3.4 out of 10

Woodlawn

41.7810792800051 -87.5880571906951
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Public Transport
  • Schools
  •  
  •  
Not great for
  • Shopping Options
  • Clean & Green
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  •  
  •  
  •  

Reviews

2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Not the first neighborhood I’d pick to trick or treat in…"

Alright, first things first. I’m not a big fan of Woodlawn. I know what you’re thinking, and just because it’s the Southside of Chicago and the University of Chicago campus is there does not mean I’m going to like it. This isn’t a Southside Irish neighborhood. It’s a ‘Once home to one of the biggest gangs in Chicago’ neighborhood. That said, I know there have been some efforts to make improvements, but still, at this point, outside of the University there isn’t a whole lot for me here.
Food
Let’s start with food. If you live here, you’re going to go somewhere else to get something to eat. You can try out the Marina Café in the summer, and that’s only decent because it has a nice view of the lake, but otherwise, if you find yourself hungry in Woodlawn, go North to Hyde Park and find something better.
Travel
Actually, because this is part of Chicago, it’s not half bad. Public transportation is yet again a good option, and if you want to get downtown, take the Green line, you’ll be in the Loop and have a lot more opportunity soon. I know there’s busses but I’ve never taken one in Woodlawn, but I’ve generally been happy with the CTA, so it’s not a bad choice. I don’t park, or almost ever drive my car through the area, so I can’t speak for the parking, but I’m sure you’ll find a place to have your car stolen.
Residence
The price for a home in Woodlawn is pretty reasonable, but again, this is due to the fact that it is a rough neighborhood. Even with the improvements that have taken place in the last few years, I don’t plan on living there any time soon. No doubt there are some nice homes, and it is close to the University of Chicago, so if that holds some interest for you, by all means.

I know I’m pretty negative about Woodlawn. There has been some effort, especially in recent years, to make improvements to the community and I have no doubt that things will continue to improve. But of everything that has affected the community, the University is by far the best. There have been expansions, which so far has proved to clean up those parts of the neighborhood converted to use for the school. In a few more years time, Woodlawn may not be such a bad place to visit, but I’d still suggest finding another place to live if you’re looking.
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Close to University of Chicago
  • Major improvements recently
Cons
  • No dining
  • Unsafe
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Crime infested neighborhood near U of Chicago"

When I attended The University of Chicago, we were told not to go past 60th street, because if we did we would enter the dangerous neighborhood of Woodlawn. We were issued whistles to carry around with us and blow if we saw any criminal activity. The school had a huge police patrol to try to keep crime from the surrounding areas from entering onto the campus. This South Side Chicago neighborhood has a convenient location and one that is near a great school and hospital. However, still there is a lot of crime and gang activity in Woodlawn.

South Side Chicago tends to be quite segregated when it comes to race. For example, Woodlawn is about 98% African American. Back in the 1950's the neighborhood was actually mostly white and was home to a lot of University of Chicago professors. Some professors and students do indeed live in Woodlawn, but they have to be pretty careful about the crime.

On the bright side, there has been some progress in stabilizing Woodlawn. There are some new developments and the University is also lightening up on its formerly dramatic stance where students were told not to go there. Hopefully, things are turning around for the best.
Pros
  • Lots of potential
  • Major improvements recently
Cons
  • Still a long way to go
Recommended for
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Better Than Englewood, But Still Has a Ways to Go"

The South Side neighborhood of Woodlawn has made noticeable improvements in recent years, but it’s not quite there yet. Although it’s not as bad as Englewood (which is the worst of the worst in Chicago), it’s still not great. I don’t feel particularly safe in Woodlawn, but I also don’t feel as threatened as I would in Englewood. In spite of its checkered past, which includes being home to one of Chicago’s worst gangs, Woodlawn keeps trying to get better and is having some degree of success.

In that way, I have respect for the community leaders and residents of Woodlawn for refusing to give in to its past and continuing to strive for better. A focus on education is helping to improve schools slowly but surely, so I think the future of Woodlawn will certainly be better. Would I visit Woodlawn? Probably not because there really isn’t much going on for non-residents, but I do think there is a world of potential here.

I see Woodlawn as a neighborhood full of determination. Its spirit is undeniable, which is why I think it will eventually rise above its negative reputation and prove itself to be an important Chicago community. It just may take some time to get there.
Pros
  • Lots of potential
  • Major improvements recently
Cons
  • Still a long way to go
3/5 rating details
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Not there yet."

Woodlawn has the University, but other than that there isn't much going on. The area, because of it's University feel offers reasonable housing and has a pretty active social life, but overall there is nothing going on that would make the masses run to the area. Because of it's college credentials the residents tend to be transient and don't really worry much about how the neighborhood looks and feels. It is doubtful that a group will suddenly come into Woodlawn and turn it into the new hip neighborhood to be in, but it isn't the worst you can find.

The area is rough and crime is not particularly uncommon. I wouldn't sit outside at 2am and have a cigarette, but I wouldn't feel the need to clutch my bag close to me at high noon either. There is talk that some improvement are coming, but there has been talk for years from what I understand and little has been done to improve the area. The eats are cheap, because of the college crowd, but mediocre at best and the shopping is basically non-existent. It would not be my first, second or third choice.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles

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