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The 11 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Chicago

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No wonder this city has been a favorite for so many people, from the early Dutch settlers who called it “Chicago de Pette” to today’s multigenerational visitors who come here to experience something new every day.

Chicago city
Chicago city downtown urban skyline with skyscrapers over Lake Michigan with cloudy blue sky.

From downtown skyscrapers to suburban bungalows, Chicago offers an unmatched variety of places to call home. And with such a wide range of housing options comes a diverse population whose contributions have helped shape Chicago into the thriving metropolis it is today. A multicultural mosaic, Chicago welcomes people from all walks of life with open hearts and eager hands.

From its early days as a small port town to today’s global city, Chicago has always been a place for people seeking new opportunities. From the Dutch traders who came here in the 17th century to the waves of immigrants that followed over the next two centuries, Chicago has always been a welcoming harbor-and still is today.

Chicago Roadway moving truck
Beautiful sunny day and a Roadway truck on the street in Chicago

Here are some of the best neighborhoods you can choose from to find a place you’ll call your new home :

1. Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s most beloved neighborhoods, and for a good reason. With its tree-lined streets and beautiful homes, it offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Moreover, it’s close to several public transportation options, shops, and restaurants in neighboring areas like North Center and Lakeview. If you’re looking for a community with great schools and lots of green space, Lincoln Park is the place for you. The neighborhood is popular with students because it is conveniently located near DePaul University. The area offers visitors and residents a taste of the best Chicago has in terms of lifestyle. Picture small businesses and eateries, plenty of parks, and proximity to well-known tourist destinations like the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, etc.

Chicago Lincoln Park
Lincoln park , One of the biggest and most beautiful park in Chicago before sunset

2. Old Town

Old Town is one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods, dating back to 1835 when William Beaubien Jr. established a settlement with his family. The neighborhood of Old Town is situated between Lincoln Park and River North. It is a historic district with many old buildings and narrow streets. The world-famous comedy club The Second City, which has helped propel the careers of many now successful comedians, is located in Old Town. This club has set the standard, too, by creating a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere while still being fun and exciting. Old Town is an excellent place for people of all ages, but it’s especially popular with young adults. You’ll find various apartments, condos, and brownstones in this neighborhood.

Chicago Old Town
Chicago cityscape, one of the rear old parts of the Chicago city

3. Lakeview

Lakeview is a family-friendly neighborhood with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike. There are numerous parks in the area, including Belmont Harbor Park, which has excellent views of downtown Chicago and the lakefront. It’s close to many popular attractions, such as Navy Pier, The Magnificent Mile, and Wrigley Field. This neighborhood offers a variety of housing options at various price points – not just rentals but also single-family houses and townhomes. Because it’s close to several public transportation options and attractions like Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park Zoo, it’s an easy place for commuters to live. Moreover, if you’re looking for a diverse and lively neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and shops, this is one of the best choices in Chicago.

4. River North (RiNo)

If you’re looking for a neighborhood that’s always buzzing with activity, River North is the perfect place for you. It’s a popular spot for young professionals and students, and there’s always something going on. Whether grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or bars, checking out a new art gallery, or simply people-watching, River North’ll always energize you. Because this neighborhood is situated near the Loop and conveniently located, it has become a popular choice among residents. The city’s lively atmosphere provides residents and tourists access to art galleries, Chicago museums, and popular tourist attractions like the MART. It’s also great for fine dining, with plenty of options for nightlife entertainment.

Chicago River North
Early morning view of the City of Chicago and the Chicago River, with the Trump Tower prominent

5. Wicker Park

Wicker Park is an up-and-coming neighborhood with a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. It’s known for its eclectic mix of businesses, from vintage clothing shops to modern art galleries. This is another excellent neighborhood choice if you’re looking for an urban environment with plenty of character. It has experienced significant gentrification over recent years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still affordable. You’ll find a variety of apartment options in this area. If you’re willing to put in the work on your home, plenty of beautiful single-family homes are also available.

Best neighborhood in Chicago for families

1. Lincoln Square

Lincoln Square is one of the most diverse areas in Chicago, with residents hailing from over 50 different countries. Known as “Little Mexico,” this area offers a wide variety of authentic Mexican restaurants and shops selling everything from traditional handicrafts to souvenirs. This is the place for you if you’re looking for a neighborhood with lots of green space and excellent schools. It’s close to several public transportation options and restaurants and shops in neighboring areas like Lakeview and Wrigleyville. Here as well, single-family homes are available at reasonable prices.

Chicago Lakeview
Chicago city aerial view with Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Boystown

2. Andersonville

Andersonville is an excellent choice if you like small-scale living and being close to shops, restaurants, and entertainment. This neighborhood has a warm, friendly atmosphere and is filled with lots of young families and retired couples. The residents here are amiable and welcoming toward newcomers. Andersonville has many independent businesses lining its main street and is nicknamed the “shop local capital of Chicago.”Suppose you’re looking for an eclectic, local vibe and are okay living a bit further from downtown. In that case, Andersonville may be the place for you. The locality is acknowledged for its heterogeneous populace and vibrant nightlife, with many independent stores and eateries to explore.

3. West Town

West Town is a neighborhood with historic buildings, brownstones, and apartment buildings. It’s an area with shops, restaurants, bars, and live music venues. There’s always something going on down Chicago Avenue, but if you’re looking for a change of pace check out Ukrainian Village or East Village. Ukrainian Village is home to a variety of businesses and restaurants, while East Village is known for its nightlife and bars. To get a feel for the residential side of this area, take the 50 bus on N Damen Ave between West Town and Wicker Park. The 50 bus will take you through some of the most residential areas in these neighborhoods, so you can get a feel for what it would be like to live here.

Best neighborhoods in Chicago for young professionals

1. Bucktown

Bucktown is another excellent choice if you’re looking for an urban environment with lots of character. Bucktown is a neighborhood located near downtown Chicago. It is best known for its artistic vibes, inclusivity, and murals everywhere. The area is also home to many independent businesses, which gives it a unique character. Bucktown is a top-tier neighborhood in Cook County, IL, known for its vibrant nightlife, eclectic shops, and diverse population. The neighborhood is home to many young professionals and families and is a popular destination for visitors to the city.

Chicago Neighborhood
View of Bucktown neighborhood with downtown Chicago in the background

2. The Loop

The Loop is perfect for those who desire a modern, high-rise lifestyle and are amid the hustle and bustle. The Loop offers a variety of high-rise apartments and condominiums, as well as several restaurants, bars, and clubs. Additionally, since it’s centrally located, the Loop provides residents easy access to other Chicago neighborhoods and Lake Michigan. The Loop gets its name from the fact that all the train lines come together here (they form a loop, hence the name), so transportation is easy. If you’re looking for easy access to some of the city’s most significant tourist spots, this is the place for you – even though it may be a bit more crowded. Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, the Art Institute, and more can all be found in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood.

Chicago Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate, also known as the The Bean, a sculpture in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago as seen during the sunset hours of an autumn day

3. West Loop

West Loop is another great neighborhood choice if you want something more suburban-like but still close enough to downtown Chicago that it’s easy to get around on public transportation during rush hour. With its extensive transit lines and several nearby highways, this is one of the best neighborhoods in the city for commuters. There are also plenty of apartment options here, including some with great views of the city skyline.

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