Chicago Neighborhood Guide
Chicago has an incredibly rich culture that is expressed through our city’s numerous neighborhoods. Each has its own unique character – from the historical mansions along tree-lined streets of Logan Square to the unprecedented nightlife and Chicago spirit of Wrigleyville in Lakeview – we have a property for you! Please refer to the list below for more detailed information about each of Chicago’s distinctive neighborhoods. This list is sorted from north to south.
Sometimes called Chicago’s answer to Venice Beach, California, East Rogers Park is an artsy enclave with studious undertones. Home to the Loyola University campus, vegetarian cafes and incense-scented bookstores, the lakefront neighborhood has many residential streets that end at the beach. A few blocks west, Jarvis Square is humming with a renaissance of new theaters and restaurants. Condominiums, single-family homes and apartments are all available in East Rogers Park, which connects to downtown Chicago via Sheridan Road and Lake Shore Drive, and by the Red Line ‘L.’
With its strong housing stock and affordable prices, this Northwest Side neighborhood is attracting renewed interest. Home to Devon Avenue’s colorful South Asian and Middle Eastern markets, West Rogers Park has a primary housing stock of single-family homes, most about 50 to 80 years old, including many brick bungalows. The neighborhood is home to Indian Boundary Park, popular with families for its lagoon and tree lined trails, tennis courts, playground and children’s zoo.
Located on Chicago’s Far North Side, Edgewater is a sprawling area that attracts city people who nonetheless appreciate wider streets, spacious yards and friendly neighbors. Andersonville is a long-established community of two-flats and single-family homes, and has a lively retail and restaurant district along Clark Street. With its bungalows and frame cottages, historic Bowmanville evokes small town America on the North Side of Chicago. Lakewood-Balmoral is a traditional neighborhood of single-family homes and two-flats. On Edgewater’s northern border is Edgewater Glen, a family-oriented neighborhood of brick and frame single-family homes where pride of ownership and community commitment are part of the lifestyle. To the east is Edgewater Beach, where high-rise condominium buildings overlook Lincoln Park and the lake.
More like a sleepy suburban town than a city neighborhood, the multiethnic North Park area is sought after for its leafy streets and low density, moderately priced housing. Three miles west of Lake Michigan, this Northwest Side community is intersected by both the North Shore Channel and the Chicago River. The neighborhood is home to the campuses of Northeastern Illinois University and North Park College. At Peterson Avenue and Pulaski Road, the 46-acre North Park Village Nature Center has trails winding through woodlands, native prairie grasses, Oak Savannahs and wetlands.
This group of neighborhoods northwest of Lakeview has gained popularity in recent years. Long a traditional settlement for German immigrants, Lincoln Square retains vestiges of its European culture-with authentic restaurants, meat markets, bakeries and festivals-even as other stores and dining establishments have given this part of Lincoln Avenue renewed vitality. The neighborhood’s residential blocks are lined with brick two- and three-flats, and renovated single-family homes. The Brown Line ‘L’ train connects Lincoln Square to downtown Chicago.
Just east of the North Branch of the Chicago River, Ravenswood Gardens is a neighborhood of brick bungalows and two- and three-flats. West of the river, Ravenswood Manor is an enclave of single-family homes, often on larger lots, many of which abut the river and have private boat docks.
Just north of Wrigleyville and bordered by Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan, the area known as Uptown comprises several historic neighborhoods that have seen ongoing renovation in recent years. At the heart of Uptown is the bustling nexus of Broadway, Lawrence and Racine avenues, an area known for its nightlife and music venues. With its dark wood, art deco décor, the famous Green Mill jazz club dates to the Capone era.
North of Lawrence along Marine Drive is Margate Park, an enclave of tree-lined streets and single-family homes, including mansions dating from the early 1900s. Facing east along Marine Drive, vintage and modern high-rise condos overlook the park and the lake. The Margate Park field house and children’s playground are popular with area residents.
A few blocks south along Marine Drive is Buena Park, an area where some streets have an almost suburban tranquility. A landmark district of turn-of-the-century Georgian and Prairie School mansions is surrounded by other single-family homes and vintage apartment buildings. Townhomes, single-family homes and high-rise condominium buildings share the stretch of Marine Drive south of Montrose, all overlooking a public golf course, Montrose Harbor and the lake.
To the west, Sheridan Park also enjoys historic landmark designation and includes hundreds of renovated condominiums and apartments, in addition to large single-family homes on oversized lots. West Graceland is a pocket of brick and frame single-family homes on large lots.
Located along the Chicago River east of the Edens Expressway, Albany Park is an ethnically diverse Northwest Side area, with residents from Korea, Mexico, the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. The neighborhood offers a variety of vintage homes and apartment buildings, including two-flats and large courtyard buildings. Besides being convenient to the Edens, Albany Park also lies at the northern end of the Ravenswood ‘L.’
One of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods, Lakeview blends a variety of urban lifestyles. Belmont Harbor and Diversey Harbor are densely populated areas similar to the Gold Coast and Streeterville farther south. High-rises overlook the lake, while vintage condominiums and apartments lie just west. Many units offer large square footage near the lake, shops and restaurants. The high-energy intersection of Broadway, Clark and Diversey thrives with stores, restaurants and theaters. In central and western Lakeview, the housing stock includes new construction single-family homes and townhomes, vintage apartment buildings and two-flats, lofts and storefront conversions.
The area around Wrigley Field, known as Wrigleyville, is a collection of rehabbed Victorian graystones, two- and three-flat buildings, courtyard apartment buildings and condominiums. Clark Street south of Addison is one of Chicago’s best strips for nightlife and restaurants. A few blocks north, one quiet and secluded landmark street-Alta Vista Terrace-is a hidden gem of historic row homes that resemble English Mews houses. Lakeview residents can reach downtown in 15 minutes via Lake Shore Drive or the Red Line and Brown Line ‘L’ trains.
These comfortable North Side neighborhoods have lively shopping districts and convenient accessibility to the lakefront and downtown. St. Benedict’s parish is a popular, well established community of brick two-flats and frame single-family homes on tree lined streets. The well maintained neighborhood’s high-rated elementary school, stability and affordable prices make it an attractive alternative to the denser, higher priced neighborhoods near the lake. Just south of St. Ben’s, Roscoe Village has a central shopping strip that recalls the main street of an old Midwestern village. It has more than 20 places to eat and drink, plus boutiques and shops. Nearby, older homes and two- or three-flats-many of them renovated-are joined by newer townhome developments and loft conversions. Lincoln Avenue provides a diagonal route to downtown, and the Brown Line ‘L’ connects to the Loop.
Lying northwest along the Kennedy Expressway and the O’Hare rapid transit line are a number of neighborhoods that offer a variety of housing types and prices. In Avondale, just north of Logan Square, buyers can find single-family homes, bungalows, two-flats, and multi-family buildings and condominiums.
Some of Chicago’s most expensive housing can be found in this highly sought-after area north of downtown. Lincoln Park is also home to a myriad of fine restaurants, night spots, boutiques and theaters. The park itself stretches along the lakefront from the Gold Coast north to Edgewater. With its miles of stunning lake views, beaches, greenery, lagoons and paths, the park welcomes joggers, tennis players, golfers, cyclists, and softball players, as well as visitors to Lincoln Park Zoo, the adjacent Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the park’s nature preserves and marinas.
Just northwest of the corner of Wells Street and North Avenue is the charming Lincoln Park enclave known as the Old Town Triangle. The neighborhood has quaint narrow streets-some paved with bricks-and historic cottages, row homes and townhouses. Northwest along Lincoln Avenue at Fullerton, the Lincoln Park community of DePaul takes its name from century-old DePaul University, whose campus is the neighborhood’s focal point. DePaul offers stately single-family and multiple-unit housing, including original Chicago row homes with ornamented Victorian facades. The neighborhood has restored graystones and newer homes designed by top Chicago architects.
As adaptive reuse architecture has transformed old schools, churches, warehouses and factories into desirable living spaces, Lincoln Park’s boundaries have pushed farther west. Nearby are Wrightwood and Sheffield, two areas that share many of the same characteristics and housing stock. Southwest is Ranch Triangle, an area adjacent to Clybourn Avenue.
The wide, leafy boulevards and parkways of Logan Square and Palmer Square are lined with historic mansions and two- and three-flat buildings constructed before World War I. The side streets have smaller homes and two-and-three-flat graystones.
Just west of the Kennedy Expressway and DePaul, Bucktown has become one of the city’s most vital and popular neighborhoods. Loft conversions, new-construction townhomes and single-family residences have attracted a new generation of urban dwellers to the area, which has also been transformed in recent years with new restaurants, shops and nightspots.
Long Chicago’s most elegant and sophisticated neighborhoods, the Gold Coast and Near North Side hum with energy and style. A stroll from the international shopping glamour of North Michigan Avenue, the Gold Coast is known for its historic luxury residences, close proximity to downtown and the lakefront, and its dining, nightlife and boutiques.
East of the Magnificent Mile, the elite Streeterville neighborhood is home to the John Hancock and Water Tower buildings, Lake Shore Drive condominium towers designed by Mies van rer Rohe, and vintage co-ops on cozy streets the recall Paris and New York. West of Michigan Avenue, chic boutiques on Oak Street meet the upscale Rush Street nightlife district, which culminates in a triangular plaza at State and Cedar. North of Division Street, the landscaped State Parkway and Dearborn Parkway are four blocks of historic brownstones and graystones, mixed with high-rise condominium buildings and vintage co-ops, which end at the park. Astor Street is the heart of the Gold Coast. A few blocks away, the Ambassador East Hotel and Pump Room restaurant have hosted international heads of state and celebrities since 1926.
A few blocks west, LaSalle Boulevard is a row of stately homes and historic graystones. At Wells the Old Town neighborhood begins, lively with shops, restaurants and comedy clubs-including the renowned Second City theater group. Renovated and new-construction townhomes, row homes and cottages line Old Town’s narrow, homey streets. The slow clomp of horseshoes on pavement can be heard throughout the neighborhood; tourist carriage rides in nearby Streeterville originate from a stable here, one of Old Town’s hidden treasures.
South of Old Town and ending at the Chicago River that divides it from the Loop’s central business district, River North is a hive of hip residential development and loft conversions, art galleries, designer furniture showrooms, boutiques, restaurants and nightlife. The enormous Merchandise Mart building bookends the area’s southern edge. New townhome developments and mid-rise condominium buildings are attracting more residents to River North-urban dwellers free to walk to the financial district, North Michigan Avenue shopping and some of the city’s best restaurants.
Comprising the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, River West, Noble Square, East Village and Humboldt Park, the Chicago area known as West Town has in recent decades seen urban decay gentrified into a thriving real estate market. Located due west of the Gold Coast and Near North Side, west of the Chicago River and the Kennedy Expressway, West Town’s housing ranges from Victorian mansions to three-flats, cottages and newly constructed townhomes.
Wicker Park, formerly a neighborhood of Polish immigrants before becoming populated with artists and now young professionals, has at its heart the bustling six-corner intersection of Damen, Milwaukee and North avenues. Trendy shops, restaurants, galleries and nightspots line the commercial thoroughfares, while leafy surrounding streets are home to renovated mansions, flats and graystones. Despite its location miles west of the lake, Wicker Park still offers easy access to the Loop and O’Hare Airport via the Kennedy Expressway and the Blue Line ‘L.’
Following Damen Avenue south of Division Street, Wicker Park gives way to another traditional neighborhood undergoing change. Ukrainian Village remains home to many first-, second- and third-generation Eastern Europeans. Ornate orthodox cathedrals with colorful domes, shop signs in Russian and English and colorful flower boxes are familiar sights throughout this well-kept neighborhood of brick two- and three-flats and bungalows.
East of Damen, the “new” neighborhood of East Village is actually a very old Eastern European community whose predominant architectural style is the small cottage and two- or three-flat, though many tear-downs and newly built homes have appeared in the area. Like much of West Town, East Village has been rediscovered by urban pioneers and entrepreneurs attracted to its lower real estate prices and accessibility to the Loop, a 10-minute drive. Even closer to downtown is River West, near the Chicago River and the River North gallery district. The area offers dozens of new office and residential loft conversions, and some renovated two- and three-flats and newly constructed townhomes.
For generations, Chicago’s Loop business district was occupied almost entirely by commercial buildings. People came here to work, shop or enjoy entertainment, but not to live. That started to change in the 1990s, and now residential buildings are being built, and others adaptively reused, in an area that includes some of the tallest skyscrapers in the nation. Chicago’s Theater District has also been rejuvenated, with newly built and restored vintage theaters once again drawing sellout crowds.
East of Michigan Avenue and just south of the Chicago River is an area of mixed-use development built on air rights over former railroad yards. The high-rise condominiums of the New East Side offer panoramic views of the city, the lake and Grant Park. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Theater District are short strolls away. Chicago’s new and hugely popular Millennium Park, also built over commuter rail tracks, draws visitors from around the world with its array of outdoor sculpture, art, nature preserves and music performances. The park has also attracted the development of new, upscale condominium towers nearby.
Areas west of the Loop have experienced a boom of real estate development, renovation and adaptive reuse, sparked by a new generation of urban dwellers who want to live and play close to where they work. Older neighborhoods have been revitalized, and new ones created from former industrial parks and warehouse districts. Luxury townhomes and loft conversions now commingle with renovated row homes and two-flats. Stretching from the Chicago River to Western Avenue, the Near West Side offers a patchwork of small, diverse neighborhoods, where trendy boutiques and eateries blend with second- and third-generation family-owned shops and ethnic restaurants.
The West Loop has seen a series of major new high-rise office and residential towers, which now co-exist with the wholesale meat markets around Randolph Street and the lively Greek Town restaurants and nightclubs on Halsted Street. The high-rise complexes offer a full range of conveniences, from shopping to private health clubs. Nearby is West Loop Gate, an area once home to Chicago’s textile industry. Today, its erstwhile warehouses have been converted into office and residential lofts, often with upscale restaurants and boutiques at street level. Residents can walk to the Loop and are a five-minute drive from major expressways that converge nearby.
South of the Eisenhower Expressway is University Village, the neighborhood between the east and west campuses of the University of Illinois at Chicago, from Morgan Street to Damen Avenue. Invigorated with new townhome developments and renovated row homes, brownstones and century-old mansions, the neighborhood is home to university professors and medical researchers, local shopkeepers and urban professionals. Taylor Street was once the heart of Chicago’s Little Italy, and old-world vestiges remain in the neighborhood’s restaurants and corner delis. During the summer, lines still form at Mario’s Italian Lemonade stand on Taylor.
Due west of University Village is Tri-Taylor. Awarded landmark status by the city, this charming European-style community has restored 19th-century row homes and two- and three-flats, plus new townhouses and single-family homes. Within walking distance from the complex of teaching hospitals nearby, Tri-Taylor also adjoins one of the city’s high-tech research parks.
At the south end of Grant Park near the Museum Campus, another new residential area has been reclaimed from the railroad yards. Central Station extends from Roosevelt Road south to Cermak, an area transformed by the master-planned development’s streets of new single-family homes, townhomes, condominium towers, parks and playgrounds. East of Lake Shore Drive are some of the city’s most famous institutions and gathering places-including the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field (home of Chicago Bears football), Northerly Island and McCormick Place.
The Near South Side extends west of Michigan Avenue to the Chicago River. The formerly rundown area was given new life when single-family homes were built along Clark Street in the 1990s. Condominiums towers also have gone up, and old office and warehouse spaces converted into lofts. Dearborn Park was a South Loop pioneer-master-planned communities of mid-rise condominiums and apartments, townhomes and single-family homes, parks, playgrounds and an elementary school. The South Loop and Near South Side are known for restaurants, theaters and bookstores, and for close proximity to Chicago’s financial district and Harold Washington Public Library.
South of University Village, Pilsen was originally founded by German immigrants in the late 1800s. For years the neighborhood has been a center for Chicago’s Mexican immigrant community. The neighborhood’s vivid culture is apparent in its restaurants, murals and music. After rents soared farther north in Wicker Park during the 1990s, many Chicago artists began relocating to studios and lofts in Pilsen. As the University of Illinois has moved south of Roosevelt Road into the former Maxwell Street Market area, new housing has put gentrification pressure on the modest brick homes in Pilsen, which many longtime residents are resisting.
Located just south of the McCormick Place convention center and north of the University of Chicago, Douglas is convenient to the Loop, the lake and major transportation systems including Lake Shore Drive. The area has many historic mansions, in particular along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Douglas is also part of the Bronzeville historic district and The Gap, an area that includes landmark row homes.
Bridgeport is the birthplace of Chicago’s political leaders, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and his father, the late Richard J. Daley. Surrounded by factories, railroad tracks and expressways, this neighborhood is a quiet island of single-family homes, bungalows and two- and three-flats. Local amenities include a new park by the Fuller Street Bridge, which lends its name to the area.