Since its inception in 1977, the Chicago Marathon has witnessed remarkable growth, from a field of 4,000 to an impressive 45,000 runners. 

This October, runners like you, coming from all 50 states of America and over 100 countries will gather at the starting line. 

With so many people running and supporting, finding a place to stay becomes more challenging as the weekend approaches.

Given the challenges of parking and potential race-morning traffic, it’s better to book early and find a place within walking distance of the start line.

To make sure you’re all set for the big day, I’ve put together some great choices for where to stay the night before the race.

But before we dive into that, let’s get familiar with how you’ll be navigating the race weekend. 

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Transportation To Get To The Starting Line at Grant Park

Public transportation to get to the start line on race day is offered by: 

  • Chicago Transit Authority (Bus)
  • Metra (Train)
  • South Shore Line (train)

I suggest making use of the $10 Weekend Pass. With this pass, you get unlimited rides on both days of the weekend.

For the most up-to-date travel information and to learn how to use the bus and rail system, click here.

Can I Find Parking Near The Start Line

Millennium Garages offers various parking choices for Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants and guests. There are four easy-to-access underground garages right under Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Maggie Daley Park. 

You can save time and secure your parking spot for race weekend by purchasing it in advance online.

I strongly recommend using public transportation during the race weekend. If you decide to drive, please make sure to allocate enough time for potential heavy traffic and road closures caused by the race.

Now that you know how you’ll get to the start line, let’s get started with the best hotels to stay in Chicago for the marathon weekend.

What Are The Best Hotels Near Chicago Marathon Finish & Start Line in Grant Park?

Best Western Grant Park Hotel

Situated right across from Grant Park and offering stunning views of the lake, this budget-friendly establishment is located in the heart of Chicago’s loop. It’s conveniently near restaurants, attractions, and shops.

The rooms have cable TV, a desk, and a coffee maker. The hotel has its restaurant. For your convenience, there’s a fitness center and a business center. 

To reach the expo, the fastest option is to take a train, which is just 13 minutes away. The Millennium Station is a quick 4-minute walk from the hotel. Once you arrive at McCormick Place stop, the expo will be within easy walking distance.

Hilton Chicago 

This 4-star hotel is situated across the street from Grant Park and near the Lakefront bike path that runs along Lake Michigan. You can walk to Millennium Park in around 15 minutes from there. 

It has facilities like a fitness room an indoor pool, and a business center if you need to handle some work admin. The rooms are pretty spacious, and all come with AC and a fridge.

The Hilton Chicago is just 0.7 miles ( 1.1km) from the Chicago Marathon start and finish lines. You can walk there in about 5 minutes. 

And don’t even worry about breakfast. The hotel has some restaurants on-site, plus a couple more are just a quick 5-minute walk away.

But remember, you must stick to what you practiced during your training as it should be what works for you. No trying NEW THINGS on race day. 

To reach the Expo, catch a southbound #3 King Drive bus from Michigan Avenue to King Drive/23rd (which is right across from McCormick Place). 

These buses come by every 4 to 12 minutes. And the Michigan & 8th Street stop is just a minute’s walk from the hotel.

Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago

The historic and renowned Congress Plaza Hotel sits right across from Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue. This elegant hotel is a true icon in downtown Chicago, offering breathtaking city and lake views.

You can enjoy the convenience of on-site dining options at this hotel. It also features a fitness center, barbershop, and shoeshine services. This budget-friendly hotel is also home to contemporary event spaces, including the Gold Room which dates back to the 1920s.

The rooms here are a blend of modern and classic, featuring high ceilings and luxurious bathrooms. This hotel is truly spectacular and is conveniently located  0.3 miles ( 0.5 km) near both the start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon. It’s the most frequently booked hotel by runners.

For getting to the expo, the quickest route is to take a train, which is an 18-minute ride away. The Van Buren Street Station is a 4-minute walk from the hotel. And once you reach the McCormick Place stop, the expo is a 7-minute walk away.

Le Meridien Essex Chicago

The Le Meridien Hotel Essex is a stylish 4-star hotel located in the center of the city. It offers impressive views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. 

The hotel features a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar. It’s also conveniently close to DePaul University. The rooms are vibrant and well-furnished, including a desk, fridge, and cable TV. 

This is a great place to stay for those who want to explore the city, and it’s 16 miles away from Chicago O’Hare airport. 

It’s known as one of the best-value hotels for the Chicago Marathon, and its restaurants offer breakfast choices.

Both the start and finish lines are within an easy walking distance of only 0.3 miles (0.5 km), which will take you about 6 minutes to walk.

The fastest way to reach the expo is by taking the train, and it’s a 15-minute ride. From the hotel, it’s a 6-minute walk to the Museum Campus/11th St. train stop. Once you get off at McCormick Place stop, it’s a 7-minute walk to the expo.

Make sure you keep the bus schedule with you at all times. Alternatively, you can download the Ventra mobile app. 

Chicago Athletic Association, a Hyatt Hotel

The Chicago Athletic Association offers stunning views of the renowned Millennium Park. Inside, you’ll find elegant and well-equipped rooms, each with a spacious boutique-style feel.

Part of the Hyatt family, this 4-star hotel boasts a grand ballroom with gorgeous 19th-century stained glass windows. It also offers a modern fitness center, a business center for professional needs, and even bike rentals for exploring the city. 

This hotel is a stone’s throw away from Chicago’s iconic sites like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (300 meters or 0.2 miles away). Chicago O’Hare International Airport is roughly 25 km (15.5 miles) from here.

It’s just a 5-minute walk to the start line.

To get to the expo, the quickest route is to take a train, which is an 18-minute ride away. The Millennium Station is a 4-minute walk from the hotel. Once you hop off at the McCormick Place stop, it’s a 7-minute walk to the expo.

Virgin Hotel Chicago

Virgin Hotel Chicago is a stylish 4-star boutique hotel located near the vibrant restaurants and shops of Michigan Avenue. This modern and luxurious hotel boasts a rooftop bar, a fitness center, on-site restaurants, and even a nightclub.

The spacious and luxurious rooms are well-appointed with audio-visual entertainment, ample storage, and dressing areas. Nearby attractions like the Chicago Theatre and The House of Blues are just a short stroll away. 

It’s an ideal hub for exploring the Chicago Riverwalk and enjoying the city’s summer festivals in Grant Park. Plus, it’s conveniently close to both the marathon start and finish lines, just a 12-minute walk to the marathon’s start line.

The hotel also offers on-site restaurants for your dining convenience. 

To reach the expo, the fastest way is by taking a train, which is an 18-minute ride away. The Millennium Station is a 4-minute walk from the hotel. Once you arrive at McCormick Place stop, it’s a 7-minute walk to the expo.

Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown

Perfectly positioned close to both the start and finish lines, the Silversmith Hotel is one of my best picks for Chicago Marathon runners.  It is a 7-minute walk to the start line and 20 minutes from the finish.

The modern rooms are well-equipped and designed for comfort, complete with refrigerators and air conditioning. You’ll find helpful services like a concierge, on-site laundry, and room service at your fingertips. 

Take a train from Millennium Station to McCormick Place to get to the expo quickly. The hotel itself is a mere 4-minute walk from the Millennium Station.

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

Situated in the Aqua building in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood, This luxury hotel offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan.

Every room has a TV and a small fridge. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and an outdoor track.

You can walk to both the start and finish lines, it takes about 21 minutes. Or, you can take a bus from Wacker (Upper) & Columbus stop and get off at Michigan & Balbo stop. To the starting line, it is a 4-minute walk.

The easiest way to get to the expo is by taking a train from Millennium Station to McCormick Place. The good thing is, the hotel is only a 4-minute walk from the Millennium Station.

Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago

Just a quick stroll from Grant Park, the Travelodge is a budget-friendly hotel located in the South Loop of the city. The rooms are comfy and spacious, with cable TV and a coffee maker.

There’s a restaurant right there for you to eat, and they also have a business center and meeting rooms you can use. It’s a lively area near downtown Chicago’s shops and attractions. And guess what? It’s one of the most affordable hotels around for the marathon.

It only takes about 7 minutes to walk from the hotel to the start and finish lines.

The fastest way to get to the expo is by taking a train from Van Buren Street to McCormick Place. The Van Buren station is 9 minutes away from the hotel.

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With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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