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Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler to Chicago, there’s no better way to get to know the city than to spend time in its diverse neighborhoods. Chicago is made up of many different neighborhoods that feel like unique cities themselves because of the restaurants, shops, cultural attractions, and festivals in each one. However, Chicago also has great public transit and bike lane system, so it’s easy to get from one part of town to another and explore several areas during your trip. To help you choose a home base, here’s where to stay in Chicago based upon the top city neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for a hip place to stay that’s full of local culture and a youthful vibe, then the Wicker Park/Bucktown area is the place to be. These two neighborhoods are next to each other and filled with young Chicagoans who love great food, eclectic shopping, and trendy happenings. Come here to enjoy live music venues, such as the Subterranean, alternative fashion at vintage shops, lively bars, independent bookstores, and easy access to the 606 trail for some exercise.
Lincoln Park is one of those neighborhoods in Chicago where you almost feel out of place if you aren’t walking a dog or pushing a stroller. This is a family-friendly neighborhood that is on the north side of the city and a popular place to live and dine out at local restaurants. It is also home to the city’s top free attraction Lincoln Park Zoo, which is always a big hit with kids. The neighborhood is safe, walkable, and a top choice for foodies as well who love to dry different types of cuisine. From this neighborhood, you’ll have easy access to North Avenue Beach, the Chicago History Museum, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory as well.
The River North neighborhood is an artsy and sophisticated place to stay that is popular among traveling couples. There are lots of art galleries here, as well as some great fine-dining restaurants and fun nightclubs. Stay in River North for your romantic getaway weekend with someone special to have an unforgettable time in Chicago. Some highlights of this part of the city include easy access to Navy Pier for taking in the attractions, the Magnificent Mile for shopping, and the Richard H. Driehaus Museum.
For a luxurious and high-end stay in Chicago, it doesn’t get much better than the Gold Coast. This is a neighborhood on the city’s near north side and filled with high-rise buildings, impressive mansions, top-rated restaurants, and fancy boutique shops. Stay here if you’re looking to splurge and treat yourself to a luxurious stay in the city with plenty of spa days and fine dining opportunities. Take some time to shop along Oak Street, then go out on Rush Street to experience the nightlife scene.
To experience the hipster vibe that Chicago is known for and get off the beaten path a bit, plan to stay in Logan Square for your next trip. Here you can find arcade games, whiskey bars, live music venues, and a great farmer’s market. Foodies who enjoy eclectic fare enjoy this area, as well as returning travelers who want to skip the tourist attractions and live like a local.
The West Loop is also a fun area to stay in Chicago to get a real, authentic look at the city. This is a great place to be to experience an authentic Chicago hot dog, listen to blues music, and try the famous deep-dish pizza. The West Loop is a favorite place to be for foodie travelers because it has some of the most talked-about restaurants in the city. Greektown and Little Italy are also nearby for your dining pleasure. There are some great hotels in this area to make your stay comfortable as you explore the city from this well-connected area.
First-time visitors often stay in the downtown area, known as the Loop, to be close to the iconic landmarks and museums. This area is filled with high-rise buildings and between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. When you stay here, you’ll be close to Grant Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and Cloud Gate. Home to some of Chicago’s most luxurious hotels, it’s a great choice if you want to be in the heart of town and learn about Chicago’s history, art, and architecture.
Sports fans and partiers will love staying in the Wrigleyville area of Chicago because this is where the Chicago Cubs play their baseball games at Wrigley Field. Just off the Red Line CTA stop, Wrigleyville is a popular place to be during baseball season and has a fun bar scene to visit any time of the year. In addition to hotels, you can also find Airbnb accommodations in this part of town. It’s near Boystown as well, which is Chicago’s LGBT neighborhood that’s welcoming and a hub for festivals and events.
McCormick Place is the big convention center in Chicago that is located in the South Loop area. This area is just south of downtown and a popular place to stay for business travelers who are in town for meetings and events. It is also a historic area and around many significant sites, such as the Clarke House Museum and the Marshall Field Jr. Mansion. Even if you’re not attending an event at the conference center, this is a good area to stay in to be near the museum campus and the football stadium where the Chicago Bears play.
A beautiful and relaxing Chicago neighborhood to consider staying in is Andersonville, a lesser-known part of town that is safe, friendly, and filled with great restaurants. This is a small neighborhood that is home to vintage stores, indie bars, and live music spots. Don’t miss out on visiting the essential beer bar, Hopleaf, and check out the Andersonville Galleria that has lots of vendors selling jewelry, clothes, and much more all in one artsy space.