Chicago has much to offer including the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, the homes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway, and one of only seven Baha'i temples in the world.
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Chicago offers some of the most diverse communities to live in the country. The city is composed of a series of individual neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Click below for descriptions of some the better known neighborhoods in Chicago.
Diversey Harbor & Sheffield
East Rogers Park
Edgewater & Andersonville
New East Side
Old Town & DePaul
West Lake View
Wickerpark & Bucktown
Diversey Harbor & Sheffield
These neighbors of Lincoln Park and DePaul are really an extension of those neighborhoods in many ways. High rise apartments continue along the edge of the park up to Belmont Avenue and vintage homes and smaller apartment buildings make up the balance of the neighborhoods. In addition, new construction of townhouse complexes that blend with vintage complements the housing mix. Entertainment of all forms thrives in this north side area. Coffee bars, restaurants and boutiques continue up and across the main arteries. There are also several major hospitals in the immediate area and transportation is excellent. The park here offers a boat harbor, tennis courts, miniature golf, and lots of wide open green space.
East Rogers Park
From Devon north to Evanston (Howard Street) and from the lake west to roughly Western Avenue, East Rogers Park is home to Loyola University's Lake Shore campus. Some alternative theater, health food restaurants and a revival cinema make this an interesting neighborhood, especially for those who remember the '70s. There are many vintage apartment buildings and as you go farther west towards West Rogers Park, lots of large, old homes. Devon Avenue gets more interesting as you travel west, with some of the city's best ethnic cuisine.
Edgewater & Andersonville
Known for its diversity, Edgewater lies between Lake View and Rogers Park, stretching from the lake west to Ravenswood Avenue between Foster Avenue to the south and Devon to the north. Dozens of high rise apartments line Sheridan Road between Foster and Devon with views of the city and the lake. In the heart of Edgewater, along Argyle Street, from Sheridan to Broadway, is Chicago's new Chinatown with many popular restaurants and shops owned by refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Another well known neighborhood within Edgewater is Andersonville, so named for its origins as a Swedish American neighborhood. Andersonville's backbone runs along Clark Street, which still has a Scandinavian flavor, in spite of ethnic changes in the neighborhood in recent decades. It's also home to the Swedish American Museum and Association.
Traveling north, the Gold Coast picks up where Streeterville leaves off. The landmark stretch of East Lake Shore Drive (an extension of Oak Street east of Michigan Avenue) is a natural dividing line since it follows the curve of Lake Michigan where Lake Shore Drive extends north from Oak Street. The Gold Coast stretches as far west as Clark Street and north to North Avenue, where Lincoln Park begins. High rises, mansions and brownstones make up this lovely neighborhood, truly one of Chicago's most beautiful residential areas, and still only minutes from downtown and the Loop.
Lake View includes, and overlaps with, several smaller neighborhoods within its boundaries, which run from Diversey on the south to Irving Park Road on the North and stretches west to Ravenswood. Many frame and greystone homes and small apartment buildings make up Lake View, along with recently renovated buildings and newly constructed town homes. Along the lake, Lake View includes the neighborhoods of Diversey and Belmont Harbors.
More than a mile of public park stretches from North Avenue to Diversey along the lake. Lincoln Park itself boasts a world class zoo, a bird sanctuary, lagoons, museums and cultural activities, a community theater, biking and jogging paths, and public beaches. The neighborhood that borders Lincoln Park takes the same name, and runs from Armitage north, up Clark Street and Lincoln Park West to Diversey, and west to Halsted Street.
In the mid 1800's, Chicago was a crowded, dirty commercial city with few areas of beauty. Even the lake front north of the City was a garbage dump. The founding fathers, however, envisioned a city in which business could exist beside beauty. In 1870, 28 miles of boulevards and parks were designed to surround the City. This system consisting of 21 boulevard segments, six squares and seven connected parks began on the South side at the Lake in Jackson Park, connected Washington, Sherman, Gage, McKinley, Douglas, Garfield, and Humboldt Parks and ended at Logan Boulevard. This great boulevard system has been called the "Emerald Necklace" of Chicago.
The immigrants who settled in Logan Square were not familiar with traditional architecture, but they remembered the great castles of Europe. Instead of commissioning architects to design pure Victorian or Classic structures, they selected architectural details that appealed to them and had many different features incorporated into their homes. For this reason, most of the houses in Logan Square have an eclectic architectural appearance, combining different styles under the same roof.
Although most of the great boulevard system of Chicago has deteriorated over the years, the mile and a half in Logan Square has remained virtually unchanged for 100 years. Most of the homes were never converted into rooming houses or low rent apartments like other parts of the City, and, therefore, they have retained most of their beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows and original charm.
New East Side
Built on air rights over land once occupied by railroad yards, this corner of downtown Chicago lies between Michigan Avenue and the lake, and between Randolph Street and the river. A golf course, two marinas, world class hotels and high rise apartments are creating a new residential neighborhood that's ultra-convenient for those who work downtown.
Along the north bank of the river, extending west of Michigan Avenue towards Clark Street and north to Chicago Avenue, this neighborhood is experiencing rapid growth and development as vintage greystones and brownstones are rehabbed amidst new hotels, small office buildings, artists lofts, and high-rise apartments.
Old Town & DePaul
This neighborhood lies to the south, from Division north to Armitage and from Clark Street west to Halsted. DePaul, home to DePaul University, extends west from Halsted to Southport and from North Avenue north to Fullerton. Other neighbors of Lincoln Park are Diversey Harbor to the north and Sheffield to the northwest. It's most accurate, however, to say that these neighborhoods all dovetail and overlap. In many senses they all combine to form one larger neighborhood one of the most popular areas in the city for young professionals to live.
Several high rise apartment buildings with park and lake views run along the edge of the park. Otherwise, these neighborhoods are known for their renovated historic town homes and walk-ups. Shopping of all kinds is abundant, as well as cinema, theater, including the famous Second City, and Steppenwolf Theatre and some of the city's most popular restaurants and bars.
Pilsen's center is at 18th and Halsted and it radiates out mainly to the west and south from there. This is a family neighborhood with lots of color, great Mexican food and reasonable housing. A few galleries around the 18th and Halsted intersection attest to some spill-over from the neighboring South Loop artist colony.
Now popular for its affordable homes, Ravenswood has experienced a real estate renaissance thanks to hundreds of live-in rehabbers. A cluster of family neighborhoods, it also offers spacious apartments at reasonable rental rates, many in smaller courtyard buildings. Gentrification is the keyword in this homey, residential district.
Home to lofts and art galleries, many creative businesses have their office space in this historic and chic district that is situated between the north bank of the river, the Kennedy expressway, Chicago Avenue to the north, and Clark Street to the east. Antique shopping and interior design services abound in this neighborhood, as do hot spots for dinner and night life.
Having gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to Lincoln Park and DePaul, Roscoe Village has earned "hip" status. It's an affordable neighborhood with lots of interesting, smaller buildings and houses, more parking options and still accessible to downtown. Its borders are roughly defined as Western Avenue on the west, Addison to the north, Ashland to the east and Belmont to the south. Roscoe Street which runs east-west halfway between Belmont and Addison is the battery of this neighborhood. It offers lots of small neighborhood shops, grocers, bakeries and taverns.
The South Loop includes Printers' Row, Dearborn Park and South Michigan Avenue south to Cermak, and stretches a few blocks west to the River and Canal Street, taking in the unique River City complex on the banks of the Chicago River. The South Loop offers everything from raw to chic loft spaces, new construction town homes, and high rise apartments. Quite a few artists live and work here: the galleries and production studios along South Michigan and Wabash prove it. It's also the home of Columbia College; the School of the Art Institute is nearby to the north; and a main attraction at the south end is Chicago's Chinatown.
Named after the legendary George Wellington Streeter, who fought to claim the more than 150 acres of landfill along the lake shore from the river to East Lake Shore Drive, this area is home to landmarks such as the old Chicago Water Tower, the John Hancock Center, and the elegant old Drake Hotel. It is a Mecca for shoppers since it includes Water Tower Place and borders along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile to the west. It's also the home of Northwestern University's School of Law and Medical Center, and both Chicago's CBS and NBC TV affiliates. High rise apartments, luxury hotels and even new lofts and apartments near North Pier and Navy Pier make up the residential mix.
Technically bounded by the elevated ("El") tracks between Franklin on the west, and Wabash on the east, Van Buren on the south and Lake Street on the north, this is the bustling commercial and business heart of Chicago. Increasing numbers of apartments are being developed around the fringes of the loop. Printers' Row, which extends south of Congress along Dearborn, may have started the trend in the early 1980s with its rehabbed vintage apartments and lofts. More rental apartments will be available in the next couple of years at the north end of the loop along the river. If you like a bustling urban center, this is it.
West Lake View
Includes Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs and historic Wrigley Field, built by the famous chewing gum magnate. This neighborhood has lots of bars and restaurants that support the thousands of fans who gather during baseball season, but remain just as popular the rest of the year. Many frame and greystone homes and small apartment buildings make up West Lake View, along with recently renovated buildings and newly constructed town homes.
From Halsted west to Damen (where the United Center is the most known landmark) and Madison Street north to Grand Avenue, the West Loop is a mix of lofts, galleries, production houses, photographers, graphic design firms and wholesale food markets. This is not primarily a residential district, but there is a variety of residential and commercial loft space that's convenient to the Loop and the near north side.
Wicker Park & Bucktown
North, Damen and Milwaukee Avenues form the hub of this neighborhood, whose boundaries are ever expanding north and west towards Humboldt Park and Logan Square. This area is inhabited by one of the largest populations of working artists of any major American city. Housing runs the gamut from beautifully renovated town homes to inexpensive, spacious lofts. Dozens of galleries line North and Damen Avenues, along with bohemian cafes, comic book shops and restaurants ranging from expensive chic to down home and unpretentious.
Home to the Chicago Cubs and historic Wrigley Field, built by the famous chewing gum magnate. This neighborhood has lots of bars and restaurants that support the thousands of fans who gather during baseball season, but remain just as popular the rest of the year.