Image via Flickr by David Hilowitz
The Windy City is an amazing place for tourists and residents alike. And while our beloved city may be famous for our one-of-a-kind deep dish pizzas, locals know that the distinct neighborhoods are what really set us apart. So, whether you’re here for a visit or you’re a true Chicagoan, here is our list of the 10 most awesome neighborhoods in Chicago and the things to do and see in each one.
Andersonville is a community with a strong sense of unity that is home to residents who passionately stand up for the things they believe in. The neighborhood has deep Swedish roots, though its residents and businesses reflect an array of cultures.
While in Andersonville, you can spend the day browsing its unique local shops or visiting the Swedish American Museum and the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. During the summer, you can join Andersonville’s Midsommarfest, one of Chicago’s largest and most popular street festivals thrown to celebrate the summer solstice.
From the moment you set foot in Chinatown, the neighborhood transports you straight to Eastern Asia. Locals love this neighborhood for its unique souvenir shops, local boutiques, and family-owned restaurants. Ornate archways, pagodas, statues, and storefronts adorn the streets of this market neighborhood.
While in Chinatown, visit Ping Tom Memorial Park and take a ride along the river on a kayak for unique views of the city’s skyline. Every February, the neighborhood hosts the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Home to the University of Chicago, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the former residence of President Barack Obama, the neighborhood of Hyde Park is bursting with history and culture for you to explore. While in the neighborhood, visit the Museum of Science and Industry, where you can see one of the last remaining buildings from the Chicago World’s Fair, or the DuSable Museum, the country’s first museum dedicated to African American culture and history.
If you’re a nature lover, Lincoln Park is the place to be. This neighborhood’s namesake park, Lincoln Park, is home to beautiful gardens, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago Lakefront Trail, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Nature Boardwalk, the Chicago History Museum, Theater on the Lake, and so much more.
When you’re done exploring all the park has to offer, take a break and visit us to try Chicago’s most awarded and recognized pizza with our famous caramelized crust. No need to worry about long wait times when you can enjoy beer and appetizers while you wait at the tale!
Home to a community of artists and musicians, Logan Square is an urban neighborhood with a lot of creative energy. While you’re here, take time to visit the Illinois Centennial Monument, catch a movie at the historic Logan Theatre, and enjoy the bustling nightlife of the neighborhood’s trendsetting cocktail bars, craft beer taverns, breweries, and distilleries.
The Logan Theatre is also home to the longest-running annual underground film festival in the world, the Chicago Underground Film Festival. If you love to shop, stop by the Logan Square Farmers Market where you can find fresh produce, handmade soaps, and more.
Old Town is the home of one of the world’s most famous comedy clubs, the Second City, which has helped launch the careers of comedians such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Tina Fey, and Steve Carell. This star-making venue hots live comedy shows every night of the week and features the city’s best up-and-coming talent. However, Old Town is also a historic neighborhood where you can find trendy boutiques and one of Chicago’s most luxurious residential districts.
Art and music enthusiasts will love the creative community of Pilsen. Take a walk through the neighborhood and you’ll see colorful murals made by famous street artists all over the buildings. Stop by the National Museum of Mexican Art where you can see more than 10,000 pieces that celebrate Mexican art and culture for free. You can also find indie rockers, famous comedians, and live DJs in the beloved Thalia Hall, a music venue modeled after the Prague Opera House.
The neighborhood of Uptown is where Old and New Chicago intersect. Locals love this neighborhood for its beautiful vintage architecture, global cuisine, and lively music scene. While here, you can visit the 100-year-old Green Mill jazz club. During the Prohibition era, you could find the famous gangster Al Capone in the booth at the end of the bar. You can also spend time at wrestling events and salsa or indie rock concerts at the Riviera Theatre or the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom.
Wicker Park and Bucktown
The artistic neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown are local favorites. You can always find something cool going on while in this area. From shopping in vintage stores and record shops during the day to the neighborhoods’ bar-hopping night-life scene, there is something here for everyone. Artists and creatives will love visiting Quimby’s Bookstore, the Flatiron Arts Building, and the Subterranean music venue.
When you’re done exploring Wicker Park and Bucktown, take the elevated Bloomingdale Trail that runs along unused train tracks, known to locals as the 606, over to Logan Square.
Sports enthusiasts are sure to love Wrigleyville, home to the country’s second-oldest ballpark, Wrigley Field. When you’re not watching the Chicago Cubs play at the stadium, you can visit the neighborhood’s many sports bars and souvenir shops. Even after baseball season ends, Wrigleyville continues to entertain visitors with film screenings, outdoor concerts, farmers markets, and a holiday winter wonderland.
So, that’s our list of the most awesome neighborhoods in Chicago. Did you find our list satisfactory? Did we miss a favorite neighborhood of yours—one that Windy City locals love? Let us know why you think Chicago is so special! With so much culture, diversity, and history to explore, one thing is for sure—you will have a great time no matter where you end up in Chicago!