With the rise of the gig economy and a booming population of remote workers, coworking spaces are in higher demand now than they ever have been. If you’re in the market for coworking spaces in Chicago, choose carefully. You’ll be spending at least 40 hours a week here, so you should put in just as much effort as you would while apartment hunting. Here’s a breakdown of the best local options.
Location: Thirteen locations across the Loop, West Loop, and River North
WeWorkmight be the biggest name in coworking on the planet, and this city is no exception. There are no fewer than 13 WeWork coworking spaces currently open in Chicago. We might be biased, but we’re partial to the 20 W Kinzie St location, where Blueground’s Chicago offices were located. However, you can’t really go wrong with any of these great locations. Change your mind? You’re in luck, they’re all within walking distance of each other.
The perks of a WeWork membership include the standard amenities you’d expect from a coworking space – high-speed internet, regular cleaning services, and bottomless coffee. Then there are also the daily community events and soundproofed phone booths for private conversations. Of course, you’ll also have access to the global WeWork network of over 500 offices in almost 100 cities around the world. Perfect for the traveling digital nomad.
Pricing for WeWork in Chicago starts at $290/month for a hot desk or $690/month for a one-person private office.
2. Free Range
Location: 2141 W North Ave. in Wicker Park
Free Range is the most versatile Chicago coworking space on our list, and it’s especially unique in that its most basic membership level includes no actual space. For $50/month, you can simply pay to receive mail here. However, if you’d rather spend some actual quality time at the Wicker Park location, Free Range has a wide variety of options. From a $20 day pass to $285 and up for a month, each membership option includes conference room access, office supplies, and complimentary beverages.
If you’re a Chicago female entrepreneur, take note that Free Range hosts regular programming focused on empowering women through advocacy. There are also a limited number of fellowships available for individuals and nonprofits that support women’s issues, which will get your membership fees waived for up to four team members.
3. University CoWork
Location: 6127 S University Ave in Woodlawn
If you’re looking for a coworking space on the Southside, right by the University of Chicago, you’ll find a new desk and office waiting for you atUniversity CoWork. Awarded the “Best of Chicago” designation for Coworking spaces by Chicago Magazine in 2019, office access starts at $95/month and includes $75 worth of conference room usage.
In the COVID era, University CoWork has moved their in-person events online, while upgrading meeting rooms to suit Zoom, teaching, interview, and podcasting needs. University CoWork also offers Virtual Memberships that create a bridge between business leaders from across the country with the local entrepreneur community — all the more important in a remote work era.
Location: 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212 in River North
1871 was created in 2012 as a hub for Chicago’s tech startup scene, and today, it’s all that and more. This massive coworking space and startup incubator is located on the 12th floor of Merchandise Mart in the River North neighborhood. As Chicago’s “Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship”, 1871 will give you access to premium amenities, like a podcast studio.
The real value of 1871 comes with its mentorship and networking opportunities. Over 1000 events are held each year, from talks with industry leaders to workshops and happy hours. You’ll also have the opportunity to get one-on-one coaching from skilled professionals to help grow your business.
Membership in 1871 starts at $175/month for nights and weekends, while full 24/7 access will set you back at least $350/month. Interested co-workers can apply online while 1871 accepts applicants on a rolling basis.
5. Second Shift
Location: 3432 W Diversey Ave. in Logan Square
The aptly-named second iteration of a now-defunct space called The Shift, Second Shift is a more relaxed option that caters to individual freelancers over teams of entrepreneurs. The space provides all the basic necessities you’ll need, like printers and meeting areas, but the main focus is on building community. Second Shift is far removed from the chaos of downtown, perhaps intentionally placing itself in the more diverse neighborhood of Logan Square.
Second Shift is among the more budget-friendly coworking spaces in Chicago. If you’re looking for a low commitment, the “Lite Coworking” option will get you two days of coworking per month for just $45. Unlimited access to the space still only costs $165/month, although if you’re looking for reserved seating, be prepared to pay more.
6. Brooklyn Boulders
Location: 100 S Morgan St. in Greektown
Okay, so Brooklyn Boulders is primarily a climbing gym, but it’s also a one-of-a-kind co-working space for the athletically inclined. The standing desks at this West Loop spot feature pull-up bars to help you get the most out of every screen break. You won’t find all the amenities included in other mainstream coworking memberships, but don’t worry, showers are located on-premises. At just $125/month, the pricing isn’t bad, especially since you’ll also be getting a gym membership out of the deal.
If you can’t make up your mind about Chicago coworking spaces, that’s okay, too. Deskpass will let you reserve a spot at any one of dozens of Chicago spaces for $49/month (four visits) to $199/month (20 visits). You can check out a different location every day or keep coming back to your favorites. Of course, you’ll get to take advantage of all the amenities at each space, which are guaranteed to include WiFi and coffee.
Even though you’ll be a nomad within Chicago, Deskpass also provides the community you’d expect from a membership at a single coworking space. There’s a dedicated Deskpass representative at each location and regular exclusive events for subscribers. Think of it as changing your scenery, like when working from different coffee shops, but with a guaranteed space, plug, and WiFi!
Coworking spaces aren’t for everyone. If you’d rather have a quiet place to work from the comfort of your own home, check out Blueground. Their furnished apartments are designed with the busy professional in mind. That means a dedicated workspace where you won’t have to fight for outlet space. A home office is always ready for you in a Blueground home with WiFi available on arrival — all that’s left is to show up and start working.