Safest Areas to Stay in Chicago
When you're planning a trip to Chicago, one of the most important things to consider is where to stay. Chicago is a city full of vibrant culture, and like any big city, it's important to be aware of safety.. Today, I'll share some of the safest places in Chicago to stay
Alright, let's dive into the heart of Chicago, a place known as "the Loop." It's the downtown core, named for the train lines forming a loop here. Imagine it hugged by the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Heading north from the Loop, there's River North, Gold Coast, and Lincoln Park, known for their vibrant energy. Westward, you'll find trendy Wicker Park and West Loop, buzzing with arts and dining. To the south, neighborhoods like South Loop and Hyde Park offer rich history and culture. Each direction from the Loop leads you to safe, dynamic neighborhoods, perfect for exploring Chicago's essence. Let's explore these neighborhoods and find the perfect spot for your stay!
Safe Areas to Stay in Chicago
- Chicago Loop
- Hyde Park
- Lake View
- Lincoln Park
- Magnificent Mile
- River North
- South Loop
- West Loop
- Wicker Park
This is the vibrant heart of downtown Chicago, a hub where all the train lines converge, hence the nickname. It's the ideal spot for first-time visitors to the city. When you're in the Loop, you're in the middle of it all - it's the central point for exploring Chicago.
The Loop is home to some of Chicago's most famous attractions. Think Millennium Park, the iconic Cloud Gate (you might know it as "The Bean"), and the Art Institute of Chicago. When you stay here, everything's within reach. You can easily walk or hop on a train to other museums, restaurants and landmarks. Plus, many of Chicago's top hotels are here, and it's well-connected by the Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, and Purple train lines.
But, let's be real for a second. Staying in the Loop does have its downsides. It can get pretty noisy, and it's often crowded. Also, because it's such a popular area, it can be on the pricier side and feel a bit touristy. So while it's super central and convenient, these are things you might want to keep in mind when deciding where to stay in Chicago.
Let's talk about Hyde Park, a neighborhood steeped in history on Chicago's South Side.This is the spot for those who are keen on immersing themselves in Chicago's rich history and culture, rather than just hitting the typical tourist spots.
In Hyde Park, you'll find the University of Chicago with its stunning Gothic-style architecture. The campus is especially beautiful in the fall and is a must-see for anyone, not just prospective students. Besides the university, the neighborhood boasts attractions like the Museum of Science and Industry, the Frederick C. Robie House, and the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. It's a place where you can really dive into the local culture, with walkable streets, plenty of shops, restaurants, and accessible by the Green Line. However, keep in mind that Hyde Park is a bit removed from downtown's hustle and bustle, and your hotel options might be more limited compared to other areas. But if you're looking for a place with a local feel and lots of history, Hyde Park could be just the right choice for your Chicago stay. And if it seems a bit pricey, check the hotel with RatePunk browser extension or app to find the best deal.
Lakeview, nestled on Chicago's North Side, offers a more local experience, making it a fantastic choice for those wanting to catch a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field or for returning visitors eager to delve into a less touristy side of Chicago. This neighborhood has a warm, welcoming vibe, perfect for soaking in the city's day-to-day life.
Lakeview comprises several smaller areas, each with its unique character. There's Wrigleyville, an absolute haven for Chicago Cubs fans, and Boystown, known for its LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere. The neighborhood is highly walkable, brimming with cool spots like the Music Box Theatre and Southport Corridor. Plus, with Lake Michigan bordering Lakeview, you get access to quieter beaches. It's a safe area with plenty of shops, restaurants, dive bars, and famous live music venues. Getting around is easy too, with the Brown, Purple, and Red Lines serving the area. It's even one of the easier places in Chicago to drive.
The only downside? It's a bit further from the city center. But if you're after a genuine slice of Chicago life, Lakeview is a fantastic place to stay.
Lincoln Park is a top pick for families visiting Chicago. Located in the northern part of the city, this neighborhood is known for being walkable, safe, and rich in green spaces, with Lincoln Park itself being the largest in the city.
The charm of Lincoln Park lies in its brownstone buildings and a variety of vacation rentals, although hotel options are a bit limited, with Hotel Lincoln being the main one. This contributes to its quieter, less touristy atmosphere. The neighborhood is perfect for those who appreciate walkable areas, local charm, and access to great green spaces. It's also one of Chicago's safest areas.
However, keep in mind that it's a bit further from downtown Chicago and doesn't have the most convenient public transportation access. Plus, the limited hotel options might require a bit more planning. But if you're seeking a serene, family-friendly environment, Lincoln Park is a wonderful choice.
The Magnificent Mile, located on N Michigan Avenue, is a shopper's paradise and a fantastic place to stay for those who prioritize retail therapy during their trip.
As you stroll down the Magnificent Mile, you'll be greeted by an array of name-brand stores and iconic landmarks. Luxurious shopping options abound, with places like The RealReal, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Louis Vuitton. It's also home to unique spots like the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and the Water Tower Place Mall. Plus, you can't miss the Historic Water Tower and 875 North Michigan Ave, both significant landmarks in Chicago.
However, it's worth noting that staying near the Magnificent Mile might be a bit more expensive, as it's a well-known tourist area. But for those who love being in the heart of great shopping, a central location, and easy access to Lake Michigan and the Red Line, the Magnificent Mile offers a wonderful experience. Just be prepared for it to be a bit touristy and on the pricier side.
River North is the perfect spot in Chicago for those who love being close to downtown and enjoying nightlife. It's ideal for young professionals or anyone new to the city looking for a vibrant, city-life experience.
Located just north of the Loop, across the Chicago River, River North is filled with trendy restaurants, art galleries, and lively bars and clubs. You'll be within walking distance of other popular areas like the Loop and Magnificent Mile. The Westin Chicago River North is a great hotel choice for its location. While River North is central, walkable, and full of entertainment options, it can get noisy at night and might not have that local neighborhood feel.
South Loop, as the name suggests, is situated just south of the Loop in Chicago. It's the ideal location for those who have museums high on their visit list, or if you're in town for an event at Soldier Field.
At the heart of the South Loop is the lakefront Museum Campus, home to three of Chicago's major museums: Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium. Plus, its proximity to the southern edge of Grant Park means you're close to the Art Institute and attractions like Millennium Park. And for sports or concert fans, Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears and a popular venue for stadium concerts, is right there in the South Loop.
However, it's worth noting that it's not as walkable as other Chicago neighborhoods and hotel options might be more limited.
Streeterville, just east of the Magnificent Mile, is an excellent choice for families looking to stay in downtown Chicago. It's particularly great because of its proximity to Navy Pier, a favorite family destination. Navy Pier offers a variety of attractions including rides, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, and many more fun activities.
In Streeterville, you're also within walking distance of family-friendly places like The LEGO Store Chicago, American Girl Place, the Museum of Ice Cream, and Maggie Daley Park. Plus, you're close to other popular Chicago attractions like Millennium Park, 360 Chicago at the John Hancock Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
There are some drawbacks, keep in mind that it can get a bit noisy due to the nearby nightlife and a hospital. It can also be on the pricier side and might not have as much local charm as other neighborhoods. But for a family-friendly, central stay in Chicago, Streeterville is a top-notch choice.
The West Loop is a must-stay area in Chicago, especially if you're a foodie. It's west of the Loop and boasts an array of hip restaurants and bars. You'll find some of Chicago's culinary gems.
In the West Loop, you'll also discover hotels that are as trendy and unique as the neighborhood itself. These hotels perfectly capture the lively spirit of the area. Staying in the West Loop means you're in the midst of a world-class food scene, in a neighborhood that's both trendy and energetic. There is one thing you should know. Keep in mind that it can be a bit pricey and hotel options may be limited. Plus, it's a little farther from some of Chicago's top attractions.
Wicker Park is a great neighborhood for young visitors who are looking for a lively and local feel, but still want to be close to downtown Chicago. It's situated northwest of the Loop, and it's a real hotspot with its variety of restaurants, coffee shops, music venues, and vintage stores. The atmosphere in Wicker Park is energetic and popular with locals, but it doesn't feel overly touristy.
Staying in Wicker Park means you'll enjoy its local charm and have plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. It's vibrant but maintains a genuine neighborhood feel. Plus, getting to other parts of the city is easy with the Blue Line. However, keep in mind that it's a bit further from the heart of downtown Chicago, and it can get a bit noisy.
For first-time visitors to Chicago, the best areas to stay are the Chicago Loop, River North, and the Magnificent Mile. These neighborhoods are all in downtown Chicago, offering a central location that's ideal for exploring the city. They are conveniently within walking distance of various shops, restaurants, and top attractions, making them perfect for those new to the Windy City and wanting to experience its vibrant heart. Most importantly, they are safe too.