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, living in Chicago is fairly priced when compared to massive rents in New York City or San Francisco. Let’s look at what we consider to be the six most exciting and best Chicago neighborhoods for young professionals:
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.
Illinois Medical District
For those working in the Medical field, whether you’re employed at a hospital or training to work in one, The Illinois Medical District is the ideal neighborhood for you in Chicago. Home to several major hospitals and universities, the IMD as its called makes getting to work or school convenient, while also being in close proximity to Chicago’s cultural scene — the IMD borders both Pilsen and Little Italy!
Just west of Wicker Park, you’ll find West Bucktown, home to some of Chicago’s best restaurants and plenty of greenspace. It’s the perfect place to live if you’re looking to experience the best of city living while avoiding the tourists and crowds that you’ll find further south in the Loop. We love local favorites like Myopic Books, record store The Exchange, and Blue Line Pizza. It’s also a great spot to hop on the 606, a converted-railway-turned-elevated-park with gorgeous views.
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.
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.