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13 Best Hotels in Chicago in 2023, According to Travel Experts

dramatic sunset in downtown chicago

Gian Lorenzo Ferretti PhotographyGetty Images

A vacation in the Windy City means gorgeous lakefront views, spectacular sightseeing for all ages and some of the greatest shopping in the country. You’ve picked the location, you’ve started packing your favorite suitcase and even planned out your itinerary, now all you have to do is secure the perfect hotel. After all, finding the right place to stay can set the mood for your entire trip, and even make or break your experience. Of course, you want to make sure the spot you pick lines up perfectly with your vacation vibe and budget.

Whether you’re looking for a cute boutique hotel for a romantic trip, a centrally located spot with kids’ conveniences galore for a family vacation or a dreamy luxury hotel for a spa weekend with the girlfriends, the pros at the Good Housekeeping Institute did the legwork for you. We researched dozens of the best properties that Chicago has to offer, sifting through five-star reviews, consulting our consumer testers and even taking some trips ourselves as part of our Family Travel Awards testing. We evaluated each hotel suggestion on important factors like location, amenities, pet and kid-friendly offerings, dining, price, staff friendliness, and more.

From the iconic Chicago Loop to Hyde Park to the Fulton Market District, here are the best hotels in Chicago. So, make reservations, pack your travel essentials and don’t forget a winter coat since the Windy City really does live up to its name.

Our top picks:

Head to the end of this list to read about how we picked the best hotels in Chicago, what neighborhoods are the most exciting to stay in, where to go while on your trip and more. If you’re looking for some other great vacation tips, check out our favorites for the best all-inclusive resorts and some wonderful family vacation ideas.

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1

Best Historic Hotel in Chicago

Palmer House

Neighborhood The Loop
Star rating 4 stars
Price $
2

Best Value Hotel in Chicago

Sophy Hyde Park

Neighborhood Hyde Park
Star rating 4 stars
Price $$
3

Best Boutique Hotel in Chicago

Emily Hotel

Neighborhood West Loop, Fulton Market
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$
4

Best Pet-Friendly Hotel in Chicago

Chicago Athletic Association

Neighborhood The Loop
Star rating 4 stars
Price $$
5

Best Hotel in Chicago for Families

The Four Seasons

Neighborhood Magnificent Mile
Star ratings 5 stars
Price $$$
6

Best Hotel in Chicago for VIP experiences

The Peninsula Chicago

Neighborhood River North
Star ratings 5 stars
Price $$$
7

Best Luxury Hotel in Chicago

JW Marriott

Neighborhood The Loop
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$
8

Best Famous Hotel in Chicago

The Drake Hotel

Neighborhood Gold Coast
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$
9

Best Hotel in Chicago for Ambiance

Soho House Chicago

Neighborhood West Loop
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$
10

Best Modern Hotel in Chicago

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

Neighborhood Gold Coast
Star ratings 5 stars
Price $$
11

Best Hotel in Chicago for Rooftop Views

The Gwen

Neighborhood River North
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$
12

Best Value Hotel in Chicago for Families

Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theatre District

Neighborhood The Loop
Star ratings 3 stars
Price $
13

Best Hotel If You’re Traveling With A Baby

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Neighborhood Gold Coast
Star ratings 5 stars
Price $$$
14

Best Hotel for Longer Stays

The Guesthouse Hotel

Neighborhood Andersonville
Star ratings 4 stars
Price $$

When is the best time to visit Chicago?

While the weather in Chicago is generally most comfortable in late spring and fall, summer doesn’t usually get terribly hot. The average high temperature in July and August is the low 80s and there’s usually a decent breeze. Of course, it’s more crowded during the summer months, especially during the Lollapalooza music festival (the first week of August). Cicero visited in mid-August while the Chicago Air and Water Show was happening and didn’t find crowds to be much of an issue. Still, many attractions require or recommend advance reservations, so it’s a good idea to plan out at least some of your trip.

As for those who dare to brave Chicago winters, don’t forget your coat, hat, gloves and winter boots, and beware that while the hotels and airfare may be cheaper, the temperature is often below freezing, the winds can be fierce and there is certainly no lack of snow due to the lake effect.

How we choose the best hotels in Chicago

To create this list, the Good Housekeeping Institute experts have researched dozens of the best hotels, read through hundreds of five-star reviews and have personally stayed at many of the picks featured on this list. We’ve also included top picks our GH testers have traveled to. We evaluate each property on a variety of factors, including location, price, staff, comfort, cleanliness, amenities and more. We also consider feedback from online reviewers when picking our top properties.

What can you do in Chicago?

You could spend a month or more in Chicago and not run out of fun things to do. Families may want to prioritize the Shedd Aquarium (the winner of a Good Housekeeping 2023 Family Travel Award) and if there’s a dino fan on the trip, the Field Museum. “Since these two attractions are next to each, plan to spend the entire day in the area,” said Cicero, who visited with her family last summer. “Buy lunch from a food truck, and eat it in the grassy area. Running around outside for a while will help prevent museum fatigue.” The Museum of Science and Industry is also packed with exhibits that will appeal to school-age kids and up. “We spent a half-day there, but could have stayed longer,” said Cicero. Another family-friendly — and free — gem in the city is the Lincoln Park Zoo. “Based on the variety of animals and how well you’re able to see them, the zoo is one of the best we’ve ever visited,” noted Cicero.

All-ages fun includes a River Cruise Architecture Tour (It’s even better after dark when the buildings are lit up!) and
Millennium Park (Snap a selfie in front of the famous Bean.). Artsy visitors may want to buy tickets to one of the Broadway in Chicago shows and meander in the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Riverwalk is particularly lovely during warm days when you can take in views of the Chicago river and stop in a restaurant or bar to relax. You may even recognize it from pictures on social media of the green river during Chicago’s Saint Patrick’s day festivities.
While touristy, the Chicago Skydeck, which lets you walk above the skyscraper, is fun. Ditto for Navy Pier, which merits a one-time visit for a spin on the 200-foot Ferris Wheel.

If you’re in the mood for shopping, the Magnificent Mile features well-known stores like Nordstrom’s, Anthropologie and the holy grail for doll-obsessed kids, American Girl Place. The Andersonville section of town is dotted with secondhand shops, comic-book stores and vinyl record stores. It’s not far from the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field. “My teen daughter, who doesn’t usually watch baseball, had a blast seeing an afternoon game,” said Cicero. “She rooted for ‘The Cubbies’ for the rest of the season.” Of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without exploring the bustling nightlife and tasting some of their iconic cuisine, like a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza or a Chicago Italian beef sandwich.

Where is the best area to stay in Chicago?

The first thing to consider when choosing the location of your hotel is which attractions are on your must-see list. For those that are looking for great shopping and the true metropolis feel, staying on or near the Magnificent Mile may be the right location for you. Set on Michigan Avenue, hotels in this area will be surrounded by upscale storefronts and high-end restaurants (though there are plenty of familiar brands, like The Cheesecake Factory, too). Those who head to the west side of the Magnificent Mile to River North can find some of the coolest bars and clubs the city has to offer.

The nearby area of The Loop just south of the Magnificent Mile is also a popular vacation location due to its proximity to many favorite spots like the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. It’s also known for its vibrant nightlife, gorgeous Riverwalk views, theaters and parks.

Those who are looking for a more artsy location will thrive in the Fulton Market District in the West Loop where you can explore some of the best restaurants, more great nightlife and slightly less crowded and touristy spots.

The South Loop is a bit less hectic than The Loop, making it great for families and those who don’t quite want to be in the center of the hustle and bustle. You’ll still be within a short distance of some great museums.

Hyde Park is another great option for those looking to be nearby the city center without being in too deep. Close to the University of Chicago and some wonderful museums and parks, this area is not quite as frenzied as other parts of the city, but be sure to not venture too far south or west from this neighborhood as not all the nearby spots are quite as safe.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

The Good Housekeeping Institute has been providing expert reviews and advice on everything a traveler needs, from the best carry-on luggage to the best travel gadgets and packing cubes. Parenting and Pets Reviews Analyst Jamie Spain covers everything from parenting essentials to toys to home goods, and has also spent her life traveling across the US and the world, having visited 47 of the 50 states. Plus, she lived in the Chicago Metropolitan area for four years and spends a lot of her time going back to visit the city. Prior to working at Good Housekeeping, she covered destination weddings (both international and national), including how to pick the best hotels for your stay while at TheKnot.com.

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