Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tips on Staying and Playing in Chicago on the Cheap

A trip to Chicago will provide you with joyous and heartwarming memories to last a lifetime. No matter what time of year you go, there is always something special about the city. During the winter holidays, the magical, twinkling lights and colorful, festive displays are truly something to behold. In the summer, you can join the happy faces of people frolicking on the many beaches. To get the most out of your trip for the least amount of money no matter when you go, it helps to know where to stay and where to play on a budget.

                 Photo by Ashur Shamun via

Where to Stay

Staying in Chicago doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Put on an extra layer or two of clothing and enjoy the discounted rates that many hotels offer in the winter. Winter is also a good time to go because you will find cheaper flights and the city isn't as crowded.

There are several Chicago hotels that offer discounts throughout the year; you just have to know how to find them. Consider the MileNorth Chicago, which offers 20 percent off their lowest rate when you pay with American Express. As crazy as it sounds, they also give 5 percent off when you travel with your dog. If you plan in advance and book early, the rates are extremely reasonable. Another hotel to consider is the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. They offer more than eight different discount packages that are connected with different activities in the city. And for more hotels, check out hipmunk's Chicago hotels page.

How to Get Around

The least expensive way to get around is on foot, but if you want to go somewhere that is beyond walking distance, the L (elevated railroad) is the cheapest alternative – and it offers great views of the city. The L has more than 140 stations, so you won't have to worry about it getting you where you want to go. The L has discounted, unlimited ride passes, too.

Play for Free

There are actually many fun things to do in Chicago that are completely free. The Chicago Children's Museum has three floors of educational and entertaining activities for children, and it is free for patrons 15 years of age or younger. The Lincoln Park Zoo, which is considered one of the best zoos in the United States, is free for all, and it is open every day of the year. Another free and fun thing to do is visit Millenium Park. It is filled with amazing outdoor art and architecture, and it offers free exhibitions, concerts, family activities, and more throughout the year.

     Photo by Ursula Bernal via

Play for a Fee

If you are willing to pay to see certain attractions but would still like to find the best deals, you should check out the Chicago CityPASS and the Go Chicago Card. They each offer potential savings of over 50 percent on combined admissions to some of Chicago’s top attractions. For those interested in sports, concerts, and theater, ScoreBig is a site that helps you find discounts on tickets for many Chicago events.

       Photo by Huggi World via

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

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