Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tips for Planning a Trip to Chicago on a Budget

Planning a trip that adheres to a budget, yet still packs in all the enjoyment you want to experience, can be a challenge. And Chicago is not an inexpensive city. However, when you keep these tips in mind, your trip to the Windy City is sure to be a successful one.

Photo by Sue Macchiarella via

Finding a Flight

When looking up flights to Chicago, remember that there are two airports that service the city: Chicago Midway International Airport and O'Hare International Airport. Compare the prices of flights to each airport; you might be able to save some money by flying into one airport instead of the other. Another thing to keep in mind, if you have some flexibility with your travel dates, is that you could save money by flying into or out of town a day earlier or later. You can play around with arrival and departure dates to find the most budget friendly combination.

Finding a Hotel

With so many hotels in Chicago, it helps to know about the options before booking a room. If you’re okay with not being downtown, there are many hotels in Rosemont that have lower rates than downtown hotels. Rosemont is also close to O'Hare International Airport, and several hotels have free shuttles from the airport. Plus, it’s easy to get downtown by taking advantage of the budget friendly Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line. Two hotels that you might want to consider for their great rates and favorable reviews are The Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago O'Hare and the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.

Do you prefer staying downtown? You can still find reasonably priced hotels. The Dana Hotel And Spa has much lower rates on average than other nearby hotels. It earns great reviews for its luxury boutique styling and its comfortable rooms. It also has a really cool rooftop lounge that is open year-round. You can also save money at the more well-known, pricier hotels by taking advantage of special pricing offers and discount packages. Sofitel Chicago Water Tower has a money saving second honeymoon package and offers substantial discounts for longer stays.

Finding Free Fun

You don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy several of Chicago’s famous activities and attractions. Kids will love Millennium Park with its famous interactive video sculpture and family activities. And the Lincoln Park Zoo is another favorite for kids. Seeing the wide array of animals will give your children outstanding memories to last a lifetime.

Photo by Meredith Haas via

There are plenty of free things for adults too. The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago has collections of European art, Asian art, contemporary art, and more. The works by artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Ansel Adams are really something to be seen. If you are into architecture, a visit to the Harold Washington Library Center is a must. The building is absolutely stunning architecturally. It has roof ornamentation depicting giant owls and wall medallions of the Roman goddess Ceres.

Photo by Richard Kidd via

These are just a few suggestions to get you started with planning your travel, lodging, and entertainment. Chicago is a marvelous city where you are sure to something new around every corner.

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

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