7.3 out of 10

Chinatown

Ranked 18th best neighborhood in Chicago
41.8467065366403 -87.636573108039
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Public Transport
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Parking
  • Pest Free
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Retirees

Reviews

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

"One of Chicago's best neighborhoods."

Chinatown is one of my favorite Chicago Neighborhoods. In fact, I would guess it's a favorite for many residents as well as tourists. My first memory of Chinatown was when my parents took me when I was little and my dad bought me a wooden samurai sword. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Problems with Chinatown would have to do with real estate. It is incredibly difficult to find a place to live there. The prices are high for what you get, although the resale value is excellent. Most would be very lucky to find a nice place that's available. People move in and stay in Chinatown. That's a good thing, if you can get in.

The culture is, of course, the main draw for the neighborhood. You can get authentic Chinese food and goods here, and while I wouldn't say it's really like walking down a street in China, it is about as close as you'll get in America. My brother dated a girl from Hong Kong for a while, and it was cool to see her walk around from store to store and speak Mandarin or Cantonese to the many residents. It was also great to go with her because she knew all the different foods, and could help us find the best dish for our mostly American palates. My brother is a bit pickier eater than I am, so he always had to have the most 'normal' dish on the menu, but even he loved the new flavors and styles of food you could get. Without question, most people come to Chinatown for the food. And it is good.

I'd say Chinatown is also one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, mainly because it's such a tourist draw. No doubt the government doesn't want tourists coming through and saying how dangerous things were. It isn't exactly quiet, but it is safe.

Overall, Chinatown is a great place. I'm not sure I'd want to live there, although it is close to the loop, and has some much to culture to excite your imagination. I'd definitely recommend it.
Pros
  • Fun for a day of shopping or for tourists
  • Great food
  • Safe
Cons
  • Kinda loud
  • Not perfect for non-Chinese
  • Hard to find a good place to live
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"All tourists should check out Chicago's Chinatown"

Chicago's Chinatown may not receive the press and attention of some of its larger cousins around the country, such as in San Francisco, for example. However, the Chinatown in Chicago stands out as one of the more interesting areas of the entire city. There is good reason that the area continuously draws tons of visitors both from within the city and tourist on vacation. The simple fact is that Chicago's Chinatown successfully packs a lot into its relatively small geographical footprint.

A walk through Chicago's Chinatown is a real treat and for many it will be as close as they will ever get to visiting mainland China itself. With that stated, it is a real shame if you live in Chicago and you have never taken an afternoon to visit. There are great and interesting shops and simply fantastic restaurants. In fact, some of my best college memories consist of visiting Chinatown and discovering some new restaurants and buying trinkets from the little stores.

Even if you're not into Chinese food, the look and feel of the area makes it worth the trip. The fact that such an interesting area is in the middle of Chicago is just another reason that the city is an interesting place to live and visit.
Pros
  • Great food
  • Very welcoming
  • Safe
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Chinatown - Great Food, Great Culture"

I used to absolutely love visiting Chinatown as a kid, and I still do! It’s a pretty small neighborhood, but remains distinctly Chinese. There’s some great Chinese-influenced architecture, including the giant arch that crosses over Wentworth Avenue.

Through that arch is the area where most tourists and visitors to the neighborhood go. There are shops selling everything from cheap tourist trinkets, toys, candy and clothing. I will never forget the green Chinese dress my parents bought me from here when I was little! Bamboo plants and Buddhas are for sale in pretty much every store, as are Samurai swords (which are from JAPAN, but hey, people buy ‘em!). You can also find beautifully decorated lacquer furniture and fine art, including embroidery and wood cuts.

There are a plethora of restaurants on Wentworth too, ranging from very American-ized to very authentic. My advice is to find one that has very few or no non-Chinese people in it for a more authentic experience and food you wo
Pros
  • Great food
  • Very welcoming
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Culturally Rich and Vibrant"

I can’t say enough about how much I love Chinatown. It is most certainly one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago and a must see for anyone in the area. Located on the South Side, Chinatown is easily accessible by train from all other areas of the city or by car. Its rich history and exciting landmarks make Chinatown a favorite for almost all Chicago natives and visitors.

A worthwhile daytrip, a visit to Chinatown brings you in touch with a rich culture and an array of authentic Chinese eateries, shops, and stunning architecture. There are many landmarks in Chinatown—as soon as you step off the train, you’ll be taken aback by the bright colors and amazing sculpture throughout the area. Chinatown is simply a one of a kind neighborhood with a charm all its own.

When spending a day in Chinatown, you’ll be able to explore dozens of shops, eateries, and areas of interest. It’s easy to lose track of time while strolling the streets of the area with numerous places of interest t
Pros
  • Great food
  • Safe
  • Very welcoming
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Worth the Trip"

I am no stranger to the Chinatown atmosphere. I spent many an evening, in my teens and early twenties, wondering around New York City's Chinatown. When I arrived in Chicago a friend insisted I needed to head to Chicago's version and that I'd be amazed and entranced by it all. I, ever the skeptic, insisted I'd seen Chinatown, but Chicago's version is perhaps one of the best.

The area is vibrant, colorful and bustling. The people, from store owners to others walking around, are friendly, happy and willing to chat. There is a cultural element to Chicago's Chinatown that can't be found elsewhere and even as the city changed and expanded the enclave stayed intact, unlike other areas of the city, that saw it's ethnic population dwindle and move on.

As I understand it the area has gone through a significant revitalization in the past few years and is now considered a beautiful and save neighborhood. The food is excellent, the atmosphere is lively and the goods sold are unique and interesting. This is worth a visit for just about anyone.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
2yrs+

"A Little Bit of China in Chicago"

The Chinatown neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, is anchored by the intersection of Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue. This intersection is distinctly marked by a very ornate, pagoda-shaped arch that serves as the gateway to Chinatown’s main street – Wentworth Avenue.

Beginning in the early 1950s, it became the central destination for Chinese immigrants from mainland China and its communist government. Although stereotypical, the neighborhood did in fact begin with numerous laundries and restaurants. Over the decades, the laundries have disappeared but the plethora of restaurants has remained and grown. And it is still the only place to find authentic Chinese grocers.

Today, Chinatown is a very popular tourist destination and perhaps along with that, the neighborhood is finally seeing some growth in residential and commercial development, and expansion of its borders. It is still a very insulated, tight-knit community of multi-generational Chinese-American families. However it has begun to attract younger families and urban professionals who desire to live in a familiar community.

Chinatown also has its own tribute to the history and culture of the community, Chicago, and the Midwest, with their Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. Located on West 23rd Street, the museum was nearly destroyed by a fire in 2008. They are still in the process of restoring and rebuilding it.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5
2yrs+

"Where tourists and residents routinely converge with the Chinese population"

One of the most bustling cityscapes around, Chicago’s Chinatown gives that other city’s neighborhood of the same name a run for its dim sum. If you are a fan of dim sum a la carte, then you should waste no time in heading over to Archer Avenue’s Phoenix – but be forewarned that this dumpling expert becomes crowded on weekends. You can practice your Cantonese here, as well as pick up goods from the Chinese medicine stores, groceries and gift shops. This is a neighborhood that happily greets both tourists and residents with its ever-expanding list of goods.
Exit the Cermak-Chinatown L stop, and you’ll be able to see one of the first neighborhood staples: a building adorned in Chinese-style dragons and topped with Chinese-style towers – a little taste of China in Chicago.
It’s obvious to anyone that this is a popular neighborhood – any place where tourists and natives routinely converge must be selling something good. For a bit of an upscale take on Chinese cuisine, check out Moon Palace on West Cermak Rd – their Shanghai style dishes are a good start to a spectacular Chicago visit.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Super fun day out"

When you arrive in Chinatown you would not know that you are still in Chicago. You may as well have arrived in Bejing. Chinatown is one of Chicago’s remaining ethnic enclaves- and it is amazingly fun! It is one of my favorite places to take my four children for a day trip. From incredible food to unique shopping and a cultural experience- there is something for everyone. The bright colors, amazing scents, buzzing sounds belay the areas vibrancy of the neighborhood.
It is of course the best place to get authentic Dim Sum and receive a quick pronunciation lesson without judgment. For the most part people there are eager to share their culture with visitors and are happy to answer anyone with questions.
Getting to Chinatown is half the fun. It is now served by the water taxi which takes people from the Loop to either Michigan Avenue or to Chinatown. It is also accessible by the ‘El’ green line.

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More