The Freehand
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The Freehand
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The Freehand
The Freehand
The Freehand
The Freehand
Walk into the Freehand, a remodeled 1920s dive, and you’ll think it’s a millennial fantasy boutique hotel with its artisanal cocktail and coffee bars, and intensely curated wood-paneled clubhouse lounge filled with leather chairs, blue settees, and a Wurlitzer electric keyboard for guests to play. You can book a conventional private hotel room here, but it’s the 80 shared bedrooms that are the draw—and the city’s best bargain—at this reinvented, upscale “youth” hostel footsteps from Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Deep-blue bath tiles and mahogany wood beds were inspired by Lake Michigan but recall vintage ocean liner cabins (in size as well as color scheme). Communal rooms, co-ed or female only, have a bathroom, gym-style locker bank and four bunk beds each with a private lamp, reading shelf, and charging station. The clientele includes families with kids and budget-minded elders as well as youthful nomads, all of whom appreciate the guest kitchen and laundry rooms, and, especially, the staff’s friendliness. A daily blackboard posts concerts, poetry readings, festivals, and other events and eateries outside the Michigan Avenue tourist orbit.
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Neighborhood Vibe
With $45-per-night beds, you may be tempted to blow the rest of your travel budget at Nordstrom (55 E. Grand), just steps away. The Chicago branch of Eataly (43 E. Ohio) has wonderful sit-down pizza and a deli for picnic fixings. The hotel sits a block in from high-end shopping on upper Michigan Avenue and is about a 10-minute walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Red line train station, on the corner of State and Grand, will take you northwest into vintage shopping territory in Wicker Park and Bucktown. Catch a bus on Michigan Avenue (or hire a Divvy Bike) and head north to the North Avenue Beach and Lincoln Park.
Need to Know
Rooms: 217 rooms, 80 shared. From $45.
Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m.
Dining options: Café Integral is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (from 7 a.m. on weekends) and serves à la carte Nicaraguan coffee, local teas, fresh juice, and small dishes of Mesoamerican comfort food. The Freehand Chicago has its own Broken Shaker mixology bar, which at the Freehand Miami was nominated for two James Beard awards and named one of the “World’s 50 Best Bars” in 2014. Here it offers a seasonal menu of specialty handcrafted cocktails (with names like “B#!ch Don’t Kill my Vibe”) and street food–inspired small plates blending Midwestern ingredients with global flavors.
Spa and gym details: No gym, pool, or spa, but the hotel can direct you to the nearest beach, running path, yoga studio, and Divvy Bike sharing station.
Insider Tips
Who it's best for: The budget conscious; solo travelers; two-kid families, and friends traveling together.
Our favorite rooms: Ask for a street-facing view room.
Don’t forget: Bring your own soap and shampoo.
Amenities
  • Rooms
    Shared and private rooms. All rooms include seating area and/or work desk, safe, and complimentary WiFi
  • Bath
    Private en suite bathrooms with Argan bath products
  • Food & Drink
    The Broken Shaker - Speciality mixology bar with street food inpsired dishes; Cafe Integral - Gourmet coffee, craft cocktails, and light fare
  • Tech
    Complimentary Wi-Fi in rooms and public areas
  • Concierge
    Designated Tours and Activities concierge, 24-hour front desk and security, activies and events on-site
  • Miscelleanous
    Multilingual staff; communal guest kitchen; guest lounge
Room Types
  • Standard Queen
    Private room with queen-sized bed and a private en-suite bathroom. Rooms are air-conditioned and come equipped with iron, ironing board, hair dryer, Argan bath products, iPod docking station, sage, telephone, work desk, seating area, cable and complimentary WiFi. All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • Shared Quad
    Shared Quad rooms featured four twin-size bunk beds and a private, en suite bathroom. Each bunk has drapes for privacy and features individual outlets and reading lights. Rooms are air-conditioned and include a work desk, seating area, lockers, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Female-only rooms are available. All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • Private Quad
    The Private Quad is a private room with four twin-size bunk beds and a private, en suite bathroom. Each bunk features drapes for privacy and includes individual outlets and reading lights. Rooms are air-conditioned and include a work desk, seating area, lockers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.City All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • City View Queen
    City View Queens are private room with queen-sized bed and a private en-suite bathroom. Rooms are air-conditioned and come equipped with iron, ironing board, hair dryer, Argan bath products, iPod docking station, sage, telephone, work desk, seating area, cable and complimentary WiFi. All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • Standard King
    Standard Kings are private room with king-sized bed and a private en-suite bathroom. Rooms are air-conditioned and come equipped with iron, ironing board, hair dryer, Argan bath products, iPod docking station, sage, telephone, work desk, seating area, cable and complimentary WiFi. All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • City View King
    City View Kings are private room with king-sized bed and a private en-suite bathroom. Rooms are air-conditioned and come equipped with iron, ironing board, hair dryer, Argan bath products, iPod docking station, sage, telephone, work desk, seating area, cable and complimentary WiFi. All Freehand Chicago rooms are designed by Roman and Williams.
  • Penthouse
    The Penthouse is a private duplex with two bedrooms, one with four twin size beds and one with a queen or king bed. Each suite includes a living area with double-height ceilings with windows and a 65" flat-screen TV, and either gaming area or an oversized bathroom. Each bunk is draped for privacy and includes individual outlets and reading lights. Rooms are air-conditioned and include a work desk, seating area, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Perfect for groups of friends and families.
Special Offers
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