Wondering where to live right now in Chicago? Let’s explore what the city’s most popular neighborhoods have to offer.
Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois and as of 2019, the city’s population included 2,693,976 residences. It is also the third largest city in the United States and is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, transportation, and telecommunications.
The city is located in the northeastern portion of Illinois, on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago also has two rivers, Chicago River and Calumet River, running through the city. In fact, the City of Chicago was founded in 1837 and many of the early structures were built around the mouth of the Chicago River.
Currently, the city is divided into 77 community areas with more than 200 neighborhoods. The major sections of the city include The Loop, North Side, South Side, and West Side.
The Loop is the central business district. The North Side is a densely populated residential section with many high rises along the lakefront. The South Side is the largest section, with about 60% of the city’s land area, and is the location for most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago.
Best neighborhoods in Chicago to live in right now
Chicago is a city with a lot to offer and it can be difficult to decide where to settle down. If you are wondering “where should I move to in Chicago?” this guide might help.
1. Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is a community area on the North Side of Chicago. It is located next to Lincoln Park, the largest park in Chicago. It’s an affluent, family-friendly neighborhood and acclaimed public and private schools along with DePaul University are located there.
Due to this, it is one of the wealthiest and most expensive communities to live in. Living spaces in the community are made up of brownstones, modern condos, single-family homes, high-rises, and loft condos.
There is plenty of entertainment for everyone who lives in Lincoln Park, Chicago. This includes upscale national retailers, boutiques, bookstores, restaurants, and coffee shops to enjoy. There are also plenty of large green spaces such as Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, a 15-acre pond, five playgrounds, and plenty of lakefront recreation for those who enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
Even better, there are plenty performing arts spaces, such as theaters and live music venues that enhance the nightlife scene. Lincoln Park is a neighborhood with plenty to offer for college students, young professionals, and families alike.
2. River North
River North is a neighborhood located in the Near North Side community of Chicago. It’s a vibrant urban neighborhood filled with fine dining, art galleries, office spaces, riverwalk amenities, and has one of the city’s most vibrant nightlife scenes, with rooftop bars, dance clubs, and entertainment venues.
The River North Gallery District has the largest concentration of art galleries in the U.S. outside of Manhattan and features hundreds of art gallery spaces. The neighborhood is also home to The Wrigley Building, Marina City towers, House of Blues, and Trump International Hotel & Tower. In fact, some of Chicago’s oldest buildings are still standing in this community.
The neighborhood, with its downtown location, is a great place for young professionals to live and work as well as art lovers and designers. River North is made up of luxury high-rises, Victorian-era homes, turn-of-the-century lofts, and condos. It is also divided up into five different districts: the gallery district, a theme-restaurant area, the cathedral district, the design district, and Kingsbury park.
3. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a community area located in the South Side of Chicago. The community is bound by Lake Michigan to one side and is home to two of Chicago’s four historic sites: the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a culturally rich neighborhood that was the site of Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and home to former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Hyde Park is one of Chicago’s most racially diverse neighborhoods with a population 47.6% White, 8.5% Hispanic or Latino, 26.8% Black, 12.1% Asian, and 5% other races. The neighborhood features unique architecture, such as Victorian homes, and plenty of museums such as the Smart Museum of Art, Art Institute, and Museum of Contemporary Art. There are also many ethnic places, local shops, bookstores, cafe & coffee shops, and dining.
Lakeview is a community area located on Chicago’s North Side and is bordered by Lake Michigan on the east. It’s a dense urban neighborhood and is Chicago’s largest community area by population with 100,547 residents. Residents include a mix of young professionals and families. It can be divided up into smaller distinct areas: East Lakeview, Boystown, and Wrigleyville.
Wrigleyville features low-rise brick buildings and houses. It was named after Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Boystown is the cultural center of one of the largest LGBT communities in the U.S. and was the first officially recognized gay village in the U.S. this area features greystone and brownstone walk-up buildings, fashion outlets, chain stores, and a vibrant nightlife.
Lakeview is full of local boutiques, record shops, restaurants, bars and pubs, coffee shops, and parks.The community has a laid back atmosphere, but is also known as an entertainment hub with arts and culture. It’s home to Belmont Theater District where over 30 theaters and live performance venues are located. The neighborhood has plenty of music venues, summer street festivals, and a theatre, dance, and comedy scene.
5. Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile is an upscale neighborhood and street that runs from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side of Chicago. The neighborhood, or district, is located near downtown that attracts tourists and Chicagoans alike.
The Mag Mile is a mixed-use district that features commercial, residential, cultural, and tourist destinations. It contains a mixture of upscale department stores, restaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, world-class hotels, attractions, museums, and landmark architecture.
Some of the tallest buildings in the world are actually located right in this district, such as 875 North Michigan Avenue and 900 North Michigan. Some Chicago landmarks found in this district are Chicago Water Tower, Tribune Tower, and Palmolive Building.
Pilsen is a neighborhood located on the Lower West Side of Chicago. It’s a historically working class and residential neighborhood where the Czech immigrants first settled. Pilsen has served as a port of entry for immigrants, including Latinos, Mexicans, Italians, Irish, Germans, and Slavs. As of 2010, there are about 47,352 people living in Pilsen where 78% are Latino, 14% White, and 3% Africal American.
The large latino population is reflected through the culture of the neighborhood including music, art, culinary tradition, and nightlife. Pilsen has a large and thriving arts community that can be seen through their colorful street art and murals as well as their art galleries and artist studios.
There is also the National Museum of Mexican Art located in the area. The neighborhood features boutiques, eateries, family-owned restaurants that serve authentic Mexican cuisine, bars such as Punch House and Dusek’s Board & Beer, and music venues such as Thalia Hall and Tack Room.
7. West Loop
The West Loop neighborhood is located on the Near West Side of Chicago, along the western bank of the Chicago River. It was once a manufacturing and warehousing area, but many of these warehouse buildings have been converted to loft condos, eateries, bars, art galleries, and designer spaces.
Currently, it is a dense urban neighborhood attracting young professionals, families, restaurateurs, and tech industry players. West Loop is known for “Restaurant Row” on Randolph Street and Fulton Market where endless dining and bar options are available and one can enjoy some of Chicago’s best eateries. It is also a family-friendly neighborhood that features great public and private education and outdoor spaces to enjoy.
West Loop features the Fulton River District and Greektown. Fulton River District is made up of mixed-use commercial and residential buildings where new high rise condos, mid rise business offices, retail, and restaurants are located. It is also the home of Boeing and the Ogilvie Transportation Center.
Greektown is a social and dining area that features plenty of restaurants and nightlife options. It also includes many culture influenced spaces such as Greek restaurants and cultural sites like the National Hellenic Museum.
8. Rogers Park
Rogers Park is Chicago’s first community area located on the far north side on the coast of Lake Michigan. The neighborhood is known for its cultural diversity, early 20th century architecture, beaches, beautiful green public spaces, live theatre scene, and unique eateries & bars.
The diverse culture is reflected through the various ethnic cuisines you can find such as Mexican, Korean, Peruvian, Ethiopian, and Jamaican. Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Rogers Park is a stretch of cobblestone streets that features large murals, live music venues, art galleries, art studios, and award-winning theaters, such as The New 400 Theaters.
In fact, the Chicago Comedy Film Festival is held here annually and this international festival brings filmmakers and actors from all around the world. A highlight of this community is its beaches and waterfront views that can be found through most of the neighborhood.
If you’re looking to move to Chicago or even just want to experience a new neighborhood, Chicago has many unique communities that have much to offer its residents. Of these eight, which one has caught your attention?