The big Windy City might not seem like the sort of place you could come to seek out a locally owned pad that's laced with Midwestern charm – but it is. You might need to look away from the bustling Loop district to out-of-town areas, but you're sure to gain in terms of in-the-know travel tips, down-to-earth restaurants, off-beat sights, and more.

Some great Chicago suburbs to check out

The soaring Willis Tower and the mind-boggling artworks of Millennium Park soon give way to the sprawl of greater Chicago. Rolling from the banks of Lake Michigan to the wiggling Des Plaines River, it's a patchwork woven through by hip and happening bohemian hubs, well-to-do districts of grand mansions, and historic parklands aplenty.

A Chicago B&B in Lincoln Park

Fusing history and modern amenities, the guest houses of Lincoln Park range from brick-fronted rowhouses to free-standing mansions with Neo-Classical flurries. They beckon you to one of the greenest areas of town, where the hip-shaking blues dives and coffee shops of Lincoln Avenue soon merge with the green lawns around Lake Shore Drive and the sandy beaches on the lakefront itself.

Your homey casa in Little Village

The scents of sizzling tacos twist and turn in the air, sombrero-topped strollers inhabit the sidewalks, and pinatas dangle on the shop fronts. It can only be Little Village – or La Villita in the local lingo. This is Chicago's slice of Mexican life, where the B&Bs are infused with Latin passion and hospitality.

Greektown and Little Italy

Lose yourself in a maze of white-painted tavernas that sizzle with honey-doused feta in Greektown, or scoot down to the pizza pie shops with their trademark Italo-American fat bases, meatball marinara, and crispy cannoli. That's what's possible thanks to the local bed and breakfasts on Chicago's Near West Side – a part of the metropolis that's positively brimming with ethnic neighborhoods.

Handsome Hyde Park

Get your thinking cap on for a visit to Hyde Park. This prestigious cut out of Chicago hosts the Museum of Science and Industry, where you can unravel the enthralling tale of the invention of electricity, and the lecture halls of the University of Chicago, too. It's dotted with a few historic inns and guest houses, which fringe Zen-like meditation parks and biking paths.

Advantages of bed and breakfasts in Chicago

So, why would you choose a B&B over a classic vacation home when visiting the Windy City? There are oodles of reasons, ranging from personalized services to intriguing design features that can really help you experience the buzzing megalopolis.

Local locations, and local tips

Local really is the keyword when it comes to bed and breakfasts in Chicago. Not only can these low-key establishments take you off the beaten path and into workaday neighborhoods filled with ethnic eateries and buzzy bars. They are also often owned by locals, which means you're likely to get hot tips on things to do and see from people who really know what they're talking about.

Unusual design features

Bed and breakfasts often try to do things a little differently when it comes to design. Some will channel Victorian elegance to offer suites with four-poster beds and grand bathrooms. Others will have big country kitchens and sitting areas with plush sofas. And then come the yards – head outside and you could find your very own patio or leafy deck in the midst of the metropolis

That morning meal

Hash browns and baked eggs, potato waffles and fat-stacked pancakes are the order of the day in bed and breakfasts in Chicago. Just as the name implies, you get a filling bout of chow in these accommodations to kick-start your day of sightseeing. And it's typically all hand-cooked and made to order.

Securing cheap Chicago B&Bs

With all the world-class museums, the great art galleries, the lookouts on the Willis Tower, and the taste-bud-tingling Midwestern eateries demanding their own slice of the travel budget, it can often help to save as much as you can on the cost of bed and breakfasts in Chicago. Here's how…

Come during colder seasons – but dodge vacations

Chicago, like bucket-list-busting destinations all over the country, tends to get busier during the summer months, around Thanksgiving, and at Christmas. Extra people mean more competition for the best rooms, which cranks up rates. So, why not plan your trip to Illinois for times like March, September, or October, when things are generally cheaper?

Always book bed and breakfasts in Chicago as early as possible

To snag a great deal between June and August, it's always important to get in early. That's because the most alluring inns and guest houses in popular districts like Little Italy and the North Side will sell out quickly, with any potential bargains usually getting snapped up first.