The hostel has private rooms as well as singles, twins, and three, four, and five-bedrooms. Some dorms are split by gender and sleep either four or eight people.
- Social atmosphere, accessible to public transportation, and great amenities
How is the Nightlife in Chicago?
The people of Chicago love to hang out in bars, nightclubs, and cafes. Blame it on the harsh winter, when folks need to crowd together to stay warm. Blame it on scorching summer, when sunny days make beer gardens and a lot of sidewalk patios so refreshing. Whatever the reason or occasion, drinking in the city is a widely cherished common pastime.
Clubs are usually found in three main areas: around River North and West Loop, Wicker Park and Ukie Village, and Wrigleyville and Boystown. At River North and West Loop, most nightclubs tend to be vast and luxurious, but they often have dress codes. On the other hand, at Wrigleyville and Boystown, most venues are a tad more casual. Meanwhile, at Wrigleyville and Boystown, it’s a combination of both areas. Also, most clubs use social media to provide discounts on admission, so check before heading out.
- Bars 5 pm to 2 am (3 am on Saturday); some licensed until 4 am (5 am on Saturday)
- Nightclubs 10 pm to 4 am, and they usually closed from Monday to Wednesday
The tip is often around 15% to 20% per round or a minimum per drink of $1 for standard drinks. Meanwhile, it is $2 for specialty cocktails.
- The drinking age is 21 years. Take your driver’s license or passport out at night: you will be asked for ID.
- No dress code typically, though some clubs require closed-toe shoes and long pants, and occasionally no jeans or hats.
The Best Bars and Clubs in Chicago
Round the corner from Wrigley Field, Smartbar is a basement club located right below Metro rock venue. The famous club pulses with beats from different genres, such as techno, house, and EDM on its world-famous sound system. Aside from that, it also features a long line-up of famous DJs from around the country and the world. Although you need to pay for a cover fee, drink deals can help keep the cost down.
One more basement club in River North, Spybar, has been partying since 1995 and can compete with any nightclub for the big-name house, techno, and electro DJs it draws every week. Spybar prides itself as a “perfect combination between high-octane clubbing and warm lounge atmosphere,” a claim backed up by Rolling Stone magazine, which included it in its list of the top 10 dance clubs in the US in 2013.
Lake View’s Berlin, themed after the culture and art scene of the owner’s best-loved city first opened its doors in 1983. Aside from attracting a diverse crowd, the club also has various awards as the city’s best gay bar that is open for all. Also, the music ranges from new wave to house, and Berlin organizes theme nights, such as MadonnaRama and Stardust. Although the dance floor is small, you still need to be prepared for it to very crowded.
4. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
For something a little more old-fashioned and chill, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge has been an essential part of Chicago’s nightlife for over a century. Crowds, young and old, still flock to this fabled Uptown club for nightly jazz performances and some of the best cocktails in the city. They also visit to experience an exciting time when gangsters rubbed shoulders with movie stars at the long Art Deco bar.
5. The Underground
Thanks to its famous owner, bar guru Billy Dec, it’s not unusual for The Underground to draw celebrities. Remodeled and expanded back in 2013, its underground bunker motif only extends to the decor, as the DJs, system, and drinks are all high-end. Dancers, pulsating light displays, and busy screens ensure a wild and energetic atmosphere.
Chicago is the home of blues and jazz, the center of comedy, and the birthplace of the skyscraper. Here, you can experience both the age of railroads back in the 19th century and the modern alternative of the 21st century — aviation. “Stormy, Husky, Brawling/City of Big Shoulders,” Chicago is a Heartland boomtown, its ethos defined by urban planner Daniel Burnham’s enduring vision: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Indeed, it is among the world’s greatest cities.
As the bustling center of the Midwest, Chicago is easy to find — its picturesque skyline calls across the waters of Lake Michigan. It is a first impression that soon reveals world-class museums of art and science, miles of sandy beaches, huge parks and public art, and perhaps the most beautiful downtown collection of modern architecture anywhere in the world.
With a wealth of iconic sights and areas to explore, there’s enough to fill a visit of days, weeks, or even months without ever seeing the end. Dress warmly in the winter, and prepare to cover a lot of ground; the meaning of Chicago is only found in movement, through subways and old elevated tracks, in the pride of tired feet and eyes raised once more to the sky.
Traveler & Blogger
Hi, I’m Lizzy! In the past 10 years I’ve travelled 60 countries and I’m still counting. While I was backpacking I could not find a website that provides valuable information about hostels. After months of thinking, doubting and brainstorming, hostelstobook.com was born.
I hope to make your trip easier, so you’d only stay in the best hostels around the globe. Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to send me a message.
Chicago is generally a safe city, but it has some rough areas. With a rating of 69%, the US is ranked 51st out of 162 safest countries in the world.
The culture of Chicago, Illinois, is famous for the discovery or contributing to the significant advancement of several performing arts, such as improvisational comedy, house music, blues, hip hop, gospel, jazz, and soul. The city is also well-known for its Chicago School and Prairie School architecture.
The Loop, one of Chicago’s 77 designated community areas, is the central business district in the downtown area of the city. In the late 19th century, cable car turnarounds and a prominent elevated railway encircled the area, giving the Loop its name.
The Magnificent Mile, occasionally referred to as The Mag Mile, is an upscale section of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, running from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side. The Magnificent Mile is the main thoroughfare between Chicago’s Loop business district and its Gold Coast.
One of the great things about visiting Chicago is that you don’t need to rent a car to get around: Most of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance of downtown hotels or public transportation.
The best times to visit to experience milder weather is in late Spring, early summer, and early fall; specifically May, June, September, and October. Temperatures are usually warm during these times, with temperatures hovering around 12°C and 21°C. Also, May and June can be a bit rainy, so bring an umbrella with you, just in case. Plus, if you have time for more adventure, you can also visit surrounding cities like Los Angeles and Miami.