The world calls it the windy city. Those who have visited it, call it home. The third largest city of the United States welcomes everyone with open arms. It is impossible not to fall for its charms. It is the city of beautiful buildings, amazing restaurants, numerous theaters, and the nicest people you will ever meet. It takes pride in its diversity and culture. It wins heart with its music, food, and art. If you are about to visit the city, brace yourself for an experience of a lifetime.

While Chicago is among the top 5 cities to visit in the US, it is not big on hotels. Most hotels are expensive and that leaves budget travelers with once choice – hostels. And with hostels, Chicago believes on quality, not quantity. There are a number of hostels in the city that can add to your Chicago experience. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a family on a break, you can find a hostel suited to your needs.

This guide will help you find the best Chicago hostel and book your spot before it’s gone.

Check out also Hostels in NYC for Backpackers

Best Hostels or Backpackers in Chicago

Several hiking trails and camping grounds close to Chicago make this city a perfect spot for backpackers. Here are some of the best hostels that offer budget-friendly accommodation to the adventure-hungry lot.

HI Chicago Hostel

HostelWorld (*9.2) Booking.com (*8.8) Map Starts at ($36) for 10 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

HI stands for Hostelling International. Part of this international chains of hostels, HI Chicago knows what backpackers and lone travelers look for in a pocket-friendly accommodation – and they deliver that. One of the best things about this hostel is the location, which is in the peaceful university district, yet close enough to major attractions such as Michigan Avenue. So, you can roam around the city and head back to the hostel for a peaceful night sleep.

You will find a diverse crowd of travelers here. There are students, solo adventurers, and even large groups of nomads with interesting stories to share. Men and women have different dorms, each of which can accommodate eight to ten people.

Chicago Getaway Hostel

HostelWorld (*8.3) Booking.com (*7.7) Map Starts at ($34) for 12 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

Backpackers and solo travelers looking for a real getaway love this wonderful hostel located in the beautiful neighborhood in Lincoln Park. This hostel maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and customer-friendliness. This makes it suitable for travelers are on a budget but don’t want to compromise on the quality of experience. Due to its location, Chicago Getaway enjoys a wonderful crowd of travelers from different parts of the world including Europe and Asia.

The neighborhood is home to many interesting pubs and bars in Chicago. If you want to enjoy a wonderful nightlife experience after a tiring day of backpack explorations, Chicago Getaway Hostel is a great choice.

Freehand Chicago

HostelWorld (*9.2) Booking.com (*8.6) Map Starts at ($34) for 4 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

Located in a historic building from the 1920s, Freehand Chicago is another budget-friendly hostel that caters to backpackers in Chicago. It is surrounded by worth-a-visit art galleries in the city which makes it a great option for art and history lovers. The best thing about this hostel is that it once used to be a hotel and still retains that distinguished level of service. The staff is courteous, friendly, and helpful. Most of them are fluent in other languages and that makes it a perfect choice for foreigners from non-English-speaking countries.

Another element it retains from its hotel days is the on-site bar where most guests hang out during the day. It has dorms that include co-ed as well as female only, plus private rooms for couples and families.

Best Chicago Hostel for Couples

World’s finest restaurants, grand theaters, and beautiful beaches make Chicago one of the most romantic cities in the US. If you are on a romantic getaway, you can still save money by choosing these hostels that are just as good as a hotel.

Urban Holiday Lofts

HostelWorld (*8.5) Booking.com (*8.4) Map Starts at ($25) for 8 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

Urban Holiday Lofts is rated as one of the best hostels in Chicago because it delivers an amazing experience at an unbelievable price. Couples love this hostel because of the decent private rooms it offers, along with the amenities close to what you find in a bed-and-breakfast hotel. There is a proper luggage storage, a full kitchen, a huge lounge, and laundry facilities.

The building itself is around 100 years old and was refurbished into wonderful lofts. It surrounded by restaurants, bars, galleries, shops, and cafes. However, if you want to roam around the city, you can access the metro from here.

One thing to love about this hostel is the owners who are the friendliest people you will meet. If you are new in Chicago, they can help you create the best itinerary according to your interests.

Found Hotel Chicago

HostelWorld (*9.6) Booking.com (*9.0) Map Starts at ($47) for 4 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

Call it a budget-friendly hotel or an upscale hostel, doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can get the best Chicago experience without breaking your back. Conveniently close to the downtown, Found Hotel Chicago is a stylish place to lodge in with your loved one. You can have your own private room with en-suite bathroom and housekeeping service.

You can enjoy lots of activities on the premises. There is a restaurant and a bar for the guests. There is a karaoke lounge where you can have fun with your fellow travelers. Overall, Found Hotel Chicago doesn’t give you any reason to regret choosing a hostel in Chicago.

Fieldhouse Jones

HostelWorld (*9.5) Booking.com (*9.1) Map Starts at ($463) for 6 bed-apartment

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

One of the biggest reasons to include Fieldhouse Jones under this category is the long list of amenities that include private rooms with a wall fitted TV, en-suite bathrooms, and a seating area. The bathrooms are equipped with showers, hair dryers, and toiletries. There is an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy delicious meals and local specialties. You can also hit the bar or laze around the coffee car.

Fieldhouse Jones has a retro Fieldhouse feel to it. It is located close to the downtown and major attraction spots such as Magnificent Mile and the International Airport. There is a 24-hour helpdesk to make your stay comfortable. The staff is friendly and knows multiple languages.

Best Hostels in Chicago for Families

Chicago has a never-ending list of activities you can enjoy with your family without spending a fortune. Choosing a hostel over a hotel can save you hundreds of dollars on the trip. Here are some of the most family-friendly hostels in Chicago.

Wrigley Hostel

HostelWorld (*8.5) Booking.com (*8.1) Map Starts at ($31) for 10 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

Pancakes, waffles, or whatever your children like to have for breakfast, Wrigley serves it free. This is just one thing that makes it a family friendly hostel in Chicago. With easy access to public transportation, this hostel lets you explore Chicago on a budget. However, if your family loves the beach, all it takes is a short 10-minute walk. Even the Lincoln Park Zoo is well within the 1.9 miles radius.

If you don’t feel like going out, you can enjoy the numerous in-house offerings such as the movie night or game night. You might even get a chance to be a part of their monthly hostel parties. There is an outdoor deck area where you can enjoy fresh air and delicious BBQ.

The Chicago Parthenon Hostel

HostelWorld (*8.1) Booking.com (*7.4) Map Starts at ($31) for 8 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

The Chicago Parthenon is a small hostel with a huge heart. With its friendly staff at your service, it is wonderful accommodation for families on a budget. Despite the size, it has a long list of amenities to offer, including free breakfast, on-site bar, restaurant, kitchen, laundry, and private rooms. It accommodates fewer guests than other popular hostels but provides a very personalized service.

Located in Greektown, The Chicago Parthenon gives easy access to shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Downtown is just a few blocks away and you can easily reach it through public transportation.

Holiday Jones

HostelWorld (*9.1) Booking.com (*8.6) Map Starts at ($26) for 6 bed-dorm

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

For people who love to socialize and meet people from different places and backgrounds, Holiday Jones is a perfect place to book a reservation in Chicago. It is located close to the heart of the city and provides easy access to all the major points of attraction. However, there are so many on-premises amenities that you wouldn’t mind spending all day at the hostel. You can find a shared kitchen and large common areas with plenty of activities to enjoy such as board games and foosball.

The best thing about this hostel is that the boutique hotel vibe you get from the architecture and décor. The hospitality is on par with the best hotels in the city. You get a free breakfast and can have your personal security locker. Aside from spacious dorms, Holiday Jones has plenty of private rooms, which make it perfect for families.

Hostel Earphoria

Map Airbnb Starts at ($15) for 3 bed-dorm 

**prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (March)

This one is a specialty hostel for the artist on-the-go. It is owned by music-lovers with great appreciation for talent. Not only do you get to meet other talented people in the field, but you can also practice and play without getting kicked out. You can jam with other artists, record your music, or just listen to others play and perform in the basement. Of course, you can stay here just as a listener.

The Final Word

Picking a hostel over a hotel is the second smartest decision you have made. The first one is your decision to choose Chicago as your destination. You now have a list of Chicago’s best hostels to check out. Choose the one that seems like the best fit for you and anyone who accompanies you to the windy city.