So you’re going to Riot Fest this year. Since it’s not one of those music/camping festivals, now you need to plan your accommodation. If you live in Chicago and you can stay in your own place, lucky you! But if you’ll be visiting the Windy City to attend the festival, where should you stay? Should you book a place near the festival for convenience, or are you trying to do a little exploration of Chicago while you’re here? We’ll explore a few hotel options for Riot Fest 2019.
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General Booking Advice
First, whatever you do, don’t leave it until the last minute to book something! Chicago is a big epicenter for conferences so there are lots of visitors flooding into the city and booking up hotel rooms for reasons other than Riot Fest. It’s also a popular tourist destination, especially in the summertime!
Another tip: If you’re not going to be driving, definitely try to book a hotel or Airbnb near Chicago public transit lines. The site of the festival, Douglas Park, is super easy to reach using public transportation as it’s located close to the CTA Pink Line and a CTA Bus stop. This will help you save money on Ubers and put that extra cash toward your room. You can even stay out in the suburbs (where you’ll find cheaper accommodation) and take the Metra BNSF Rail into the city.
Finally, keep in mind that Chicago is a big city and, in general, hotel prices are not cheap, particularly on the weekends. Taxes alone can tack on over $50 extra per night to hotel rates. But it is still possible to find some good deals if you look hard! Riot Fest has partnered with Curadora, a website that lets you book based on price, location, or amenities, while always showing you how far you are from the venue, so be sure to check that out!
Staying Near Douglas Park?
Douglas Park isn’t exactly located in the city center – after all, they need all that green space to throw an epic festival – but rather in the West Side of Chicago. So is it worth staying near the festival grounds for convenience purposes?
Many locals wouldn’t recommend it, suggesting perhaps that, outside of Riot Fest itself, this isn’t the safest area in the city. While you may want to keep that in mind, to be honest, there aren’t actually that many hotels located in the areas around the park anyway. The closest we’ve found are the Chicago Marriott in the Medical District and Hotel Chicago West Loop, which are still about a two-mile walk away. So yeah, scrap that idea.
If you still really wanna stay close to Douglas Park, there are a few Airbnbs that are available (for now). The average price is about $118 per night, but there are also private rooms at cheaper rates if you don’t need a whole place to yourself! No, it’s not the most beautiful neighborhood, but Lagunitas Brewing Company is a few blocks from the park, so you could hang out there.
Hotels in and Around Chicago
You really have so many options when it comes to hotels all over Chicago – more than 300 actually. We suggest choosing your location based on what you want to do when you’re outside the festival (besides eating deep-dish pizza, obviously).
You could choose somewhere along the river and see some touristy sites. You could stay along the Magnificent Mile to do some fancy shopping and eating. You could also get a room near Grant Park and check out all the downtown attractions and museums. There are tons of hotels around these parts, and you’d still be walkable to the pink line. Heck, you could even stay a little closer to the festival in Little Italy and get your fill of Italian food along Taylor Street.
Rates in the center of Chicago range from about $180 to $300 per night before taxes on the weekend of Riot Fest. Of course, it is possible to go even higher if you want to splurge. Just to pick an average hotel as an example, the Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile has rooms available starting at $238. For three nights, with taxes included, you’re looking at $881 total for their cheapest room. But there are two queen beds in there, so if you split it between four friends… that’s not so bad right?
Or you could just choose whatever you can find in your price range – hotel, motel, Airbnb – and focus solely on the festival! It’s no surprise that the farther out you go – either to the west toward the suburbs or out toward the airport – the cheaper your accommodation options get. Airport hotels range hotels from $93 to $175, and while it might take a while, you can still take the blue line downtown and then head to the festival from there. For more tips, just check out this discussion on the Riot Fest subReddit about cheap Chicago hotel options.
If you’re looking for something really cheap that’s still located in the city, don’t forget about hostels! There are 7 hostels in Chicago that are available for Riot Fest’s dates right now on Hostelworld. They’re less than half the price of hotels and some even include free breakfast. Perfect if you don’t mind sharing a room!
Another great site to check out is Rad Season. They’ve got an interactive map (see above) with the festival’s location marked. You can zoom in and out to see all of the available Airbnbs and hotels nearby and around the city. They’ve also got a few recommendations for fun things to do in Chicago, like checking out some stand-up comedy at Second City, visiting cool museums, and snapping a pic at the top of the Willis Tower Skydeck. Pretty helpful!
So that’s it! Remember to keep public transit in mind and book early! Otherwise, you may find yourself with only expensive, out-of-the-way accommodation options left.
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