12 Best Hostels in Chicago (CRUSH Traveling in 2021)

America’s third largest city is a once in a lifetime experience in itself. Epic skyscrapers, amazing food, a proud culture, and some of the nicest people in the US – Chicago rocks!

But for being one of the most visited cities in America, Chicago only has a handful of hostels, and they can fill up rather quickly.

Which is exactly why we put together this insider guide to the 12 best hostels in Chicago.

With the help of this guide, you’ll know exactly which hostels are the best in Chicago.

Read on to find out how we determine the ‘best’ hostels in Chicago, and see which of the best hostels in Chicago made the list, so you can book up and save some money in the windy city!

We put these hostel-guides together to make them the best on the web.

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Chicago

Best Hostels in Chicago
The Windy City is epic, and with the help of our guide to the best hostels in Chicago, you’ll be able to save money in what is typically an expensive city

How we picked the top hostels in Chicago

There are a lot of neighbourhoods in Chicago and choosing the ‘best’ anything can be tricky, so our process is aimed at helping travelers as best we can.

We did this in two ways…

  1. We only included the BEST hostels – There are some poorly reviewed hostels in Chicago. We made sure our list included only the highest reviewed, so you know that all of our recommendations are truly amazing properties that will enhance your time in Chicago.
  2. We then organized the hostels by YOUR needs – The Broke Backpacker is made by travelers, for travelers. This means we understand how travelers work – and truth be told, a lot of travelers are different! Some people travel alone, others in packs. Some travelers like to party up, and others just want to wind down. Whatever your travel style, we separated these hostels to make it even easier to identify which one is best for you!

And easy is good, because these hostels book up quickly. So read up, find the hostel you like and get booking so you can save some hard earned money while traveling to Chicago!

Be sure to read our awesome travel guide on Backpacking Chicago, which covers a 3-day itinerary, budget and travel tips, more information on where to stay, and how to get around!

Things DO go missing sometimes…

lock iconPsst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!

The 9 Best Hostels in Chicago

We’ve gone through the best hostels in Chicago and split them into handy hostel types, making your choice that bit easier. It’s now easy to spot the best Chicago hostel for solo travellers, Chicago’s best hostel for digital nomads, the best party hostel in Chicago, and more.

And remember, while we might label a hostel as ‘the best for couples’ doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome for solo travelers as well!  🙂

Overall Best Hostel in Chicago – Freehand Chicago

Freehand Chicago best hostels in Chicago
Freehand Chicago is our selection of one of the best hostels in Chicago
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Café & Bar
  • Bike Hire

The award-winning Freehand Chicago is one of the USA’s best hostels. our choice for the overall best hostel in Chicago in 2021. The dorms are small, sleeping just four people, and there are both mixed and female-only sleeping arrangements. There are private rooms too. With an onsite café, bar, and shared kitchen, there’s certainly no reason for you to go hungry here. Feeling active?

Hit the fitness centre. Looking to mingle and make new friends? Chill in the common room. Freebies include breakfast, Wi-Fi, and maps, and other plus points include laundry facilities, luggage storage, and bike hire. Key card access keeps this top hostel in Chicago secure and reception is staffed around the clock.

Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Chicago – HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel

HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
Loaded with activities and great for all types of budget travelers, HI Chicago is our highest hostel-recommendation for solo travelers in Chicago
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Café-Restaurant
  • Laundry Facilities

HI Chicago, The J.Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel is a top Chicago backpackers hostel for couples, solo travellers, and groups of friends. But It’s our choice for the best hostel for solo travellers in Chicago. There are single-sex dorms and rooms for two (with shared bathrooms) and it’s loaded with awesome facilities. Work, rest, or play, this hostel is ideal.

There’s a large kitchen and a cool common area where you can get to know others, and there are free walking tours and a program of activities for even more fun to add to your Chicago itinerary. Breakfast, luggage storage, toiletries, activities, and Wi-Fi are free. Do note that people who aren’t already members of Hostelling International will have to pay a slightly higher fee.

Best Cheap Hostel in Chicago #1 – Urban Holiday Lofts

Urban Holiday Lofts best hostels in Chicago
Low price but high value, Urban Holiday Lofts is one of the best hostels in Chicago on the cheap
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Café
  • Laundry Facilities

Urban Holiday Lofts is the cheapest hostel in Chicago. The sociable backpackers’ pad is within an old renovated warehouse, giving it a certain industrial charm. There’s a large lounge where you can chill and chat with others, a well-equipped kitchen for whipping up some home comforts, free-to-use computers, and laundry facilities.

Breakfast is included in the prices and Wi-Fi is free too. There are dorms for males and females as well as private rooms (with shared bathrooms) for different group sizes. Definitely the best budget hotel in Chicago.

Best Cheap Hostel in Chicago #2 – Parthenon Hostel

Parthenon Hostel best hostels in Chicago
Another great option and second on our list of best cheap hostels in Chicago is Parthenon Hostel.
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Restaurant-Bar
  • Lockers

As well as eight-bed single-gender dorms, those who prefer a bit more privacy at lights out can check into a single private room. Private rooms are also available for between two and six, all with shared bathrooms. Admission to Parthenon Hostel is by key card and the hostel is within walking distance of several Chicago sights.

The common area and onsite restaurant are ideal places to hang out and strike up a chat with fellow travellers. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are free and you can get discounts to local attractions, great for days out with new buds.

Best Cheap Hostel in Chicago #3 – Holiday Jones

Holiday Jones best hostels in Chicago
Holiday Jones is one of the best cheap hostels in Chicago because of the fantastic food on offer here!
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Café-Restaurant
  • Laundry Facilities

Holiday Jones is a recommended hostel in Chicago that can be found in Wicker Park, a trendy area that’s within easy reach of the city centre. Start each day with a free breakfast before heading out to explore Chicago or recharging your batteries in the sociable common area. Veg in front of the TV or have a game of foosball to break the ice with other travellers.

There’s a kitchen if you want to keep costs down and cook your own grub and the lobby area is a great place to sit and check emails and keep in touch with people back at home.

Best Hostel for Couples in Chicago – FieldHouse Jones

FieldHouse Jones best hostels in Chicago
Set in an old dairy warehouse with cool art and decoration, we think FieldHouse Jones is a great hostel in Chicago for all travelers (especially couples!)
  • $$
  • Bar-Cafe
  • Games Room
  • Laundry Facilities

FieldHouse Jones is a unique youth hostel in Chicago in an old dairy warehouse. All rooms, including the four-bed dorms, are en-suite and have eye-catching artwork. The best hostel for couples in Chicago, the atmosphere and quirks make it quite romantic.

With self-catering facilities and a common room, you can save money with some DIY cooking and meet new people with ease. Other benefits include laundry facilities, luggage storage, free Wi-Fi, an onsite café-bar, and round-the-clock reception.

Best Party Hostel in Chicago – Wrigley Hostel

Wrigley Hostel best hostels in Chicago
The coolest hostel in Chicago is also the best party hostel in Chicago
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar
  • Tour Desk

The hip and happening Wrigley Hostel is the best party hostel in Chicago. It’s the coolest hostel in Chicago too! A short swagger from the best of Chicago’s clubs, restaurants, and bars, the funky hostel also has its own lively bar in the common area.

Plus, you can enjoy a game of pool, ping pong or darts with your new pals. There are free BBQs each week as well as energetic pub crawls. Want to see more of the city by day? Join the free walking tour. Breakfast is included to help you feel better after the night before.

Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Chicago – Chicago Getaway Hostel

Chicago Getaway Hostel best hostels in Chicago
Located in hip Lincoln Park, the award-winning Chicago Gateway Hostel is a high value stay for all travelers (especially Digital Nomads!)
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bike Hire
  • Pool Table

The award-winning Chicago Gateway Hostel is a large hostel in the Lincoln Park area. There are mixed dorms for 12 and the hostel can accommodate more than 450 guests—there are certainly plenty of opportunities to meet lots of new friends in Chicago! Each bed has a reading light and power socket and all guests have a locker (BYO padlock if you don’t want to pay for one when here).

The huge kitchen has plenty of space for anyone wanting to cook their own meals and you can chill with popcorn at the nightly movie nights. The free Wi-Fi, range of seating areas, and computer stations make this the best hostel in Chicago for digital nomads. Breakfast is filling and free and other handy features include bike rentals, laundry facilities, key card access, and an elevator.

Best Hostel in Chicago with a Private Room – Found Hotel Chicago River North

Found Hotel Chicago River North best hostels in Chicago
Another one of the best hostels with a private room in Chicago is Found Hotel Chicago River.
  • $$
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • Luggage Storage
  • Key Card Access

Found Hotel Chicago River North is a stylish boutique hostel/hotel close to both downtown Chicago and the Magnificent Mile. There are en-suite four-bed dorms, with mixed and female-only options available, as well as private en-suite rooms for two. Access is by keycard, keeping this Chicago backpackers hostel safe, and there are housekeeping services to make sure everywhere is gleaming.

You’ll not only find a top-notch restaurant and a bar here, but there’s also a karaoke lounge where you can belt out all your favourite hits. The free airport transfers mean you don’t need to go through the hassle of finding a Chicago hostel near the airport—Bonus!

Best Budget Hotels in Chicago

Like we said, Chicago doesn’t have many hostels.

So if you’re still not completely convinced (or they are booked up), how about a Chicago hotel instead? There are hotels to suit all budgets in the Windy City. Here are three of our favourites.

The Best Budget Hotel in Chicago – Hollywood Sensation Home

Hollywood Sensation Home best hostels in Chicago
  • $
  • Paid Private Parking
  • Iron
  • Free Wi-Fi

Hollywood Sensation Home is a budget hotel in Chicago that offers everything you need for a good night’s sleep. Rooms share bathrooms and there’s also a shared kitchen. Wi-Fi is free. Each cosy room has storage space and plenty of homey touches. Entry to the house is by a keypad.

The Best Mid-Range Hotel in Chicago – Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace

Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace best hostels in Chicago
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Fitness Centre
  • Garden

Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace is a comfortable Chicago hotel with a wide choice of en-suite rooms and suites and great guest facilities. All rooms have a microwave, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and a hairdryer. Some rooms have a hot tub!

Breakfast is free each morning. There’s a fitness centre onsite as well as a sauna and Jacuzzi. The garden is a cool place to relax.

The Best Splurge Hotel in Chicago – Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection best hostels in Chicago
  • $$$
  • Restaurant
  • Fitness Centre
  • Laundry & Dry Cleaning Services

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection is a stylish and awesome hotel in Chicago, great for treating yourself to a little decadence and feeling fancy. All rooms are en-suite with comfy beds, a desk, a large TV, a coffee machine, and a safe. Wi-Fi is free.

The onsite restaurant serves plenty of seasonal dishes and cocktails. There’s a modern fitness centre and you should definitely check out the room service robots!

What to Pack for your Chicago Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from us, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straight forward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art we have perfected over many years.

Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

Why you should travel to Chicago

Chicago is epic. Your only danger (after gorging on amazing pizza) is missing out on a hostel!

Booking a hostel in Chicago is the most assured way to save money in an otherwise expensive city. Doing so will enable you to really enjoy Chicago, without worrying about spending too much cash.

So, which hostel are you going to book? Are you gunna go with the best hostel for solo travelers? Or how about the best party hostel in Chicago?

Still can’t pick? We understand. Our overall pick for best hostel in Chicago is Freehand Chicago. Just go with it – you won’t regret it.

Freehand Chicago best hostels in Chicago

FAQ about Hostels in Chicago

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Chicago.

Travel Safety Tips for Chicago

And don’t forget Travel Insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

More Epic Hostels in USA and North America

Hopefully, by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Chicago.

Planning an epic trip all across USA or even North America itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around North America, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Chicago has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Find out how YOU can support the site.

We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button