When visiting the third largest city in the United States, Chicago has a good deal to offer you. In the heart of the midwest, Chicago is your gateway to the rest of the region, but if you intend on staying inside the city you might believe that you are going to drop a considerable amount of money. While it is true that the sales tax inside of Chicago is the highest in the country (it continually is on the influx and currently sits at over 10 percent), there are ways to cut down on the amount of money you have to spend. This way, you can enjoy Chicago on a budget and still take in some of the valuable offerings the city has to give you.
As Chicago is the third largest city in the country, there are going to be a wide assortment of hotels available to you. The most expensive hotels are usually going to be directly on Michigan Avenue, which is also known as the Magnificent Mile, due to all the shopping you are able to do on the street. If you simply book a hotel that is a few blocks away from Michigan Avenue, you are going to significantly cut down on the price you have to pay per night. This way, you can obtain a three star hotel right in the heart of the city for under $100 a night.
Chicago has one of the better public transportation services in the country. While no where near as advance or extensive as New York, the Chicago subway system is capable of taking you to just about any area in the city, or at least drop you off in a location where you are only a few blocks walk away. Plus, the system runs to both major airports, so you don't need to take a cab. Granted, the subway running from O'Hare to downtown is going to take 40 minutes or so with stops, it is far less money than what you might pay with a taxi.
As you are going to be inside a large city with an expensive sales tax, the food is most likely going to be more expensive than where you are from. However, this doesn't mean you have to break the bank. For starters, avoid the tourist traps that are right around Michigan Avenue. The Hard Rock Cafe, Rainforest Cafe and others are all going to charge you a premium for subpar food. Instead, look for something that is off of Michigan Avenue. These are going to be less expensive, you receive more food and the quality is better.
When it comes to visiting Chicago, the city has much to offer you. While it is one of the more expensive cities in the nation it doesn't mean you are not able to do it on a budget. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from and thousands of restaurants. Because of this, you don't have to settle for expensive tourist traps.