clock menu more-arrow no yes
The interior of a restaurant. There is a couch with multiple assorted pillows. There are chairs. The walls are wood paneled.
C.C. Ferns in Humboldt Park
Courtesy of C.C. Ferns

The best places to work when you aren’t going into the office

These spots have free wifi, good coffee, and plenty of outlets

View as Map
C.C. Ferns in Humboldt Park
| Courtesy of C.C. Ferns

We originally created this list of places to work for the folks who regularly work remotely—and as we learn more about the novel coronavirus it’s clear this might become a resource for more people in Chicago.

Related: How to work from home, according to Curbed editors

While plugging away from your apartment can be convenient, sometimes it’s more productive to head to the local library or coffee shop. If you’re new to working from home visiting one of these places for a few hours might help you be a bit more productive in your new routine, too. Especially, if you’ve got roommates with different schedules, a partner who also works from home, or other circumstances that make it hard to concentrate at home.

Whether you’re just working remotely for the day or you’re a full-time freelancer, hit up one of these libraries, coffee bars, or hotel coworking spaces to refresh your workday. Every place has free wifi, accessible outlets, and table space.

Note: This map is arranged geographically from north to south.

Read More

1. Sol Cafe

Copy Link
1615 Howard St
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 961-8289
Visit Website

This is much more than a coffee shop, the self-declared plant haven is an ideal place to post up for the work day. Way up on the North Side, this refreshing space will give you all the energy needed for a heads-down day.

2. Botanical Cafe

Copy Link
3740 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 815-7515
Visit Website

What’s better than caffeine and greenery? This hybrid plant-and-coffee shop will answer all of your Fiddle Leaf Fig questions and provide a serene place for you to get all your tedious work done. The shop has two-top table and a couch area—obviously, all surrounded by lush plants. Rare Tea Cellar and Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters are on the menu, too.

3. Sleeping Village

Copy Link
3734 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

By day, the bar at Sleeping Village serves coffee all day and is used as a chill workspace with two long tables, several booths, outside picnic tables. At night, the space turns into a concert venue and gets packed with music lovers on most nights, so you’ll probably want to leave in the early evening—unless a little distraction keeps you motivated.

4. Bourgeois Pig Cafe

Copy Link
738 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This Lincoln Park duplex coffee shop has been a neighborhood mainstay for years, largely thanks to its unique, retro aesthetic. Gold-framed portraits and mirrors, ornate chandeliers, and stacks of weathered books make the Pig a one-of-a-kind spot. It gets a bit crowded when DePaul is in session, but it’s never hard to find a table here. There’s also a printer available to the public for a fee, and it’s adjacent to a FedEx store.

5. The Robey

Copy Link
2018 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 315-3050
Visit Website

You probably know The Robey for its two rooftop bars and trendy, ground-level restaurant. However, if you head upstairs to the second-floor you’ll find a lounge that’s perfectly equipped for getting into a good work flow. There’s a long library table, seating clusters, and good lighting. It’s typically populated with other remote workers and a few hotel guests. Plus, there’s a service window where you can order from a limited menu with food and specialty coffee.

6. Caffe Streets

Copy Link
1750 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 278-2739

The warm, wood interior of this coffee shop is ideal for a calming workplace. The one-room space has multi-level seating options with a row of work stations against the far wall for individual work. Love to people watch? Grab a seat on the stools in front of the sidewalk-facing window.

7. Newberry Library

Copy Link
60 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 943-9090
Visit Website

This historic research library isn’t a Chicago Public Library, but it’s still free to attend. Once you sign up for a library membership, cozy up in one of the upstairs reading rooms overlooking Washington Square Park. Founded in 1887, the Newberry Library specializes in Western European and American history from the Renaissance through the 20th century. If you’re looking to recreate that college library feel, an afternoon at the Newberry should get the job done.

8. C.C. Ferns

Copy Link
2806 W Augusta Blvd
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 384-2547
Visit Website

Is it a Polynesian dive bar? Is it your parents’ basement? Is it a midcentury furniture sale? Nope, it’s an almost-too-precious cafe in Humboldt Park. This Brendan Sodikoff coffee shop is one of the coziest, most Instagrammable spots in the city, but also makes for an excellent workplace. C.C. Ferns serves excellent coffee concoctions in mason jars and Doughnut Vault pastries. Really, there is nothing else your morning needs.

9. FieldHouse Jones

Copy Link
312 W Chestnut St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 291-9922
Visit Website

The lobby of this boutique hotel is a tennis-themed coffeebar, DropShot. The industrial yet cozy space has upholstered armchairs, bench seating, and couches. There’s lots of natural light, strong coffee, and plenty of folks hunkered down with laptops.

10. Standing Passengers

Copy Link
1458 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 374-3177
Visit Website

This transit-focused, artsy cafe gives off friendly neighborhood vibes. Claim a two-top, communal table, or sink into one of the couches for an all-day workspace. Plus, there’s small patio out back with a few tables when you need a change of scenery.

11. ACME Hotel Company

Copy Link
15 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 894-0800
Visit Website

Bodega, the second-floor lounge at this River North hotel is a dedicated coworking space with cozy seating, desks, and couches. Bonus: There’s a fireplace. What more do you need to hunker down and get some work done?

12. Marshall's Landing

Copy Link
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 610-8050
Visit Website

This lounge in the Merchandise Mart gets quite busy, but if you can snag a table or one of the hooded chairs it’s a decent place to spend the work day. At the top of the grand staircase there’s a coffee bar window, or steps away there’s a full restaurant with giant booths overlooking the river.

13. West Loop Library

Copy Link
122 N Aberdeen St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 744-2995
Visit Website

Once part of Oprah’s Harpo Studios, the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) redesigned this old bow-truss building inta a Chicago Public Library branch. The renovated 16,500-square-foot space has creative work spaces, long elegant tables, and comfortable chairs.

14. Harold Washington Library

Copy Link
Harold Washington Library, 400 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605

The flagship Chicago Public Library location is beloved and for good reason. Named for the city’s first African-American mayor, the South Loop library houses nine floors of research materials, a children’s library, 3D printers, and meeting spaces. The sun-soaked Winter Garden, located on the ninth floor, is a particularly idyllic reading room. It should be a problem finding open table space at this massive public library.

15. Chinatown Library

Copy Link
2100 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed this award-winning circular building. It references Feng Shui principles in an effort to resonate with the Chinatown community and offers stellar skyline views. The library is right next to Ping Tom Memorial Park—perfect for an after-work stroll.

16. Bridgeport Coffeehouse

Copy Link
3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608

This South Side coffee chain has locations in Hyde Park, the Roosevelt Collection and the Loop, but we like its original Bridgeport coffeeshop the best. Bridgeport Coffee Company, founded in 2004, keeps coffee snobs satisfied with its array of organic and fair-trade roasts. This space itself is as inviting as the drinks. It has two rooms for seating, gorgeous ceiling molding and outdoor tables.

17. Blackstone Library

Copy Link
Blackstone Library, 4904 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

Spend your workday in a piece of history at this Kenwood library, which was the first branch of the Chicago Public Library system. Founded in 1904, the building is modeled after the Erechtheoin, a temple on the Acropolis in Athens. The ornate decor includes stained-glass ceilings, mosaics tile floors, carved marble and mahogany paneling, and the painted rotunda in the foyer. It’s unlike any other workspace in the city.

18. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

Copy Link
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Nestled up right against Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, this Hyde Park coffee and lunch spot is a must-try. Who wouldn’t want to work in the open air with views of Wright’s masterpiece? It tends to get quite busy during the week, given its location on the University of Chicago campus, so get there early in the day to snag a seat.

19. Robust Coffee Lounge

Copy Link
6300 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 891-4240
Visit Website

Perched at the bottom of the University of Chicago campus, Robust Coffee Lounge is a popular spot for South Side freelancers and students. The Woodlawn coffee shop opened in 2010, and features a full, inexpensive breakfast and lunch menu. The polished concrete and industrial atmosphere inspires a heads-down work mode.

1. Sol Cafe

1615 Howard St, Chicago, IL 60626

This is much more than a coffee shop, the self-declared plant haven is an ideal place to post up for the work day. Way up on the North Side, this refreshing space will give you all the energy needed for a heads-down day.

1615 Howard St
Chicago, IL 60626

2. Botanical Cafe

3740 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

What’s better than caffeine and greenery? This hybrid plant-and-coffee shop will answer all of your Fiddle Leaf Fig questions and provide a serene place for you to get all your tedious work done. The shop has two-top table and a couch area—obviously, all surrounded by lush plants. Rare Tea Cellar and Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters are on the menu, too.

3740 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

3. Sleeping Village

3734 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

By day, the bar at Sleeping Village serves coffee all day and is used as a chill workspace with two long tables, several booths, outside picnic tables. At night, the space turns into a concert venue and gets packed with music lovers on most nights, so you’ll probably want to leave in the early evening—unless a little distraction keeps you motivated.

3734 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

4. Bourgeois Pig Cafe

738 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This Lincoln Park duplex coffee shop has been a neighborhood mainstay for years, largely thanks to its unique, retro aesthetic. Gold-framed portraits and mirrors, ornate chandeliers, and stacks of weathered books make the Pig a one-of-a-kind spot. It gets a bit crowded when DePaul is in session, but it’s never hard to find a table here. There’s also a printer available to the public for a fee, and it’s adjacent to a FedEx store.

738 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

5. The Robey

2018 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

You probably know The Robey for its two rooftop bars and trendy, ground-level restaurant. However, if you head upstairs to the second-floor you’ll find a lounge that’s perfectly equipped for getting into a good work flow. There’s a long library table, seating clusters, and good lighting. It’s typically populated with other remote workers and a few hotel guests. Plus, there’s a service window where you can order from a limited menu with food and specialty coffee.

2018 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

6. Caffe Streets

1750 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

The warm, wood interior of this coffee shop is ideal for a calming workplace. The one-room space has multi-level seating options with a row of work stations against the far wall for individual work. Love to people watch? Grab a seat on the stools in front of the sidewalk-facing window.

1750 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

7. Newberry Library

60 W Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610

This historic research library isn’t a Chicago Public Library, but it’s still free to attend. Once you sign up for a library membership, cozy up in one of the upstairs reading rooms overlooking Washington Square Park. Founded in 1887, the Newberry Library specializes in Western European and American history from the Renaissance through the 20th century. If you’re looking to recreate that college library feel, an afternoon at the Newberry should get the job done.

60 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610

8. C.C. Ferns

2806 W Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622

Is it a Polynesian dive bar? Is it your parents’ basement? Is it a midcentury furniture sale? Nope, it’s an almost-too-precious cafe in Humboldt Park. This Brendan Sodikoff coffee shop is one of the coziest, most Instagrammable spots in the city, but also makes for an excellent workplace. C.C. Ferns serves excellent coffee concoctions in mason jars and Doughnut Vault pastries. Really, there is nothing else your morning needs.

2806 W Augusta Blvd
Chicago, IL 60622

9. FieldHouse Jones

312 W Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60610

The lobby of this boutique hotel is a tennis-themed coffeebar, DropShot. The industrial yet cozy space has upholstered armchairs, bench seating, and couches. There’s lots of natural light, strong coffee, and plenty of folks hunkered down with laptops.

312 W Chestnut St
Chicago, IL 60610

10. Standing Passengers

1458 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

This transit-focused, artsy cafe gives off friendly neighborhood vibes. Claim a two-top, communal table, or sink into one of the couches for an all-day workspace. Plus, there’s small patio out back with a few tables when you need a change of scenery.

1458 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

11. ACME Hotel Company

15 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

Bodega, the second-floor lounge at this River North hotel is a dedicated coworking space with cozy seating, desks, and couches. Bonus: There’s a fireplace. What more do you need to hunker down and get some work done?

15 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

12. Marshall's Landing

222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654

This lounge in the Merchandise Mart gets quite busy, but if you can snag a table or one of the hooded chairs it’s a decent place to spend the work day. At the top of the grand staircase there’s a coffee bar window, or steps away there’s a full restaurant with giant booths overlooking the river.

222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, IL 60654

13. West Loop Library

122 N Aberdeen St, Chicago, IL 60607

Once part of Oprah’s Harpo Studios, the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) redesigned this old bow-truss building inta a Chicago Public Library branch. The renovated 16,500-square-foot space has creative work spaces, long elegant tables, and comfortable chairs.

122 N Aberdeen St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Harold Washington Library

Harold Washington Library, 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

The flagship Chicago Public Library location is beloved and for good reason. Named for the city’s first African-American mayor, the South Loop library houses nine floors of research materials, a children’s library, 3D printers, and meeting spaces. The sun-soaked Winter Garden, located on the ninth floor, is a particularly idyllic reading room. It should be a problem finding open table space at this massive public library.

Harold Washington Library, 400 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605

15. Chinatown Library

2100 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed this award-winning circular building. It references Feng Shui principles in an effort to resonate with the Chinatown community and offers stellar skyline views. The library is right next to Ping Tom Memorial Park—perfect for an after-work stroll.

2100 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

16. Bridgeport Coffeehouse

3101 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608

This South Side coffee chain has locations in Hyde Park, the Roosevelt Collection and the Loop, but we like its original Bridgeport coffeeshop the best. Bridgeport Coffee Company, founded in 2004, keeps coffee snobs satisfied with its array of organic and fair-trade roasts. This space itself is as inviting as the drinks. It has two rooms for seating, gorgeous ceiling molding and outdoor tables.

3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608

17. Blackstone Library

Blackstone Library, 4904 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60615

Spend your workday in a piece of history at this Kenwood library, which was the first branch of the Chicago Public Library system. Founded in 1904, the building is modeled after the Erechtheoin, a temple on the Acropolis in Athens. The ornate decor includes stained-glass ceilings, mosaics tile floors, carved marble and mahogany paneling, and the painted rotunda in the foyer. It’s unlike any other workspace in the city.

Blackstone Library, 4904 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

18. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Nestled up right against Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, this Hyde Park coffee and lunch spot is a must-try. Who wouldn’t want to work in the open air with views of Wright’s masterpiece? It tends to get quite busy during the week, given its location on the University of Chicago campus, so get there early in the day to snag a seat.

5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

19. Robust Coffee Lounge

6300 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Perched at the bottom of the University of Chicago campus, Robust Coffee Lounge is a popular spot for South Side freelancers and students. The Woodlawn coffee shop opened in 2010, and features a full, inexpensive breakfast and lunch menu. The polished concrete and industrial atmosphere inspires a heads-down work mode.

6300 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637