The Best Chicago Hotels and Guest Suites for Your Marathon Trip

Like any large city, there are a million places to stay in Chicago. And it can be time consuming to narrow down your options or find that one gem that all the locals know about.

That's why we tasked our Chicago Ambassadors with recommending lodging based on their own experiences, proximity to starting line, the overall ambiance of the hotel, the neighborhood its in, and the amenities.

While we have several recommendations near the starting line, we're also featuring hotels that are a little bit farther away. With the El (the local city train), it's pretty easy to get to and from the starting line on race day. There's no need to stay right at the starting line, unless you really want to!

While cost was also a consideration for our recommendations, we also know that prices increase dramatically for marathon weekend. Do yourself a favor and book early!

(** Quick Notes: We've included "Distance to the Starting Line" with each listing. This is the distance to the official starting point of the race at Monroe Street and Columbus Drive—the point where you finally get to start running. But due to the size of the race, the Chicago Marathon uses starting corrals A through L for wave starts. These corrals are laid out south of the starting line and cover a sizable swath of ground. Depending on your starting corral, the distance from your hotel to the "starting point" will vary.)

(We only write about hotels, lodging and accommodations that have been recommended by Racertrips™ Ambassadaors. However, Racertrips LLC is a affiliate and may earn commission on qualifying reservations.)

Best Chicago Hotels Near the Starting Line

We love the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center because it's close to the starting line and the finish line. Enjoy unparalleled value and gracious hospitality at one of downtown Chicago’s most legendary hotels. Located across from Grant Park, with views of Lake Michigan, the Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center has been a Windy City icon since 1893, playing host to U.S. presidents, international celebrities and performers, foreign dignitaries and elite travelers from around the world. Book Now
Close to the starting line and a popular hotel for marathoners, the Palmer House is the longest running continually operating hotel in the country with an amazing history and ambiance in the lobby. The hotel will be a hive of activity marathon morning because of the marathoners who are staying there and because it's a popular meeting spot for local charity teams and running groups. Rebuilt right after the Great Chicago Fire, the Palmer House has been serving guests since 1873. The hotel has undergone recent renovations but preserved its history. The lobby is gorgeous, although because it is older, the hotel rooms are somewhat smaller than other hotels and the elevators are a bit slower. Book Now
The Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago hotel is close to the starting line and a nice choice for those traveling with family. The hotel is in a good downtown location within walking distance of major attractions and only one block away from Millennium Park. This is a good location for travelers interested in parks, architecture and museums. The rooms are good sized and staff are helpful. They do not have parking on site, but there is a parking lot directly across Harrison Street from the front of the hotel. You may want to check prices on SpotHero or other discount sites, since the regular rate for parking is high in this area. Book Now
The St. Jane Hotel is a newer boutique hotel within a short distance of the starting line. If you want luxury accommodations surrounded by plenty of activity, this is a great choice. Formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, the St. Jane Hotel is in a good spot for pre- and post-marathon runs to Lake Michigan, along the river or to nearby parks. It's also surrounded by great restaurants. Book Now
The Hilton Chicago is an iconic hotel located on South Michigan Avenue close to the starting corrals. In fact, if you're in one of the later corrals (E or F), it may be a very short walk for you come marathon morning. Before and after the marathon, enjoy proximity to Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain and Maggie Daley Park. You're also close to great dining options and a couple of Chicago's top blues clubs. This used to be the site of the Chicago Marathon running expo, which was ideal for guests staying here. Unfortunately, you'll now have to trek over to McCormick Place like all of the other racers. Book Now
The Silversmith Hotel is near the starting line and only a block from Milennium Park. The hotel offers a contemporary feel and design elements in the Arts and Crafts style. Excellent location for Art Institute, Millennium Park and State Street Shopping. The rooms generally have little natural light and somewhat dim lighting. The hotel charges extra fees for water and keurig use. Parking fees are also not included and are expensive in this part of the city; you may want to check parking prices on SpotHero or other discount sites. Book Now

Best Hotels for the Budget

If you really want to save on hotel costs, consider staying farther out of the city near O'Hare Airport. The Holiday Inn and Suites Chicago O'Hare Rosemont is one option. The pros: You'll spend significantly less on your hotel room. If you've procrastinated in booking your hotel, the Holiday Inn may still have availability. You can enjoy famous, delicious Chicago deep dish pizza at the nearby Giordano's Pizza without the long lines you'll find in the Loop. The cons: You'll be in a more suburban setting and will not be close to Chicago's main attractions. On marathon morning, you'll want to allot at least 1 hour  to 1:15 to make the trek downtown by train (the Blue Line). You may want to spend some of the money you've saved by staying in Rosemont on a cab, Lyft or Uber to get you to the starting line.
  • Map It: 10233 W Higgins Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018
  • Call: 847-954-8600
  • Distance to Starting Line: 18.3 Miles | Map out your travel route carefully before marathon morning and allot extra time. Your two easiest options: Take a cab, Uber or Lyft all the way into the city or just to the nearby Rosemont CTA station (mass transit). From there, take the Blue Line downtown to the Monroe station. The starting line is a short walk from here.
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Freehand Chicago touts itself as a combination of hostel culture, innovative design and a community-driven atmosphere. This boutique hotel in Chicago's River North Neighborhood is a win because it gives you a smaller, more personal feel than a large, traditional hotel and it offers choices. Traveling solo and don't want to pay premium hotel rates on marathon weekend? Consider their hostel-like option and share a room with others. Traveling with a couple of other runners and want to save your money for fine dining? Consider their quad rooms with four twin-size bunk beds and en suite bathroom. Like the idea of a smaller hotel but want more space? The Freehand has traditional queen and king rooms, as well as suite options.
    • Map It: 19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
    • Call: 312-940-3699
    • Distance to Starting Line: 1.1 Miles | Want to save your legs a bit on marathon morning? Take the Red Line (toward 95th/Dan Ryan) from Grand and State Avenues to the Monroe Avenue stop. Follow the crowd from there east toward the starting corrals.
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If you're looking to save a few dollars on your lodging, consider the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North. It's a nice hotel located on Wolf Point of the Chicago River, and it's not terribly far from the starting line (1.3 miles). It's also within easy access of our recommended kayaking company. Taking the El or a bus from here to the starting line isn't a straight shot, so on marathon morning, you may find it easier to grab a cab, Uber or Lyft to at least get you closer. Book Now

Best Hotels for Families and Friends

If you book early, the room rates can be family-friendly at the Hyatt Place Chicago/Downtown. The hotel also has a pool, which is the main attractions for kids on many vacations. It's steps from the Washington/Wells El stop, giving you and your family quick, easy access to city attractions. On marathon day, your family can also easily walk to a spectator spot in the Loop and then hop on the Red Line to cheer you on a bit more south (and later on in the race, when you need it most). Book Now

If you want lodging that is reasonably priced and feels more like a condo than a hotel, we highly recommend Dewitt Hotel and Suites. All of their accommodations are studios or one-bedroom apartments complete with full kitchens, and there's an indoor pool and fitness center. This is ideal for families or friends who want to save time and money by "dining in" on occasion. On top of that, Dewitt is located on a quiet street in the Gold Coast neighborhood, just two blocks from Michigan Avenue, Water Tower Place, the lake front and much more. The starting line is a straight shot down Michigan Avenue. Rates at Dewitt tend to be comparable to or lower than other nearby hotels, and you get more space. We think it's a win-win-win for value, space and location.

To save your legs on race morning, consider a short cab, Lyft or Uber ride or walking west to State Street and Chicago Avenue, taking the Red Line south (toward 95th/Dan Ryan), and then exiting at Monroe station. There are buses that service Michigan Avenue, but we don't recommend them after 6:30 am on marathon day because of re-routes and other understandable delays.

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Stay Alfred offers multiple upscale travel apartments throughout River North and the Loop, including this apartment on State Street and this one on South State Street and more. Each apartment offers a full kitchen, a comfortable living space, a washer and dryer, and at least on special amenity. Think vacation rental that are a bit more upscale or that meet a more stringent quality control checklist. You get to check yourself in, and returning guests save 10 percent. Book Stay Alfred on State Street Book Stay Alfred on South State Street

Best Luxury Hotel Accommodations

The Thompson Chicago has a great Gold Coast location. There are so many reasons to love this hotel. For starters, it's across the street from a Chicago breakfast institution, the Original Pancake House. It's also surrounded by fabulous restaurants and high-end shopping options from Barney's to to Burberry. It's close to Chicago's Magnificent Mile and Water Tower Place. Need a fun place to eat or celebrate post-race? Try Hugo's Frog Bar. Stay here.
  • Map It: 21 E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, IL 606113
  • Call: 312-266-2100
  • Distance to Starting Line: 1.7 Miles
  • | On marathon morning, we recommend walking 0.4 miles to the Chicago Red Line station. Take the El south (toward Dan Ryan/95th) and exit at the Monroe Street station.
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If you're looking for luxury accommodations close to the starting line, consider the Chicago Athletic Association. Located on Michigan Avenue directly across from Millennium Park, you're right there come marathon morning. You'll enjoy some architectural history here - the hotel is housed in an historic building from 1893, the year of the Chicago World's Fair (aka the World's Columbian Exposition). We also recommend Cindy's, a rooftop lounge with drinks, food and gorgeous views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, the Art Institute and more. Book Now

Best Neighborhood Accommodations

The Majestic Hotel in the Lakeview neighborhood is ideal for travelers who want to experience Chicago outside of the Loop. It's situated on a quiet, one-way street just half a block from Lake Shore Drive. It's also a gem for those traveling with a fan base. On race day, your fans can cheer you on along Inner Lake Shore Drive (between Miles 7-8 on the marathon route), and then they can sprint over to Broadway and cheer you on again between Miles 8 and 9. The hotel is within easy walking distance of Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville and the lake front. A continental breakfast is included, and valet parking is available. Book Now
Hotel Versey is a boutique hotel in a popular neighborhood location on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview. It embraces "staying like a local" and is a short walk to the lakefront, tons of restaurants and the El. On marathon day, your cheer squad can walk right out front of the hotel and cheer you on: The marathoners will be running south on Broadway and then over to Clark right by the hotel. This is shortly after Mile 9 and right at the 15k mark. The hotel also has family rooms and offers free wifi and access to the LA Fitness facility next door. Driving? On-site parking is available. Book Now

City Suites Chicago is a great place to stay if you want to be in a bustling neighborhood, experience a smaller boutique hotel, be near the train and have your cheer squad close to the marathon route. City Suites is in the popular Lakeview neighborhood, where  you'll be spoiled for restaurants that offer delicious food with a more reasonable price tag than many downtown eateries. If you like baseball, you're within walking distance of Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, although we suspect the powers that be won't have playoff games and the marathon going on in the same weekend. Our LGBTQI readers will also love this hotel given its proximity to Boystown. On marathon morning, your cheer squad can easily walk 2 blocks to Broadway and cheer you on between Miles 8 and 9. Then they can jump on the Red Line and meet you back in the Loop or points west or south.

  • Map It: 933 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
  • Call: 773-404-3400
  • Distance to Starting Line: 4.9 Miles | 20-30 Minutes by Train (The Red Line Belmont stations is right there. Take the Red Line south to (toward Dan Ryan/95th) and exit at the Monroe Street station. Follow the crowd east from there to the starting corrals.

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Meet our Chicago Ambassadors

Jose Maria H. Gabriel, MD
Gaby ran his first marathon at age 50 in Bordeaux, France, and has since finished more than 64 marathons and 4 ultras. He's a qualifying member in both Marathon Maniacs and the 50 States Marathon Club.
Kristin Vilt
Kristin is a two-time Chicago Marathon finisher, and she'll add a third Chicago to her tally in 2018. She's also finished several half marathons in Chicago and Duluth, MN.
Coach Denise Sauriol
Coach Denise, aka "The Marathon Whisperer," has been running since the first grade and says running is still her BFF. The 2018 Chicago Marathon will be her 100th marathon and...
Jared Rummel
Jared is a three-time Chicago Marathoner and an avid triathlete, who qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championship every year from 2012 until 2018.
Shelly Hennig
Shelly is a proud member of the "One and Done" Marathon Club. She completed the Chicago Marathon in 2011 and counts it as a great achievement...
Lyman (Chip) Welch
Chip is a half-marathoner, triathlete and co-founder of Racertrips LLC. He's completed the Chicago Triathlon seven times, and he's run several half marathons...
Angi Semler Welch
Angi is a co-founder of Racertrips LLC and has completed four marathons, including the Chicago Marathon three times. Her fourth marathon was in D.C., and ...
Bryan O'Sullivan
Bryan is a half-marathoner and running enthusiast. Although these days, he logs more frequent flier miles than he does running miles...
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