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Review Summary



  • Internet only available in lobby, charged by the hour
  • Nightly fee for self and valet parking
  • Basic rooms with no climate control

Bottom Line

This historic, 851-room hotel across from Grant Park is the cheaper alternative to the neighboring Hilton Chicago -- and you get what you pay for. The lobby is elegant, but features are few and rooms are basic. (None have Wi-Fi, and guests can't adjust the room temperature.) Even when the rates are low, you can probably do better elsewhere.

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Impressive history, but this hotel's glory days are long behind it

Built in 1893 to accommodate the visitors of the World’s Columbian Exposition, the hotel has had a glorious past, and has hosted several presidents and other notable politicians. Famous political speeches have echoed in its elegant halls; Democrat and Republican conventions have been held in its ballrooms; and a famous NBC Radio show had its headquarters here -- but that was all a long time ago.

Today, the hotel lives to some extent on its past reputation. While parts of the huge property were renovated in 2007, others are trapped in time. The public areas, however, are still impressive, with ornate blind arches, marble, and chandeliers.


Across the street from Grant Park and blocks from six subway lines

Map of Congress Plaza Hotel

The Congress Plaza is located in the South Loop, across the street from Grant Park and its famous Buckingham Fountain, which can be seen from most of the rooms. Museum Campus is just a short walk away, and there are six subway lines and one Metro line within two blocks of the hotel. However, the vibrant Loop neighborhood and the Magnificent Mile are farther north.

  • 7-minute walk to the Art Institute of Chicago
  • 11-minute walk to the Millennium Park
  • 6-minute drive to the Theatre District
  • 6-minute drive to the Chicago City Hall
  • 7-minute drive to the Magnificent Mile
  • 20-minute bus ride to Kenwood neighborhood
  • 20-minute subway ride to the John Hancock Observatory
  • 20-minute subway ride to Old Town
  • 25-minute subway ride to the Museum of Science and Industry
  • 25-minute subway ride to Wrigley Field
  • 20-minute drive to Midway International Airport
  • 30-minute drive to O’Hare International Airport

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Worn furniture and no Internet

Courtyard Room

Rooms were renovated in 2007 in an old-world style, with wood bed frames, gold bed throws, and cream patterned wallpaper. But some rooms have ugly curtains and stained carpets, and the furniture in most rooms is already starting to show its age.

  • 32-inch flat-screen TV with cable access (including Showtime, CNN and ESPN)
  • Coffeemaker
  • Shower/tub combo
  • Safe
  • Iron and ironing board
  • No climate control, so you can't adjust the temperature of the room

Rooms and Rates


Cheaper parking than other Chicago hotels and a 24-hour fitness center

  • Wi-Fi available only in the lobby for an hourly fee
  • Meeting and events space: Over 50,000 square feet, including an 8,300-square-foot ballroom
  • 24-hour business center
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • Room service provided by the hotel’s two restaurants
  • No extra person charges for children under 17
  • Valet and self-parking charged per night


  • Gazebo is a casual American restaurant open daily for breakfast and lunch
  • Rafael’s serves American classics for lunch and dinner daily
  • The Congress Lounge has a pool table, beers, cocktails, and wine, and a short menu with American comfort food like chicken tenders and brie quesadillas


Key Features
Fitness Center
Hotel Services
Dry Cleaning
Rental Car Service Desk Onsite
Room Service
Family Services
Kids Allowed
Things to Do
Beauty Salon
Business Center
Fitness Center
Gameroom / Arcade
Room Features
Air Conditioner
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
Smoking Rooms Available
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60605, United States
Phone (312) 427-3800
Room Types
  • City View Suite
  • Deluxe Lakefront Suite
  • Family Suite
  • Lakefront Suite
  • Lakeview Double Room
  • Lakeview King Room
  • Standard Room

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