When you travel anywhere in the world, especially to a major city, you have a lot of big decisions to make. Between activities, eateries, modes of transport, and more, there are lots of different things to choose when planning a city trip, but one of the most important decisions to make is what kind of accommodation you want to stay in. Hotels and motels have their advantages, along with rented accommodation like homes and apartments, but if you want to save money, meet new people, and make the most of your trip, a hostel might be the very best option. Hostels are best-known for being the lowest-priced form of accommodation, but they also provide much-needed services like Wi-Fi, secure spaces, refreshments, and more. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Chicago is the third biggest city in the United States. Renowned for its rich nightlife, stunning surroundings, unique cuisine, and friendly atmosphere, it’s one of the most visited cities in the world. If you’re visiting Chicago and really want to make the most of your visit, you’ll be outdoors almost non-stop and won’t really need any 5-star hotel luxuries, so booking a hostel is a great idea. As a highly developed American city, Chicago has some of the best hostels around, with additional services and features that you might not expect to find.

Best Hostels in Chicago

Reserving a hostel in Chicago is a super idea for many kinds of traveler, from solo adventurers to couples or groups of friends. Staying in a Chicago hostel will help you get in touch with other people from all around America and beyond, making new friends and engaging in activities you might not have tried. Here are some details and overviews on the best hostels Chicago has to offer.

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2.HI Chicago Hostel

HI Chicago Hostel
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Located just a short walk from the local Harrison subway station, HI Chicago Hostel is one of the top hostels in America's third biggest city. It's conveniently situated near several large parks and tourist areas, with a lot of stores, bars, and eateries in the local area too. In short, if you're looking for a good quality hostel in the heart of Chicago, this is the one to choose. Many activities are organized for the guests, including walking tours and more, and both small and large dorms can be reserved, as well as deluxe double and king rooms. Free breakfast and free high-speed Wi-Fi are included in the room rate, with a restaurant and laundry room located on-site too.

24 Ida B. Wells Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, Phone: 312-360-0300

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3.Chicago Parthenon Hostel

Chicago Parthenon Hostel
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Located in Greektown right by an El train stop, just a few minutes from the Chicago Loop, Chicago Parthenon Hostel is another of the Windy City's top hostel locations. Single-sex dormitories are available for up to six guests, with each dorm featuring secure storage lockers, comfortable bed linen, and free Wi-Fi access. Private rooms can also be reserved if you're looking for a little more intimacy with either shared or en-suite bathrooms. A continental breakfast is offered for free each morning, with upscale tea and coffee making facilities also available for all guests. A communal lounge, kitchen, laundry area, bar, and restaurant are located on site.

310 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661, Phone: 312-258-1399

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4.Chicago Getaway Hostel

Chicago Getaway Hostel
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Located in Park West, just a brisk 5-minute walk away from Lincoln Park, the Chicago Getaway Hostel offers comfort, cleanliness, and all of the amenities and services you would hope to find in top quality hostel. The rooms are relatively simple, with both private and shared bathrooms available, but the perks and amenities are next level. This location features a large equipped kitchen area, a full music room with several instruments to rock out with your friends, a TV room to chill and watch some movies, and regular events like BBQs at the weekends.

616 W Arlington Pl, Chicago, IL 60614, Phone: 773-929-5380

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5.Wrigley Hostel

Wrigley Hostel
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If you're heading into Chicago to catch a game at Wrigley Field, this is the best hostel to choose. It's literally just a few minutes away from the home of the Chicago Cubs, while also being conveniently situated for many other attractions and points of interest like Lincoln Park Zoo. One of the things past visitors love about Wrigley Hostel is the food; delicious pizzas are cooked up each evening, with pancakes and waffles served at breakfast in the mornings. A games room with several seating areas and a pool table is also available for all guests, along with a shared kitchen, high speed internet, mixed dorms, and female-only dorms.

3514 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, Phone: 773-598-4471

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4 Best Chicago Hostels

Attraction Spotlight: Lincoln Park Zoo

Located within the shadow of skyscrapers, Lincoln Park Zoo is situated just a short distance north of Chicago. The zoo serves as a natural oasis for animal lovers who wish to forget the city around them as they immerse themselves in dry-thorn forest, expansive savannas, and tropical rainforests. Guests can hear the roar of a lion echo off of nearby buildings or watch gorillas climb trees with Willis Tower in the background. Lincoln Park Zoo is the wildest place in the city.

The unique Regenstein Center for African Apes is a state-of-the-art center unlike any other in the United States, and possibly the world. The living space for apes in the center is 29,000 square feet, and includes both indoor and outdoor space. The habitat designed for the African Apes includes simulated and real bamboo stands, skylights, a waterfall, heated logs, and a moat. There are also termite mounds for chimpanzee "fishing," as well as 5,000 feet of artifical vines and dozens of trees.

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The main three habitat exhibits at the Regenstein Center for African Apes are the Dry Riverbed Valley, the Strangler Fig Forest, and the Kovler Gorilla Bamboo Forest. The Dry Riverbed Valley and the Strangler Fig Forest both accommodate gorillas or chimpanzees, while the Kovler Gorilla Bamboo Forest accommodates gorillas. The indoor and outdoor exhibits appear to be one due to the indoor exhibits being located immediately adjactent to the outdoor ones.

Kovler Lion House

The Kovler Lion House, located in the center of Lincoln Park Zoo, is a historic landmark at the zoo. Inside, the roars of some of the rarest and most beautiful big cats in the world are amplified by the building's vaulted ceilling and wide hall. Among the many big cats are African lions, a jaguar from South America, a snow leopard from Asia, and Amur tigers.

Regenstein African Journey

A variety of African animals, from giraffes to rhinoceroses, thrive within the Regenstein African Journey exhibit area of Lincoln Park Zoo. Guests can walk through four different habitats and experience the great amount of life that lives in each one.

Regenstein Macaque Forest

The Regenstein Macaque Forest at Lincoln Park Zoo is a state-of-the-art exhibit consisting of features designed to encourage the twelve snow monkeys who call the habitat home to show off their cool culture. Visitors can watch the Japanese macaques play among the treetops, exercise their minds through built-in touchscreen computers, or bathe in the habitat's hot spring.

Helen Brach Primate House

Visitors will find a wide array of primate species swinging through the trees within the Helen Brach Primate House. The building consists of eight naturalistic exhibit areas that replicate the primates' native habitats. There is also a huge outdoor habitat that offers extra space for white-cheeked gibbons to play during the warmer months.

Anteleope and Zebra Area

Lincoln Park Zoo's Anteleope and Zebra Area spans four acres and is home to a wide variety of mammals, such as zebras, camels, red kangaroos, and antelope. Several of the animals that call this habitat area home are rare or endangered. Visitors can watch as the animals graze under the shade of trees that have been around for a century in several outdoor habitat areas. The area provides a living look at life on the plains.

Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove

Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove, home to a colony of African penguins, is a new exhibit at Lincoln Park Zoo. The naturalistically designed habitat is inspired by the rocky shoreline and beaches of southern Africa where these penguins' native habitat is located. Guests won't miss a moment of the penguins waddling, diving, or swimming thanks o the exhibit's split-level, immersive views both above and below the water. The special exhibit features burrow-shaped nesting boxes, a temperature-controlled pool, and a heated deck.

Kovler Seal Pool

The Kovler Seal Pool is one Lincoln Park Zoo's most popular and oldest exhibits. The harbor seals habitat remarkably resembles their native habitat. Guests can get an up close look at the seals gliding through the water from the exhibit's underwater viewing area. The spectacular grace the seals display underwater has made them a favorite among zoo guests for over 135 years.

Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House

The Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House is home to around 200 reptiles, small mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates within its 32,000 square feet. These creatures coexist in mixed-species, naturalistic habitats. Guests have the chance to experience animals, climates, and conditions of Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa while surrounded by wildlife. The buildling consists of two major spaces: the Ecosystem and the Gallery. There areas were created to showcase some the most remarkable animals in the world, and also to teach visitors about the importance of preserving endangered species and their native habitats.

Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit

The lush habitat of the outdoor Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit is the residence of some of the most intriguing animals in Lincoln Park Zoo. The snowy old and bald eagle reside in adjacent enclousures. A large section of the exhibit is shared by white storks and cinereous vultures.

McCormick Bird House

The brick McCormick Bird House provides ample space for birds from numerous different habitats, from the seashores and tropics to forests to wetlands to savannas. The historic building contains several habitats, each designed to echo the birds' native environments. In addition to viewing the vast variety of birds in traditional exhibits, visitors can walk through the tropical Free Flight Area to be completely surrounded in the world of birds.

Children have the opportunity to experience a small bit of country within the city at the Farm-in-the-Zoo. Visitors will have the chance to see ponies, pigs, cows, and chickens. They can also participate in seasonal gardening demonstrations or greet goats in the goat contact yard. In the middle of the Farm-in-the-Zoo is a seasonal edible garden that offers children hands-on lessons about the origins of food.

The Dairy Barn at Farm-in-the-Zoo houses cows and goats, and provides guests with a chance to about the milking process. The Main Barn features interactive learning stations for visitors of all ages. Guests can experience the rumble of thunder, the crackle of lightning, and the rush of a tornado at the Farming and Weather station. Eggsplore the Nest allows visitors to experience "hatching out" of an oversized egg.

Pritzker Family Children's Zoo

The Pritzker Family Children's Zoo offers children a chance to walk through the woods and get up close and personal with animals from North America. This kid-friendly exhibit allows guests to get nose to nose with North American river otters, red wolves, American beavers, and black bears.

Waterfowl Lagoon

The Waterfowl Lagoon at Lincoln Park Zoo is home to swan gees and Chilean flamingos. The resounding calls and bright colors of the birds draw guests from throughout the zoo. Mudflats within the exhibit allow flamingos to be able to construct "mud towers" for nesting. Shelter from the winter cold is provided by the Flamingo Habitat's indoor warmth.

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Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond

Lincoln Park Zoo began over 130 years ago with a pair of swans that were gifted to the zoo. Two Trumpeter swans still call the verdant Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond their home today, and serve as an ongoing reminder of the zoo's history of preserving wildlife. The scenic pond is also home to waterfowl.

The Lincoln Park Zoo offers several attraction in addition to the animals for guests to enjoy. The Lionel Train Adventure transports visitors over a country bridge and then winds its way through forest and canyon scenery until returning to a red brick station. The beautifully crafted train includes a coal car, passenger cars, and a wheelchair-accessible caboose. The train does not operate during the winter months. The Lionel Train Adventure can be found south of Regenstein Macaque Forest, near the West Gate of the zoo. There is also the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel that can accommodate up to 50 people. The carousel consists of 48 wooden animals and two chariots crafted by artisans. The animal species represented are rare or endangered, many of them can be found within the zoo.

Nature Boardwalk

The Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo provides an urban oasis and a natural haven for native fish, birds, turtles, and frogs. The boardwalk serves as an outdoor classroom and living laboratory. The Nature Boardwalk also serves as a model for urban conservation and sustainability.

The Hurvis Center

People are connected to animals nature through the programs offered by the Hurvis Center at Lincoln Park Zoo. The goal of the zoo with these programs is to empower and inspire people to act as stewards for the global community and local environments. The Hurvis Center provides a wide assortment of both children and adult programs that are designed to be both fun and educational. Visitors also have the chance to learn more about the role Lincoln Park Zoo has in animal care, welfare, and conservation.

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2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

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Venue Spotlight: The Crystal Gardens

Located on Chicago’s famous Navy Pier, the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier is a beautiful indoor botanical garden overlooking Lake Michigan that offers a unique and exquisite venue for special celebrations such as wedding ceremonies and receptions. Operated by Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, the Crystal Gardens is ideally situated to enjoy spectacular views of Navy Pier’s Dock Street, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago skyline. The venue boasts a six-story glass atrium and an arched ceiling spanning 50 feet covering lush vegetation, palm trees, flowering plants, tinkling‘leapfrog’ fountains and twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere for any occasion. The venue is spread over two floors and can accommodate a full garden party for up to 1,500 guests and a partial garden event for 500 guests. Events are individually planned by of the venue’s professional planning and management team to ensure a unique and unforgettable experience for each client.


Overlooking Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline from the Chicago’s famous Navy Pier, the Crystal Gardens offers two room types for small and large events and functions. The venue can be hired in its entirety for a Full Garden Event and accommodate up to 600 guests for a seated dinner with a stage and dance floor and up to 1,500 guests for a cocktail reception.

A portion of the venue (two-thirds) can be booked for a Partial Garden Event and can be sectioned off with six-foot black screens to give the appearance of black garden trellising. This portion can accommodate up to accommodate up to 275 guests for cocktails and seated dinners, and up to 500 for standing cocktail receptions. On-site catering and beverage services must be used when reserving a Partial Garden Event.


Rental of the full or partial venue includes tables, chairs, white linen, china, silver, and glassware. Menu tastings are hosted three to four months before the event. Reserved and valet parking are available upon request and subject to availability.


Phil Stefani Restaurants is the exclusive caterer in The Crystal Gardens and creates customized menus of international cuisine using fresh locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.

General Information

The Crystal Gardens is located on the Mezzanine Level at 700 East Grand Avenue on the famous Navy Pier and reserved and valet parking is available on request and subject to availability.

Located on Chicago’s top attraction – the world-renowned Navy Pier – the Crystal Gardens are ideally placed for exploring and enjoying other nearby attractions such as the Navy Pier’s Dock Street, the Ferris wheel, and Lake Michigan. Other things to see and do in the area range include catching a play at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, explore the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, take a sea cruise or pretend to be a pirate on the Tall Ship Windy, or spend a day at the Ohio Street Beach. Relax over a beer at the Miller Lite Beer Garden and listen to a free concert, or soak up the incredible views from the Jane Adams Memorial Park on the north side of the Pier.

700 East Grand Avenue, Mezzanine Level, Chicago, Phone: 312-595-5436

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