I have to admit I was close to despair when looking for cheap places to stay in Chicago. When the cheapest rate I could find for a hotel room was upwards of $100 a night, my hopes of spending 4 nights in this wonderful city looked like being dashed. Fortunately for me a visit to http://www.hiayh.org revealed a HI affiliated hostel right in downtown Chicago, just off the loop. Pricing was expensive in relation to the other hostels I stayed at in the US, being $40 a night. However given the price of hotels in the city and given the excellent location of the hostel I was more than prepared to pay slightly over the odds. The hostel is located about 20 minutes walk from the Amtrak railway station and is close to Jackson on the Red/Blue line subway which offers connection to O'Hare International Airport. On finding the hostel the check in proccess was very simple. They had a record of my internet booking and supplied linen/sheets/towels for the duration of my stay. The hostel security all works on keycards, it will let you in and out of the hostel, the lifts and your room. The keycards also mean there is no curfew and access to the hostel is 24 hour. The rooms are very spacious same-sex 10 bedroom dorms. Lockers are provided but you will need your own padlock. (A note to those with large rucksacks I struggled to force my 60 litre rucksack in, anything larger is a no-go) I was most impressed to see that each room has its own shower, sink and toilet so there aren't really any problems getting a shower first thing in the morning. The bunks were very comfortable and the supplied bedding also clean and comfortable. A large kitchen area is provided on the 1st floor, again levels of hygenie are very high. If you don't feel like cooking or venturing far from the hostel there is a cafe serving good food at cheap prices, the opening hours were 6am til 9pm. Also on the first floor is the internet access terminal run on a
pay-as-you-go basis with 10 minutes access costing just $1. There is also a wealth of literature and flyers about things to do while you're in Chicago, the staff were both knowledgeable and friendly in answering any questions I had. they even have a tourist info desk, though the hours its manned seemed to be a little haphazard! All in all I have no problem recommending this hostel, its a little more expensive than usual, but its location is great for the city centre and its facilities are top notch, other than the rooms being of a dormitory style and the friendly hostel atomsphere the level of service was on par with a hotel.