Deena

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  • Discussions 36

Reviews

3/5
Just now

"Irving Park – Too Far Away!"

YIKES! This neighborhood is way too far away from anything I care about! Which means it’s probably a great place for families with kids, and seniors. Haven’t been through there in some time but as I recall it had a lot of old single family houses. Irving Park Road is one of those Chicago streets that extend from one side of the city to the other – from the Lakefront all the way to O’Hare airport. In fact, the street seems to be directly under the flight plan/route for all traffic coming to O’Hare from the East. I think in the old days before the Kennedy Expressway was completed and extended to the west, Irving Park Road was probably the only way one could get to the airport! Imagine how long that would have taken on a surface street! When I was a kid in the 60s, going to O’Hare was a day-trip for amusement!

Having the Kennedy Expressway running through this neighborhood makes it fairly convenient for car owners to get where they need to go. And I guess it’s not terribly inconvenient for those who must rely on public transportation. The CTA has several East/West bus routes running on the main streets through the area (Irving Park Road, Belmont, Addison, Montrose). And of course there’s the CTA Blue Line train with stations at Belmont, Addison, Irving Park and Montrose. In fact, the Blue Line – which travels in the median of the Kennedy – is the fastest and cheapest way to get to and from the airport IF you don’t have a lot of luggage. (The airlines are seeing to it that anyone’s luggage would be minimal!)

Would I want to live in this neighborhood? Not even if you paid me! Too much like a suburb for my taste. I much prefer living Downtown where the action is!
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
Deena
Deena Ironically and coincidentally, the day after I wrote this review, I had the opportunity for a "drive-thru" of this neighborhood, along Montrose Avenue. It was pretty much as I expected: lined with mostly single-family homes; a lot more 2 and 3-flat apartment buildings than I'd expected to see; quiet, residential. I did NOT see any large grocery or retail stores/malls. But there were quite a few small strip malls, neighborhood stores and restaurants centered around major intersections. Nice area but I still wouldn't want to live there.
2yrs+
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2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Not Bad During the Day"

The Grand Boulevard neighborhood includes M. L. King Drive from 39th Street/Pershing Road to 51st Street which is considered part of Bronzville. In the old days, the street was known as South Parkway and was lined with several huge mansions and 3-story brown and greystone apartment buildings. I actually lived on 42nd and Prairie for a few years as a young child. Still remember the rattling sound of the EL as it ran down the alley behind our building.

The area around the intersection of King Drive and 47th Street was a hotspot of jazz and blues clubs. 47th Street was the area’s primary commercial strip lined with several small to medium sized retail stores and restaurants. And on King Drive there was the famous and fabulous Regal Theater. In the 60s this neighborhood was a very cool place to be – even for a 10-year old kid like me! Of course, my biggest enjoyment was the annual Bud Billiken Day parade down King Drive. It was and still is one of the biggest and most spectacular parades in the United States.

Sadly, the decades have not been kind to the neighborhood as a whole. The economic decline is extremely evident on King Drive and even worse on the side streets. I had the opportunity last year to visit a friend who lives in the area. What an eye-opening experience that was, which I decided I would not repeat. It was too depressing. Too many vacant lots, crumbling and boarded-up houses and apartment buildings, too much poverty.

Despite the rebuilding, renovation, and restoration that local aldermen have been trying to jumpstart for at least the past 10 years, and Bronzeville’s status as a landmark district, the Grand Boulevard neighborhood is still only struggling. Although King Drive is still a "grand boulevard" with its many trees and grassy strips, I wouldn't call it a scenic thoroughfare any more. But it's still a great street for the Billiken Day parade! (WOW! I just realized the parade is this Saturday Aug 14th. I may just head down there! I DO love a good parade!)
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
Just now

"No More Steel Mills"

Boundaries: North and West - Calumet River, South - 126th Street, East -State Line Road (4100 E).

Although I didn’t live in this neighborhood it felt a lot like it. I went to one of the only Catholic high schools in the area – St Francis de Sales. I attended for all for four years and participated in many of the events and activities so I was there a LOT. Back then (early to mid 70s), the East Side was dominated by the huge Republic Steel Mill and most of the residents worked there. It was very much and still is a neighborhood of blue collar, working class people. Most of the original residents were Serbian, Croatian and Polish immigrants. When I was attending high school, there were also a significant numbers of Hispanic and Italian families. Many of the kids were my classmates and friend. I’d venture to say the racial/ethnic makeup hasn’t changed much, even though the steel mills are long gone.

Most of the homes are the older, standard Chicago bungalow type. However, as in most neighborhoods, new development has been going on, giving the former gritty East Side more of a suburban look and feel. And with that of course, there has come development of large shopping malls and grocery chains. Aside from that, the East Side claims its own little section of Lake Michigan at Calumet Park. Rumor has it that their lakefront shoreline will include development of 140 acres of new parkland which will include an expansion of the existing Calumet Park and Beach, and extension of the existing lakefront bicycle and running path to the proposed new lakefront parklands in the adjacent South Chicago neighborhood to its north. That’s certainly something to look forward to.
Recommended for
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  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
Just now

"Pullman: Living in History"

The Pullman neighborhood, located on the city’s far south side, got its name from George Pullman – the father of the “Pullman Railcar”, and the community he established for his employees back in the 1880s. This was no ramshackle town of one room shacks. All had running water, indoor plumbing and gas lighting – amenities that were considered luxuries in those days, especially for the laborers who occupied them. Most of the homes and apartment buildings were built between 1880 and 1885, and 95% of them are still standing and owner-occupied.

Today, George Pullman’s city within a neighborhood is a designated landmark historical district that attracts hundreds of tourists and visitors every year. This historic district boasts of having the country’s first African American labor history museum.

The surrounding residential streets are quaint, tree-lined, and picturesque. The area is easily accessible by CTA buses and the Metra Electric commuter rail line, as well as the I-94 expressway, and only about 15 minutes from the Loop.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
Just now

"Roseland: Don’t go there…."

Roseland, located on the city’s far south side, has been around since Dutch immigrants founded it in the 1840s. It includes the smaller sections of Fernwood, Princeton Park, Lilydale, West Chesterfield, Rosemoor, Sheldon Heights and West Roseland. When I lived there in the Rosemoor section in the 70s, it was still a family-oriented neighborhood with low crime, great schools, well-maintained homes, and strong community spirit. But that was over 20 years ago. In 1982, I moved out of the family household, to my first apartment, located in a different neighborhood.

Over the next 10 or so years, I made frequent visits back to the old neighborhood. At first it was much like I’d remembered it. But after a while it began to take on that “run-down”, deteriorating, depressing look. So my visits became fewer and fewer. During the past 15 or so years, Roseland has become one of the city’s poorest communities and it shows. Definitely a “don’t go there unless you HAVE to” kind of place.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Another Suburb in the City"

A good friend of mine who has lived in this neighborhood since the mid-60s adamantly insists that this neighborhood is known as “Washington Heights” and that Brainerd is a smaller area within its borders. As a long-time resident, I guess she’d know.

I haven’t been there for a long time. I recalled it like most neighborhoods I’ve been to and/or lived in: blocks and blocks of primarily residential; middle-class, working families; quiet and quaint; surrounded by busy commercial streets to support neighboring residents. Washington Heights/Brainerd is no different. The biggest change over the decades has been from White European to almost exclusively African American. But unlike many neighborhoods that seem to deteriorate when the racial balance changes drastically, Washington Heights has survived and thrived. They have a high level of community involvement. I was surprised to hear that they still have “block clubs”! Still, the current economy is having an impact. Houses aren’t selling so well and there are a few boarded-up/foreclosed homes on every block.

This neighborhood has excellent proximity to major expressways, public transportation, and large grocery and retail shopping malls. Not my cup of tea as a die-hard urbanite. This is another of the many neighborhoods that is like a bit of suburbia without leaving the city limits. But at least they have sidewalks!
Recommended for
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  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Have to get off the beaten path to appreciate"

I first became aware of this neighborhood in 1969 when my cousins moved there. Back then it was a pretty nice neighborhood. Lots of families with kids, pretty nice-looking homes, well-maintained. My cousins lived a block from the main commercial strip on 87th Street which included several neighborhood convenience/grocery stores and fast food restaurants. I used to love going to visit them. But the decades have not been kind here. The commercial strip seems to be still surviving and thriving, but the homes have deteriorated. There are still some patches away from the beaten path that appear to be decent and safe. But getting to them can be a challenge – especially on public transportation. Since my cousins still live there, I still visit them. But not nearly as often as I used to, and only during the day. Even then, I feel like I have to watch my back.

Gresham is not considered a “bad” neighborhood. Its residents have their fair share of crime and foreclosed homes in the current economy. Quite a few people – like my cousins - have lived there for decades and are now raising there own families there. There is a certain comfort in knowing where everything is in your neighborhood. Beyond that, I’m sure there are bargains galore on housing. Most of the homes are over 50 years old and are ripe for rehabbing.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
Just now

"Great Location and Diversity of Everything"

Boundaries: North – Montrose Avenue, South – Diversey Parkway, East – Lake Michigan, West – Damen.

Includes: East Lakeview and Wrigleyville

This neighborhood hasn’t changed much since I lived there in the early 90s. It’s a very eclectic area on many levels. The side streets are filled with vintage single-family homes and apartment buildings, and modern high-rises. Meanwhile the commercial areas along Clark Street, Diversey Parkway, Halsted Street, and Belmont Avenue are bustling with numerous boutique shops, quaint restaurants, and of course, several nightlife spots. It is also the home of “Boys Town” – a large, thriving gay community.

My favorite section is the East Lakeview area, between Halsted and Lake Shore Drive. At the shoreline is the beautiful and scenic Belmont Harbor and surrounding park-like setting with its winding walking/bike paths. It’s a nice and nearby escape from the hustle and bustle of Central Lakeview, which is usually quite congested – like downtown during rush hour. Ironically, with all that traffic there is very little public parking. On the side streets, parking is by permit only. I was lucky enough to live in a high-rise building with its own indoor parking lot. Public transportation is the way to go here, and it’s plentiful both by bus and the El. It’s also very easy to flag down a cab.

Wrigleyville as the name implies, is home to the Cubs’ Wrigley field and many of their die-hard fans. As one might expect, it is a huge draw for tourists and fans alike. Residents are mostly the “young and restless” but there is a significant population of seniors, especially in East Lakeview, due to a couple of assisted living, high-rise communities.

I liked living in Lakeview. The only reason I moved away after 5 years was because I wanted a larger apartment and still longed to live Downtown.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
Just now

"Interesting Mix of Old and New"

Old Town

Boundaries: North – North Avenue (1600N), South – Division Street (1200N), East – Clark Street (100W), West – Halsted Street (800W).

Located just west of Chicago’s Gold Coast, this neighborhood has evolved from a “hippy culture” neighborhood (as I remember it from the early 70s) to one of urban eclecticism and gentrification. Years ago, the old Dr. Scholl’s factory was converted to condos and lofts, along with other abandoned warehouses. The “head shops” that lined both sides of Wells Street were replaced by funky boutiques and restaurants. The dance clubs were replaced by neighborhood pubs.

Despite its name, this area is not a “preserved” area, showing this area of Chicago as it was in the early days (circa 1850). Nevertheless, despite extensive gentrification, Old Town still boasts one of the few structures that survived the Great Fire of 1871 – St Michael’s Church, and several Victorian homes that were built in the ensuing years. Fast forward….

Old Town has been the home of Second City – the world-famous comedy club – since it opened in 1959. Its stellar alumni include Dan Akroyd, John and Jim Belushi, Tina Fey, Bonnie Hunt, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and hundreds of others. And it continues to thrive, and to attract new, upcoming talent, and to launch the careers of comedic stars and starlets.

Although the area has changed a lot since my few visits in the 70s, it still retains that funky, eclectic, vibrant neighborhood feel I remember. Yeah, in a way it IS still a piece of “Old Chicago”.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Diversity Squared!"

Boundaries
North: Kinzie Street (400N), South: I290/Eisenhower Expressway/Blue Line/Van Buren Street (400S), East: Chicago River/Wolf Point/Canal Street (500W), West: Rockwell Avenue (2600W).

Hot Spots
This neighborhood overlaps the western edge of the West Loop. The further west you go, the more residential it becomes. But there’s a LOT of activity to be found along the way!

Greektown is THE place in Chicago for authentic Greek/Mediterranean cuisine. Numerous restaurants line both sides of Halsted Street – the center of this area. They range from casual to fine dining, with several Gyros and fast food joints in between. Most of the original Greek residents moved out a long time ago, but many do still live in the area on the quieter, residential streets just west of Halsted. OPAAH!

Randolph Street has become the new antique market district, and fine dining hot spot (though I think it might be cooling off a bit). Various cuisine options include: Mediterranean, Japanese, Cajun, Bistro, and of course, American.

The Fulton Market district has evolved from a produce market area to a dense residential area of townhomes and high-rises. Old, abandoned warehouses were converted to multi-unit condos and lofts.

The Near West side’s “celebrities” include the United Center – home to the Bulls and Blackhawks, Michael Jordan’s OneSixty Blue fine dining restaurant, and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios where her talk shows are filmed.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Mix of Busy and Quaint"

Boundaries: North – Diversey Parkway (2800N), South – North Avenue (1600N), East – Lake Michigan, West – Halsted Street.

My favorite part of Lincoln Park is its anchor – the actual Lincoln Park. I was surprised to find out recently that it used to be a graveyard back in Chicago’s very early days! But it does explain the presence of the Couch Mausoleum at the south end of the park. (The family refused to allow it to be moved!)

This park is one of the largest in Chicago and includes one of the few remaining FREE zoos in the country. Aside from being my favorite zoo, it is surrounded by picturesque lagoons and ponds. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is less than half a block from the zoo entrance. And just a bit further east is the fabulous Lakefront with its famous North Avenue Beach at the south end, Belmont Harbor in the middle and Diversey Harbor at the north end.

The rest of the park includes huge, long stretches of rolling hills, trees, walking paths and bike trails. To this die-hard city-dweller, it’s a bit of the country in the heart of the city. The western edge of the park of the park is where the urban jungle begins! While most of it is older high-rise apartments and condos, there are still quite a lot of older, vintage multi-unit brownstones. This neighborhood is chock-full of restaurants and nightlife, and numerous boutiques to serve every fashionista’s taste in clothing and accessories.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Poor Englewood - Literally"

There are not a lot of good things to say about Englewood. Even when I was a young kid in the 60s, the area had a bad reputation for being gang-infested. Years later, I was surprised to hear from my mother that in the 40s when she was a kid growing up in Chicago, Englewood was a beautiful, middle class neighborhood of working people and families.

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit a cousin who lives there. She and her mom chose to buy a 4-unit apartment building there, about 7 years ago. Going to visit them via public transportation (CTA El) was easy enough. I got on the southbound Green Line train from Downtown. The stop closest to them was the end of the Green Line at Ashland Avenue and 63rd Street, then a 4-block walk to their building.

I knew where I was going – Englewood – so I scheduled my travel/visit during the day. Nevertheless, one needs to be vigilante, and so I was. Walking west on 63rd Street was an experience. So many boarded-up storefronts; but a few businesses still operating: hair/nail salons, liquor stores, neighborhood fast food joints, etc. But several large, vacant lots. Not a pretty picture.

The street my where my cousins live was off the commercial strip (63rd Street) and appeared to be like any residential street in any city. It was quiet, tree-lined; filled with single-family homes and vintage apartment buildings. The building my cousins bought and live in is over 100 years old.

Bottom line: Englewood has continued to decline since it was established in 1871. There has been a lot of change over the years. But none of it seems to have helped/elevated this neighborhood into a “great place” to live. Certainly, there are bargains on housing, both single and multi-unit. And with CTA’s bus routes and El system, you’re close to every/anywhere else you might want to go. But Englewood is still largely infested with gang and crime activity. Visit there; live there at your own risk.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Hyde Park: Still a Great Place to Live and Visit"

Long before this neighborhood became famous as President Obama’s home turf in Chicago, Hyde Park was one of my favorite neighborhoods. When I was considering where to search for my first apartment in the early 80s, it was at the top of my list. The main reason I didn’t move there was because I wanted to live closer to the Downtown Chicago area.

Hyde Park is well situated between the lakefront to the east, Washington Park/King Drive to the west, 51st Street to the north, and 59th Street/Midway Plaisance to the south. And it is a mere 7 miles to the Loop/Downtown. This eclectic neighborhood is chockfull of everything - museums, restaurants, parks and recreation, shopping, transportation, the full range of housing from high-rises to single family vintage and new homes. And yes, history! A few of the notable/historical destinations here include the Museum of Science and Industry campus (the only remaining structure from the Columbian Expo of 1893) and the University of Chicago campus with its famous Rockefeller Chapel. As the Obama Family’s Chicago neighborhood, the area boasts the Valois restaurant as one of their favorites for breakfast. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of going on a walking tour of Hyde Park that included Valois’restaurant, Obama’s local barber shop, and the street where their home is located.

But Hyde Park is so much more than a current “Obama hotspot”. It is still a very eclectic neighborhood, just as I remember it from visiting there in my high school days in the early 70s. The high-rises along the lakefront are still standing, but no doubt converted from rental units to condos. In my travels to the neighborhood in the past 5+ years, I haven’t noticed much new high-rise development. But I have seen many new low-rise/townhome developments on the main thoroughfares. Like many urban Chicago neighborhoods, Hyde Park has had its ups and owns. But due to it being Obama’s neighborhood, it is certainly getting more attention than it ever did before.

Still, off the beaten paths, as I discovered on a recent trip to visit a relative who has lived in the neighborhood for 16 years, there are remnants of the old, stately mansions of the past, mixed in with new residential housing in the form of townhomes and apartment buildings, and blight from past decades. In some cases, all that remains of the past structures are their coach houses – set back far from the street. The main house – the mansion - either burned down or was torn down and the coach house is all that remains. And they have been carved up and converted to small apartments with an enormous front yard (where the main house/mansion used to be).

In general, Hyde Park is still the beautiful neighborhood it used to be.
Recommended for
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  • 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
Just now

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

"Bronzeville: An Historic Urban Neighborhood"

The “Bronzeville” neighborhood spans parts of both the Douglas and Grand Boulevard neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side. Anchored by Martin Luther King Drive, between 24th Street and 47th Street, the area was so named because of its large population of well-to-do African Americans who migrated there from the south in the early 1900s. Notables included: Ida B. Wells, Bessie Coleman, Sam Cook, Lou Rawls, and several others from all walks of life. At the time, this was the African American community's "Gold Coast".Although most of the old, stately mansions are gone, many still line the streets and have been designated as historic landmarks in tribute to their former famous residents. And since my childhood in the early 1960s, King Drive (known as South Parkway Boulevard until the late 1960s) is famous for its annual “Bud Billiken” parade which will be celebrating its 81st year in August 2010.

The surrounding area is an interesting mix of old and new housing. Mansions and townhomes have been reclaimed and renovated. New townhomes have been built on former long-vacant lots. When I lived on 31st and King Drive in the early-to-mid 80s, the neighborhood was still struggling to survive years of blight and neglect from economic upheaval. However, anchors such as Michael Reese and Mercy hospitals, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and proximity to Downtown/The Loop and the Lakefront made it a fairly attractive area to live in, even for a “singleton”. There are still three large high-rise rental complexes that continue to attract those who are not yet ready to buy a house: Prairie Shores, South Commons, and Lake Meadows. And although they’ve been standing for 40-some years, they are still well-maintained, manicured, and affordable. In the past decade or so, local aldermen and community activists have been determined restore the neighborhood to some of its former glory. And it has begun to attract more of an upper-middle class population. In fact when Chicago was being considered to host the 2016 Olympics, the now closed Michael Reese Hospital and surrounding area was due to be converted to an Olympic Village. Sadly, we didn’t win the bid and plans for the shuttered hospital sit in limbo – along with plans to develop the surrounding areas.

Nevertheless, as with most urban neighborhoods, this one has its “bad spots” – little pockets off the beaten path of the main streets where it’s definitely not a good idea to walk alone after dark. But during the day, especially along King Drive, it’s a great place for a walk through history!
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"An Island in the City"

Goose Island is an actual island located along the north branch of the Chicago River and the North Branch Canal. It is believed to have gotten the “goose” part of the name from the flocks of geese and other waterfowl that used to congregate there. However, it started way back in the 1840s as an industrial and manufacturing hub and largely remains so today. Its major product? BEER! “Goose Island” has become synonymous with the Goose Island Brewery and Pub. Since the 1980s, real estate developers have transformed the island into a magnet of housing for the affluent city dweller. Old factories have been converted into loft condos and there’s a healthy dose of newly constructed single family homes. Besides the many brew pubs, the island is filled with restaurants offering every type of cuisine you could imagine. Located just west of the River North and Old Town neighborhoods and only 1 mile from the Loop, one doesn’t have to travel far from home to find additional options for shopping, dining, entertainment, and other residential amenities. Because it is so well-connected to the rest of the city by bridges and main streets (Halsted Street, Chicago Avenue, North Avenue, Division Street, and Milwaukee Avenue) that run through it, one hardly knows they are traversing this island in the city.
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
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"A Bit of Suburbia in the City"

The Near South Loop neighborhood of Chicago is bounded by Congress Parkway to the north, Cermak Road/22nd Street to the south, Burnham Harbor to the east, and the South Branch of the Chicago River to the west. This sprawling area contains at least 4 very notable and distinct areas:

Printer’s Row
Located just south of and adjacent to the central Loop, Printer’s Row began its development as a city-dweller’s neighborhood in the early 1980s. Its name comes from the many publishing companies that were centrally located in this area, housed in some of Chicago’s first concrete and steel high-rises. Because there are so many of them that showcase Chicago’s early architecture and design, the area was designated an historic district in 1996. Some of the most distinctive buildings such as the Monadnock and the Fisher buildings have been converted to combinations of retail/office space and loft condos.

Dearborn Park
The evolution of Dearborn Park began with conversion of the Dearborn Street train station in the Printer’s Row neighborhood. Since the mid 1980s, development spread to the south and west of the station and the area quickly became a haven for city-dwellers with children. Although there are a few high-rise condos, most of Dearborn Park is covered with 2-3 story townhomes. Some have a traditional look with a front yard and a porch; some have that austere “city” look – no front yard/porch, but a cute little 2nd floor balcony overlooking the street. Much more family-oriented/residential than the other neighborhoods in this area.

Museum Campus
This former landfill area was developed and built up just after the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and contains 3 of the world’s most famous museums: The Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. It is also the site of historic Soldier Field – home turf of the Chicago Bears, and host to a variety of concerts and other public events.

Prairie Avenue Historic District
This area was Chicago’s original “Gold Coast” neighborhood from 1872-1904 and included such notable residents as Marshall Field, George Pullman, and Philip Armour. Many of the stately city mansions were razed or converted during the next 60 or so years as the magnates moved north, however 11 of them survived and are still standing – and occupied by the nouveau-riche. Since the mid-1990s, the neighborhood has seen an explosion of new developments of townhomes. Older commercial buildings have been converted to lofts and condos. And the larger mansions have been converted and opened to the public as museums, showcasing the spectacular interior design and architecture of these Grand Dames of upscale housing.

The “New” South Loop
The real estate surrounding the Museum Campus and the Prairie Avenue district has been transformed from old rail yards, vacant lots, and abandoned office buildings and warehouses to a densely populated neighborhood of newly-built townhomes and high-rise condos. Along with that, there is an abundance of quaint upscale and casual-dining restaurants, boutique shops, and of course neighborhood sports bars. What used to be considered a wasteland has become a popular and (mostly affordable) inner city neighborhood.
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
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"A great place for a City Dweller"

River North is the largest of the “near north” neighborhoods, adjacent to Old Town, the Gold Coast, and the Magnificent Mile. It is THE place for artists, interior designers, and antiques. For the artist, Wells Street has the majority of boutique art galleries to serve every taste. The area surrounding the behemoth Merchandise Mart seems to have been built up specifically for the interior designer. The Mart itself is filled with several huge showrooms for designing any room in a home. River north is also the home of the annual Wells Street Art Fair which draws huge crowds from all over the city.

This eclectic neighborhood has quite a few vintage buildings that have been converted to condos, and restaurants. In recent years, more and more new development in the form of high-rise condos has been sprinkled in. But it still retains a neighborhood feel. Quite a few of the streets off the beaten path are tree-lined and grassy. You can still see many of the old vintage townhomes that have been upgraded to attract and accommodate the new generation of city-dwellers.

For nightlife, the legendary Division Street is only a short walk or taxi ride away. So is just about everything else you need: grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops; all the little perks that any city neighborhood should have.
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
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"The "Gold Coast" Oasis"

Chicago’s “Gold Coast” got its name from the huge population of the affluent who moved here beginning in 1882 with Potter Palmer (of the Palmer House hotel fame). Bounded by North Avenue on the north, Oak Street on the south, Clark Street to the west, and Lake Shore Drive to the east, the area was designated an historic district in 1978.

It’s a very quaint looking area of narrow tree-lined streets, and a mix of old urban mansions, townhomes, and older (circa 1970s) high-rise condos. It is also the site of the Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy” mansion. Although Hef moved out in 1974 for the confines of sunny California, the mansion remains and has been converted to – what else – condos. One recently sold for over $2 million dollars. Ironically, the mansion is only a few blocks down the street from the Cardinal’s residence.

Most of the local shops, stores and restaurants are centered at and near the intersection of State and Division streets, and along its western border – Clark Street. And it’s only a short walk or bus/taxi ride to the adjacent neighborhoods of the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue), Old Town, River North, and Lincoln Park.

The Gold Coast’s residents are mostly seniors and retirees. However, the area has managed to attract a healthy share of urban professionals and young families. But it is still quite the enclave of the affluent. After all, it was dubbed the Gold Coast for a reason.
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
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"A Collection of Neighborhoods - Something for Everybody"

The general area begins just north of the Chicago Loop and extends 2-3 miles north to North Avenue; and from the Kennedy Expressway to the west, all the way east to Lake Michigan. Hard to write a short review of this large chunk of real estate in the heart of Chicago. It is divided into several, smaller neighborhoods; each with its own distinctive feel and diversity of residents, shopping, culture, and attractions. Here’s a brief summary:

Magnificent Mile
High-end shopping, luxury hotels, fine dining, the Hancock Building and Observatory, vertical shopping malls, historic landmarks.

Gold Coast
One of the oldest residential neighborhoods in the heart of the city. Lots of old, urban mansions and vintage high-rise condos on quiet tree-lined, narrow streets. Includes the legendary night-life area of Rush Street – known as the “Viagra Triangle”.

Streeterville
Call it “Mag Mile East” – this neighborhood has exploded during the past 30+ years with high-rise condos for affluent urban professionals and suburban empty-nesters. Often congested with tourists going to and coming from Navy Pier.

Old Town
Located just west of the Gold Coast, this neighborhood has evolved from a “hippy culture” neighborhood to one of urban eclecticism. Old factories and warehouses have been converted to modern condos and rental units. But the original main streets – Division Street and Wells Street – retain much of their old flavor: Entertainment and Dining.

River North
Nestled between the Mag Mile and Old Town, this area has become THE place for small art galleries, antique shops, and interior design showrooms. Lots of small/intimate dining spots. Lots of conversions of old office buildings to condos, sprinkled with new high-rise developments.

The Near North area continues to evolve to retain and serve its current residents and to attract new ones.
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4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
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"Great Little Urban Neighborhood"

One of many Loop/Downtown neighborhoods, Streeterville (a.k.a. River East) is located just east of the Magnificent Mile, between Oak Street to the north, The Chicago River to the south, and the Lake front to the east. Since the area includes Navy Pier, it is usually very congested with traffic to and from the Pier – especially in the summer.

Nevertheless, the neighborhood contains more than 30 high-rise communities of upscale apartments and condominiums. Plans for more are in the works, despite the sluggish economy. To support the growing number of residents, the number of restaurants and large grocery stores has also increased.

Besides Navy Pier (which attracts mostly tourists), the neighborhood includes a multi-plex of 21 movie theaters. And for a small dose of culture, there’s the Museum of Contemporary Art and the River East Art Center.

Except for the traffic and congestion around Navy Pier, I’d love to live in this neighborhood! Everything you want that isn’t within a few blocks is only a short walk, bus ride, or taxi ride away.
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
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"The "New Eastside" - Another Downtown Neighborhood to Live, Work, and Play In!"

Local legend has it that this city neighborhood was designated the “New Eastside” back on the 1980s. Twenty years earlier in 1963, there was only one residential high-rise building in this neighborhood – Outer Drive East. Since then and mostly in the past ten years, the neighborhood has grown to more than 20 residential high-rise towers of glass and steel. Most are condominiums but there are a few buildings that are still rental-only.

The New Eastside is bounded by North Michigan Avenue on the west, Lake Shore Drive on the east, Grant Park/Randolph Street on the south, and the Chicago River on the north. For at least 2 blocks east of Michigan extending west to Columbus Drive, the area was developed strictly as a commercial and corporate area. The headquarters of Prudential Insurance was an early anchor of the area. Their building was the tallest in the city when completed in the mid-1960s.

The residential enclave, tucked and almost hidden between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive, has been developed into quite the city neighborhood. There is a large park area nestled between the newer buildings. It seems to have been built for “residents only”. It’s one of those little oases that you wouldn’t know is there unless you stumbled upon it while trying to find your way to the Lakefront.

When I was working in the area in 2006, I was surprised to find a day care center located on the ground floor of one of the buildings - proof that the neighborhood has successfully attracted people with families. In previous years, the area was home to mostly urban professionals (Singletons and Couples), Baby Boomers, and retirees. It still has a significant population of all those. The diversity is part of the attraction of this hidden gem of a neighborhood!

Though I consider it “off the beaten path” of Downtown, it’s just far enough from the hustle and bustle of the Loop and Michigan Avenue to be a quiet neighborhood, but within walking distance (or a short bus ride) of everything a resident might care about: Culture, shopping, theater, mass transit, the lakefront, Grant Park, and a full range of dining options. But I don’t want to give away ALL the secrets! One of my best friends lives in that neighborhood and I don’t want to incur her wrath by causing an influx of traffic!
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
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Editors Choice

"The Fabulous "Magnificent Mile""

This roughly 8-block stretch of Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River north to Oak Street, was dubbed the “Magnificent Mile” back in the 1940s by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff. It has lived up to its name ever since (which includes MY entire lifetime!). It began as, and still is a shopping mecca of mid-high end retail stores including such notables as Nordstrom’s, Tiffany & Company Jeweler’s, and Nieman Marcus (or “Needless Markup” as some call it). Interestingly, the further north on the Mag Mile you go, the more high-end the stores become. I call Oak Street – the northern border of the Mag Mile – the “Rodeo Drive of the Midwest”. The same is true of the numerous hotels in the area: from the mid-range Marriott to the very high-end and exclusive Peninsula Hotel (where movie celebs and dignitaries are known to book their accommodations).

Although the area has always been primary corporate/commercial, there is residential space to be found. Just behind the Wrigley Building is a residential high-rise that has been there as long as I can remember. In the early 70s it was rental apartments (and I aspired to live there someday!). Of course, it was converted to condominiums during the housing/conversion boom of the 80s. In recent years, more high-end condo high rise buildings have sprung up. I’d say at least 5 in the past 5 years alone, just behind the street wall of the Mag Mile. Again, the further north you go, the higher the price! At the northern end of the Mag Mile you’ll find some of the priciest real estate in the city: What would you think it’d cost for a small studio condo in one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers - the world famous John Hancock building? Prices start in $200 hundred thousands. And the Hancock building is over 40 years old! Imagine what it costs in one of the newer highrises would like the one anchored by Bloomingdale’s which is a youthful 20+ years old.

Since the Mag Mile is primarily a tourist area/business traveler area, fine dining restaurants abound. However, with the increase of travelers with children, more and more casual and family-style restaurants have popped up. But I think of them as “upscale casual” – you don’t need a reservation but it is highly recommended. Some, like the Grand Lux Café and Pizzeria Uno & Due, don’t even take reservations. Common practice is to call ahead to find out how long the wait time is.

Basically, the Mag Mile neighborhood is yet another of those in Chicago’s Downtown that has a lot packed into a small space. Most local residents don’t mind sharing it with the hoards of tourists and travelers. We know when to go out and about and when it’s less crowded.
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
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"Get "In the Loop"!"

The Chicago “Loop” got its moniker for the elevated train lines that encircle the Central Business District, bounded by Lake Street on the north, Van Buren Street on the south, Wabash Avenue on the east, and Wells Street on the west. Within and adjacent to these boundaries you’ll find a mix of retail, business and government offices, healthy dose of culture, and a small but growing population of city-dwellers that call the Loop their home.

Shopping: State Street – that “Great Street” is where you’ll find some of the two largest and most well-know names in retail: Macy’s (formerly known as Marshall Field’s) and Sears. The smaller stores come and go with time, to cater to and ever-changing clientele. Other notables include Nordstrom Rack, and recent newcomers such as H&M, Forever 21, and A’Gaci which seem to attract the young and restless from the nearby ‘student housing’ district. One block east is Wabash Avenue and the “Jeweler’s Row” historic district.

Culture/Theater: Just a block west of State Street is where you’ll find the heart of the Theater District which includes Ford Center for the Performing Arts (formerly known as the Oriental Theater, Cadillac Palace, and the Goodman Theater. Other live performance theaters in the area include the Chicago Theater near State and Lake, and the Bank of America Theater (formerly known as the Shubert Theater) on Monroe Street. All but the Goodman were originally built in the early 1900s and have been preserved and restored to their original glory in the past twenty years. Not far away and to the east is the Chicago Cultural Center which manages to accommodate all forms of culture under one massive roof – the former home of Chicago’s first public library and the Grand Army of the Republic memorial hall.

Government: By far, the largest presence in the central Loop is its government properties: Daley Center and Plaza, City Hall/County Building, the Thompson Center (State of Illinois building), County Commissioners Building, and Federal Plaza. Residents include all levels of government officials, judges and courtrooms, related facilities that service the city’s residents like driver’s license renewal centers and tax payment centers.

Residential: To reclaim some of the abandoned office buildings of earlier times, attempts have been made to convert them to residential condominiums. Only a few have been completed so far, no doubt because of the current economy. Many have been converted to “office condominiums”. Another few have been converted to boutique hotels to serve the thousands of tourists who flock to the city year-round.

And oh yes – within the Loop’s boundaries you’ll find an abundance of places to eat! From casual dining spots like McDonald’s and Subway to elegant (and expensive) fine dining venues such as Petterino’s in the Goodman Theater building on Randolph.

I could probably write a book about all the features, finds, history, architecture, and anecdotes about this little city neighborhood. But this overview ,and the free walking tours of the area that I conduct in my spare time as a volunteer Chicago Greeter, will have to suffice!
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
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"Oasis Neighborhood in the West Loop"

I love my neighborhood in the heart of West Loop. I live in a high-rise complex of four 49-story buildings known as Presidential Towers at the corner of Madison Street and Clinton Street. This area – which used to be known as “Skid Row” - has become quite the vibrant hub of city living in the past 10 or so years. While the complex is undergoing its own renovation to accommodate the growing population and popularity, the surrounding area has become interspersed with all the infrastructures that make a neighborhood comfortable for a city-dweller. Casual-dining restaurants, fast-food shops, upscale dining spots, cleaners, grocery store, local watering-hole/pub, public transportation; everything is within ½ a mile. Although it is just 4 blocks from the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), it is just far enough away from the madding crowd that congestion is not an issue. There is even on-street metered parking!

Besides the Willis Tower, this area is only a few blocks west of the Central Business and Financial district. Alas, the West Loop is naturally separated from it by the south branch of the Chicago River. In the six years that I’ve been living here, I’ve often stopped for a brief respite at one of the several plazas along the river, to enjoy the sight of tour and private boats as they cruise along.

The location and proximity to the central Loop is unbeatable! Only a 5-10 minute bus ride or a 15-20 minute walk east and you’re in the heart of the Loop: the intersection of Madison and State streets. These two streets are the dividing lines between the city’s north, south, east, and west regions. But I digress….

The West Loop contains one of the few structures that survived the Great Fire of 1871 – Old St. Pat’s church. For the past 25 years, the church has produced the “World’s Largest Block Party” and boasts of several connections that resulted in marriage at the church. The Block Party attracts many local residents and local visitors from all over the city.

Lest you think the area is a concrete canyon of high-rise apartments, condos, and commercial business, let me assure you: it’s not there yet! In fact, just across the street from Old St. Pat’s is a lovely patch of green that covers a full quarter of a city block. It is a small, city oasis with real grass, small trees, and benches – perfect for a midday respite or small picnic in the city.

For a little ethnic flavor, just go a few blocks west to Greek Town - one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Authentic Greek cuisine restaurants abound on the stretch of Halsted between Jackson Boulevard and Randolph Street.

I love this area for the neighborhood feel, walk-ability, conveniences, and proximity to every where else I want to go. Heck, if I wanted to go as far away as California, I could take a train from Union Station - only 4 blocks away!
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