IHSP Chicago

1616 N. Damen Ave. and 1755 N. Damen Ave.
304-268-8981 ihspusa.com

IHSP-1616 IHSP is just one building away from the busy, six-cornered intersection of North, Damen and Milwaukee avenues. Look for the rounded white terra-cotta Walgreens, and walk along its right side to find IHSP’s door, marked with a burgundy-and-white banner. Press the intercom button to be buzzed in, and walk up the stairs to the reception desk. Guest rooms are here on the second floor and up on the third floor, with additional private rooms at IHSP’s 1755 N. Damen Ave. location.

Dorm Beds, Private Rooms and En Suite Bathrooms

As a hostel, IHSP Chicago focuses on affordable dorm bed accommodations and private rooms with shared bathrooms, but they also offer a limited number of private rooms with en suite bathrooms. Natural light from large windows fills the spacious rooms, which are outfitted with up-to-date furnishings and thick curtains or shades in case you need less light and more privacy.

IHSP Chicago makes dorm beds available to guests from overseas and to U.S. citizens with current student IDs. These bunk beds are separated into male and female areas, which you’ll specify when you book your stay. All guests may use the hostel’s free lockers, luggage storage, linens and towels, so you don’t need to worry about your belongings while you’re out.

You can booIHSP-1755k a private room with a shared bathroom with one bed or as many as 10 beds. Booking a private room with 10 friends comes out to less per person than booking a dorm bed, and even the single rooms are much less than other, more lavish Wicker Park hotels. Each single room has a twin bed, and IHSP offers double occupancy rooms with two twin beds or one double bed. Twin and bunk beds are used in the higher-occupancy private rooms. Most private rooms also have a small desk and task chair.

In their private rooms with en suite bathrooms at the 1755 N. Damen Ave. location, IHSP Chicago steps up the interior design. Ornate furniture, rich bedding and upscale bath fixtures will make you think “hotel,” not “hostel.”

IHSP-rooftop-deckRooftop Decks, Common Rooms and Transportation Options

IHSP claims to be the only hostel in Chicago with rooftop decks, which are at both locations. At 1616 N. Damen Ave., the deck overlooks the bustling six-corner intersection, has views of the downtown skyline, and is open 24 hours. IHSP provides barbecue grills and allows alcohol, so consider the deck your best bet for a party on a budget. If you want to go out for fun, join one of IHSP’s free pub crawls.

In the games and common room, you can play pool, foosball, Wii and other video games, or just watch a movie. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hostel, and you can use the desktop computers in the common room if you didn’t bring your own. The gourmet kitchen serves a free “all you can make” pancake breakfast every morning, provides free coffee and tea all day, and is fully equipped for your own culinary endeavors. If you make a mess, don’t worry. IHSP has coin laundry facilities on-site.

IHSP Chicago has limited off-street parking for guests, so you must reserve your space in advance. Parking is free for guests in private rooms, and there’s a nominal fee if you’re staying in a dorm bed. If you prefer two wheels, you can rent a bicycle from the hostel at half the rate of lakefront rental services. IHSP also pampers ‘L’ riders. They’ll deduct the cost of your ride from the airport from your stay.

Nightlife and History at the Six CornersDouble-Door-Damen-Avenue

Of all the Wicker Park hotels, IHSP Chicago is closest to the thriving intersection of North, Damen and Milwaukee avenues. This puts you closest to the Blue Line’s Damen station, the historical buildings at the six corners, and the buzzing nightlife that draws the whole city to Wicker Park.

Walk across the street to Double Door for live rock music, Blue Line Lounge & Grill or Wicker Park Tavern for drinks and dining, weekend nightclub Ohm, and First Fridays tours of the hundred-year-old Flat Iron building. Go south on Damen to visit Crocodile Lounge (1540 N. Damen Ave.) for drinks, Big Star (1531 N. Damen Ave.) for tacos, and nationally acclaimed speak-easy The Violet Hour (1520 N. Damen Ave.) for the atmosphere.

You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the ingenuity of the buildings at the six corners – or how they’ve been adapted for new uses. Built in 1919, the Noel State Bank building (1601-21 N. Milwaukee Ave.) is now a Walgreens with a “vitamin vault.” The 12-story Northwest Tower (1606-08 N. Milwaukee Ave.) was as tall as zoning would allow in 1928, and the Flat Iron building (1565-89 N. Milwaukee Ave.) was designed to fit its triangular lot.

Affordable IHSP Chicago gives you a grand value at a hot Wicker Park location.