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Where To Stay In Chicago (For Cheap) During Festival Season

With the recent release of this year's Lollapalooza lineup, out of town concert goers are beginning to plan their trips to the Windy City for festival season. Chicago is the home to a burgeoning festival scene with several high profile outdoor music events including the Pitchfork Music Fest, North Coast Music Festival, Spring Awakening, Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago and of course the well known and well attended Lollapalooza. With millions of festival goers flooding into downtown Chicago over the course of the summer, reviewing lodging options can be daunting and perhaps expensive undertaking. For those who have spent all of their loot on weekend passes, and travel expenses, there are a few ways to save big bucks while visiting the Windy City.

Fortunately for festival goers who are strapped on cash, Chicago has a solid amount of decent hostels to crash at while visiting. Most of the city's hostels are in the neighborhoods, requiring a short ride on the L to get to Grant Park. However, the American Youth Hostel's HI-Chicago is conveniently located in the city's center. This hostel is perhaps the city's largest (at least until the Tokyo Hotel renovation is completed), and offers dorm accommodations as well as private rooms. The HI-Chicago is open 24/7 and has no curfew. A spot in a dorm starts at $30 per night.

Lincoln Park's Chicago Getaway Hostel is another great option for travelers looking to visit on the cheap, and is currently ranked as the best hostel in Chicago by booking website Hostel World. Although festival goers would have to hop on the L or take a bus downtown, the hostel is located only four miles from Grant Park, making for a quick ride. Like HI-Chicago, this hostel also offers dorm beds and private rooms. The Chicago Getaway Hostel's offerings are surprisingly nice (and clean looking) and a spot in a dorm starts at $20 per night.

The last hostel on our list is the IHSP Chicago in Wicker Park. Travelers who are looking to take the party back to the hostel might want to consider this option. Located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city, there are late night bars galore in Wicker Park. This hostel offers a free airport shuttle (which would be convenient right now for Blue Line travelers) and has no curfew. As of this moment, a spot in a 20-bed dorm costs under $15, although this will likely increase as peak tourism season approaches.


For those who want something that is perhaps a bit more refined, and would prefer something more private, consider sites like Airbnb. For instance, this room in West Town can be rented out for $35 a night, or $200 a week. Not bad. Also, depending on timing, availability, and general free-spiritedness Couchsurfing.org can be another option for those who are trying to travel on the real cheap. Couchsurfers don't have to front any money to sleep on a local's couch, however would-be couch crashers have to first create a profile and most hosts won't respond to requests from surfers who don't have a long list of glowing reviews and recommendations.

Grant Park

337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601