Known for its spectacular skyline, buzzing city streets, and—of course—deep-dish pizza, Chicago offers a thriving metropolis just waiting to be explored. As a travel nurse, you have an incredible opportunity to temporarily immerse yourself in everything the city has to offer.

But how do you find travel nursing jobs in the Windy City, and where will you stay once you’ve secured an assignment? 

We’ve crafted the ultimate guide to help you thrive as a Chicago travel nurse—and it’s packed full of tips on how to make the most of your time here.

Identifying New Travel Nursing Opportunities in Chicago

When it comes to locations for travel nursing, Chicago is an excellent place to add to your bucket list. Whether your specialty lies in pediatrics or intensive care (or any number of specialties in between), the nursing assignments are plentiful here—you just need to know where to look.

At Host Healthcare, we provide exclusive access to thousands of travel nursing jobs in all 50 states. As a bonus, partnering with us gives nurses like you priority access to top positions and locations (Chicago, included). Plus, our experienced recruiters are dedicated to helping you find your ideal travel nursing job and guiding you through the entire application process from start to finish. 

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Insights for Nurses: Navigating Chicago’s Healthcare

After securing your list of potential travel nursing jobs in Chicago, how do you narrow down your options? Understanding the lay of the healthcare land can help you select a position that aligns with your specialty and preferences.

With so many medical facilities in the city, we’d be remiss not to mention some of its most prominent ones, including:

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital – Located in the heart of downtown, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the number one regionally ranked hospital not only in Chicago but in all of Illinois. U.S. News also ranked it as 7th in the nation for its excellence in cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery. Its notoriety makes this hospital a top contender for medical facilities in Chicago.
  • Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago – Ranked as the number one children’s hospital in Illinois, this medical center is an excellent place to work if you specialize in pediatric nursing or aspire to pivot toward this branch of medicine.
  • Rush University Medical Center – Nationally ranked in 11 adult specialties by U.S. News, Rush University Medical Center is a premier choice to add to your shortlist of potential Chicago travel nursing assignments, whether you’re interested in gastroenterology, geriatrics, or another specialty entirely.

Accommodations for Chicago Travel Nurses

Once you’ve locked in your Chicago travel nursing job, one of the next steps is securing accommodation in a safe area that’s also convenient for commuting to work. But with more than 200 distinct neighborhoods in Chicago, where do you even start?

Not all neighborhoods are created equal, so we’ve crafted a helpful list of some of the tried-and-true areas in the heart of the city that are A) safe, B) vibrant, and C) fun:

  • Goldcoast – Treat yourself to the picture-perfect streets of the Gold Coast, where you’ll find plenty of high-end boutiques and restaurants. Tucked away near the Lake Michigan shoreline, you can also enjoy sumptuous sights on your way to some of the best local bars located in historic mansions and hotels.
  • Old Town – This neighborhood is a renter’s paradise, as the majority of its residents rent their homes. Even better? Old Town is brimming with activities within walking distance—explore everything from bars and coffee shops to parks and theaters. You’ll always have something fun to do on your days off.
  • Lincoln Park – Residing in Lincoln Park allows you to seamlessly blend your appreciation for nature with easy access to some of the city’s finest attractions. This family-friendly neighborhood is home to the renowned Lincoln Park, abundant with diverse flora and fauna, as well as numerous activities. From visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum to strolling along the scenic Lakefront Trail, there’s no shortage of adventures to experience.

Transportation Tips for Nurses New to the City

While Chicago is an excellent city to explore on foot, occasionally, the distance between destinations is a bit too far for a leisurely stroll. In such cases, there are several ways to comfortably roam from here to there:

  • Use the city’s public transportation system – If you’re traveling downtown, the ‘L’ rail train conveniently runs through the city. Chicago’s buses, on the other hand, provide access to numerous destinations within the city and its surrounding suburbs. And with a Ventra card, you can add money to your account, making it easy to pay your fare each time you use public transportation.
  • Rent a Divvy bike – Combine sightseeing and exercise by renting a Divvy bike. Just pick a bike (or scooter, if you’re feeling adventurous), scan its QR code, and start exploring the city. When you’re finished, return it to any Divvy docking station, and you’re good to go!

Exploring Chicago’s Must-See Attractions

There is no shortage of esteemed—and hidden—gems to explore while you’re in Chicago. So how do you narrow down which famed attractions to visit while you’re here? 

We recommend crafting a personal bucket list of sights, starting with these must-see marvels:

  • Millennium Park – Located just north of the Art Institute of Chicago (another can’t-miss attraction), Millennium Park is the ultimate backdrop for year-round festivals. Whether you’re an avid concert goer or just want to see Cloud Gate (aka ‘The Bean’) firsthand, Millennium Park will not disappoint.
  • The Magnificent Mile – Home to hundreds of retailers, The Magnificent Mile is full of shopping opportunities from the likes of Bloomingdale’s to Tory Burch. As you window shop your favorite boutiques, take a few minutes to appreciate the architectural highlights of the area, including the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower.
  • Navy Pier – Looking for family-friendly entertainment? The Navy Pier’s got you covered. Start your fun-filled afternoon with carnival-inspired rides and entertainment, then switch gears and sip on an ice-cold libation at the Navy Pier Beer Garden.

Off-Duty Activities for Chicago Nurses

Experiencing travel nursing in Chicago wouldn’t be the same without doing as the locals do—and there is so much to do, including:

  • Exploring Chicago’s expansive park system – Chicago’s comfortable summer and fall weather is perfect for stretching your legs and appreciating the lush greenery dispersed throughout the city, from Lincoln Park to Grant Park (and plenty of other outdoor oases in between). 
  • Going to an outdoor concert – Whether you’re in town for the city’s biggest music festivals—Lollapalooza, anyone?—or prefer a secluded venue hosting a more intimate show, Chicago is the perfect place to experience live music.
  • Attending a game – The Bears, the Bulls, and the Blackhawks, oh my! With so many professional sports teams stationed in Chicago, you have every opportunity to witness a game firsthand during your time here.
  • Sampling Chicago’s colorful cuisine – The Windy City offers a melting pot of culinary delights to choose from. Around every corner, you’ll catch the mouthwatering scent of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza wafting down the street. If you smell it, don’t hesitate to indulge in a slice (or two). We also recommend enjoying a Chicago-style hot dog, topped with flavors you didn’t know your tastebuds were craving, all nestled within a soft poppy seed bun.

Staying Healthy While on Assignment in Chicago: Wellness Tips

Whether your new position spans 12 weeks or 26, prioritizing your health is essential for thriving during any travel nursing assignment. Below, we’re sharing some Chicago-specific wellness tips to keep you feeling your best while you’re here:

  • Shop for locally-made groceries – Farmer’s markets, like Green City Market Lincoln Park, showcase locally farmed produce, baked goods, dairy, meats, and more. This particular market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through October.
  • Form a social circle – There are plenty of organic ways to meet people while you’re in Chicago. You can start at work by introducing yourself to everyone in your unit. During your free time, try attending a class that interests you, such as spin or yoga, to connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Incorporate self-care into your routine – Charging your metaphorical batteries via self-care ensures you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared to give your patients the care they deserve. It can also reduce stress and help you feel your best inside and outside of work. While you’re in Chicago, you can take advantage of the calming waves of Lake Michigan to practice meditation or treat yourself to a day of pampering at one of the city’s renowned spas.

Set Your Sights on Chicago (and More) With Host Healthcare

If the Windy City is on your list of travel nursing destinations, why wait to turn that dream into reality? That’s the beauty of travel nursing—you can pursue your passion while exploring diverse cities across the country. In Chicago, the possibilities are endless. From vibrant festivals to bustling farmers’ markets, there’s no limit to what you can experience against the backdrop of the iconic skyline.

At Host Healthcare, we’re ready to help you achieve your goals as a travel nurse. From finding assignments that align with your preferences to providing ongoing housing help, we’re with you every step of the way.

Apply today to become a traveler with Host Healthcare, and embark on your next grand adventure.



“Northwestern Medicine-Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL – Rankings & Ratings.” U.S. News & World Report. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024. 

“Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in Chicago, IL – Rankings & Ratings.” U.S. News & World Report, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024. 

Shetty, Chelsea. “Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL – Rankings & Ratings.” U.S. News & World Report, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

“Chicago’s Neighborhoods.” Chicago Studies | The University of Chicago, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Justin, Taylor. “8 Easy Ways to Get around Chicago.” The Haute Seeker, 18 Oct. 2023, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

“Green City Market Lincoln Park.” Green City Market Lincoln Park – Green City Market, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.