The Best Neighborhoods to Explore in Chicago

Updated 07/24/19
Chicago seen from the water
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Chicago has a ton to offer: the highest concentration of museums in the U.S. outside of Manhattan, a majestic lake with crystal-clear turquoise waters, historic Art Deco architecture, and a collection of Michelin-starred restaurants that will make you never want to leave. Not to mention it's home to the iconic Wrigley Field, the infamous Bean, and the Insta-friendly Skydeck.

But knowing exactly where to stay in Chicago can come with its own set of challenges: Are you looking to spend your weekend in museums? Do you plan to try every hot new restaurant in the city? Do you want to shop your heart out? No matter your traveling style, we outlined the best areas to stay in Chicago, our favorite hotels included.

River North

The Langham in the River North neighborhood
Courtesy of Langham Hotel

River North is also known as the gallery district. It hosts the largest concentration of art galleries in the United States outside of New York City, so you certainly won't get bored. It's also by the river and within walking distance to Magnificent Mile, making it an ideal base to step out and explore the best of Chicago.

Stay: Pamper yourself and book a room at the iconic Langham Chicago, located in a historic Mies van der Rohe skyscraper. This hotel is luxury at its finest.

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Gold Coast

The Ambassador Hotel in the Gold Coast neighborhood
Courtesy of The Ambassador

The Gold Coast holds its name well. Bordering the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan, this affluent neighborhood is mostly made up of stately homes and high-rise residential buildings. The area also offers high-end shopping and fantastic restaurants.

Stay: The Ambassador is the new name of Public Hotel, one of Chicago's original boutique hotels. In its nearly 100 years of existence, it has hosted anyone from Frank Sinatra to Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and David Bowie. Today, it has a younger, more relaxed vibe, but it still holds a rich history.

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West Loop

The Ace Hotel in the West Loop neighborhood
Courtesy of Ace Hotel

Once an Italian neighborhood, West Loop is located to the west of the Chicago River and is overflowing with restaurants and bars, including some of Chicago's best: The Girl and the Goat and The Aviary. Expect a fun and vibrant scene.

Stay: Chicago’s Ace Hotel is one of the newest from the Ace franchise. The guest rooms boast skyline views, while the public areas and restaurants overflow with tourists and locals alike. Like any other Ace hotel, you’ll find a trusted Stumptown Coffee franchise in the lobby.

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Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Chicago
Courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association

Chicago’s Loop may have the reputation of being a sleepy business district, but with the opening of the Kimpton Gray and the Chicago Athletic Association, that’s changing. People are flocking back to Chicago’s downtown the same way they are returning to FiDi in Manhattan.

Stay: The Chicago Athletic Association is the number one reason to stay in this neighborhood. The iconic 1893 old-world Chicago private club was revamped into a hotel and social club that also hosts Cindy’s, the hottest rooftop in the city.

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Wicker Park

The Robey Hotel in the Wicker Park neighborhood
Courtesy of The Robey

If you loved the romantic thriller of the same name, you may want to stay in Chicago’s Wicker Park. The West Chicago neighborhood is famous for its live music and nightlife and houses great restaurants and the Flat Iron Arts Building.

Stay: The Robey is housed in an iconic Art Deco building. It was meticulously renovated with a modern perspective by famed Belgian architect Nicolas Schuybroek and offers all of the amenities you need to feel comfortable.

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