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"South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Sydney
Level Contributor
2,927 posts
6 reviews
"South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Should I listen to Sinatra's song? All the cheapest home stay rentals appear to be right there, on the south side, right near Leroy Brown's place. To get anywhere near that cheap on the north side, I'd have to go WAY up the coast, or out by O'Hare. We will be there three days, on a tight budget (I expected New York to break the bank, but was a bit shocked to see that Chicago's hotel prices are every bit as exorbitant), and plan to visit just about everywhere on foot. So which areas are best avoided if we want to keep both feet? Thanks for all advice!

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85 replies to this topic
Ventura, California
Level Contributor
91 posts
11 reviews
1. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

I can't speak to the badness of the South side, but we booked 4 star mystery hotel near millennium park for $124/night on one of the most popular travel websites. Ended up being Hyatt Regency and we don't think we could have done any better than that.

Sydney
Level Contributor
2,927 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

That's quite a bargain for expensive Chicago! I guess I will have to start searching the "mystery hotel" sites! Thanks for the tip!

Chicago Suburbs
Level Contributor
4,560 posts
24 reviews
3. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Depends on the specific location. Give us the nearest cross streets, and we will tell you if it's ok. It's a Jim Croce song.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
4,174 posts
338 reviews
4. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Chicago is a convention destination so prices vary with demand. If you can change your travel dates by even a few days, that may make a dramatic difference. See "Dates to Avoid" on the right side of this page (desktop version only, not available on cellphone apps).

The South Side is a big area. Some parts are okay, some parts I would not even drive thru.

Illinois
Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
57,848 posts
67 reviews
5. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

You don’t want to stay in the south side period. It’s cheap for a reason.

Consider Hotwire or Priceline Expres Deals and search for a hotel downtown.

Sydney
Level Contributor
2,927 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Thanks to all the above. I think, since I don't really know one neighbourhood from another, that I might be wise to play it safe and avoid the south side... in case I happened to choose an area that CutureVulture60657 and Dave148 wouldn't even drive through. Priceline and Hotwire sound like the way to go!

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
Level Contributor
6,738 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

I think from a AirBnB or VRBO perspective Chicago is very much you get what you pay for. Unfortunately when you aren't paying a lot you can end up in some dangerous places. Owners tend to exaggerate the location of their rentals and say they are in a better location when they are not. Many are not licensed by the city either.

I rent from VRBO all over the world. In Chicago a hotel is the way to go. Good choice.

B.

Rensselaer, Indiana
Level Contributor
9,121 posts
8. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

Actually, Chicago has quite a bit of a ways to go before it reaches NYC's pricing. Like 25-35% more. But there are a lot of other factors which affects lodging prices. It is not static but fluid and changes constantly.

But you may be looking at a time period where there is a larger convention or event happening in Chicago, as mentioned above. Did you take a look at the "Dates to Avoid...." Sticky Note on the upper right hand side of the page? And try to avoid those, if you possibly can because they really drive up the pricing.

You are all correct. There's a very good reason why some of those places are dirt-cheap and others much more expensive. But that doesn't mean that some of the hosts don't stretch the real area's/neighborhood's boundaries to include their units to get better pricing from those unsuspecting, ignorant visitors (meaning that they didn't take the time to research this first - which they should have been doing before going this route).

In as far as South Side...A lot of visitors have no clue where the "South Side" actually begins. They don't even take the time and trouble to find out, as I mentioned above. (It is actually just south of the "Downtown" area, the Loop. Roosevelt Road aka 12th Street is the northern boundary of the South Side.)

But that doesn't mean that all those areas are better the closer you get to that boundary. Gentrification is an uneven process and there may still be pockets of pretty iffy areas. That's why the folks here ask you to post cross streets and/or addresses. There is are no invisible walls to distinguish between "good" areas and "bad". A "good" area may be right across the street from a "bad" address.

So, unless you are willing to take that time to do all that the research, can only strongly suggest that you consider other alternatives - such as the OP is now doing. Perhaps hostels or hostel-hybrids, such as the Freehand Chicago, in addition to hotels. You do need to remember that you have certain consumer protections under the law with hotels, etc., which you do not with vacation rentals. Which is another reason you need to be pretty stringent with your research when going the route of vacation rentals.

Edited: 14 October 2018, 19:15
Rensselaer, Indiana
Level Contributor
9,121 posts
9. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

I totally agree with you, B, that the type of lodging you should consider is entirely dependent on the location - and their ordinances/laws.

For example, in some areas, vacation rentals might be a great option - IF you are doing your research, understand that you don't have the same protections as hotels, etc. and are maybe willing to purchase travel insurance for those just-in-case issues. In others, you cannot even choose them (if you are an honest individual) because they are prohibited (such as in NYC - for vacation rentals under 30 days).

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
18,481 posts
140 reviews
10. Re: "South side of Chicago... baddest part of town" True or no?

First of all it was a Jim Croce song, and just a song. There are numerous areas in the South side that are very nice but there is no tourism there. Then there are 5-6 neighborhoods that even we don't go to. Visitors stay in The Loop, Streeterville, River North (aka Magnificent Mile) and the Gold Coast. There are 800 + places to stay from hostels to The Peninsula and Ritz Carlton. Chicago is much less expensive than NYC or San Francisco.I find Chitown's estimate of 25-35% to be accurate. However, as has been noted: Chicago is a busy convention city and conventions can and do raise room rates. The "Dates to Avoid" stick in Top Questions is your pocketbooks friend. We usually suggest to find your hotel before buying your airplane tickets.

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