Getting Down to Business: Chicago’s Top 5 Downtown Co-Working Spaces
As entrepreneurs, freelancers, and anyone else who requires a remote office can tell you, working from home can be difficult. Staying on task is tough when the kids are around, the cat’s doing its usual laps across your keyboard, and the people upstairs are unpacking their bowling ball collection. And of course, there’s always the dangerous allure of the TV and the bed, which suddenly looks oh-so-comfy. Worst of all can be the isolation – if you’re working and living in the same apartment, when will you ever get to go outside and interact with people?
Co-working spaces are a great solution to all of these problems. For just a couple hundred dollars a month, you can get out of the garage and into a well-stocked open office space, complete with external monitors, high speed Internet, and unlimited coffee. You’ll interact with peers, potential clients, investors, mentors, and people who are interested in what you’re doing. Best of all, you’ll be able to concentrate on work the way you couldn’t when working out of your home office.
That’s why we put together this list of Chicago’s top co-working spaces: once you see the fantastic options available to the city’s ambitious workers and startups, you’ll be hooked.
Chicago Co-Working Spaces
222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212
When the topic of co-working spaces comes up, 1871 is always the first name on people’s lips. Located in The Merchandise Mart, 1871 was founded in 2012 to support Chicago’s digital startup community, and has become an incredibly popular hub for people in all kinds of entrepreneurial and technology pursuits.
Membership plans start at $175/month for the “Night & Weekend” package, and include a wide range of fantastic amenities including high speed Wi-Fi, printer access, drinks & snacks, and of course, a bright and energetic space to get real work done. 1871 also lets you tap into an amazing community of people, fantastic workshops, and even personal mentorship.
2 North LaSalle St, 14th Floor
Grind LaSalle is the New York-based co-working company’s first location in the Windy City, providing all of the perks and features of its East Coast counterparts. With a wide range of conference room and desk spaces, it’s the perfect place for everyone from solo workers to startups.
Grind provides high speed Wi-Fi and Ethernet, printer and copier access, AV equipment for presentations, free Intelligentsia coffee and tea, and much much more. Don’t let the name deceive you – the experience of working at this office is far from the typical daily grind.
Loop: 1 North State Street #1500
Magnificent Mile: 541 N. Fairbanks Court
River North: 350 N. Orleans Street Suite #9000N
This space boasts “everything you need to grow your business,” from workspace to networking to events. Growing businesses can use this space to keep overhead low as they grow, and choose from a wide variety of pricing options. MakeOffices also includes features like bike storage, wellness and relaxation rooms (with massage chairs!), a recording room, and even unlimited craft beer on tap.
With locations in the Loop, River North, and Magnificent Mile, you can find the one that’s right for you – square in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Multiple locations in the Loop, River North, and Fulton Market
It should surprise nobody to see WeWork included on this list – these co-working spaces have pretty much been a staple since the industry began, and for good reason. WeWork’s six locations in Chicago include the amenities we’ve seen common to co-working spaces (high speed Internet, conference rooms, printing, coffee) as well as additional perks like ping pong and arcade rooms, and rooms for mothers.
WeWork has locations all over the country, and their experience shows. Each co-working space is beautiful and comfortable, designed to keep you productive without the rather Spartan feeling of some competitors. If you’re not sure where to start looking, definitely take a tour and give one of these locations a shot (you can start with the Kinzie office, just a block from Marina City!).
965 W. Chicago Ave.
Calling mHUB a co-working space almost seems like a disservice, because this place is so much more. An incredible asset for Chicago’s technology entrepreneurs, mHUB provides the kind of resources that until now were reserved for large companies or those willing to shell out large amounts of money to access.
Any entrepreneur or creative looking for prototyping and physical resources should look no further, and instead check out mHUB’s incredible array of equipment, including 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, metal milling, software tools, and so much more. The monthly fee is worth it for the cool factor alone.
The co-working space itself includes spaces such as classrooms and conference rooms, so that you and your team can meet to discuss your product’s development, or review any issues that have arisen during prototyping.
Choosing A Space That’s Right For You
This list isn’t a ranking – each of these spaces provides a wealth of resources that you can put to use when building your business, grinding through your side hustle, or just working remotely for your company. There is no “wrong” answer here, and whichever one you choose, it’s sure to be a giant step up from working out of your spare bedroom. If your productivity could use a boost, check out these amazing co-working spaces today.