The 6 Best Neighborhoods for Young Professionals in Chicago
Last Updated on
Chicago has almost 200 neighborhoods according to some sources, and even for a major metropolis, that’s a variety of locations—each with their own distinctive feel. While rent prices in Chicago can vary from place to place, it’s a fairly priced city when compared to the massive prices in New York City or San Francisco.
Let’s look at what we consider to be the six best and most exciting neighborhoods in Chicago:
If you’re looking for an artsy feel, Pilsen is the place to be. There are murals everywhere, and you can go visit the Natural Museum of Mexican Art. Chicago is full of trains—the elevated system or the “L” is an above-ground subway-type mass transit system—and the numerous railroad bridges of Pilsen boast many colorful folk-art frescos.
Of course, any artsy city area boasts a lot of art studios and galleries, and Pilsen is no different. While Pilsen used to be inhabited by mostly Europeans, it is now quite Mexican-American and along with that, you’ll naturally find numerous restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food. And of course, there’s great coffee available everywhere!
Lakeview is a larger area that encompasses Central Lakeview, East Lakeview, Boystown, and Wrigleyville. The L intersects here, and the shoreline of Lake Michigan is viewable. Halstead Street was home to many important Chicago blues bars, and the famous Kingston Mines is still located there.
Bars, pubs and clubs are everywhere, and a piece of Lincoln Park travels through Lakeview. In the summer you can enjoy numerous street festivals, and in the winter, you can absorb the great holiday décor as you move from one entertainment venue to another.
Lincoln Park looks like old Chicago rejuvenated as streets like Armitage Avenue are lined with fancy retail outlets. Beware, however, that parking is always an issue and towing/booting of illegally parked cars does happen.
There are many museums, theatres, blues and other types of music clubs to visit. The park itself consists of over 1200 acres that remind people of New York’s Central Park.
DePaul University is nearby, and that brings a young campus-type feel to the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This is the north side, and the lake access and views are great. If you’re interested in luxury, you can tour some amazing brownstones and expensive homes in the area with amazing tree-lined streets.
As much of Chicago has ethnic origins, Old Town was the original home of many immigrant families. It then became artsy, home to hippies and then to yuppies. So close to Lake Michigan and downtown means things are happening constantly. And development is in full force.
Classic street names like Wells and Division run through Old Town, and the Saturday Night Live Predecessor, Second City, has a home in Old Town. For eats, you’ll find plenty of pizza, wines, tobacco products and Italian specialties served in corner bars and restaurants. Check out a classic Chicago tavern for that genuine big city feel.
Just as its name suggests, the Gold Coast neighborhood hugs Lake Michigan, and the streets contain boutiques and giant mansions. The area is a little north of downtown, and you can see what was formerly named the Sears Tower — now the Willis Tower — easily from many vantage points.
You’ve heard of the Magnificent Mile, and you’ll find it here. Retail may be suffering, but you wouldn’t know it by visiting the Gold Coast. Also, check out the many high-rise condo buildings even reminiscent of Miami. At night, take a trek to Rush Street and take in the nightclub scene.
The near west side is the home of Ukrainian Village. Unlike what’s known as the West Side, home of blues giants Magic Sam and Otis Rush, Ukrainian Village still maintains its European identity.
As early as the late 1920s, there were already numerous Ukrainian churches in the area and St. Nicholas is the big one having been built in two years from 1913 to 1915. The Loop is well-known in Chicago as a connecting automobile artery, and Ukrainian Village is northwest of it. Wicker Park and Chicago Avenue are two famous neighborhood thoroughfares.
We’ve described just six of Chicago’s nearly 200 vibrant neighborhoods. We haven’t even mentioned the vibrant south side where Muddy Waters lived and brought electric blues to the world, or Cicero, the proud suburb next to Midway Airport. We suggest that you spend a decent amount of time in Chicago and you’ll discover a great world of neighborhood diversity.