Chicago is a city known for its many communities, each with their own distinctive vibe and atmosphere.
Explore our favorite Chicago neighborhoods below and discover what makes each of these areas so unique.
Albany Park is one of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse communities, with more than 40 different languages spoken in the local schools.
With so many cultures represented, the neighborhood boasts an incredible array of multicultural cuisines from Mexican bakeries and Middle Eastern grocery stores, to American coffee shops and the many Korean restaurants found on “Seoul Drive.” In addition to the incredible food,
Albany Park residents enjoy access to expansive outdoor spaces, including the 12-acre Eugene Field Park, and smaller green spots, such as Jensen and Buckeye Parks, mixed in the residential areas. Transportation is abundant, with the Brown and Blue “L” lines, CTA bus routes and easy access to the Edens expressway.
One of the North Side’s most popular neighborhoods, Andersonville is recognized for its diversity, Scandinavian-centric businesses, close proximity to downtown Chicago, and easy access to the Lakefront.
This thriving neighborhood is comprised of tree-lined streets with many modern two and three-flats, as well as a huge array of independent and locally owned shops, restaurants and bars.
Each year, Andersonville plays host to the hugely popular Midsommarfest, which many consider to be an unofficial kick-off to summer. The “L” red line, Clark Street bus and Ravenswood Metra stop make getting around easy.
Tucked in to the Northwest Side of Chicago is Avondale, a diverse community rich in working class traditions. This neighborhood is full of history, with ornate churches and temples, charming homes, and an eclectic blend of restaurants.
The diversity of cultures is easy to spot, from the beautiful architecture of St. Hyacinth Basilica and St. Wenceslaus Church, the shops and restaurants in Chicago’s Polish Village, and the many events sponsored by the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. Residents of Avondale certainly don’t have a problem finding something to satisfy their hunger.
One of the neighborhood’s greatest treasures is its trove of eateries, which span from Russian to Chinese, and everything in between. Navigating to and from all of these great restaurants and attractions is fairly simple, thanks to several prominent bus lines, the CTA Blue line, and easy access to the Kennedy expressway.
One of Chicago’s creative epicenters, Bucktown lies just to the north of Wicker Park. This neighborhood has underwent a great amount of change over the years, starting out as a home to poor Polish immigrants, then slowly rejuvenated by local artists attracted to the area by cheap rent and accessibility to downtown Chicago.
Today, Bucktown houses a diverse blend of residents and architecture, including elegantly restored mansions, brownstones, two- and three-flats, converted lofts and brand new condo developments. The central art district is home to numerous store-front galleries, and many established and up-and-coming artists share work and gallery space in the historic Flat Iron Building.
The Bucktown Arts Fest and the Round the Coyote art festival are great venues to meet local artists and view their amazing work. In addition to the bustling art scene, Bucktown is home to trendy eateries, lounges serving up craft cocktails, and packed late-night music clubs. Transportation is easy in this neighborhood, with the Blue Line “L,” CTA bus lines, Clybourn Metra stop and easy access to the Kennedy expressway.
As its name suggests, Edgewater hugs the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. This neighborhood is known for its expansive, uncrowded beaches and sprawling park space, combined with the convenience to downtown Chicago.
A family-oriented neighborhood, Edgewater is a treasure trove of ethnic eateries, low-key bars and pubs, and some of the city’s best antique shopping.
Getting around the area is a breeze, with the Red Line “L”, several major bus routes, and Lake Shore Drive.
The Gold Coast streets are lined with a wonderful balance of historic and contemporary architecture, seamlessly blending a mixture of mansions, row homes and high-rises. This historic district houses landmarks such as the James Charnley house, along with a variety of cultural attractions, including art galleries, museums, the Red Theater and The Newberry Library.
The attractions don’t stop there, as the Gold Coast is also home to world-class shopping, from small boutiques and treasured stores on Oak Street, to famous high-end brands on the Magnificent Mile. If a social aspect is what you’re after, you will find no shortage here, as this area houses a trove of prestigious hotels, celebrated eateries and popular nightlife hot spots on Rush Street.
Navigating around the Gold Coast’s copious offerings is a breeze, thanks to the many transportation options, including several Red Line stops and numerous bus lines.
Humboldt Park is a diverse neighborhood, anchored by its 200+ acre namesake. The park itself is lined with streets of stately Greystones, two-flats and cozy brick bungalows, with sizeable backyards.
The park is also home to three historic public buildings, and plays host to two wildly popular summer festivals – Fiestas Puertorriqenas/The People’s Parade, and Riot Fest. Besides the park, the neighborhood is known for its authentic Puerto Rican eateries, as well as the mammoth Puerto Rican flags that anchor a strip of Division Street.
A hotspot for everyone from artists, young professionals and families, Humboldt Park continues to grow in popularity, in part thanks to the affordable housing prices.
Irving Park is a predominantly residential area with a rich history, including The Villa District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The abundance of old Victorian homes eventually led to the formation of The Irving Park Historical Society, which helps preserve the neighborhood’s history and irreplaceable architecture, much of which dates back to the late 19th century. Residents here take pride in restoring these beautiful residences to their original grandeur.
Also tucked along its streets are a mix of classic Chicago bungalows, two- and three-flats and single-family homes with grass-filled yards. Outdoor activity options abound here, with the most popular options being Independence Park and Horner Park. While the community is centered around its residential sector, there is a healthy commercial district in Irving Park, with cozy restaurants, friendly neighborhood pubs, and a few popular music venues for those who seek the nightlife.
Public transportation options include the Blue line “L”, several major bus routes and the Kennedy expressway.
Jefferson Park, aptly named for its expansive green space, is a family-friendly community on Chicago’s Northwest side. This neighborhood has a heavy Polish-American presence, which takes center stage at the hugely popular Taste of Polonia every summer.
A large number of resident city and county workers call Jefferson Park home, thanks in part to the reasonable real estate prices and the abundance of outdoor spaces, including nearby golf courses.
Residents also enjoy The Copernicus Center, a performing arts center that hosts numerous concerts, theater performances and cultural events. Jefferson Park is often referred to as a transportation hub, and is serviced by the Blue Line “L,” the Union Pacific/Northwest Metra line, numerous bus routes, and the Kennedy expressway.
Synonymous with its name, Lakeview is probably most notable for its beautiful stretch of shoreline along Lake Michigan. Public park lands extend along the lakefront, creating the eastern boundary of this lively neighborhood. Running and bike paths and numerous athletic fields dot the area, making this a fantastic area for those who love the outdoors.
In addition to its many outdoor attractions, Lakeview has an incredible array of trendy restaurants and bars, and popular shops, many of which are located in the two popular areas of Wrigleyville and Southport Avenue.
The Chicago Cubs call Lakeview home, as do several popular theaters and concert venues, including the historic Music Box Theater, The Vic and Metro. Due to its location and many attractions, transportation abounds in the neighborhood. The Brown, Red and Purple “L” lines all stop here, as do several popular bus routes.
Aptly named after the beloved 1,200 acre city park that runs through it, Lincoln Park is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Chicago. A blend of historic and contemporary architecture nestled along beautiful tree-lined streets make up the residential area, which is dotted with handsome brick row homes, historic churches and peaceful parks.
Some of the city’s top restaurants can be found here, along with popular bars and trendy shopping venues. If you’re looking for outdoor entertainment, Lincoln Park certainly delivers. The Lincoln Park Zoo and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum are two beloved city attractions that offer a variety of events and activities throughout the year.
A fantastic selection of beaches, parks, athletic fields, the popular lakefront running and bike path and even a golf driving range call this neighborhood home. Transportation is easily accessible, with the Red, Brown and Purple “L” lines all making stops here, along with numerous bus lines. Street parking is also available in most areas.
Lincoln Square is an eclectic enclave where Old World German heritage meets modern charm. This neighborhood has so much to offer, from bustling avenues full of hip restaurants, bars and boutiques, to quiet, tree-lined streets filled parks, churches and a community of close-knit residents.
The beloved Ravenswood and Ravenswood Manor areas are located within this neighborhood, giving the entire community a great mix of stately Victorian homes, private residences and small courtyard style residential buildings. Residents love the small town feel of the neighborhood, and take pride in the abundant local businesses found in their community.
Every year, people flock to Lincoln Square events like the Summer Concert Series, and the extremely popular Maifest and German-American Fest. The Brown line “L” runs through the neighborhood, in addition to several main bus routes.
Logan Square is often considered one of Chicago’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Prominent historical boulevards, Victorian greystones, limestone mansions, brick two-flats and classic Chicago bungalows draw in people from every walk of life. The neighborhood is a diverse mix of cultures, which contributes to the amazing assortment of cuisines available here.
The Logan Square Farmers Market is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday, even in the winter, when the market moves indoors. The community’s culinary diversity can also be sampled every August at the Taste of Logan Square. Every September, the neighborhood’s other popular event, the Historic Mansion House and Garden Walk, allows participants the chance to visit some of the area’s century-old mansions.
The 606, Chicago’s first elevated park and bike path, will provide an urban oasis to Logan Square residents when it opens in the summer of 2015. Transportation options abound in this neighborhood, with the Blue line “L,” numerous bus routes and easy access to the Kennedy expressway.
North Center is a vibrant neighborhood known for great restaurants, a lively bar and club scene and nostalgic storefronts. More affordable than its neighbors to the east, North Center has seen a recent influx of families and young professionals looking to take advantage of its more affordable real estate, great schools and energetic social scene.
North Center has a history deeply rooted in European culture, which is evident in the late 19th and early 20th century architectural details of the homes and buildings.
Residents enjoy a plethora of recreational choices, including three city parks, several popular bowling alleys, an indoor ice arena and the Town Square Farmer’s Market. The neighborhood also plays host to one of the city’s most attended summer festivals, Ribfest Chicago. The CTA Brown line has several stops throughout the community, and several bus routes are also available.
Old Town is a historic neighborhood nestled between Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast. This charming neighborhood is bursting with Chicago history, including the landmark St. Michael’s Church, one of the city’s few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire.
Much of Old Town’s architecture dates back to the Victorian era, and residents here take pride in renovating and restoring their homes to honor their original structures. The majority of the residential offerings are single-family homes and town homes, with a slew of studio spaces mixed in to accommodate students from the nearby Art Institute.
Streets here are lined with authentic eateries, cozy coffee houses, boutique shops, inviting pubs, and of course, the world-famous Second City Theatre. Transportation is everywhere, and includes several major bus routes, and the Brown and Purple lines at the nearby Sedgwick stop.
Pilsen is a diverse neighborhood, currently seeing an influx of artists attracted to the area’s cheaper rents and budding artist community. The center of this neighborhood lies in its established business community, which consists of a healthy mix of vintage shops, cozy coffee houses, art galleries and cantinas, taquerias, tiendas with some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine in Chicago.
Two of Pilsen’s biggest festivals include Fiesta del Sol, which draws about one million people annually to help raise money for scholarships, and the Day of the Dead celebrations, which wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the acclaimed National Museum of Mexican Art.
Public transportation is abundant in Pilsen, with the Pink and Blue lines running through the middle of the community, and numerous bus routes crisscrossing the area. The Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways are also easily accessible.
Portage Park is one of the largest Polish communities in Chicago. It comes as no surprise that this thriving community is home to the Polish American Association, the Polish Jesuit Millennium Center, and Chopin Park, named after one of Poland’s most famous composers and pianists.
Residents of this primarily residential neighborhood consider themselves lucky to get to enjoy their community’s namesake, the 36-acre Portage Park. The largest public park on Chicago’s Northwest Side, it boasts many recreational facilities including tennis courts, playgrounds, bike paths, athletic fields and an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The area is also notable for the Portage Theater, as well as the bustling Six Corners shopping district. Portage Park is serviced by the CTA Blue line, the Milwaukee District North Metra line, several bus routes, and the Kennedy expressway.
Ravenswood is a small, close-knit community located within Lincoln Square. Wide, tree-lined streets house a combination of single-family homes, courtyard residential buildings and gorgeous vintage mansions that could grace the cover of Architectural Digest.
Each fall, artists and artisans flock to this affluent neighborhood for the annual Ravenswood Art Walk. This popular event displays the works of talented artists in Ravenswood’s many galleries, studios, industrial buildings and streets.
An ever-growing commercial district and beautiful residential areas have helped propel this community to one of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods for families and young professionals. Transportation options include the Brown line, and several CTA bus routes.
River North is the go-to neighborhood for those who appreciate fine art and design. Its humble beginning as an industrial district left it with many abandoned warehouses, which eventually transformed into the neighborhood’s fantastic art galleries, restaurants, antique stores and lofts.
One of River North’s most recognizable claims to fame is the massive Merchandise Mart. Architecture buffs will love the Mies van der Rohe on Wabash, and no one can visit the area without noticing Marina City, the famed “corn cob” buildings.
River North also boasts a dynamic dining scene, with an array of award-winning restaurants and small local eateries. Those looking for nightlife need look no further. Posh wine bars, craft cocktail lounges and gastropubs can all be found here. This area is very walkable, but also benefits from many bus routes, and the Brown line “L.”
Roscoe Village is a laid-back neighborhood tucked on Chicago’s North Side. With its close proximity to larger communities like Lakeview and Lincoln Park, residents of Roscoe Village have easy access to these neighborhoods’ restaurants, shopping and entertainment. That is not to say that Roscoe Village is lacking in these categories.
There is a fantastic cluster of cozy cafes, diverse restaurant offerings and relaxed bars, many with pretty sidewalk patios and great beer gardens that are bustling with people in the warmer months. The neighborhood also boasts Antique Row, five full blocks of antique shops, which holds the title of the largest concentration of antique stores in the Midwest.
Every summer, Roscoe Village plays host to Retro on Roscoe, one of Chicago’s largest street festivals, complete with cover bands, cold beverages and classic cars. Public transportation is via the Brown line “L,” and several bus routes.
The Loop is the central business district of Chicago, playing host to a number of significant businesses, including the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
But business isn’t all that the Loop is about! There is an incredible array of cultural institutions, Michelin-rated restaurants and beloved green spaces concentrated in the relatively small downtown area. The Loop’s skyline is one of its major claims to fame, with soaring skyscrapers and dynamic architecture.
Residents of the Loop enjoy the buzzing atmosphere – there is always something going on downtown! Transportation is abundant, with every El line making a stop somewhere in the Loop, and major bus routes crisscross the area.
The South Loop is not only one of Chicago’s biggest tourist destinations, but also the fastest growing residential neighborhood. Residents here are privy to a side of the South Loop that many tourists overlook. A hopping bar and restaurant scene, and a fantastic selection of shopping make this a great place for city-dwellers to call home.
The South Loop’s biggest claims to fame are the Museum Campus, which houses the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum, Soldier Field-home of the beloved Chicago Bears, and the expansive Grant Park, which offers sweeping views of the lakefront and the magnificent Chicago skyline. Every year, Grant Park plays host to the famous Taste of Chicago, as well as the wildly popular Lollapalooza music festival.
Northerly Island, a fantastic outdoor space and music venue, is also part of this busy community. The South Loop continues to gain momentum as a hot spot of Chicago. Transportation abounds here, with several “L” lines and bus routes, but the area is very walkable for those who like to take in the sights on foot.
With so many historic sites, galleries and famous shopping centers, Steeterville is by far one of Chicago’s busiest neighborhoods. With sweeping lakefront and skyline views, Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s biggest tourist attractions, and a family destination year round, thanks to the Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Beyond Navy Pier and its iconic ferris wheel, Streeterville still has so much more to offer. This thriving neighborhood is full of prestigious hotels, fine-dining restaurants and bustling bars and pubs. Shopping is a huge draw to this community, as the Magnificent Mile and Watertower Place offer more stores and boutiques than anyone could ever ask for.
Other notable attractions include the John Hancock building, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tribune Tower and the Ohio Street Beach. With so many things to do, and such a fantastic location, Streeterville real estate comes at a premium. Residents here love the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood and are willing to pay for its conveniences. This area is extremely walkable, but also benefits from several major bus routes.
Ukrainian Village is a unique village located within the larger West Town community. This neighborhood’s European roots are evident in the many ornate, orthodox churches and cathedrals, and beautiful Victorian homes found here.
The predominant architecture is a nice mix of small, well-kept bungalows, and two- and three-flats side by side on tree-lined streets. Ukrainian Village has a blend of unique indie shops, cozy cafes, upscale retail chains and popular nightlife spots that draw a diverse mix of people to the area.
Residents enjoy close proximity to downtown Chicago and O’Hare via the Blue line, numerous bus routes and the Kennedy expressway.
University Village is a quick jaunt from the Loop, with its heart lying at Halsted and Maxwell Streets. This community is often grouped together with nearby Little Italy, and over the past ten years, a slew of new housing opportunities have popped up, including single-family residences, town homes, condo buildings and student housing.
Residents here enjoy all that nearby UIC has to offer, including its many recreational fields bordering the Village. The blocks of Little Italy add a quaint touch to the community, with street festivals, holiday parades, and block parties.
Maxwell Street offers up cozy sidewalk cafes and coffee shops, boutique retailers and life-style statues of blues performers of the past. Transportation is abundant, and a quick ride on the Blue line or the Eisenhower will get you downtown in a matter of minutes.
Uptown is a vibrant neighborhood with a rich Chicago history steeped in entertainment. A renaissance has been underway in this diverse community, and it is once again becoming a destination for live music and eclectic night life spots. There is no shortage of fantastic music venues in this area, with The Aragon Ballroom, The Riviera, the Uptown Theater and the Green Mill all calling Uptown home. This influx of entertainment has led to many great restaurants, bars and shops opening every year.
Argyle Street is also an Uptown destination, with a huge variety of Asian restaurants, markets and shops. The eastern border of Uptown caters to those that love the outdoors. Montrose Harbor and Montrose Beach are both surrounded by expansive parklands, and are hugely popular with locals.
The north end of Montrose Beach is a haven for dog-owners, where they can let their pooches off their leashes to splash in the beach and play in the sand with other city pups. Transportation options are abundant, and include the Red line, and many major CTA bus routes.
The West Loop has been completely transformed from a former industrial area full of abandoned factories and warehouses, to one of the hottest and fastest growing neighborhoods in Chicago. These once neglected spaces have now been converted in to thriving restaurants, renowned art galleries, sleek retail and office spaces and spacious residential lofts. Randolph and Fulton Market streets are home to some of the world’s most innovative chefs and internationally acclaimed restauranteurs. Greektown is also located within the West Loop’s borders, and is home to some of the best Greek restaurants in Chicago.
Residents of the West Loop flock to Union Park to enjoy the swimming facilities and athletic fields, as well as the ample green space. The park also hosts the annual Pitchfork Music Festival, which draws in thousands of fans for three days of music and celebration. Traveling about the neighborhood is quite easy. Several popular bus routes crisscross the area, and the Green, Pink and Blue line “L” trains all have stops here. Two expressways, the Eisenhower and the Kennedy, both run through the neighborhood, and for those looking to head out of town on public transportation, Union Station and the Greyhound bus terminal provide plenty of options.
One of Chicago’s creative epicenters, Wicker Park is home to a large array of array of art galleries, boutique shops, trendy restaurants and posh bars and clubs. It’s no surprise that in 2012, Forbes named Wicker Park the #4 hippest hipster neighborhood in the country.
Its close proximity to downtown Chicago and access to some of the city’s best amenities makes it a popular place for young professionals. Restoration of historic homes, and a flurry of new construction has caused this neighborhood to grow substantially in the last ten years.
Wicker Park also has a huge music scene, hosting the wildly popular Wicker Park Fest, and the new Chill Fest, both music festivals that showcase 100s of local bands. Transportation is easy in this neighborhood, with the Blue Line “L,” CTA bus lines, and easy access to the Kennedy expressway.