4.5 out of 10

Austin

Ranked 54th best neighborhood in Chicago
41.8884487030538 -87.7597330919999
Great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Public Transport
  • Childcare
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Pest Free
  • Nightlife
  • Gym & Fitness
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers

Reviews

2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 29, 2011

"Historic area that is overall rather depressed"

Many lifetime Chicago residents have little or no knowledge of the Austin area, which is extremely odd considering the simply enormous size of the area's population. When it comes to populated areas within the city limits of Chicago, few can match that of Austin. Located on the far West Side of Chicago, the Austin area is home to almost 120,000 residents easily making it one of Chicago's more populated neighborhoods. Yet, despite its large population, for many Chicago residents living in the downtown area or in areas such as Wicker Park and Bucktown, the Austin area remains just a place on the map.

Geographically, Austin takes up a sizable portion of the total Chicago landmass. This fact alone makes it an interesting area. The area shares a border with areas such as Oak Park and Berwyn. The area is rich in history and was originally spearheaded by a real estate speculator by the name of Henry Austin in the 1860s. By the late 1880s the Austin area found itself absorbed by the ever growing Chicago. Some areas of note around the Austin neighborhood are Berwyn and Oak Park, both of which have seen dramatic demographic changes and economic hardships in recent years.
Pros
  • Architecture
  • Historic
  • Residential
Cons
  • Lacking the urban feeling
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Jul 26, 2011

"Austin - Historic, In Need of Help"

The Austin neighborhood is on the far west side of Chicago. It’s a really big area, stretching all the way from North Avenue to Roosevelt Road. It has a pretty high crime rate, and is certainly not the safest area to hang out in. There’s not much in the way of entertainment options either. There are businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood, but Austin has had a serious problem with foreclosures and shuttered businesses for a long time. This is where the first Wal-Mart in Chicago opened, much to the dismay of many city residents. There was a lot of talk about the store helping local business and job options, but it really hasn’t at all. In fact, I recently read a study that showed about 80 local businesses closing within a few years of the opening of the Wal-Mart. This area could really use some help.

There is some cool architecture and parks in Austin. There are several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the area. The churches are also something to check out. Columbus Park, which has a huge lagoon, is a national historic landmark and is beautiful. There’s also a historic district on Midway Park – the street is gorgeous and is lined with old Victorian-era homes.
Pros
  • Architecture
Cons
  • some crime
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Jul 21, 2011

"Large and Interesting Area"

Talk about a unique and booming area! Austin is the largest neighborhood in Chicago and is considered a separate area by many because of its booming population. Filled with historic areas, a unique history, and an eclectic collection of attractions, this West Side gem is often overlooked. It was once a part of the Cicero community, but growth in the area forced it to be annexed in 1899 into Chicago.

One of the most prominent attributes of Austin (and one that makes me visit frequently) is the fact that it is home to several Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Additionally, visitors and residents marvel at the former town hall, which is modeled after the famous Independence Hall, located in Philadelphia. The Historic District found here is quite impressive, and is enough to attract many visitors to the area.

Austin is, above all, a residential area that is a charming place to raise a family or escape from the demanding energy of the city. With much to enjoy in and around Austin, I’d include it as a great daytrip if you appreciate history. It’s not the place to go if you’re looking for excitement, but a true Chicago native would certainly include this as one of the most important neighborhoods in the city.
Pros
  • Architecture
  • Residential
  • Historic
Cons
  • Lacking the urban feeling
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 29, 2010

"Big enough to encompass multiple points of view"

First, Austin is a big neighborhood. This makes it somewhat hard to describe. There are great parts of Austin, and some not so great parts. As a whole, unfortunately, I'd have to describe it as a less than safe area. That said, there are parts of the neighborhood that I think are pretty nice and reasonably safe. It's too bad that the problem sections have to ruin the whole, but that's the way it is.

There has been some effort put in recently to revitalize the neighborhood, with many streets being repaved, and some other projects designed to improve the overall community. I wouldn't say there's been much success yet, but it gives me some hope. Maybe in a few years it'll be move up into one of the nicer areas of the city.

Home prices aren't too bad, and you can get a decent place for the money right now. If you're wary of the crime you should be fine, although I wouldn't recommend it for families. It's relatively close to the action, so you don't need to worry about being too far away. Traffic can get jammed on the Eisenhower expressway, but you're not so far that it would kill you.
Pros
  • Big neighborhood, lots to see.
  • Some revitalization has happened recently, which should help.
  • Affordable
  • Historic
Cons
  • Kinda unsafe
  • Bad traffic
  • Not the place I'd choose.
  • Lacking the urban feeling
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Jul 20, 2010

"Poised for a comeback."

Austin reminds me a great deal of my home in NYC. The neighborhood encompasses a pretty large area and thus is rather eclectic in terms of what is offered and the demographic within the area. You will run into areas within Austin that are lovely, areas that are rough around the edges and areas that you wouldn't want to be caught in once the sun goes down. The area has had moments of sheer desperation. The decline of the area can be attributed to changing socioeconomic status and the changes in public funding and local and federal funding, but overall the area has held on. In recent years there has been serious interest in Austin and the revitalization of the area to it's former glory. As more and more public projects are completed and higher-end residents find their way back to the area it is only expected to climb in status. It might be best to get into the area now if you plan on moving in before it totally skyrockets through the pricing ceiling.

Austin also has a fairly centralized location making it convenient for people who want to live, work and play within the same generally area. I know I hate having to travel an hour to have a good time, so Austin is a great spot to call home without paying a premium for being very close to the action.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jun 28, 2010

"Stable Pockets In Austin and Some Great Architecture, But Crime and Poverty Plagued"

Austin is located on the West Side of Chicago and it is the largest by population (58,059 estimated zip code in 2008) and one of the largest in land areas. It is seven miles west of the Loop on Chicago's western border.

It evolved from a country village to a solidly populated urban neighborhood between 1870 and 1920. It remained a middle-class community for 50 years, but in the late Sixties it experienced heavy social and economic changes from which it couldn't recover.

It is today 90 percent Black, 5 percent Hispanic and 5 percent White. The crime rate, as given on the Chicago Police Department CLEARMAP Crime Summary (http://gis.chicagopolice.org/CLEARMap_crime_sums/startPage.htm#) is quite high.

People who live there recommend living in the areas around the Lake street el near Oak Park (Lake and Austin) as well as the surrounding blocks. This area is part of the Austin historical district with better maintained property as well as some new construction. Austin is gentrifying slowly, but it has a ways to go.

The median resident age is 29.2 years. The average household size is 3.2 people. The estimated median household income in 2008 was $32,707. Family households make up 72.7 percent of the population. Residents with income below the poverty level for this zip code are 31.3 percent.

It has excellent public transportation including the Lake Street elevated, the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and C.T.A. buses 66, 85. For more travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com.

Frank Lloyd Wright, whose studio still stands in nearby Oak Park, created homes for this neighborhood that still are amazing and inspirational. Midway Park, not really a park but a parkway, is in the heart of the Austin Historic District and listed on the National Register. On this street, as well as on Race Avenue a block north, are homes designed by top architects of the late 1890's and early 1900's. These include John Chubb, Robert Hyde, Holabird & Roche, John Krall and four houses by Frederick Schock.
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jun 24, 2010

"Largest Neighborhood in Chicago"

Austin has an illustrious history. It is the birth place of Frank Lloyd Wright and Hemingway. It was originally built on railroad wealth. However after the race riots of the 1960 Austin lost much of its prestige and became a rougher area.

However, recently it has been undergoing rehab while maintaining its historical integrity. One of the best examples of this was the refurbishment of Columbus Park. One of the most pretty and well designed parks in Chicago.

It is wonderful to see this once brilliant neighborhood reclaiming its status.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
almostsinglemom
almostsinglemom I meant to add that with its proximity to Oak Park the entertainment/dining/shopping options are endless.
Jun 24, 2010
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Unranked Streets in Austin

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