HI - Chicago Hostel, Chicago

6,259 Reviews
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HI - Chicago Hostel Reviews


I love this hostel and it seems to improve each time I stay. The critical remarks must come from people who must not have a life and are just looking for someone to complain about. True travelers know that the price is very reasonable compared to any hotel in this city. The bathroom I was using was always very clean and well supplied.

Its dirty travelers who don't have the spirit of hostel traveling that leave where they go dirty and for the most part it's young travelers that weren't taught right at home or negative people who don't care about themselves let alone others in which case I wish they would just stay where they came from.

The breakfast was great. They even supply ham and cheese a staple breakfast food in some countries. HI Hostels have higher standards. Go stay at the flop house offerings available and that should shut you up!!

USA and proud

HI - Chicago Hostel is one of the largest hostels in one of the largest cities in America. This safe and friendly hostel welcomes travelers around the world from all walks of life. It includes all the standards of Hostelling International, but for just a few dollars more will also provide a great place to stay for non-members.

The Location

HI - Chicago is the most centrally located hostel downtown; most attractions are within walking distance. Although parking isn't offered, the receptionists are happy to call a taxi for you or give you walking or transit directions to anywhere you want to go. Because Chicago is difficult to drive, it has excellent pedestrian, bus, and train service, all of which are in close proximity to HI - Chicago. A train going by one side of the hostel around the clock can constantly awaken a light sleeper, but beside that, this area of town is fairly quiet for being such a major city.

Rooms and Bathrooms

Dorm rooms are kept fairly quiet; even in the largest ten-person dorm, most travelers could get some sleep at any time of day! Dorm rooms consist of bunk beds with assigned beds and coordinating lockers, which are large enough to hold most suitcases. Rooms are spacious, well lit, and, like the rest of the HI - Chicago Hostel, can access free Wi-Fi.

Gender-specific public restrooms are located on each floor. They are cleaned several times a day, although with the amount of traffic each restroom gets, they can get dirty fairly fast. While waiting for a shower may be necessary during peak times, they provide changing space, shelves and hooks, adjustable water temperatures, and free soap/shampoo.

One of the best features of HI - Chicago is the security. Each guest is given a key card to get to the upper levels of the hostel. Dorm floors can only be accessed by people staying on that specific floor, and rooms are also card-specific.

Common Spaces

The first floor is the reception area. Anyone can access this floor, including those who have already checked out. Locker rental, seating area, and information are available here. The second floor is accessible by any guests currently checked in and includes more information and seating areas, a library, a computer room, the kitchen, and conference rooms. Buffet-style breakfast is served every morning, and guests can use this large kitchen during the rest of the day. Smaller kitchens and eating spaces are also located on dorm floors. The entire hostel is smoke- and alcohol-free. Bulletin boards on each floor provide information for hostel activities and other helpful information.


If there is anything you need to know about Chicago, ask the staff on the first or second floor. Need a cab? They'll call one for you. Need a recommendation for a pizza joint? They'll give you a map and point out their favorites. Need to explore Chicago on the cheap? They sell discount tickets to many of the popular attractions, including the famous Willis Tower Skydeck. Although HI - Chicago has hundreds of beds, this is a popular destination and can be completely booked at times. Be sure to book early to ensure you get a bed!

Jessica Lippe
United States
Street art lines the stairwell Front door 2nd Floor Commons Eating Area Main Kitchen Welcome Banner Dorm Room Entry Front Desk Library

Tried and true great hostel

This hostel is an ex hotel in a previous life. It is getting a bit older now but it has won many awards including being voted one year as the best hostel in the world. Because it is an ex hotel the rooms are large which is a nice change. All the facilities you would expect are here and your stay includes a free breakfast which is good. The location in the loop is pretty good with an easy and close subway connection to O'hare. My reception check in person was average but they also have a travel / Chicago experience guy on the 2nd floor to help you find your way around. Excellent overall, no complaints.

Age 50 | New Zealand

Amazing place

I've traveled and stayed in hostels all over, and this hostel blew my mind. It's absolutely massive, efficient, clean, amazingly well-organized, friendly, informative and the location is ridiculously perfect. Because of the size, you are granted a degree of anonymity and can just do your own thing without coming across as unfriendly; it's not really a cozy little place where you'll necessarily automatically get to know the people around you naturally, though I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities to do so easily if that's what you want to do as there seemed to be a fair amount of activities planned, and there is definitely ample social community room to gather and strike up a conversation. The mention of bedbugs put me off a bit, but for what it's worth, I had no problems whatsoever. While it can still happen because it can happen anywhere (even luxury hotels), the place definitely isn't infested or anything. I also find it hard to imagine the people being rude (they were incredibly friendly and helpful on my arrival and departure, to me and others) and the bathrooms being dirty -- they were impeccable when I was there. Good spot, I'd definitely stay there again and would recommend it highly to friends and family.


Great Hostel

This hostel has everything one needs, and access to much more. Between the in-house resources, professionalism of the staff, and the surrounding neighborhood, a stay at HI Chicago makes it unlikely to have "technical difficulties" with your travels. The rooms are more spacious, and the beds are quite a bit bigger and sturdier than most American hostels I've come across. There are plenty of in-room electrical outlets, which was a major plus for me. Everything felt comfortable; they even had some unattractive remodeling going on while I was there, and I still loved it. An interesting but neutral fact -- this hostel probably attracts the most diverse age range of guests among the others in Chicago, skewing older. If asked to nitpick, this would be my criticism of choice (and it has more to do with guest responsibility than the administration) -- I understand that free breakfast is a privilege and not a right. However, people should be discouraged from spending more than 10-12 minutes, or encouraged to eat as quickly as possible, in the dining room during breakfast hours. There are many other places in the building to chat and/or review itineraries, and the dining room just isn't that big compared to the hundreds of guests on premises at any given time. This is an issue, despite the fact that breakfast is available for a generous 4 hours. But other than that (and if you don't mind a no-alcohol policy) this is a great place to stay! Just be sure to venture outside the Loop when you go sightseeing. If you want to. 4.9 stars.


Great place!

I stayed here because I attended a conference in Chicago. I shared a double room with a colleague, and we had a good time. The hostel was perfect -- very friendly staff, great location, clean rooms. There was some noise because of the nearby train (the loop), so you could consider to bring earplugs. No noise from other hostelers though. I'd definitely stay here again when visiting Chicago.


One (big) problem -- BEDBUGS!!

It is such a shame to give this hostel such a poor rating because it is top notch in so many ways -- good location, nice rooms (we stayed in a private room), free breakfast, free wifi -- I really would normally go out of my way to recommend it. But (and it's a big one!) bedbugs are really terribly hard to get past. Luckily we were only there for 2 nights but it just really ruins your experience. Added to that was the staff reaction -- even after admitting that what we had were bedbug bites, they were reluctant to apologize or offer any recompense for discomfort of their guest (we were too polite to ask/demand any!) they instead asked "have you been somewhere before?" ... um yes sure we have but THIS is the place we've got bites from!! Dreadful training of their staff to insinuate it's the fault of the guest. Guys, it's YOU not us!! Kinda soured the experience for us.

Itchy Australians...


everything is good except the internet is not really stable.


More reviews...

HI - Chicago Hostel Reviews from the Web

Location of hostel is absolutely amazing. Also there is a free breakfast included. However, I have seen better maintained hostels - especially the shower was lacking cleanness, and there is a membership fee that I didnt know about. Only 4$ but still a somewhat hidden fee. There is a train-line going right by one side of the window that woke me up a couple of times during the night, but I also had a window right next to it and am kinda noise sensitive.Overall, good option when flying fromORD


I really enjoyed my stay here! I appreciated the free lockers to store my luggage until Im off to my next destination. The other residents were friendly and respectful. I would definitely recommend the place!


Incredibly unhappy staff who are overworked and probably underpaid. Over an hour wait to check-in. Very seedy area at night. Seems like a central location, but it's actually a terrible area. The private room was like a college dorm and I could have stayed in a much nicer hotel for the same price once taxes and fees were added on.


We stayed here for Lollapalooza. The location was AMAZING since we were able to walk to the festival every day, the staff took great care of us and check in/check out process was very easy. I loved having quiet time sitting in the back of the common area watching the trains go by! Our room/bathroom was clean and was cleaned throughout our stay, and the public showers/ bathrooms were clean as well.


Ive stayed in HI hostels before SF and NYC. This definitely is my least favorite. The security is great and so is the location. However, the bathroom shower was dirty and the fluorescent lighting in the rooms were not that pleasant.

My biggest complaint is the dorms themselves. You have to make the bed yourself with sheets that did not smell all that clean, and they didnt provide any blankets. I hope this is not the case in winter when it is freezing outside!


Pretty dirty hostel, quite expensive for what it is. Right by the loop which is very loud at night.


Great hostel. Me and my brother went for Lollapalooza. We met some great people and had an awesome time. Wasnt always the cleanest and the showers were freezing cold one night.


My towel wasnt cleaned properly a lot of hairs still stick in my towel and there wasnt any hot water in the shower in the morning. And staff wasnt as friendly, I didnt really feel welcomed. Also, I kept hearing the train sound, didnt sleep well.


If your looking for a hostel in a great location with friendly helpful staff and with a really nice and spacious communal area then look no further but also a word of warning when it comes to the rooms you might find the beds uncomfortable and hard to sleep in plus never ever leave anything on your bed when your going out even if it's just your pj's or phone charger as you might not find them there when you return or someone could of taken your bed because the cleaning team reset your bed


Check in process was very smooth. Excellent location and solid staff. However there is a lack of cleanliness within the hostel. One of the showers on my floor was not working. Not only that there were stains in the bathroom that looked as if they were there for a while. The bedding that they provide for you is not enough to have an enjoyable nights rest. Paper thin sheets and it gets freezing cold in the middle of the early morning. So your stay will be hot then freezing cold. 2.5/5 stars.


I was put in the female dormitory, they didn't notice until one of the girls came in, I had on hour to shower and get to my show. No apologies, nothing.

Not super dirty but dingy, definitely smelly.

I didn't feel safe on part of the side walk to get to it from the bus station. Lots of homeless people sleeping there and it smells of urinal.

The vibe is not fun, more like the vibe of a greyhound bus station.

My advice, spend a few more dollars and go to the hostel "F_e____d", night and day


Superb hostel in a great location. We had a mini-apartment with two separate rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and an entrance area with a table, all behind a card-entry door and further card entry on the bedrooms, making a secure and comfortable living space. Clean and comfy rooms although the doubles (with a single bunk above) were a bit on the small side. This is a really well thought-out and maintained hostel with a nice vibe and quality feel. Metro (both loop and O'Hare airport) are a few minutes.


Brilliant location, nice beds, big secure lockers. Good showers. Would stay again.


I love the Chicago Hostel. Absolutely perfect location. However as I have stayed there before I was disappointed at the cessation of serving breakfast , the removal of almost all kitchenware other than 2 pots and some disposable plates and cutlery. Also I know it was pretty fully booked but the private room was $176 and the kitchen that served the private rooms had been dismantled. There is more to hostelling than these matters of course. I met some very interesting & nice people. will be back.


One of my favorite places to stay!


The location of the hostel was convenient for exploring downtown, but the room itself was bare minimum for the price. The blanket felt like a scratchy foam, which was pretty unpleasant and the carpet floor and bathroom floor both were not the cleanest.


the lockers should have a security system. Guests need to buy a lock y the hostel.


The lobby & common area were modern but the rooms were bland & dirty. The bathroom floor was always covered in water & theres no place to really place your items while taking a shower. Theres a narrow ledge over the toilet with no lid so you have to be careful your stuff doesnt fall in the toilet. Theres no additional bathrooms on the floor, so you had to wait for people to get out of the bathroom & thats the only place to change clothes. The lockers are small. Not a lot of events for guests.


I had a great experience at Hi Chicago! The rooms were clean, the staff were helpful, the location is absolutely amazing, and the facilities are just perfect! They are also very concern with your experience in the city, so they have tours you can participate and tips about places to visit.


The hostel is in a pretty good location (southern loop, not a nice area in itself but close to the much nicer northern loop and to Grant park). The staff was nice and the lockers were large. However, I found the atmosphere and the facilities disappointing and not worth the money. The rooms are very bare and not very clean, the kitchen was very dirty, the lounges have dirty windows and everything is very dark. The general atmosphere is just uninviting and unpleasant.



Located in the center of downtown Chicago and in the heart of Chicago's thriving education district. HI-Chicago is very close to Lake Michigan and within walking distance of Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Our neighborhood is safe, fun and easy to get to from anywhere in Chicago. Activities from the hostel include free walking tours and excursions throughout the city. You will also receive discounts to many of Chicago's best attractions, including Chicago Architecture Foundation, Bobby's Bike Hike, Sears Tower and Hancock Observatory. The hostel has capacity for 500 guests and facilities include internet access, laundry and friendly staff to help you explore Chicago! We are open to serve you 24 hours a day, every day of the year

Location and Contact


• Directions By Car: Downtown on the Northwest corner of E. Congress Parkway & Wabash.
• Directions By Bus: #60 bus to Jackson and State, walk 2 blocks south on State. Walk 2 blocks east on Congress
• Directions By Airport: O'Hare (ORD): Blue line train to Jackson. Exit at Jackson, walk 1 block East to State, turn right, walk 2 blocks south to Congress, turn left, 1 block to hostel. Midway(MDW): Take Orange line train to the library at State & Van Buren. Exit Van Buren, walk east to State Street, turn right, walk 1 block south to Congress, turn left, 1 block to hostel.
• Directions By Train: #1 bus to Congress and Wabash



Address: 24 East Congress Parkway, Downtown, Chicago, Illinois, USA

HI - Chicago Hostel is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Booking.com HostelsClub


Website HI - Chicago Hostel Chicago www.hichicago.org
Phone Number: +1 (312) 360-0300
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Female Solo Traveller

Solo Traveller



City Tours

Lockers in Lobby

Lockers in Rooms

Luggage Storage

Pub Crawls

Safe Deposit Box


Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Wi-Fi in Rooms

24 Hour Security


Air Conditioning

Book Collection/Exchange

Cable TV

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Currency Exchange


Entirely Non-Smoking



Hair Dryers

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Meeting/Banquet facilities

Movie Library/Rental

Pool Table

Power Point/Sockets in Rooms


Table Tennis

Wheelchair Accessible

Airport Pickup


Service Animals


Genders: Males & Females

Max. Age: All Ages

Min. Age with Parent (dorms): All Ages

Min. Age with Parent (private room): All Ages

Min. Age without Parent: 18

Checkout: 11:00 (11 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: 14 nights

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 24 Hours

Size: Very Large (100+ beds)


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