7.4 out of 10

Near West Side

Ranked 14th best neighborhood in Chicago
41.8821586908316 -87.6639007092682
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Medical Facilities
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Eating Out
  • Internet Access
Not great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Shopping Options
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • 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+

"I love it!"

I have to admit, the Near West Side has a special place in my heart. I'm not sure my review will be particularly balanced because of this.

I've been coming here all my life. My parents introduced me to the Parthenon, one of, no, THE BEST, Greek restaurant in the city when I was a baby. They tell me stories of the first time they lit the Saganaki on fire and screamed 'OPahhhh' right near me and I cried, but by the next time we went I was ready for it and yelled louder than anyone. I love the food there. Definitely some of my finest Chicago memories are of the Parthenon.

I'm currently 25 years old, and I've watched the area grow since I was young. I remember when it wasn't so nice in the Near West Side, but I think Daly did a lot of good here, and it is MUCH safer than it used to be and I feel very safe on the streets, which I mostly find to be quite clean.

The United Center is right nearby, and while I haven't lived here, I would love to, if for no other reason than the close proximity to the Parthenon and the Bulls.

Absolutely, without doubt, HIGHLY recommended.

EDITED:

I wanted to give a few more thoughts, since it's been a while since I wrote this review. I wouldn't say I disagree with anything I've said thus far, but I've had a few good times in the Near West Side that I wanted to share. I was just recently at The Parthenon, and took in a few bars in Greek Town, and it was a fantastic night. Part of me really wishes I'd moved to the Near West Side (I'm an Evanston boy now), because of how clean and nice it is here. You're right nearby for a lot of good fun in other neighborhoods, and there's plenty to do right here in the neighborhood. While I wouldn't say you could never leave (ya gotta work), you could spend a heck of a lot of time here without needing to head into other parts of the city. There are good restaurants, bars and more to make this a quality neighborhood to live in.
Pros
  • Good places to eat
  • Great atmosphere
  • Safe
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not a shopping destination
  • Not a family neighborhood, though families could live here
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Near West Side - The New Foodie Destination"

The near west side is called the West Loop. It looks like the United Center neighborhood is also included on this map.

First off, why is there a picture of the Staples Center on here? Ummm, that’s in LA!

Anyhow, the West Loop has undergone MAJOR change in the past 5-10 years. The neighborhood has some cool history – it was the site where the Great Chicago Fire started in 1871 and where the Haymarket Riots took place. The area was always very industrial, with meatpackers and factories.

About 10 years ago most of these businesses had been shut down, and a lot of underground art galleries were popping up. Then all of the old factory buildings started getting converted into loft condos. Now the area has fine-dining, clubs and lots of trendy yuppies. It’s pretty weird, but the neighborhood does have a lot to offer.

Along Randolph Street you’ll find many of the restaurants in the neighborhood, including some very well-known ones. There’s Avec, Blackbird and Moto (Moto is a molecular gastronomy spot). There’s also Girl and the Goat, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s new restaurant, among many others. Then there’s Manny’s, which is an awesome deli where Chicago politicians have been hanging out since the ‘40s.

There are TONS of clubs and sports bars all over the place now. I mainly go to Cobra Lounge and Bottom Lounge to see live music.

A lot of unions have their headquarters in the neighborhood. I’ve been to a bunch of events, like vintage clothing and record fairs, at the Plumbers Hall. There are also events in Union Park.

The United Center area is still more run down, and has been somewhat dangerous for a long time. But it’s nothing to be afraid of, although there’s less going on the farther west you go. Of course, the Bulls and Blackhawks play here, so there’s still plenty reason to visit.
Pros
  • good restaurants
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A Food Mecca near University of Illinois at Chicago"

There is a lot going on in the Near West Side of Chicago. This area has historically been a real hub of activity as it was home to Little Italy, Greek Town and lively Maxwell Street. Maxwell Street, however, is now really a thing of the past, replaced by millions of dollars of new development in and around the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.

Part of the Near West Side's charm is Little Italy. This area has a very distinct feel that you probably won't find too many other places. In addition, there are numerous great restaurants and small, but very authentic, eaters and local businesses. The Little Italy area is known for great food both on the high end and for those on a budget. No doubt more than one dining excursion to this area is required! Other area highlights include the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the Hull House area.

Little Italy gives you a ton of great eating options, but so does Greektown! Greektown is located nearby and this means awesome dining options. Many of the restaurants in the area stay open a little later to cater to the college crowd, which also serves to make the Near West Side area an energetic one.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Decent Chicago Slice"

The Near West Side is a pretty okay slice of Chicago life – it’s near the Loop and it’s full of historical spots like the Hull House neighborhood, Little Italy and Greektown. There are endless places to eat in the area – especially in Little Italy and Greektown – and it’s also home to quite a few towering office buildings.

The neighborhood is one of those being gentrified – and of course the closer you get to the lakeside, the more gentrified, safe, and “up-and-coming” it becomes. It’s not a bad area at the moment, but it’s not very high end, either. There are some interesting-looking restaurants on Ashland, and you can check out live music at the Cobra Lounge just about every night.

I am always hearing about good deals on condos in the area, because many were recently built by developers who ended up with a negative cash flow. Keep in mind that this neighborhood does vary quite a bit – the further you move west, the less in-transition it is.

There’s a farmers market on Sundays in Ellen Gates Starr Park, the only one of its kind in the neighborhood. And the area is definitely not without culture – the Chicago-style hot dog, deep dish pizza, Chicago blues and the Blues Brothers all have ties to the Near West Side.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
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
2yrs+

"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

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Unranked Streets in Near West Side

Kennedy Expy

3.5/5
"Great mix of stuff"
41.8814076238224 -87.645512939797
"If you need access to the Loop or transportation, this is your spot!"
41.8862593018756 -87.6398530287326
"Give Bucktown a Chance. Chicago's Greenich Village????"
41.8850857231106 -87.676743224843
"good place to eat"
41.8850752048775 -87.662404249144
"Start of Route 66"
41.8852994291561 -87.6628684665278
"After the Game Come Enjoy a Beverage in the Back of the Yard Neighborhood"
41.8785074605718 -87.6668062617864
"historical location, quiet"
41.8786351847769 -87.6395770781792
"By the Sears Tower"
41.8789321191903 -87.6645965273204
"one of the worst neighbor in Chicago"
41.8882547908744 -87.6649220554544
"Small street, Nice place to live. "
41.8808218333888 -87.6547366451913

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