ChiGrl4

  • Local Expert 2,157 points
  • Reviews 6
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 97
  • Discussions 0

Reviews

2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Washington Park - Nice Park!"

The Washington Park neighborhood is low-income and does have some crime issues. I wouldn’t consider it the most dangerous neighborhood in the whole city, but it does have its problems.

The main reason to visit Washington Park is…the park, of course! Washington Park is connected to Jackson Park via the Midway. It’s not quite as big as Jackson Park, but it’s still really nice. There are two really cool features in the park. The first is the DuSable Museum of African American History. Next is the sculpture towards the southern end called Fountain of Time. It’s huge and kind of eerie, but if you’re in the park don’t miss it.

The park is also home to the African Festival of the Arts. This weekend-long fest features music, art and a marketplace for the neighborhood. It’s a pretty big event.
Cons
  • still some crime
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"South Shore - Pretty & Plenty of Culture"

South Shore is just south of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Jackson Park is just to the north – one of the nicest in the city! Like a lot of the lakefront on the south side, South Shore has some beautiful buildings. A walk around the neighborhood will pass by mansions, bungalows and the South Shore Cultural Center, which used to be a country club for rich Chicagoans trying to ‘get away.’ The streets are tree-lined and quiet. South Shore is a middle-class, mostly African American area, and is a great place to live or visit.

There are neighborhood corner bars with lives blues and jazz. There’s a lot of good food in the area too. A lot of the places are soul food and Caribbean fare. Army & Lou’s is a really well-known soul food spot. Soul Vegetarian East is also really delicious. I think both might technically be in Grand Crossing, which is the neighborhood right to the west of South Shore.

There is a nice lakefront park with a beach that’s popular but not overly crowded like those on the north side or downtown.
Pros
  • great for families
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"South Chicago - Ready for a Fresh Start"

South Chicago is part of the very large Southeast Side neighborhood at the far south end of Chicago, right next to Indiana. The area has always been very industrial, and it was home to steel factories and refineries. Most of the people living in the neighborhood were workers at these places. When these industries collapsed, so did South Chicago. The area started to get a crime problem, but in recent years there has been some serious efforts to clean it up and attract new businesses.

The population is working-class and pretty racially and ethnically diverse. Everybody is friendly, and there are neighborhood restaurants and bars to hang out in – but nothing fancy. There are a lot of churches in the area and some of the scenes from the Blues Brothers were filmed in the neighborhood.

South Chicago is also right on the lake and close to some very large parks. There’s also a state wildlife & recreation area with a smaller lake for fishing.

It’s a family, community-oriented kind of neighborhood that hopefully has good things in store.
Pros
  • Affordable
Cons
  • needs development
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"West Rogers Park - Around the World"

West Rogers Park is like one big international market. This is a great neighborhood to visit, and is really nice and safe to live in too. There are ALL different kinds of people living in the area, but it’s known for the large Jewish, Indian and Pakistani population.

A walk down Devon Avenue will show you a glimpse of the culture in the neighborhood. Beautiful and colorful saris are hanging in windows, bookstores sell reading material in all kinds of languages and if you’re a home cook you can find it all at grocery stores selling curry to kosher. There are a lot of really cool Indian jewelry stores too.

The food in the neighborhood is reason enough to get all the way up north. The smells coming from the restaurants will lure you in every time! This is THE place to find really authentic Southeast Asian food. Hema’s Kitchen – just go! There are also plenty of Jewish delis and restaurants, and a large amount of Chinese and Korean to be found too.

West Rogers Park may be far north, but all of the cultures that mesh together there make it totally worth the trip. Everyone is friendly and they all come together as a community.
Pros
  • diverse population
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Rogers Park - Worth the Trip"

Rogers Park is a cool neighborhood by the lake, but it’s FAR. Far from downtown and very far to travel if you don’t live on the north side. But it’s definitely worth a visit and would be a great place to live. The area is really diverse – one of the most diverse places in the city, with a ton of different immigrant populations. It didn’t used to have a great reputation, but it’s getting much safer there. The atmosphere is friendly and great for families and singles alike. Loyola University attracts students to the area too.

There’s so much going on in the area it’s hard to pick a few things!

The lakefront in Rogers Park is really nice. The beaches are cleaner and less crowded than anywhere else (maybe I shouldn’t have given that away!).

The food in Rogers Park is a smorgasbord from across the world. There’s Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Caribbean, sushi, coffee shops…the list goes on and on. The Heartland Café is an awesome place to eat that has a lot of vegetarian options, a hippie vibe and a little shop attached.

There’s plenty of interesting shops, and a little arts district with galleries and theaters.
Pros
  • lots to do
Cons
  • Too far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
rsw1066
rsw1066 I grew up in Rogers Park, and owned a 2-flat there until a few years ago, when I moved out of state. The neighborhood has had its ups and downs, but is clearly now on the upswing. In many ways, the best kept secret in Chicago, and more affordable than the more "upscale" neighborhoods. Easy access to great lakefront parks--especially Loyola Park-- is a key feature of Rogers Park. Great beaches, greenspace, Loyola Fieldhouse. If you can get a place between Sheridan Road and the lake (for which you'll obviously pay a premium), you're in high cotton. Distance from downtown not a problem: There are 4 el stations in Rogers Park, including Loyola and Sheridan, and bus service runs on Sheridan (downtown via Outer Drive). Maybe 30 minutes to the Loop.
2yrs+
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Wicker Park - Trendy to a Fault"

Wicker Park is SO artsy and edgy – blah, blah, blah. This neighborhood became too trendy for its own good, and now it’s borderline intolerable.

I used to hang out in this neighborhood all the time. It was really diverse, affordable and had a lot of cool things that you couldn’t find elsewhere in the city. There was always good music going on and the atmosphere was cool but not in a trendy, everybody HAS to be here, way.

Somewhere in the last 5, probably more, years it turned into the trendiest neighborhood around. Where there used to be artists, musicians and people of all kinds, there are now people who would normally hang out in Lakeview or Lincoln Park. Yuppies started moving in, rents started going up, and local businesses are slowly being replaced with chain stores. Since when were Urban Outfitters, Aldo and Levi’s “edgy?” The bars have mostly turned into clubby or snooty places that attract a pretty obnoxious crowd on the weekends.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of good things going on. Myopic Books, Quimby’s and Reckless Records are still around, among other local shops. Subterranean and Double Door still have good music going on. And there really are a TON of good restaurants in the neighborhood. There’s still a lot of hangers-on in Wicker Park too, but I doubt they will be for long.
Pros
  • Interesting things to do
Cons
  • obnoxiously trendy
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Ukrainian Village - Still Hanging On"

Ukrainian Village is where I live, and is part of West Town. It’s a great neighborhood. It’s friendly and really feels like a community. There are still a lot of Eastern Europeans living in the area, plus a lot of young people moving in as they have to leave Wicker Park and other areas because of the prices.

Most of Ukrainian Village is a designated historical landmark. There are old apartment buildings, churches and cottages that are all preserved.

There are a ton of great locally owned businesses in the neighborhood. There’s also a really diverse range of restaurants to choose from. The bars are all little corner neighborhood places that add to the community here.

Unfortunately there’s been some change recently with the gentrification of the rest of West Town and Wicker Park (see my reviews of them too). Every other building that’s not in the historic district has been torn down and replaced with condos, where, you guessed it, yuppies keep moving in. Some of the newer businesses opening up seem to belong in some other more trendy neighborhood. I have a lot of friends and family living here too, and we’re all a little bit worried that we’re about to be priced and chased out of our neighborhood.

For now, Ukrainian Village is a wonderful place to live or visit, and will hopefully stay a nice, friendly, middle-class area.
Pros
  • great for families
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
SteveNike
SteveNike One great benefits of the Ukrainian Village is the active community participation. There are over 700 neighbors talking about what’s going on in the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Watch and on the sister page about the community. http://www.facebook.com/groups/UKVillageWatch/
2yrs+
SharonM7
SharonM7 Can you recommend a rental agent in Ukranian Village. I am looking for an apartment for my daughter who is a student at Columbia College Chicago? She is out of the country until the end of August and I live in Virginia and I need to find an apartment for her for Sept.
Jul 18, 2016
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Marquette Park - Diverse Families Come Together"

Marquette Park used to be a mostly Eastern European neighborhood – one side of my family is from the area, and I have some relatives that still live there. A lot of African Americans moved in a few decades ago, and Hispanics have been coming there a lot lately. This makes the area pretty diverse as far as people go, which is always nice in a neighborhood. A lot of people have lived in Marquette Park for a long time, and there are plenty of bungalows and other homes. The area is friendly and neighborly. It has had issues with crime, and there are gangs in the area, but it has been improving.

There are plenty of neighborhood restaurants to choose from. There’s Mexican, Middle Eastern and Lithuanian. There are also pizza and hot dog joints, plus a diner or two.

The actual park is really huge and pretty, and has a lot of outdoorsy activities going on – soccer, baseball, golf.

Marquette Park was the site of some serious racial tension in the ‘60s when African Americans started moving in. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march through the neighborhood. Luckily, today the area is filled with families of all kinds who all get along.
Pros
  • diverse population
Cons
  • not much going on
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Gage Park - Not Much Going On"

Gage Park is a pretty residential community with a lot of Chicago’s famous bungalow houses. The park itself is nice and big. The population was Lithuanian and other Eastern Europeans, but now is mostly Hispanic. There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood now serving tacos, sandwiches and ice cream. Elias Tacos is probably the best in the area. Nicky’s is a good BBQ place that’s been around forever.

Gage Park isn’t an overly exciting neighborhood, but it’s a nice area for families and affordable homes. It’s fairly quiet. It’s close to Midway Airport, and the Orange Line runs through the neighborhood on the way there. However, it’s not known as being a particularly safe neighborhood either. They’ve had some issues with gangs, etc. but I don’t think it’s the worst area.
Pros
  • quiet
Cons
  • not much going on
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Goose Island - Stinky Island, Swanky Surroundings"

I wouldn’t really consider Goose Island to be its own neighborhood, but it is an island in the middle of the city! The actual island has nothing of interest on it – it’s industrial and smells bad. Waste Management has a facility on the island, so that should give you and idea as to what the smell is like. The river over there is extra dirty too.

The area surrounding Goose Island to the North is filled with newly built condos, a lot of chain stores and strip malls, and yes, the Goose Island pub and brewery. This is where you can taste all of the beers that aren’t usually sold in the liquor store – they have so many varieties to choose from, all seasonal and always changing. If you drink 45 beers you get your name on a plaque in the restaurant. I only have THREE more to go!

To the west of the island is Cabrini Green, or I should say what WAS Cabrini Green. This was one of Chicago’s most notorious public housing projects. They kicked out all the residents a while ago, and actually just demolished the very last building a few months ago. It was a pretty emotional moment for those who lived in Cabrini or who have any connection to it at all. The projects have been replaced by high-priced condos and yuppies, which is VERY weird. Of course, they don’t call it by the same name anymore – I’m sure some real estate “genius” came up with something more flashy.
Cons
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
Just now

"Pullman - Packed With History"

Pullman is on the far southwest side of Chicago, and is like its own little city. Of course, that makes sense because that’s what it started out as. It was built in the late 1800s by the railroad baron George Pullman for the workers of his Palace Railroad Car Company to live in. It was meant to be a model community, and the houses were much nicer than anything else workers would have lived in at the time.

Today, there’s not a whole lot going on in Pullman besides the history. It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood and is really cool to walk around. Almost ALL of the homes and buildings that were built as part of the original Pullman are still there. Which is pretty impressive, considering how much of the rest of the city has been torn down at some point or another. There are a few factory buildings and a church that are also still there. I believe they do guided tours of the ‘town’ too.

One strange thing about Pullman is there is NOTHING to eat there! If you’re visiting or living there you have to go to other neighborhoods to go to a restaurant. There’s plenty nearby, but Pullman itself doesn’t have much.
Pros
  • interesting history
Cons
  • not much going on
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now
Editors Choice

"West Town - Change, But Maybe Not the Good Kind"

First off, the area shown on this map here isn’t West Town. West Town includes East Village and Ukrainian Village, and extends from Division to Grand, Western to the Kennedy.

Second, this review will be very biased, as my neighborhood is Ukrainian Village.

I have to first say that this neighborhood has long been very nice and neighborly. It’s good for families, singles, older people and younger ones too. The businesses, bars and restaurants are locally owned, and everywhere you go there’s a wonderful community atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this is changing rapidly. West Town is an area that’s been experiencing gentrification like crazy. Apartment buildings are being torn down left and right and replaced with very expensive condos. One down the street from me was going for $500,000. REALLY? This of course does not apply to all people buying these condos, but many of them have a really bad attitude towards the neighborhood and its residents. For example, the neighborhood association posted on their website that they wanted all businesses to get rid of the bars over their windows and that they wanted to start attracting only ‘high-end’ businesses and families to the neighborhood. The area used to be very diverse, and is growing increasingly NOT so. This is the reason gentrification is a problem. It pushes out long-time residents by overpricing the real estate and making them feel unwelcome in their own neighborhood.

That being said, I’ve always loved living in the area. It’s convenient and a real community, although I can’t say how long that will last.
Pros
  • safe
Cons
  • prices steadily increasing
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Uptown - Diversity at its Best"

Uptown is THE most diverse neighborhood in all of Chicago. It’s actually a fact – a study was done a few years ago. Every race and ethnicity can be found there. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods for that reason. It’s safe, although there is a large problem with crime in parts of the neighborhood – there’s a lot of gang and drug activity going on, but it’s easily avoided. It’s not ritzy or touristy..?

There’s definitely been some new development going on in Uptown, some good, some bad. Businesses have been opening up again, but newer residents have been clashing with older ones (this happens with gentrification – see my post on West Town).

First, there’s Argyle Street. This small strip is filled with Vietnamese restaurants and shops. Stop by for delicious pho and other treats.

There’s plenty in the way of music in Uptown. The mayor wants to make the neighborhood Chicago’s new “entertainment district,” whatever that means. In the meantime, there’s the Aragon Ballroom and the Riviera Theater. There’s also the Green Mill, a jazz staple and former hangout of Al Capone. There are escape tunnels and everything. This is a GREAT spot to spend a night. The Uptown Theater is a gorgeous old building that’s been closed forever, but pictures of the inside are amazing. They’re supposed to be fixing it up and reopening soon.

There’s not a ton of shopping, but there are local businesses that have been around a while. My favorite is Shake, Rattle and Read, an awesome book & record store.

The bars are friendly and laid-back. Carol’s Pub and the Holiday Club are two good ones.
Pros
  • diverse population
  • lots
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"University Village - College Town U.S.A."

University Village used to be Little Italy. First, half the neighborhood was bulldozed to build the University of Illinois Chicago. Hey, I guess they did have to put it somewhere. Then, decades later, the rest of the neighborhood was bulldozed to create ‘University Village.’

For anyone who grew up in Chicago or spent any time in the neighborhood at all before this latest development will find University Village bizarre at best. Maxwell Street Market? Not quite. There are all brand new townhomes and condos, and what looks like a ready-made, pre-fabricated college downtown transplanted into the city. It’s weird.

The neighborhood is definitely safer than it was, but if students don’t venture far from this area they won’t experience a city or Chicago whatsoever.

There’s a bunch of chain restaurants, stores and bars that cater to the college crowd. Which is fine, considering there’s a college there. But I see absolutely no reason to visit or live in this neighborhood unless you go to UIC.

HOWEVER, there are still some Italian restaurants in the area, and Greektown is right there too. The new developments haven’t taken over the entire neighborhood, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they did at some point. You can definitely still find good food, but will have to get out of bizarro-world first.
Cons
  • students only
Recommended for
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Roscoe Village - A Yuppie Family's Dream"

I made the mistake of living in Roscoe Village for a couple of years. I had to move after being run off the sidewalk by yuppie moms with GIANT strollers one too many times.

Yes, Roscoe Village is FILLED with them. If that’s who you are, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the neighborhood. I got sick of being glared at for sitting on my OWN porch during the day (apparently that’s weird?) and for not having a condo, a tiny dog and 2 kids. Oh and for not jumping into the grass to make way for strollers. Since when did they come in industrial sizes? The neighborhood is getting really expensive too.

The bad stuff set aside, the neighborhood is nice, clean and safe. I’m not into most of the shops there, which cater to these types of families, but there are a few that are OK. I’ve been going to Hard Boiled, a record store, for about 10 years. There are a lot of really nice antique shops on Belmont too.

The Four Treys bar on Damen is OLD and very laid back. You can bring your dog there! Yes, I DO like dogs. They also serve Malort, a very disgusting prohibition-era liquor. The Hungry Brain is a cool spot that has live music every once in a while. Beat Kitchen has good food and live music almost every day. The bars there are all pretty quiet.

There’s good food in the area – Kitschen is good for brunch, Costello’s and Robey’s have good sandwiches, and there’s a great vegetarian breakfast spot called Victory’s Banner that’s run by a VERY interesting religious group.
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Lots of dining opportunities
Cons
  • snobby residents
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Portage Park - Still Got It"

My parents grew up in the Portage Park area. There’s not a ton going on there, but it’s a nice, family-friendly, typical Chicago neighborhood. It’s known for the huge amount of Chicago cops that live in the area, both active and retired. There’s a nice mix of people, and it’s pretty safe.

Portage Park is best known for Six Corners, which has been a shopping district in the neighborhood for 150 years or so. Its heyday was probably in the ‘50s through the ‘70s, but there’s still plenty there. The main attraction was the Sears department store, which is still around. There are also a ton of local businesses still around, although it’s not a major shopping district anymore. My parents LOVE to remind me about how great the shops used to be over there.

Every single Halloween I start my costume search at Fantasy Costumes (it’s at Six Corners). It’s been around forever and has the largest selection I’ve ever seen. This isn’t one of those cheap places that pop up for only a month before Halloween. It’s around all year and carries costumes, wigs, professional makeup, and those giant furry animal suits! They also RENT costumes, which is awesome.

The Portage Theater is another great spot in the neighborhood. It’s really old and they always show really random old movies.
Pros
  • quiet
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Ravenswood - Middle of the Road"

Ravenswood is a family friendly neighborhood with nice homes, condos and apartment buildings. It’s also home to former governor Rod Blagojevich and new mayor Rahm Emanuel, so if you enjoy being around politicians and are scared of the south side, this neighborhood’s for you!

I can’t say the population of Ravenswood is all that diverse, mostly because it’s not. It’s a fairly affluent area, although not totally unaffordable. There are a lot of couples and families in the area.

There are a ton of cutesy shops in the neighborhood – clothing boutiques, stuff for kids, etc. The restaurants are pretty decent – there’s plenty to choose from. Glenn’s Diner right by the Montrose Brown Line stop is an institution in the area and is really good. My family has been buying pastries from Lutz Café since the ‘40s or ‘50s – they’re an Austrian bakery and also have a little café. Coffee and something sweet is highly recommended!

I go to Lillstreet Art Center, which moved from Lincoln Park to Ravenswood, a lot. They have all kinds of classes for both adults and kids. First Slice Café on the bottom floor has DELICIOUS sandwiches, pies and coffee. They also have a great shop that sells work from students and staff.
Pros
  • great for families
  • Quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Pilsen - Artistic With a Family Feel"

Pilsen is a great neighborhood, and will hopefully stay that way. It’s been a Hispanic neighborhood for a long time, and in recent years a ton of hipster/artist kids have been moving in.

Pilsen really feels like a community. Neighbors are friendly and families and kids are everywhere. Probably the best time I ever had in Pilsen was at a neighborhood block part on a friend’s street. Everybody from old ladies to little kids, moms and dads, young hipsters, was having a great time. There was food, music and games. AND live Mexican wrestling.

There are a ton of delicious Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. The bars are mostly corner neighborhood joints. The Skylark is a spot that has become really busy and filled with a younger crowd on the weekends, and has really good food and beer.

Art is a major attraction in Pilsen. First, there’s the National Museum of Mexican Art. Next, there are a ton of art galleries that have opened up near Halsted and 18th Street. No Coast is a really cool shared art studio and gallery that sells posters, clothes, all kinds of stuff. Last, there are murals EVERYWHERE. A walk through the neighborhood is filled with colorful images both amateur and professional.

Farther west there’s local shops, groceries, a couple of decent vintage stores, and the Textile Discount Outlet – a gigantic warehouse filled with every fabric you could possibly imagine.
Pros
  • artsy
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"O'Hare - All Business"

O’Hare is so busy, I usually avoid it and fly out of Midway whenever I can.

The surrounding neighborhood definitely has a more suburban feel to it, being on the outskirts of the city. There are residential areas here, and I can tell you from experience that it is REALLY noisy. Sitting in a backyard with planes flying LOW overhead all day isn’t really relaxing. BUT, people who live over there are used to it and it’s not a big deal to them. If you drive (I do not) the traffic near O’Hare can get absolutely terrible because of the airport, especially on the highway.

There are a lot of businesses in the area, so you’ll see a lot of mid-height corporate looking buildings all over the place. There’s also a lot of generic hotels surrounding the airport.

The restaurants around the area are mostly chain restaurants that you find out in the suburbs and a lot of fast food. I know there’s also a few outposts of popular steakhouses that cater to the business crowd.

To the east are the small towns of Norridge and Harwood Heights, and then more of Chicago. The land that O’Hare sits on was incorporated into the city when the airport was built, but these two communities were in the way and remain their own towns. They are much more family-friendly and residential.
Pros
  • Easy commutes to suburbs or downtown
Cons
  • not much going on
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"North Center - Friendly & Family-oriented"

North Center is a really nice neighborhood for couples and families. I have a friend with 2 young kids who lives there and loves it. It’s fairly quiet, safe, and still has a lot to do.

A lot of the restaurants in the area are bar & grill/pub type places. Orange Garden has been in the neighborhood FOREVER and is a really good Chinese place. Mrs. Murphy and Sons is an awesome Irish restaurant that will totally change the way you feel about Irish food. They also have a great whiskey list.

I’ve mostly been to the bars in the area. Martyr’s is a nice place to see live music – they have all kinds of different bands play, including a lot of international/world music. The Globe Pub has been a favorite of mine since it opened. They have tons of different beers, good food and open REALLY early for soccer games (which is what they’re known for). The Black Rock also has decent bar food and is a good spot to hang out with friends.

If you have a day to kill, stop by Architectural Artifacts. It’s a salvage shop that has old furniture, doors, tiles, pillars, fireplaces – random stuff from demolished buildings around the world. They have a museum too. Poking around here can be really fun if you like antiques or home décor. It’s really expensive, but fun to just look around.
Pros
  • great for families
  • Quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
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
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"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 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Near South Side - Books, Music & Museums"

The near south side is called the South Loop. This is a really great area, and an example of what neighborhood redevelopment can do in a GOOD way (sometimes it’s not so good for actual residents). There have been a lot of high rise condo and apartment buildings going up, but they haven’t really taken over the neighborhood. The streets have been fixed up and local businesses have opened up all over the place.

The main attraction in the neighborhood is the museum campus. The Field Museum, Alder Plantetarium and Shedd Aquarium are there right on the lake. They’re surrounded by a really nice park where people hang out, as well as a beach and Northerly Island, which used to be a air strip and is now an outdoor music venue.

Just north is Soldier Field, where the Bears play, and McCormick Place, the convention center.

Printer’s Row is one of my favorite spots in the South Loop. Maybe because I’m a writer, maybe because I love books, I don’t know. Either way, this small area has a lot of cool old buildings that were print shops a century ago. Many of them have been converted to apartments. The annual Printers Row Lit Fest is there.

I’m a sewer, so I visit the many local fabric stores that are in the South Loop a lot – Vogue, Rainbow Fabrics and Fishman’s are all along Roosevelt Road.

There’s also some great dining in the neighborhood – Eleven Diner, Café Bionda and The Bongo Room are my three favorites, but there are TONS of options.

There’s a really good music scene in the South Loop too. It was home to the legendary rock and blues label Chess Records, and was THE place to be for the blues back in the 60s. Now, there’s Northerly Island, Buddy Guy’s Legends for blues, The Velvet Lounge for jazz, The Shrine for hip hop and Reggie’s for rock and punk. I’m a big music lover, so this neighborhood is great for me!

The South Loop is energetic but not trendy or expensive .
Pros
  • Location
  • Attractions
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
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Editors Choice

"Near North - the Ritzy Side of Town"

The near north side includes the Gold Coast, Streeterville and River North neighborhoods. It’s definitely the wealthiest, ritziest area of the city. It’s also the most tourist-y. It’s pretty easy to understand why. The buildings are gorgeous. There’s the old apartment/condo buildings all along Lakeshore Drive. There’s the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the old Playboy mansion. A walk around this area is definitely a must.

There are also plenty of good restaurants, including some chains that are not good but tourists love them (Rainforest Café, the only Chili’s I think I’ve seen in Chicago, etc). There are lots of steakhouses and other very nice, upscale restaurants, plus more casual options for families.

Navy Pier is the number 1 tourist attraction in Chicago. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. It’s a bunch of really crappy restaurants and junky shops, none of which really have anything to do with Chicago. They do have plans to do a bunch of stuff to it soon though, so maybe it’ll get more interesting.

The Magnificent Mile, along Michigan Avenue, is something that people always visit. There’s a ton of shopping. Basically it’s like a giant shopping mall where the chain stores are triple the size. There are also very expensive designer stores that are fun to go in even if you’ll never be able to afford even a pair of socks. It gets ridiculously busy over here, especially on the weekends, but there’s plenty to buy and do.

There’s an area filled with clubby bars at Rush and Division, also known as the Viagra Triangle. It’s called that because of the young girls that go there to pick up old rich dudes from the suburbs. A lot of tourists go the bars in this area. Most local people I know will avoid this place at all costs.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is just off the Mag Mile and always has great exhibits. There are a lot of art galleries in the area too, which are cool to visit. There are two movie theaters over there too that I go to often. One – AMC River North – shares the building with a really fancy bowling alley that’s pretty cool.

The near north side is a very beautiful area and is definitely a must for anyone visiting the city. This has caused some parts to become a little bit less appealing, but it’s by no means a reason to stay away. Visitors and locals alike will find plenty to keep them entertained.
Pros
  • Lots to do
Cons
  • Expensive living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Little Village - Little Mexico"

There are plenty of Hispanic communities in Chicago, but none have as much culture and spirit as Little Village. Little Village is filled with Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants who really celebrate their culture in this lively neighborhood. There’s definitely a community and family-friendly vibe there. Even though it’s surrounded by somewhat sketchy neighborhoods, Little Village is fairly safe from what I’ve seen.

If you like Mexican food at ALL, it’s a must to visit Little Village. First, the El Milagro tortilla factory is in the neighborhood (you can see the building if you’re driving this way on the Stevenson, which cuts through the area). They have a taqueria attached. Fresh tortillas made into delicious tacos? Doesn’t get much better! The street is lined with all sorts of other food options, from restaurants to carts, serving traditional food that goes far beyond tacos. If you do any cooking and have a hard time finding traditional Mexican ingredients, there are a bunch of grocery stores in the area that carry everything you might need. There are also shops selling Western-wear and other clothing, candy and piñatas.

There are two festivals that I know of in the area – the Mexican Independence Day one and the Cinco de Mayo one. These are also a great reason to visit this colorful, upbeat neighborhood.
Pros
  • Exciting
  • Lots of restaurants
  • Strong community
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Lawndale - Lots of History and Looking for a Better Future"

I volunteered at an elementary school in Lawndale several years ago. The neighborhood has its problems, but the people living there are friendly and looking for change. There is definitely a crime issue in the area, especially in the infamous K-town area, known for gang & drug activity. In the past 10 years or so it’s been getting gradually better, and some new housing and community developments have helped it along. There are a lot of community groups in Lawndale working for the betterment of their neighborhood.

Although I wouldn’t recommend hanging out in Lawndale really, there are some gorgeous greystone buildings in the area and Douglas Park is a big, green place to enjoy. A lot of buildings and businesses are boarded up though.

The area does have an interesting history. It used to be a Jewish neighborhood. African Americans moved in around the ‘50s. Lawndale was the site of the original Sears headquarters, which is still there but filled with other businesses. Cobra Records, the famous blues label, had its studio there. Martin Luther King, Jr. also lived in an apartment in Lawndale while he worked in Chicago. The building was torn down after his assassination and following race riots that ripped through the neighborhood.
Pros
  • Residential
Cons
  • still some crime
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Jefferson Park - Decent Food, Interesting Shopping"

Jefferson Park is a safe, quiet and residential neighborhood. There are a lot of homes in the area perfect for families. Jeff Park has a ton of Polish people (they have a festival here, as others have noted) and a lot of Irish as well. The park that the neighborhood is named after is huge and has baseball fields and a pool, among other family-friendly amenities.

There are some great Polish and Irish shops and delis in the neighborhood. As far as eating goes, two places definitely stand out to me. First is the Blue Angel. It’s just a diner, but it’s definitely a neighborhood institution. We always laugh about it because it’s one of my grandpa’s favorite spots for reasons no one really knows. But it does have really good diner food. Second is Gale Street Inn. They’re known locally for their ribs, but all of their food is good. It’s classic American stuff – ribs, fish, burgers, all delicious.

If you’re in the mood to buy some really weird stuff, head to American Science and Surplus on Milwaukee Avenue. They have all the typical things you’d find at any Army & Navy surplus store, but there’s much more. You can find everything from doctor’s tools to microscopes and strange lab equipment there. If you have some time to kill it’s really fun to poke around in there, and you may find something you never knew you wanted or needed!
Pros
  • quiet
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Irving Park - Quiet but Inviting"

I’m kind of surprised at these other reviews of Irving Park. It isn’t suburban at all and feels just as much a part of the city as anywhere else. It’s smack dab in the middle of the north side! It’s a pretty typical Chicago neighborhood.

Irving Park is a pretty quiet area, definitely good for families, but all kinds of people live there. It’s safe and there are a lot of beautiful homes. Maybe the ‘suburban’ comments come from the look of the Old Irving Park section of the neighborhood. This is a historic district with larger yards and homes.
There are plenty of apartments too. There’s a pretty decent mix of people in the area.

The businesses, restaurants and bars are mostly local neighborhood-y kind of spots. The Abbey Pub is an Irish bar attached to a decent sized music venue that has all kinds of bands play – I’ve seen everything from punk to hip hop groups there. They also have a lot of local talent play, which is cool. The Lincoln Antique Mall is cool to check out too.

There are a few dining options in the neighborhood to note. Arun’s Thai isn’t your average Thai joint – it’s more fine-dining, and although expensive, it’s probably some of the best Thai food you’ll ever have. Sabatino’s is a classic Italian place that’s a neighborhood institution. Mirabell is a good German/Austrian restaurant with good beer. I haven’t eaten at Smoque, but my parents have and said it was REALLY good BBQ.

While Irving Park isn’t the trendiest neighborhood in the city, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Family-oriented
  • safe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
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"Hyde Park - Beautiful and Brimming With Culture"

Wow there’s a lot to say about Hyde Park. Where to start?

First of all, President Obama’s home is NOT in Hyde Park. It’s in Kenwood, straight to the north.

Second, the neighborhood is beautiful. There is stunning architecture, tree-lined side streets, and TONS of things to do. Walking around the neighborhood simply looking at the homes, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, could take a whole day.

The most prominent feature of the neighborhood is the University of Chicago. They pretty much dominate the place, but there’s definitely room for residents of the city too. U of C is a really prestigious school – it’s really hard to get into and really expensive. Yes, many businesses in the area cater to students, but the vibe is very intelligent instead of a frat boy party, so it doesn’t affect residents in the ways you might expect.

There are a lot of museums in Hyde Park. The most well-known is the Museum of Science and Industry. The main attractions are probably more suited to kids, but they hold special exhibits all the time that are really cool for everyone. It’s in Jackson Park, and is the only building that’s still left from the Columbian Exposition. The Smart Museum of Art is also a great alternative to the more crowded Art Institute and MCA.

Jackson Park is halfway in the Hyde Park neighborhood. This is, in my opinion, one of the best parks in the city. It’s huge and beautiful – there’s lagoons and gardens galore. It was the site of the famous White City built for the Columbian Exposition in 1893. The Midway is great to walk through – it’s a long, narrow part connecting Jackson Park to Washington Park. The Bears used to practice there, which is how they got the nickname ‘Monsters of the Midway.’ The Point (Promontory Point, sorry) is where locals hang out to swim in the lake.

There are tons of great food options, mostly cafes and coffee shops, plus some really great ethnic places. There are a lot of cool local shops too – 57th Street Books is one of the best used book stores in Chicago.

The bars are pretty low-key neighborhood places, and Checkerboard Lounge recently opened their new spot in Hyde Park (the old one was a well-known mecca for blues and jazz).

Hyde Park is a great neighborhood filled with diverse people and diverse things to do.
Pros
  • A lot to do
  • Great location
Cons
  • a little far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Englewood - Finally Getting the Attention it Needs"

Englewood has been a very rough neighborhood since the 60s. Yes, the area is impoverished and crime is a big problem. There’s not any reason to visit the neighborhood, and you shouldn’t go walking around by yourself at night. However, you are not going to get shot up just driving through the neighborhood, just like you won’t while driving through any neighborhood here.

Englewood has long been ignored and pushed under the rug by the city, and many buildings are falling apart, boarded up and deserted. The area is in real need of help.

Residents in Englewood really want change for the area and have been working for decades to fix things up. There are a lot of community organizations that have done great things and provided much needed services for the neighborhood. They’ve also been working with the city to start improvements.

A huge neighborhood revitalization project has been going on for the last 10 years or so, thanks to commitment from residents, businesses and (FINALLY) the city. New buildings are being built, including residences and commercial properties to attract more businesses to the area, and streets are being fixed. Kennedy-King College opened up a few years ago – it’s a community college that also houses a culinary school.

Englewood has a ways to go, but the improvements are definitely working in favor of people who call the neighborhood home.
Pros
  • caring community
Cons
  • a lot of crime
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Edison Park - Quiet but Close"

Edison Park is on the far (very far) northwest side, right by O’Hare airport. It is definitely closer to feeling like a suburb than a part of the city. There are lots of houses of all styles and the atmosphere is family friendly and relaxed. It almost seems more like a small town unto itself and is a little bit less connected with the city in general.

I know that residents of the neighborhood have really worked to keep Edison Park this way – voting against certain developments that would change the landscape (like huge condo buildings, which a lot of people who live all over the city, including myself, really don’t like for many reasons) or the feel of the area.

It is close to a lot of north side neighborhoods by car or bus. It’s also close to the Kennedy and the Blue Line to get to the suburbs or other parts of the city.

There are a bunch of family restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, mostly concentrated along a small stretch of Northwest Highway. A lot of them are Italian or pizza places – I’ve eaten at a couple of these and they were both really good.

Edison Park is a great place for a family that wants to be close to the city but without that rushed, crowded feel.
Pros
  • far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Edgewater - Diversity and Dining"

Edgewater is a very cool neighborhood that is also very far north. The population is really diverse – there are so many races and nationalities that call Edgewater home. This is definitely part of its appeal. The area doesn’t look fancy or anything, but it does look and feel like Chicago, which can’t be said for some neighborhoods lately.

The Andersonville area is located within Edgewater too. This is a traditionally Scandinavian neighborhood, and many shops and eateries can still be found there. These days there’s a fairly large gay and lesbian population in Andersonville. The side streets there are tree-lined and have some beautiful buildings. Hopleaf bar is one of the original gastro-pubs, a trend that’s really exploded in the city recently. They have a TON of beer choices, but it gets really busy.

The rest of Edgewater is a little bit more ‘gritty’ looking, but there’s lots to love. There is a concentration of Ethiopian restaurants in the neighborhood, including Ras Dashen and Ethiopian Diamond. This food is GOOD. You’ll find pretty much any type of food you’re looking for.

Edgewater is also right on the lake, and has an awesome beach that is both family and gay friendly. It gets much less crowded there than at the beaches closer to downtown, which I refuse to go to. The Edgewater Beach Apartments tower next to the lake in all their pink glory – they were next to the hotel of the same name that housed many famous people from the 20s to the 50s or 60s, which has since been torn down.
Pros
  • a little far from downtown
  • Proud Gay Community
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Cragin - Chicago With Some European Flair"

The Cragin neighborhood is kind of split in half. The northern half is mostly Polish, while the southern half is mostly Hispanic (although historically more Polish as well). It’s a pretty quiet, residential area with a lot of small homes and fewer apartments.

Along Belmont Avenue there are tons of Polish shops and restaurants. The area around Belmont and Central is a major shopping intersection for the neighborhood, and many people go there for anything from clothing to European foods to books and home décor.

A lot of the neighborhood bars are simple corner joints where you’ll hear a lot of Polish or Spanish. There are a few places that are a little bit more ‘upscale’ and get clubby in a very European way at night. There used to be a great Polish dance club in the area on Diversey and Central where everybody drank vodka with apple juice, but it closed down pretty recently.

You’ll find a lot of good Polish food along Belmont – there’s both restaurants and delis. Fullerton has more Mexican restaurants to choose from.

There are 2 large sports stores, one on Belmont and one on Fullerton, that carry a ton of soccer equipment and jerseys.

The area is fairly safe and doesn’t have a whole lot going on, but there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Pros
  • Great for families
Cons
  • Not much appeal for younger people
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Back of the Yards - Infamous History, Positive Present"

The Back of the Yards neighborhood is known mostly for its history. The infamous Union Stock Yards were here all the way until 1971. As everyone else mentioned, it’s the site of Upton Sinclair’s famous novel about the working and living conditions in the area that spawned what is now the FDA.

My grandparents grew up in this neighborhood in the ‘30s. It was mostly Eastern European immigrants, which is what they were, and was extremely poor. Saul Alinsky, the famous community organizer, started his work in Back of the Yards during the ‘30s.

Today Back of the Yards is a mostly Hispanic neighborhood. It’s definitely still working-class, but the horrors of the stockyards are long gone. The area is quiet and residential, with several small parks for families. A lot of the old buildings are still around – mostly cottages and Catholic churches. The only thing left of the stockyards is the stone entrance arch, which is pretty cool to see. Saul Alinsky’s office is also still there.

There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood now, and small businesses as well. The only place I’ve visited is Swap-O-Rama, which is a great flea market to find stuff on the cheap. There’s a really cool mural along the sides of the building.
Pros
  • not much going on
  • Quiet
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
MikeB4
MikeB4 Saul Alinsky was a commie! I grew up in back of the yards during the 50's and 60's Not worth going there now. Everyone knew each when I grew up, you'll get shot there today.
2yrs+
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Avondale - Delicious Multicultural Dining"

Avondale is a nice working-class neighborhood. Unlike some other reviewers I’ve never seen an issue with crime or safety in this neighborhood. There are a lot of Polish people in the neighborhood, with many Hispanics now living there as well. Recently a lot of people seem to be moving in as spillover from Logan Square and Roscoe Village, so hopefully the neighborhood can remain affordable for its residents.

This isn’t a trendy place or an entertainment destination, but it has a lot of great things to offer, especially in the way of cheap but delicious food. Hot Doug’s, although they don’t really have traditional Chicago-style hot dogs, is a local favorite for interesting combos and the famous duck fat fries. Kuma’s Corner, a local heavy metal bar that cooks up DELICIOUS burgers, has become so popular recently that you’ll have to wait 2 hours for a table no matter what time it is. Dragon Lady Lounge is a dive bar whose owner personally cooks up amazing vegan Korean food. There’s also the Joong Boo market, which is a big Korean grocery store where you can find really interesting stuff. The Red Apple is a Polish buffet that you will never leave hungry from.

There’s some new bars and stuff popping up to appeal to newer residents, but for the most part Avondale is still a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood kind of place.
Pros
  • diverse population
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
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
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"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
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
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"The Loop - Where It's All At"

The Loop is the area that’s surrounded by the El tracks, which form a loop downtown. I think now most people refer to all of downtown as the Loop – it stretches a little bit farther in each direction. This is the business district of Chicago, with all of the hustle, bustle and skyscrapers.

The architecture is a major draw to this area. There are plenty of world-famous buildings. The Sears Tower (NOT Willis!) is obviously the most well-known, but others like the Monadnock building and the Harold Washington library are just as impressive. An architecture tour of the Loop is HIGHLY recommended, even if you’re from Chicago! I’ve also kayaked the river downtown and that offers awesome views of the buildings too. However, you will get covered in disgusting river water and nearly killed by tour boats, so watch out!

The parks are another great asset of the Loop. Grant Park and Millennium Park, which are right next to each other, are both good spots. Grant Park is grassy and green, and a lot of the city’s summer festivals are held here. Millennium Park is totally modern and home to some really interesting art pieces.

Speaking of art, there are TONS of sculptures scattered around the Loop, so be on the lookout for them! The Art Institute of Chicago, long one of my favorite spots to visit, is also here. They just added on a modern art wing a couple of years ago, and if you’re a fan of the style it’s a must.

There’s also the Board of Trade, theaters, and lots of shopping (mostly chain stores though) along State Street. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is in the Loop too. There’s really no shortage of things to do.

The bars and restaurants downtown cater to the business crowd, and that’s mainly who you’ll find there, along with tourists. There’s also a bunch of college campuses downtown, including DePaul and Roosevelt. Bars and restaurants close really early. In fact much of the Loop totally shuts down late at night because everybody’s gone. It’s definitely more of a daytime neighborhood to visit.
Pros
  • Great for tourists
  • Lots of activities
Cons
  • not much open at night
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Albany Park - Mixing it Up"

Albany Park is Chicago at its very best in many respects. Like other reviewers have said, it really is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. There’s a mix of pretty much everyone, with a lot of Koreans, Cambodians, Middle Easterners and Hispanics. The area is quiet, family-friendly, and truly friendly towards everyone.

The food in Albany Park is outstanding. There’s no fine dining or anything here. Just family-owned restaurants serving all kinds of ethnic foods at a reasonable price. Noon O Kebab has really good Middle Eastern food. I’d definitely recommend the Asian restaurants in the area, especially Thai and Korean – some of the best.

The shops are mostly local, family-owned businesses too.

I have some Korean friends that live in this area, and I’ve been to a few Korean bars here. These are absolutely worth checking out. They’ll let you experience a different culture (if you aren’t Korean obviously) in a new and interesting way. There are all kinds of drinks you’ll never have heard of, and everything comes in shot form, whether it needs to or not.

The Admiral Theater is also in Albany Park if you’re looking for some…ummm…’adult’ entertainment.

Albany Park is a really interesting, friendly, neighborly place to live or visit.
Pros
  • Good food
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Logan Square - Lot's of Change"

Logan Square is an interesting neighborhood. For a long time it was one of the most dangerous areas in Chicago. When I lived here a while ago I got followed home, robbed and people got shot a lot. It’s been very slowly changing since hipster kids started moving in. Now it’s definitely safer than it was, although some parts, especially the western part, can still get a little sketchy.

Even though it wasn’t always safe, Logan Square was a really family-oriented, neighborly place. It’s been a mainly Hispanic neighborhood for a long time, although lately all I see when I’m there seem to be white people. It really sucks that with development comes higher prices and a less diverse population.

There are a lot of great restaurants in the neighborhood, none of them pricey. Friendship Chinese is an awesome modern spot. Lula Café has been in the neighborhood for a while and is delicious and interesting. There’s no shortage of good Mexican places, but El Cid is my favorite. There are also some newer, trendier places opening up.

A ton of development has been going on in the last five years or so along Milwaukee Avenue south of Fullerton. There’s a brand new brewery and several new bars that are attracting a new kind of crowd to the area.

The neighborhood is overall pretty young and vibrant, and a fun place to hang out.
Pros
  • prices steadily increasing
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Lincoln Square - Perfect Family Fun"

Lincoln Square is a nice, residential neighborhood. Its history is German, but it’s not a German neighborhood anymore. A lot of the people who live there are young families, and the neighborhood definitely has that kind of feel. It’s pretty similar in atmosphere to Roscoe Village.

The namesake of the neighborhood is the square – part of Lincoln Avenue is blocked off on one end and has a pretty little arch over the entrance. This gives the street a ‘Main Street,’ small town kind of feel. There are all kinds of activities that go on in this spot, including May Fest – German beer & brats.

The area is quieter than many others in the city, but it’s not like it’s dead – it’s definitely lively in a family-friendly way. There’s some great corner bars in the area, and tons of cute boutiques. Merz Apothecary is a cool shop that carries all kinds of natural and hard-to-find health and beauty products. Richochets is a nice, super friendly neighborhood bar.

There are a lot of bar-and-grill type restaurants in the neighborhood, as well as some Italian and pizza places. Chicago Brauhaus is a German restaurant that has pretty traditional food and the occasional Oompa band.

It’s a really nice, quiet area that’s good for families and has a real neighborhood feel.
Pros
  • a little far from downtown
  • Quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
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"Lakeview - You May Love It, You May Hate It"

Ah, Lakeview. It’s hard for me to like it there, but hard to hate too. There are three main parts to the neighborhood – Boystown, Wrigleyville and West Lakeview. The entire neighborhood is considered very safe. There are a LOT of young people living there, but also families and some older people.

Boystown is a gay community within the neighborhood, home to the annual Gay Pride Parade. This part of the neighborhood is really fun, has tons of bars that have great dancing for both gay and straight people, and has lots of shops that cater to everybody. The atmosphere is always friendly and ready for fun.

Wrigleyville is hands-down one of the most obnoxious parts of the entire city (sorry Cubs fans, but it’s true). Wrigley Field itself is a great ball park and absolutely beautiful. The area surrounding the field is lined with bars that attract loud, rude, drunk frat-boy types who spill out into the streets and act like idiots. I had a friend who used to work at one of these bars and it came to a point where I refused to visit him.

West Lakeview is mostly young people too, but a little calmer than closer to the lake. There are similar bars, but they are nowhere near as bad as in Wrigleyville. It’s definitely much quieter with more young families.

All of Lakeview has lots of great shopping and dining options – you can find a wide variety of foods and shops for just about anyone. I get the feeling that almost no one who lives in Lakeview is actually from Chicago – everybody seems to be from some suburb or other state. It’s a fun area for the most part and attracts a lot of people.
Pros
  • Fun shops, salons, and restaurants
Cons
  • can be annoying
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Kenwood - Beautiful & Green"

Kenwood is an absolutely gorgeous neighborhood on the south side (it’s directly north of Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago). This is a middle to upper class area, mostly African-American but pretty diverse. Some of the surrounding neighborhoods to the north and west aren’t very safe, but Kenwood as a whole is a pretty safe area.

I guess I’ll start with the obvious – President Obama’s home is in Kenwood. Whoop-dee-do!

This is an amazing area to walk around – the architecture is stunning and the streets are lined with nice, big trees. A lot of old, historic mansions are in Kenwood. There’s Obama’s, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s home, Muhammad Ali’s former home…the list goes on and on. There are also a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in the area. It’s also right on the lake and there are several parks in the area. All of these homes have been really well preserved and are VERY pricey, but are great to look at – a perfect summer day!

The area is very family and community oriented, and that’s mostly who you’ll find living here - families. There are corner stores, bars and restaurants – no fine dining or trendy shops really, but that would only take away from the real neighborhood vibe.
Pros
  • a little far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Humboldt Park - Culture & Community"

Humboldt Park is a pretty big neighborhood, and has a lot of cool things to offer.

First, the park the area is named for is huge and really pretty. There’s a giant pond in the middle and the fieldhouse is a historical landmark. It’s a really nice spot to relax.

The neighborhood has long been one of the most dangerous in the city, and still has a huge problem with crime and gang activity. People get shot here all the time. Some blocks are worse than others – some are pretty much fine. There’s been a lot of effort to clean this up.

There’s a pretty diverse population there, although it’s a Puerto Rican neighborhood. There are two giant Puerto Rican flags that arch across Division Street. The Puerto Rican Day Parade is a HUGE event in Humboldt Park. There also seems to be a ton of hipsters moving in the past 5 years or so, since yuppies have pretty much taken over the surrounding neighborhoods.

The bars and stores are all neighborhood corner places. There’s definitely a sense of real community in the neighborhood, and there are lots of families and people who have lived in the area forever.

I think many people in the neighborhood are really worried about the gentrification going on in surrounding areas creeping in. Poor families would have to move out and a lot of the culture of Humboldt Park would be lost. I even saw a sign put up that said “Yuppies, stay away from Humboldt Park.”

It’s a really cool place to visit for the culture, delicious food and neighborhood spirit. Hopefully it’ll stay that way.
Pros
  • could lose it's culture
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Garfield Park - Not very safe, but OK to visit"

I haven’t heard of any ‘hipsters’ moving into the area, but since a lot of areas in Chicago are now changing drastically, I wouldn’t be surprised. But, Garfield Park remains one of the most dangerous areas of the city. Often when people start moving into an area that they know nothing about they’re shocked by the crime. There is a lot of gang activity and drug dealing in Garfield Park. I would not hang out there on purpose, so I don’t really know if there’s much in the way of shopping, restaurants and bars. However, the area is more low-income, so there won’t be anything fancy, pricey or trendy.

This is not to say that most residents of the neighborhood are criminals – that is absolutely not true. In fact, when my brother’s car broke down in Garfield Park one of the neighbors sat with him for hours until a tow truck came so that nothing happened to him. I think this incident highlights both how nice most people in ALL areas are, and how dangerous this neighborhood can be.

Please don’t think that by what I’ve written above you shouldn’t go there at all. The Garfield Park Conservatory is absolutely gorgeous and is a great reason to visit. Unfortunately the roof just got damaged pretty bad in a freak summer hail storm, but they’re working on fixing it. It’s filled with all kinds of plants and is huge. It’s especially good to go in the winter - sit in the fern room for a while and you’ll think you’re in a jungle!
Pros
  • friendly people
Cons
  • still some crime
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Galewood - Quiet, Not Much to Do"

I used to work in the Galewood neighborhood, which is on the far west side of Chicago. It is very quiet and residential, although there is a little bit of crime going on in the area. It’s also not the most well-taken-care-of area.

The people who live in the area are mostly families and elderly people. There are mainly homes lining the street rather than apartments or condos, so the neighborhood definitely lends itself to these kinds of residents.

The restaurants, bars and other businesses are kind of non-descript, but there are some good Mexican places, especially along Grand Avenue. Ody’s is good for hot dogs and Alpine Deli on North Avenue makes really delicious sandwiches.

Riis Park is pretty big and has a nice path for walking, as well as a public pool. The Brickyard mall is also in Galewood. There used to be an indoor mall here, but now it’s really just a very large strip mall. There’s a Jewel, Target, Starbucks, and a bunch of other chain stores.

Like some other neighborhoods along the edges of the city Galewood has a slightly more suburban feel to it. There’s definitely not a lot going on, but it’s a nice, quiet place for families and older people.
Pros
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Not much going on
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
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"DePaul - An Awesome Area...if You Go to DePaul"

DePaul isn’t a neighborhood – it’s a school – but it looks like this is considered to be the area in Lincoln Park surrounding DePaul University’s main campus.

I actually got my undergrad degree at DePaul, so I spent a ton of time in the area. At the time, it was a really fun place to be. The neighborhood is really clean, well-kept and generally safe. There are college students everywhere, so it can be obnoxious if you aren’t one.

I wasn’t able to live near campus because the apartments in Lincoln Park are so expensive, but I know many students do (where they get that much money from is anyone’s guess, but mine is Mom & Dad).

Most of the businesses directly surrounding DePaul cater to students, but are great for anyone. There used to be an awesome hot dog place called Demon Dogs right under the El, but they tore it down when they rehabbed the station. I think it may have moved somewhere else, but I haven’t seen it. There are tons of other affordable, casual places to eat. Ther
Pros
  • Ideal for students
Cons
  • Noisy
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
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
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"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
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
Just now

"Bucktown - Upscale & Trendy"

First of all the map here is incorrect – most of what’s highlighted is Logan Square. I’d consider Bucktown to be between Western & Ashland, Armitage & North. I’d also like to dispel the rumor that Bucktown is an ‘artsy’ area. It is not, nor is it filled with hipsters. It’s filled with condos, yuppies and their puppies.

It's a really trendy neighborhood right now - it seems like EVERYBODY thinks its the greatest thing since sliced bread. But it's definitely getting to be more like Lincoln Park than Wicker Park.

The area blew up very recently and very quickly. It’s mostly known for the shopping along Damen Avenue. About 10 years ago there were a few scattered boutiques, but now the street is literally lined with very high-end local shops and designer stores like Marc Jacobs. There are also now a ton of chain stores like Bebe, Arden B…you get the picture.

There are a lot of good restaurants there, many a little bit more expensive, but many are affordable too. There are a couple o
Pros
  • Good restaurants
Cons
  • A little expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Bridgeport - A Taste of the True Chicago"

If you’re looking for what Chicago is REALLY like, look no further than Bridgeport. This neighborhood is a breeding ground for Chicago politicians, including both Mayor Daleys. It’s traditionally Irish, and actually had a bad reputation for racism, especially in the ‘60s. However, a recent study showed that Bridgeport today is one of the top 5 most diverse neighborhoods in the city, so that has definitely changed.

Bridgeport is White Sox territory. Do not come here wearing a Cubs jersey unless you’re here for the Crosstown Classic. Comiskey (I mean, The Cell) is technically not in the neighborhood anymore, but whatever. As a Sox fan, I’ve been coming to the neighborhood since I was a kid.

I guess the ‘stereotypical’ south-sider is who you’d find at the neighborhood Irish and dive bars. The neighborhood is mostly working and middle class. A lot of people have lived in the area forever, but that seems to be changing. I’ve seen some new condos go up recently, as well as stores that
Pros
  • Good for Irish White Sox Fans
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Beverly - An Irish Gem"

Beverly is a traditionally Irish neighborhood on the far south side. Most people who live there have been there forever, and it has a real family feel. Neighbors all know each other, and most residential buildings are houses instead of apartments and condos. It has a slightly suburban feel too for this reason and that it’s closer to the south suburbs than the rest of the city. The El doesn’t even go this far – you have to take the Metra train if you want to get there.

Given the history of the neighborhood, most of the bars there are of the Irish pub variety. But they’re actual neighborhood Irish pubs, unlike the “McIrish” bars that are all over neighborhoods like Lakeview. These ones are local and low-key. Most of them are along Western Avenue.

The neighborhood used to host the annual south side St. Patrick’s Day parade, but the area voted to discontinue it because too many idiots were coming down for one day, trashing the streets and peeing in people’s lawn (yes, literally). Eve
Pros
  • Clean
  • Family friendly
  • Safe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
Just now

"Lincoln Park - Pretty at a Price"

Lincoln Park is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago. It’s also one of the only areas not burned down by the fire in 1871, so there are a lot of really cool old brownstone buildings that also cost A LOT of money.

The neighborhood has a ton of things to do, including the namesake Lincoln Park by the lake and the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free. I used to volunteer there, which was fun. They have the best lions that get really loud in the afternoons.

There are higher-end boutiques and chain stores along Armitage and Halsted. Clark Street has smaller, more local and affordable shops that have everything from shoes to records.

Lincoln Park has restaurants ranging from cheap (but delicious) hot dogs to haute cuisine (one of Chicago’s most famous chef’s, Grant Achatz, has his first restaurant Alinea there).

There are a lot of bars in the area that draw the college crowd from DePaul University. If you’re over 21 you’ll definitely feel out of place in most of them.
Pros
  • Access to the Park and Lake Michigan
  • Lots of bars, restaurants, and shops
Cons
  • Cost of apartments/houses
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students

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