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Not only is Hotel Lincoln plopped in one of the best neighborhood locations in town (right in Lincoln Park, across from Lincoln Park Zoo and Lake Michigan), it’s also among the most fun, lighthearted, and quirky hotels in Chicago. When you enter, expect an exuberant staff dressed in preppy uniforms (guys are in bowties, girls are in polka dots) to greet you and, quite possibly, compliment you on something (they did so to both of us; I think they were genuine, my boyfriend thinks it’s part of their training). Although it has 184 rooms, the hotel manages to feel intimate, with its warm attention to homespun decor—the front desk is an assemblage of drawer fronts, for example. Standard rooms all have local art on the walls and vintage furniture that feels real rather than antiseptic, like many hotels. Request a room on floors nine and up for the best lake views (you’ll pay about $40 more for it), and be sure to pop up to the J. Parker, the rooftop lounge. Service there is so-so at best, but you can gaze at this beautiful city from up high. With complimentary bike rentals and even the hotel’s pedicab, you can explore the neighborhoods without having to worry about a car.