$ budget choice
$$$ luxury accommodations
$ Days Inn Gold Coast Hotel
The price and location -- opposite the Lincoln Park Zoo -- can't be beat, and you'll get a free continental breakfast, too. Double rooms from $99. 1816 North Clark Street; 312-664-3040; www.daysinn.com.
$$ InterContinental Chicago
Perched amid Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile, this historic hotel delights families with its 1929 vintage pool, a ceramic-tiled wonder of junior Olympic dimensions surrounded by tiers of lounges for onlookers. Double rooms from $179. 505 North Michigan Avenue; 312-944-4100; http://chicago.intercontinental.com.
$$ Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Downtown
This new Courtyard hotel furnishes junior suites with sleeper sofas for $189 in a location that couldn't be better: just one block off Michigan Avenue. 165 East Ontario Street; 312-573-0800; www.marriott.com/chimm.
$$$ The Ritz-Carlton Chicago
Despite the proper floral sprays and stately marble lobby, the Ritz (a Four Seasons hotel) prides itself on catering to families. At check-in, kids get a toy and child-size bathrobe, plus milk and cookies at turn-down. Double rooms from $320. 160 East Pearson Street at Water Tower Place; 312-266-1000; www.fourseasons.com.