The beautiful game in a beautiful city: A soccer lover’s guide to Chicago

U.S. Soccer recently announced that the USWNT will be playing a friendly in Chicago on July 9 against South Africa in preparation for the Olympics.

Several women’s soccer fans in the National Women’s Soccer League Supporters’ Facebook group have asked for recommendations on where to stay in Chicago and what to do while visiting. I put together a soccer-centric visitors guide that I hope that will be useful to those visiting Chicago in support of the beautiful game.

Exploring Chicago. Photo credit: Nicole Hack

Where to stay?

There are countless hotel options in Chicago and most of these will be close enough to the stadium that you can walk to the game. Here are a few fun, trendy hotel locations that I recommend:

If these hotels aren’t your cup of tea or within your budget, from hip to historic, there are plenty of other hotels to stay at while visiting.  Check out Travel + Leisure and Midwest Living for more options.

Neighborhoods:

Chicago is a big city, so you might not be sure what location best suits your needs. Here are recommended areas to stay in based on proximity to Soldier Field:

  • The Loop/Downtown
  • River North
  • South Loop
  • West Loop
  • Lincoln Park
  • Magnificent Mile (Streeterville or Near North Side)
  • University Village, Bridgeport, McKinley Park, or Pilsen may be good options for those who like staying outside of the tourist destination locations. Check out Airbnb for options in these neighborhoods.
  • The Chicago Neighborhood’s Map might be helpful too.

Transit 🚗 🚇 🚌:

Since Soldier Field is so close to downtown, it’s easy to take public transportation, walk, or take a taxi to the stadium. All public transit (better known as CTA in Chicago) links together in the loop or downtown making it easy to travel in the city.

If you don’t already have an Uber or Lyft app, I’d recommend downloading them before getting to Chicago. Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) app will also be useful.


For the soccer lovers ⚽❤️…

Soccer points of interest:

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Wish Field home to DePaul University’s Blue Demons. Photo credit: Nicole Hack

In addition to these spots, Lincoln Park has also been home to U.S. Soccer hosted FanHQ watch parties during the 2015 World Cup. If you want to explore the park where the watch parties were hosted, check out this map.

  • Chicago Fire soccer mural: The Fire soccer mural, which was originally painted in the Fire’s inaugural season was repainted in 2010 by the original artist Oscar Romaro. “When Romero painted the mural in 1998, he featured the Fire’s Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos and Polish striker Roman Kosecki playing on the Soldier Field pitch. The addition now features the likes of Fire Original C.J. Brown, Dasan Robinson, Patrick Nyarko and Mike Banner.” The mural can be found at 16th Street and Carpenter Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Not only can you find this Chicago Fire themed mural on 16th street, but several other murals have been painted by local and nationally known artists.

Soccer bars 🍻:

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Fans at A.J. Hudson’s during the Women’s World Cup. Photo credit: NCTV17Sports
When traveling for soccer, it’s always fun to check out local soccer bars. Here’s a few of the best one’s that Chicago has to offer:

Soccer shopping:

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Adidas’ new Mercury Pack cleats hanging out at Millenium Park’s Cloud Gate. Photo credit: Trisikh Sanguanbun
What weekend getaway is complete without a little bit of shopping? None that I know of! Chicago is known for its shopping, especially shopping on The Magnificent Mile and at Water Tower Place. In addition to these popular shopping spots, you can get your soccer shopping fix at these stores:

Traditional tourist locations:

If that wasn’t enough for you, hit up a museum for free, explore hidden Chicago gems, or visit the seven wonders of Chicago.


If you have additional questions about visiting Chicago, I’m happy to help! Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @nikhak or Instagram @nikhak.

 

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