Coworking spaces thrive in Chicago as innovative work hubs for creatives including artists, writers, social activists, tech mavens, and more. These modern work environments have been trending over the last decade, providing professional workstations and networking opportunities outside of homes, coffee shops, and traditional office settings. Freelancers and startups alike can enjoy coworking spaces throughout the Windy City.
When you're looking for a working area in Chicago, consider your budget, specific industry, and amenity requirements. When compared to monthly fees in New York City and San Francisco, the rates for Chicago coworking spaces are relatively affordable, though many of them are catered to specific occupations. Once you figure out what professional network you want, think about the amenities you need. Complimentary coffee and Internet are a given at most places, but benefits like lockers and showers are not. From an office with rock-climbing perks like Brooklyn Boulders to an author's paradise like Writers WorkSpace, we compiled the very best coworking spots in Chicago.
Best for Tech : 1871
Named after the year of the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 acts as one of the main tech hubs in Chicago. It’s a coworking space as well as a tech startup incubator that’s home to 400 city startups. In its abundant and well-lit space, you will find a network of startups and entrepreneurs in the tech industry. 1871 offers a range of different space needs for growing companies, whether you're starting out or accelerating rapidly. There are events geared for digital entrepreneurs, such as talks with high-level speakers. The programming at 1871 regularly includes in-depth classes about design and technology, great for picking up new professional skills in the digital age.
Prices vary. Shared desks start at $350 per month while reserved ones cost $500 per month. Perks that members can enjoy are standing and treadmill desks, high-speed Internet, printer access, conference rooms and event space, locker rentals, a podcast studio, nursing rooms, laundry services, and drinks and snacks.
Best for Media Professionals : 2112
Housed in Fort Knox Studio, a 160,000 square feet B2B building, 2112 is one of the best spaces for music, video, and film professionals to collaborate. It places a strong emphasis on the community within the creative industry. An unreserved workspace is $250 per month whereas a reserved desk space costs $375 per month. Benefits for members include educational programming, 1-on-1 mentor hours with industry professionals, active incubation, 24/7 access, reservation of rooms, a permanent locking desk, and Internet access. There's also free coffee, water, and snacks. If you’re interested in educational programming, mentoring, and networking events without renting a space, you can pay a much smaller monthly fee of $70. The coworking space is right next to the Portage Park neighborhood, which is near the 90/94 Interstate and several public transportation lines.
Best Comfort : LifeWorking Coworking
Tucked in the northern suburbs of Chicago, LifeWorking Coworking integrates its namesake into its facility and mission, emphasizing work-life balance for the busy professional. Its standard amenities include coffee and the Internet. It also has niche offerings, such as package shipment, onsite showers, and concierge services.
You won't be able to access the office 24/7 for the price that other coworking spaces offer. Its costs range from a monthly fee of $199 for one day of access per week, or you can select any four days within a month instead.
A virtual office pass (called Lifeworker Lite) costs about half the price at $99 and gives you access to an office address and receipt of mail and packages. With this package, you get a one-day pass and a one-hour conference room rental per month.
Premium members get more meeting room rental hours, printing services, and access to areas such as drop-in desks and lounge spaces, plus a café. The steeper prices are a motivation for maximizing productivity in the office space and separating home from work.
Best Casual : Homiey
Homiey is a colorful, modern gathering space that’s something like a combination Internet cafe and work office. Advertised as woman-owned and Black-owned, it offers Chicago locations in the Humboldt Park and Noble Square neighborhoods, it’s an upgrade to working at home or in a crowded coffee shop. Because it’s a more relaxed and casual environment, you won't find a handful of luxury amenities, but it does offer complimentary coffee and snacks, high-speed Internet, and casual seating. Members also get access to one shared printer, one conference room, two phone booths, and one kitchenette.
Homiey is a great place for professionals to meet with clients or conduct interviews. Membership is $50 per week or $150 per month and provides access to either location, but space must be reserved in advance. A group membership also is available starting at $250 per month for two members.
Best for Product Innovation : mHUB
Many coworking spaces focus on the needs of digital and tech entrepreneurs, but mHUB is a haven for professionals who need to test and develop physical prototypes. At mHUB, you'll find a community of product designers, developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and manufacturers. The 63,000-square-foot facility has ten fabrication centers that streamline product development cycles. It provides around five million dollars in resources for product design and prototyping, such as a 3D printing lab, electronics labs, metal shop, and microfactory.
Coworking costs $350 per month whereas being in the shop full-time costs $250 per month. Coworking subscribers can enjoy desks as well as shop perks. Members will be able to take advantage of benefits such as coworking space, event space, classroom space, free design software, conference rooms, parking spots, access to storage, loading dock assistance, and manufacturing and supplier connections.