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Cheap areas to stay in Chicago

With its steely skyscrapers forming the city’s iconic skyline, downtown Chicago is the place to be if you want attractions. While the cheap hotels in Chicago’s core are far and few between, bargains do exist. Extending from Lake Michigan’s shore westwards, the North Suburbs offer no shortage of budget-friendly digs, and the leafy affluent neighbourhoods here provide plenty of peace and quiet. A few miles west of the city, the quaint suburb of Oak Brook provides a cheaper base, too. It’s home to the “Little Orphan Annie” house, as well as several nearby golf courses.

Cheap hotels in Chicago

Situated within the Magnificent Mile area, The Red Roof Inn offers a superb location for the price tag. The redbrick establishment offers a restaurant and business centre, while its modern rooms boats free WiFi and premium TV channels. The Travelodge Hotel Downtown also keeps you in the downtown loop – quite literally. A 6-minute walk from the Art Institute of Chicago, it features on-site eateries, a business centre and meeting rooms. Moments from Lincoln Park, the Day Inn Chicago features a health club and meeting rooms, and all the necessary in-room creature comforts.

Where to find cheap food in Chicago

The Loop, in the heart of Downtown, is packed with affordable palate-pleasing dining spots, whether you want coffee and a pastry, a grab-and-go sandwich or some hearty Italian fare. The ever-bustling Magnificent Mile doesn’t scrimp on the cheap eats either. It’s home to a mix of restaurants and take-out joints, offering everything from chain name American favourites and mustard slathered Chicago-style hot dogs, to Chinese and Mediterranean cuisine. Weaving through Downtown between the bases of towering skyscrapers, the Chicago Riverwalk is teeming with cheap pubs, casual cafés and affordable restaurants.

Cheap things to do in Chicago

You don’t need deep pockets to enjoy Chicago – in fact, there’s plenty of things to do that won’t cost you a cent. From prim classical landmarks to gleaming modern marvels, the city’s breathtaking architecture offers endless eye candy for architecture buffs. Standing at 1,451-feet-tall with a glossy black façade, the Willis Tower is one of its most iconic buildings. Chicago’s ethnic neighbourhoods also offer plenty to get stuck in to. You can hunt for handcrafted goodies in colourful Chinatown, or savour spicy fare and shop for saris on Devon Avenue. The city’s Lake Michigan beaches are also perfect for a no-cost day out. Ohio Street Beach is one of the best, providing a sandy spot to unwind, as well as a leafy park right behind it. Spanning 35-acres, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the city’s star attractions – and best of all it’s 100% free.

Cheap ways to get around Chicago

Downtown Chicago is especially walkable, thanks to its wide sidewalks and underground pedway system. There’s also a pretty large network of bicycle lanes and pathways, making cycling a viable way of getting around. If you’re going slightly further afield, then the public transport in Chicago is the way to go. Buses run to most areas of the city regularly, though the CTA train network is probably the quickest and most convenient method. All but one of its colour-coded lines travel to the Loop, and rates to ride are very low.

Chicago Travel Guides & Things To Do

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