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16 Best Neighborhoods to Visit in Chicago

visit chicago neighborhoods

Chicago is a city defined by its distinct neighborhoods, each of which maintains its own personality and culture. These neighborhoods are filled with history, art, music, museums, festivals and so much more. Chicagoans have a lot of pride in the neighborhoods they hail from. Many are worth seeing, but here are 15 of the coolest.

1. hyde park.

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

University of Chicago in Hyde Park

This South Side neighborhood holds so much Chicago history. It’s the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, otherwise known as the Chicago World’s Fair. It has a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it is also the former residence of President Barack Obama. There is even a plaque on the corner of 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue commemorating where Barack and Michelle Obama shared their first kiss.

Both the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry lie within Hyde Park’s borders, as does a portion of the beautiful Jackson Park. Hyde Park is also on the shores of Lake Michigan, giving residents and visitors beautiful views and easy access to the 18-mile lakefront running and biking path.

Located on the city’s Lower West Side, Pilsen is a predominantly Mexican-American community with incredible food and art scenes. Visitors to Pilsen will find street vendors selling delicious tacos and elotes, restaurants with live music and cozy local coffee shops. On the art side, gorgeous murals by famous street artists adorn buildings all over the neighborhood. Pilsen is also home to the National Museum of Mexican Art, which offers free admission and whose 10,000-piece collection celebrates Mexican art and culture.

3. West Loop

The West Loop is an industrial zone turned chic foodie paradise near Chicago’s business district. It has become a hotspot only over the past decade or so, but Chicagoans flock to this neighborhood for its bevy of modern, upscale bars and restaurants. It is home to the famous Girl and the Goat, where those vying for a table must make reservations months in advance, as well as to the French Market, an indoor food market featuring an eclectic (and delicious) mix of vendors. Other great spots to check out are The Publican, Bar Siena, Duck Duck Goat and Parlor Pizza.

4. Wrigleyville

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark, Stadium, Sports Center

Wrigley Field, West Addison Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA

The home of the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville is a baseball heaven on the North Side of the city. The area surrounding the stadium is lined with souvenir shops and sports bars where fans can enjoy the game. Since the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, the neighborhood has been completely revamped. New hotels, restaurants, bars and shops seem to sprout up every day.

5. Wicker Park

Wicker Park, Aerial view at night, Chicago, USA

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6. Ukrainian Village

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Located south of Wicker Park, this neighbourhood has kept much of the heritage brought over by immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although the area was home to German and Polish immigrants, the area was predominantly Ukrainian although today many residents are no longer of Ukrainian descent. However the Ukrainian cuisine is still very much in evidence – and very tasty _ and you’ll here Ukrainian spoken along the street. Along with amazingly decorated churches and buildings this is one of Chicago’s most fascinating neighbourhoods with a variety of shops, restaurants and some wonderful Victorian houses. Recommended by Orfhlaith Kearney

7. River North

Wrigley Building, Chicago

The swanky neighborhood of River North is near Chicago’s central business district and a popular location for after-work dinner and drinks. It is bursting with bars, restaurants and nightlife and is also home to a number of upscale art galleries. It also lays claim to the famous Wrigley Building , an architectural marvel on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. You may know it by its beautiful clock tower reaching into the sky from the building’s center.


Located on Chicago’s North Side, Andersonville feels more like an adorable small town than a subset of the city. The streets are lined with beautiful homes and unique local businesses, such as Women and Children First Bookstore, one of the last remaining feminist bookstores in the country; the Andersonville Galleria, which showcases and sells the work of local designers and artists; and AlleyCat Comics, whose entrance is literally in an alley.

Residents of this neighborhood are considered to have pioneered Chicago’s “shop local” movement. It is also one of the most queer-friendly areas of the city. Andersonville is filled with passionate people who stand up for what they believe in and is definitely worth a visit.

Logan Square

Logan Square is a quiet West Side neighborhood filled with beautiful architecture, lovely parks and a great mix of bars and restaurants. It is also known for its charming Sunday farmer’s market that runs from May through October. While you’re there, be sure to check out Best Intentions, a dive bar owned by two bartending brothers with decades of experience who make unbelievable craft cocktails. Distiller Magazine rated Best Intentions one of the top 22 bars in the world. (Full disclosure: the brothers are the author’s cousins.)


Bronzeville is considered the center of Chicago’s own 20th-century Harlem Renaissance and is the former South Side home of such greats as Louis Armstrong, Richard Wright, Bessie Coleman and Ida B Wells. It is also the site of Chicago’s Bud Billiken Parade, the largest African American parade in the country, held every August since 1929.

While the neighborhood has experienced significant economic hardship since the Great Depression, it is currently undergoing a revitalization. Not only are new shops and restaurants opening, but the neighborhood is also re-establishing itself as an arts center, with beautiful public art displays as well as the Bronzeville Art District, a group of six visual-arts spaces in the neighborhood. Visitors can even take a free Trolley Tour hosted by the Bronzeville Art District to learn about the neighborhood’s art.

Southport Corridor

The Southport Corridor is a shopping hotspot on the Northeast side of the city, lined with restaurants and clothing stores and also containing the city’s first Amazon bookstore. The Southport Corridor is a fantastic neighborhood in which to spend a Sunday trying on clothes and enjoying a delicious brunch.

This enclave of Lakeview was the first gay neighborhood in the country to gain official recognition by a city government. The neighborhood is marked by a series of rainbow pylons lining its streets, installed in 1998 by Chicago’s then mayor, Richard M Daley, in a historic move to legitimize the neighborhood. Boystown’s main street is filled with queer-focused bars and businesses and is the site of Chicago’s annual June Pride Parade. It is also the location of the Center on Halsted, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Midwest.

Old Town is a historic district on Chicago’s North Side, home to beautiful buildings as well as the world-famous comedy club The Second City. If you’re looking for a fancier night out, Old Town offers some great locales. This neighborhood also holds St Michael’s Church, one of only seven buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Bridgeport is the location of Guaranteed Rate Stadium, home of the Chicago White Sox. It’s a great neighborhood to visit to catch a game, whether inside the stadium or at one of the area’s many Sox bars. It is considered one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, is the birthplace of five Chicago mayors and is also home to the beautiful Bridgeport Art Center, a popular art and event venue.

Rogers Park

Rogers Park is another beautiful lakeside neighborhood and the location of Loyola University. It is the northernmost neighborhood of the city and feels almost like a delightful little town of its own. Rogers Park has a large immigrant population, which also means it has a vast array of delectable restaurant choices, from Peruvian to Indian to Greek to Korean to Pakistani.

Bryn Mawr Historic District

Nestled within the neighborhood of Edgewater lies the beautiful Bryn Mawr Historic District that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back into the early 1900s. It’s a charming area to wander and enjoy the remarkable architecture.

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The ultimate guide to Chicago's neighborhoods

Aug 1, 2023 • 8 min read

visit chicago neighborhoods

Discover your favorite Chicago neighborhood with our in-depth guide to the best © Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

With steely skyscrapers, lakefront beaches and world-class museums, Chicago will blow you away with its low-key yet highly cultured spirit.

The city center is an architectural wonder, but it’s Chicago’s mural-splashed neighborhoods – full of inventive restaurants, fringe theaters and sociable dive bars – that will create lasting memories of your time in the Windy City.

Here are the best neighborhoods to explore on your trip to Chicago .

Best neighborhood for sightseeing

The Loop is Chicago's center of action, named for the elevated train tracks that encircle its busy streets. And though there’s debate on whether the Loop is an actual neighborhood, no one can deny it’s the beating heart of the city. 

There's lots to see here: the Art Institute , Willis Tower , the Theater District and Millennium Park are top draws, while the city's biggest festivals keep people flocking to the area's large green spaces.

The Loop has loads of lodgings – cool boutique and architectural hotels are the specialty. The neighborhood is convenient to the parks, festival grounds, museums and the Theater District, with easy transport access to anywhere in the city. 

Nightlife, however, is not the Loop's strong point, as most of the restaurants and bars here are geared toward office workers. There's not much open after 9pm.

Streeterville and Navy Pier

Best neighborhoods for shopping .

Streeterville packs in deep-dish pizza parlors, buzzy bistros, art galleries and so many upscale stores that its main vein – Michigan Avenue – has been dubbed the " Magnificent Mile . " 

This neighborhood is unapologetically in-your-face commercial. Shops, restaurants and amusements abound. Navy Pier , a half-mile-long wharf of tour boats, carnival rides and a flashy, king-sized Ferris wheel, is the top sight.

Architecture is a neighborhood highlight, thanks to iconic buildings such as the Tribune Tower and Marina City . Art is another strong suit of the area, especially underrated sights such as the Driehaus Museum and Arts Club of Chicago , as well as Streeterville's many galleries.

The Near North is Chicago's most lodging-packed neighborhood, with hotels on practically every street corner. They're mostly midrange chain properties, though a couple of nifty boutique hotels and hostel-hotel hybrids are mixed in. 

This neighborhood is also where you'll find Chicago's mother lode of restaurants. There's a huge variety, from deep-dish pizza and ritzy seafood to modern Mexican. Visitors are drawn here by all the hotels, so prices can be higher than elsewhere.

The best time to visit Chicago

Best neighborhood for luxury 

The Gold Coast, as you'd expect from the name, is Chicago's ritziest area. Stylish locals glide in and out of the neighborhood's top-end boutiques as the occasional Tesla or Rolls-Royce wheels along the leafy streets. 

The Gold Coast is relatively compact, but it holds several worthwhile sights. The 360° Chicago  observatory and Museum of Contemporary Art are the top attention grabbers.

Lodging options here tend to be large, luxury hotels, with easy access to both downtown and the lakefront, plus you have a shopping bonanza on your doorstep. 

The Gold Coast is the epicenter of hot-spot steakhouses, swanky eateries and martini lounges for pretty people on the prowl. Glamorous old-time lounges and skyscraper bars with spectacular views can also be found in this neighborhood.

A pond and greenery in Lincoln Park frame the Chicago skyline.

Lincoln Park and Old Town 

Best neighborhoods for comedy and live music .

The green space of Lincoln Park is Chicago's premier playground, filled with lagoons, walking paths, beaches and zoo animals. Nearby Lincoln Park, adds top-notch restaurants, chic boutiques and lively blues and rock clubs to the mix. 

To the south, stylish Old Town hangs on to its free-spirited, bohemian past with artsy bars and the improv-comedy bastion Second City .

Lodgings in this area range from hotels to B&Bs and hostels, and they have lots of character. They're near fun nightlife, and some are a short walk to Lincoln Park, the zoo and beaches. They're a bit removed from downtown's sights, however. It's also a popular neighborhood for short-term apartment rentals.

High-end restaurants such as Alinea and Boka hold court here, but Lincoln Park caters to budget tastes too, thanks to the student population of DePaul University. 

Old Town's options are quieter and quainter. This is a great area to catch some top-notch live performances in the evenings, with numerous options ranging from blues and rock music to comedy improv and dramatic plays.

Best free things to do in Chicago 

South Loop 

Best neighborhood for museums .

The South Loop offers a wide range of things to do. The Field Museum , Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium cluster at the lakefront Museum Campus. Peaceful 12th Street Beach and hilly Northerly Island offer nearby refuges to ditch the crowds. Historic house museums and a famed blues sight beckon nearby. This neighborhood doesn't have many hotel options besides what's around the enormous convention center.

A red, Chinese-style gateway sits at the entrance to Chinatown in Chicago

Pilsen and Chinatown 

Best neighborhoods for culture .

Chinatown bustles with noodle shops and small storefronts and further west is Pilsen, where Mexican culture mixes with Chicago's bohemian underground, and colorful murals, taquerias and cafes result.

Pilsen's 18th Street teems with Mexican taquerias, tamale shops, hip gastropubs and modern American restaurants –  Caminos is a neighborhood staple. On the weekend the dive bar hosts Los Naturales , a pop-up natural wine bar, before transforming into a late-night hot spot.  

Blue Island Avenue is a similarly rich vein. Chinatown offers a densely packed smorgasbord of noodle houses, low-cost bakeries and dim sum places. 

Pilsen has activist cafes, microbrewery taprooms and artsy dive bars, while the Near South Side has neighborhood pubs and leafy patios. Chinatown isn't much of a drinking destination, though it rocks for satisfying late-night, post-booze munchies.

Lakeview and Wrigleyville 

Best neighborhoods for nightlife .

Lakeview is the overarching name of this good-time neighborhood, known for its nonstop lineup of bars, theaters, rock halls and global eateries. Wrigleyville is the pocket that surrounds star attraction Wrigley Field , where big changes are afoot. 

For years, sticky-floored boozers were the stock in trade. Now cocktail bars, fancy donut shops and trendy eateries have joined the game – foodies and families are thrilled. Those who perceive a loss of local color are not.

Nightlife is the specialty of Lakeview and Wrigleyville, and there are heaps of options: traditional sports bars and new cocktail bars around Wrigley Field, dance clubs and gay bars in Boystown and cozy wine bars, English pubs and jazz-wafting little taverns scattered elsewhere throughout the neighborhood. 

Some great new boutique hotels have popped up recently, especially near Wrigley Field. They join several already-existing boutique properties and B&Bs, most of which are surrounded by rollicking bars, restaurants and music venues. The main areas can be congested and rowdy at night. Room prices typically rise when the Cubs are playing.

Historic brick homes sit in a row in Wicker Park, Chicago

Wicker Park, Bucktown and Ukrainian Village 

Best neighborhoods for restaurants .

The three neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown and Ukrainian Village in the larger area of West Town are trendy, hot properties. Hip record stores, thrift shops and cocktail lounges have shot up, though vintage Eastern European dive bars linger on many side-street corners. 

Wicker Park is the more commercial heart; it's flanked by Bucktown, Ukrainian Village and East Village, and smaller Noble Square. The restaurant scene includes a number of top Michelin-starred/James Beard Award nominees. Chef Bill Kim’s UrbanBelly , Big Star , and  Dove’s Luncheonette are among the neighborhoods’ stand-outs. 

The art galleries, onion-domed churches, a couple of national/ethnic museums and writer Nelson Algren's house keep the area interesting. Walking or cycling the 606 trail is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

For hostels, B&Bs and apartment rentals away from the tourist masses, this is your neighborhood. Everything is near buzzy nightlife and trendy shops, plus it's only a 15-minute L ride to get downtown. 

Trendy restaurants like Wazwan open almost every day, with many serving nouveau takes on classic comfort food. Division Street is a bountiful vein of snazzy bistros and pubs, many of which have sidewalk seating.

Milwaukee, Damen, Division and Chicago Avenues burst with cocktail lounges and chic bars, while authentically retro mom-and-pop joints thrive quietly on the neighborhood's side streets. 

Unsurprisingly for such a hip area, the northwestern neighborhoods have a bevy of choices for an evening's entertainment. You'll find venues for indie rock, hip-hop and other popular genres, as well as a few of Chicago's smaller independent theater companies.

West Loop and Near West Side 

Best neighborhood for trendy chicago .

The West Loop buzzes with hot-chef restaurants and on-trend bars that have taken over former meatpacking factories. 

There’s chef Joe Flamm’s Rose Mary combining Croatian and Italian fare, Swift & Sons steakhouse , and  La Josie for Mexican. Get over to Blind Barber for a drink and some late-night dancing. Development continues big time, with condos, tech-company offices and brand-name hotels rising at a dizzying pace. 

The West Loop packs in a group of the city's hippest, most trend-setting properties, with prime access to all the surrounding fashionable eats. You'll pay big for the pleasure. 

Fancy cocktails are West Loop's calling card. Distilleries, wine bars and coffee shops that take their lattes seriously add to the scene. Further flung in the Near West Side's industrial landscape is a smattering of breweries.

This article was first published Apr 13, 2021 and updated Aug 1, 2023.

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Chicago’s Neighborhoods Not to Miss

Chicago has some 77 neighborhoods, and numerous more sub-neighborhoods, each with its own charm. explore a handful for a real insight into the third largest u.s. city..

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Chicago’s Neighborhoods Not to Miss

Head to Hyde Park for live music and great jerk chicken.

Photos by Jeff Marini

Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, has been called a big city with a small-town feel, mostly for its numerous neighborhoods that seem to bring things a bit closer together. Since the city’s inception, immigrants have set up enclaves—Swedes in Andersonville, Poles in West Town and then up Milwaukee Avenue, Czechs and then Mexicans in Pilsen, Puerto Ricans in Humboldt Park, Ukrainians in, well, Ukrainian Village, and on and on—and created a multicultural patchwork that continues to influence life in the Windy City .

The 77 official neighborhoods further slice into sub-neighborhoods like Wrigleyville within Lakeview, Andersonville within Edgewater, Chinatown within Armour Square, and Ukrainian Village within West Town. It’s here where the real Chicago thrives.

Many visitors to Chicago tend to visit the more tourist-driven areas like Millennium Park, the Gold Coast, and River North. But to know Chicago is to get into the neighborhoods and explore the city’s rich, diverse history.

Here we highlight some of the best Chicago neighborhoods to help you make the most of your visit.

1. Andersonville

While few of the Swedish touches still exist—the Swedish American Museum , Svea restaurant, and Lost Larson for Swedish-inspired pastries (pro tip: get the cardamom bun) for example—the neighborhood celebrates its Nordic influence each June with the Midsommarfest street fair.

Today, Andersonville is arguably one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods with a mix of families and the LGBTQ calling it home, many in the historic Lakewood Balmoral District . The area has an array of eclectic shops like the Wooden Spoon for all things cookery, Foursided when you need unique gifts, antiques and beautiful furniture at Scout and Roost , men’s clothing and lifestyle at Cowboys and Astronauts , and Women & Children First bookstore, focusing on feminist, LGBTQ, and children’s books.

Dining and drink options seem endless, but don’t miss classic Italian fare at Anteprima , coffee at the mod-designed Coffee Studio , big-as-your-head martinis at Marty’s , one of Chicago’s best craft beer selections at Hopleaf , a little bit of everything at Little Bad Wolf , and fried chicken and negroni slushies at Parson’s .

Where to stay: The Guesthouse Hotel

Book now: from $199/night, expedia.com

Stay local at the Guesthouse Hotel , a great option with one- to three-bedroom suites with kitchens, living rooms, and balconies—not to mention a roof deck for summer hangs and a communal fireplace in the winter—for a weekend or extended stay.

Park in Lincoln Park, Chicago

For museums and a zoo, you’ll be bound for Lincoln Park.

Photo by Maria Sbytova/Shutterstock

2. Lincoln Park

Known for its vast namesake park that creates a natural border between upscale urban living and the beaches of Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park provides many reasons to visit. First, Lincoln Park Zoo , a 35-acre free zoo, sits right in the middle of the park and is home to hundreds of animals from around the world. Next, you have world-class museums like the Chicago History Museum . At the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum , immerse yourself among 1,000 free-flying butterflies from 40 species in the Butterfly Haven .

And then, from Wells Street to Armitage Avenue and Halsted Street, there’s fantastic shopping, entertainment, and restaurants. So when you want to shop, hit long-running local stores like the Spice House for high-quality pantry ingredients from around the globe, Art Effect for unique home items and gifts, wine and spirits at House of Glunz , Chicago’s oldest wine merchant dating back to 1888, and men’s and women’s fashion at Lori’s Shoes , Tie Bar , and Calvin Tran .

Lincoln Park entertainment includes the renowned improv comedy shop the Second City , world-class theater at Steppenwolf , and authentic blues at Kingston Mines . And then there’s the dining. You can go super high-end with the three-Michelin-star Alinea , where chef Grant Achatz and his team prepare multi-course avant-garde molecular gastronomy tasting menus, or at the one-Michelin-star neighbor Boka , featuring chef Lee Wolen’s seasonal American fare.

But Lincoln Park is home to countless restaurants offering every sort of cuisine, including California-inspired at Summer House Santa Monica , Sichuan at Chengdu Impression , upscale Middle Eastern (with some of the fluffiest house-made pita you’ve ever had) at Galit , and the Athenian Room for Greek, which also happens to be a favorite of Tina Fey . And if you want to just relax, stroll among the mansions and historic brownstones of the Old Town Triangle area.

Where to stay: The Hotel Lincoln

Book now: from $96/night, expedia.com

The Hotel Lincoln, directly across from Lincoln Park, offers sweeping 360-degree views—not to mention great cocktails and bites—from its rooftop bar, the J. Parker , or an intimate sushi omakase meal in a hotel room at Sushi Suite 202 .

Hit up Antique Taco for small bites and cocktails.

Hit up Antique Taco for small bites and cocktails.

Courtesy of Antique Taco

3. Wicker Park & Bucktown

Technically two separate neighborhoods divided by North Avenue, the area has generally gotten grouped together since its rise in popularity in the early ’90s when such artists and musicians as Liz Phair and Urge Overkill gathered here, especially at bars like the Rainbo Club and rock venues like Subterranean .

Over the past two decades, the neighborhood has gentrified (just walk along the 606 , a 2.7-mile elevated nature-lined trail, to see the newer homes and renovated condo buildings), but what has remained are hip independent shops like Una Mae’s , for a mix of vintage and contemporary men’s and women’s clothing, candles, apothecary, and more; Myopic Books , one of Chicago’s best selections of new and used books—we’re talking 60,000 books stacked on those old wooden shelves; and Asrai Garden for stunning floral design, jewelry, scents, and other distinctive offerings.

While you make a day of strolling and shopping, stop at Antique Taco for blood orange margaritas and crispy tempura cod or barbecue pork carnitas tacos, wood-fired pizza and meats at Etta, elevated Spanish fare at Mama Delia, classic red sauce Italian at Club Lucky, house-made pasta at Tortello, Costa Rican at Irazu, Southern-style tamales at the Delta, modern Filipino at Cebu, or seasonal tasting menu fare at the Bristol. The options are plentiful so wander until you find what grabs you.

Where to stay: The Robey

Book now: from $120/night, expedia.com

The hip Robey hotel, a former art deco office tower that dates back to 1929, modernized into a cool boutique spot with rooms featuring luxe linens, Le Labo bathroom products, and modern furniture. It also offers Café Robey on the ground floor with daily brunch, the Lounge on the second floor for coffee, drinks, and a place to get some work done, and two rooftop bars: the Up Room for sophisticated mixology and the Cabana Club, set around a pool, perfect for summertime frolicking.

While Germans, Irish, and Bohemians first settled the area, Pilsen has been an enclave for Mexican immigrants since the 1950s and those influences are felt deeply throughout the neighborhood. Stroll 16th Street to view dozens of murals (and many more that dot the neighborhood) depicting Mexican American heritage from local artists like Hector Duarte, Deliliah “Zena” Salgado, and Alejandro Medina.

The strong artist community attracted works from other acclaimed street artists, including Hebru Brantley and Jeff Zimmerman. Even more Mexican works appear at the National Museum of Mexican Art , home to one of the nation’s largest collections of Mexican art. But a visit to Pilsen would not be complete without eating. You can easily just eat high-quality Mexican fare with chilaquiles, chile rellenos, pollo en mole, and carne asada at La Esperanza ; tamales, ceviche, and tortas at 5 Rabanitos ; or some of Chicago’s most celebrated pork carnitas and chicharrones at Carnitas Uruapan .

Or explore other global flavors with chef Stephen Gillanders’s Asian-inspired American fare at S.K.Y. ; French Vietnamese at HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen from celebrated chef Thai Dang; or farm-to-table seasonal tavern fare at Dusek’s . Either way, eating in Pilsen always satisfies.

Where to stay: The Blackstone & Marriott Marquis

Book now: The Blackstone: from $129/night, expedia.com; Marriott Marquis: from $224/night, expedia.com If you want to stay in Pilsen, you can find some good options on Airbnb, but if you’re looking for a hotel, the historic Blackstone on Michigan Avenue overlooking Grant Park or the modern Marriott Marquis at McCormick Place are both within two miles of Pilsen.

5. Hyde Park and Kenwood

For a true experience of culture and history in Chicago, head south to Hyde Park, home to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 (which spawned the Garden of the Phoenix and Museum of Science and Industry , where you can see a full-size submarine and go down into a coal mine) and Kenwood, home to some of Chicago’s grandest homes, including one belonging to Barack and Michelle Obama.

This neighborhood is home to the University of Chicago and its striking Gothic campus, first designed by renowned architect Henry Ives Cobb and then added to by Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and others for a modern feel. The famed Frank Lloyd Wright Frederick C. Robie House sits on the campus, and you can take in one of the best views of the Chicago skyline from Promontory Point.

Hyde Park has long been a center of Black culture in Chicago with the DuSable Museum of African American History but also with food at Virtue , a heralded Southern restaurant from famed chef Erick Williams, or Jamaican jerk chicken at Ja’Grill . Catch an array of live music—rock, electronic, dance, jazz, and more—at the Promontory .

Where to stay: The Sophy

Book now: from $229/night, expedia.com

The Sophy , a boutique hotel, sits along 53rd Street near many restaurants and shops, like the Silver Room , owned by another Eric Williams, who is opening the Bronzeville Winery just north of Hyde Park in the historic neighborhood of Bronzeville.

6. Lincoln Square

Head to leafy Lincoln Square for independent bookstores, tasty bakeries, and more.

Head to leafy Lincoln Square for independent bookstores, tasty bakeries, and more.

Photo by Pedro Heider Pinheiro/Shutterstock

Situated about seven miles north of downtown Chicago, Lincoln Square is one of the city’s most welcoming neighborhoods—a reputation strengthened over the years by its strong Greek, Eastern European, and Mexican communities. Quirky, small businesses are one of the area’s biggest draws. Take, for example, Merz Apothecary , a drugstore opened in 1875 that specializes in herbal medicines and formulas, or the Book Cellar , an independent bookstore that hosts a variety of community-driven events and author talks throughout the year.

There’s no shortage of sustenance here, either. Visit Café Selmarie for treats from pastry chef Kyleen Atonson, a Chopped Sweets winner who’s known for her whimsical takes on dessert. With your sweet course down, work backward to dinner at Gather , a favorite for its New American food and craft cocktails. Rather than grabbing a table, snag a seat at the restaurant’s Kitchen Counter to watch the chefs craft winning plates like Korean barbecue carrots, cacio e pepe , and braised short rib with herbed mashed potatoes.

7. West Loop

The West Loop owes its reputation as a culinary hotspot to restaurants like Blackbird.

The West Loop owes its reputation as a culinary hotspot to restaurants like Blackbird.

Courtesy of Blackbird

Once the world’s busiest meatpacking district, the West Loop now lays claim to Restaurant Row, a vibrant strip that’s lined with some of Chicago’s best places to eat. Though Blackbird and Avec were among the first spots to land here, it was Girl and the Goat —the debut restaurant from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard—that helped catapult the area to culinary fame in 2010.

Enjoy lunch at Bar Siena or Bad Hunter before an afternoon of games and karaoke at Punch Bowl Social or shopping at upscale stores like Billy Reid and M2057 by Maria Pinto .

Once dinnertime rolls around, hit a classic on Restaurant Row or try one of several other elevated dining options: greenhouse-driven Eden , Danish-inspired Elske , Michelin-starred Smyth , or Argentinean staple El Che Steakhouse & Bar .

Where to stay: Soho House, The Hoxton, or Nobu Hotel

Book now : Soho House ; The Hoxton ; Nobu Hotel

The West Loop also has several of Chicago’s coolest hotels, including Soho House , the Hoxton , and newly opened Nobu Hotel meaning you’ll nave no shortage of options if you want to base your stay here.

8. Logan Square

Don’t miss the international restaurants in Logan Square, like the Macanese Portuguese Fat Rice.

Don’t miss the international restaurants in Logan Square, like the Macanese Portuguese Fat Rice.

Courtesy of Fat Rice

With its long boulevards, tree-lined blocks, and charming squares (including its namesake), Logan Square (which is adjacent to Wicker Park and easy to explore if you’re staying there) has long served as a landing pad for Chicago’s immigrant community, especially those from Mexico, Poland, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Nowadays, the neighborhood is also one of the city’s more prominent culture hubs, with concert halls, cafés, and restaurants galore.

In 1999, chef Jason Hammel and his team established Logan Square as a dining destination with the opening of Lula Cafe , a corner fixture with seasonal Midwest fare and a wildly popular brunch. Since then, numerous restaurants have followed suit, serving food from all over the world. Try Noodle Bird (formerly Fat Rice) for Macanese plates, Daisies for flavor-packed pastas, and Parson’s for some serious fried chicken.

When it comes to drinks, don’t miss Billy Sunday (a favorite for vintage spirits) and gin haven Scofflaw (where you’ll want to be at midnight, when the bartenders bring out freshly baked cookies). The next morning, cure your hangover with coffee from Gaslight or Estereo .

This article originally appeared online in December 2021; it was most recently updated on June 30, 2022, to include current information. Nicole Schnitzler contributed to the reporting of this story.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Visit These Top Chicago Neighborhoods During Your Next Trip

Chicago's  Magnificent Mile  relishes in its reputation as the Midwest's answer to  Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive   or  New York's 5th Avenue . But there's plenty more to Chicago beyond the glitz and glam once you head into the neighborhoods that make up the city's real flavor.

From the proud and out residents of Boystown/Lakeview to the charm of ethnic neighborhoods like Bronzeville, Chinatown and Pilsen , these communities add depth to Chicago and are worth exploring.


Why it's hot.

Andersonville was dubbed as such when Swedish immigrant farmers migrated to the area in the mid-1850s. They built a strong foundation of businesses, residences, and cultural and religious institutions that left an impact for generations to come. The annual Midsommarfest event has been going on since the mid-1960s and keeps the Swedish culture alive. There is also the Swedish American Museum .

But in the last 10 to 15 years, Andersonville has experienced a significant spurt of growth and diversity. It's attracted a large LGBTQ community, many of whom left Lakeview in search of a quieter neighborhood. It also boasts other ethnic groups, who have opened many thriving businesses in the area.

Some may be explored during an ethnic food tour to Andersonville . And while the visitor will find several trend-focused restaurants, cocktail lounges and independent boutiques, the majority of establishments are quaint, family-friendly and cozy. Andersonville is approximately 23 minutes from downtown Chicago hotels , and parking is challenging.

Andersonville Accommodations

House 5863 Chicago Bed and Breakfast

Nearby Neighborhoods

Edgewater, Uptown


TripSavvy / Cory Giguere

Adjacent to Lincoln Park, Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood is located on the North Side and is considered one of the country's most prominent gay communities. It's been the center of LGBT life for decades and is where the heart of the city's Chicago Gay Pride parade and related festivals occur in June. 

Lakeview East comprises the blocks nearest the lake and includes bustling commercial strips like North Broadway and North Halsted. You'll find dozens of gay- and lesbian-focused shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses throughout the neighborhood, which is bound by Diversey Avenue, Halsted Street, Grace Street and Lake Michigan. Among the many dining establishments and entertainment venues along this stretch, check out  Angelina Ristorante , Athenaeum Theatre , Bar Pastoral , Elixir Lounge , Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club and Sidetrack .

Boystown/Lakeview Accommodations

City Suites Hotel

Days Inn Lincoln Park North

Villa Toscana Guest House

Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, Uptown

Chicago’s Chinatown may be smaller in stature than New York’s or San Francisco’s , but it is certainly is not short on culture. Before you head over to the significantly historic area that’s been around for more than 100 years and only a stone’s throw from White Sox Guaranteed Rate Field, here’s what you need to know.

Chicago's current Chinatown dates back to 1912 when a community of Chinese immigrants were uprooted due to construction in the South Loop . They relocated to an area near Wentworth Avenue and Cermak, which remains the center of the community today. Chinatown now boasts the five-acre Ping Tom park, a shopping center, and new housing where the railyards once stood. It's approximately 10 minutes south of downtown.

Chinatown Accommodations

Chinatown Hotel

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

South Loop Hotel

Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Pilsen

The Gold Coast is considered one of Chicago's most prominent and wealthiest neighborhoods, and one of its earliest settlers was Potter Palmer, who co-founded the iconic Marshall Field's Department Store and built the Palmer House . Its status grew rapidly following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 , as Potter started developing land throughout the area.

Throughout its history, the neighborhood has counted a host of noteworthy people as residents, from Joseph Medill, founder of the Chicago Tribune and a mayor of Chicago, to current Bulls superstar Dwyane Wade and his famous actress wife, Gabrielle Union .

In addition to the Gold Coast's high-profile residents, it boasts a number of luxury hotels , designer boutiques/retail stores and glamorous restaurants and bars. Official boundaries for the Gold Coast are from North Avenue to Oak Street to the south, and from Lake Michigan to Clark Street to the west.

Gold Coast Accommodations

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower

Thompson Chicago, a Thompson Hotel

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Old Town, Streeterville

Former President Obama's home is located in Hyde Park . So is the esteemed University of Chicago as well as the Museum of Science and Industry. And in 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was held here.

What's great about this South Side neighborhood, located just west of Lake Michigan and 15 minutes from downtown, is that it's diverse in many ways, from the racial makeup to socio-economic factors. Businesses reflect that diversity, and there's a colorful selection of galleries, restaurants and quirky shops like Mankind. 

Just south of Hyde Park is Stony Island Arts Bank, which has been completely restored and now holds long-forgotten treasures, films and artwork from up-and-coming artists.

Hyde Park Accommodations

Hyatt Place Chicago-South

Welcome Inn Manor

Bronzeville, Kenwood, South Shore

Lincoln Park

One of the city's biggest attractions, Lincoln Park Zoo is located in Lincoln Park. It's a ritzy neighborhood boasting many movers and shakers as its residents as well as cultural landmarks such as Steppenwolf Theatre Co. and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum . Lincoln Park is a family-friendly neighborhood that's great for cycling and walking, and it's approximately 10 minutes from downtown.

Local and national shops, plus highly rated restaurants like three Michelin star Alineaas well as Naoki Sushi and Oyster Bah, help keep the neighborhood on a national radar. Lincoln Park is also home to VIP's Gentlemen's Club , the only adult cabaret within city limits with a liquor license. A trip to Lincoln Park is not complete without visiting Wiener's Circle for charred dogs garnished with insults hurled by the staffers. 

Lincoln Park Accommodations

Hotel Lincoln

East Lakeview, Old Town, Roscoe Village

Lincoln Square/Ravenswood

Lincoln Square , located about 30 minutes north of downtown, was once known as the community where German immigrants flocked. Now, the population has changed dramatically, yet the neighborhood is just as charming and historic as ever. A quick stroll through its pulse down Lincoln Avenue showcases Victorian-style homes mixing well with those of the contemporary variety. Lincoln Square is also home of the last work by famous Chicago architect Louis Sullivan , known for designing the Auditorium Theatre . Sullivan's Krause Music Store building has been recently renovated and brought back to its original glory.

There's a great collection of restaurants, small boutiques and bars in the area.

Lincoln Square Accommodations

The Guesthouse Hotel

Andersonville, North Center

Logan Square

Named after Civil War hero and politician Gen. John A. Logan, this now bustling Near West Side neighborhood was first settled in the mid-1800s. Chicago's Logan Square has certainly come a long way since those pioneering days, offering one of the city's most exciting and diverse neighborhoods for culinary adventures and more.

While restaurants and cocktail bars are a large part of the attraction to Logan Square--starting with early adapter of the farm-to-table movement Lula Cafe in 1999--there's so much more.

Additional destinations include a number of slick boutiques and thrift stores, antique shops and live-music lounges. Street parking in Logan Square is much easier than downtown and in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and River North . It is about a 10-minute drive or 15-minute train ride to/from downtown hotels .

Logan Square Accommodations

Longman & Eagle Inn

Ray's Bucktown Bed & Breakfast 

Roscoe Village Guesthouse

Avondale, Humboldt Park, Roscoe Village

This predominantly Mexican neighborhood got a taste of regentrification several years ago when a steady stream of trendy new restaurants and condominiums popped up. Thankfully that didn't disrupt the authentic flavor of the area, which is filled with taquerias, bakeries, galleries, food stands, traditional Mexican restaurants and more. One of our favorites is Sugar Shack , famous for a funnel cake sundae made with vanilla soft serve, choice of toppings and a cherry on top.

The National Museum of Mexican Art , the first Mexican cultural center/museum in the Midwest and the largest in the nation, is also in Pilsen. The neighborhood, which is only five minutes south of downtown, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pilsen Accommodations

Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC

Holiday Inn Chicago Downtown

Jaslin Hotel

Bridgeport, Chinatown

River North

Located on Chicago’s affluent Near North Side--just north of the Chicago River --the River North business and residential area has come a long way from its shady beginnings as a notorious red light district. Now home to some of the city’s trendiest art galleries, hotels, bars and restaurants, it attracts well-heeled locals and visitors alike. It’s also home to several well-known landmarks, including the Merchandise Mart , which once belonged to the Kennedy family .

River North is adjacent to the Gold Coast , which is just to its north, the Magnificent Mile shopping district , which is just to the east, and the Loop, Chicago's business district, which is just south past the Chicago River.

River North Accommodations

Acme Hotel Co.

Conrad Chicago

Freehand Hotel

Goose Island, West Town

 King of Hearts / Wikimedia Commons

What's old is new again as the South Loop finds itself in the midst of a rebirth as one of Chicago's most desirable places to live and explore. The diverse neighborhood--which boasts the Chicago Museum Campus , two-starred Michelin restaurant Acadia and the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University --was one of the city's first residential districts before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 .

The majority of the hotels in the area are situated along Michigan Avenue, which is walk-able to most destinations and attractions, including the Art Institute , Chicago Symphony Center , Grant Park and a host of restaurants. Street parking is challenging, but there are plenty of parking lots to accommodate vehicles. Public transportation is very accessible. The South Loop neighborhood encompasses the historic Prairie District , Printers' Row and Central Station.

South Loop Accommodations

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Hilton Chicago

Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel

Bronzeville, Pilsen

The West Loop is comprised of the Fulton Market District, Randolph Street Restaurant Row, River West and an actual pocket called the West Loop. The neighborhood's also home to some of the city's most revered art galleries and nation's hottest chefs, such as Grant Achatz , Stephanie Izard, Paul Kahan , Curtis Duffy ,   Sarah Grueneberg and Bill Kim.

West Loop Accommodations

Allegro Hotel

Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro

Soho House Chicago

Little Italy, University Village

Wicker Park

No matter what anyone says, Wicker Park will always be one of Chicago's top destinations for dining, drinking and shopping. While a good number of restaurants and bars caters to a young and trendy clientele, there is definitely something for everyone. For example, Dove's Luncheonette is very family friendly, and the award-winning The Violet Hour is   credited with pioneering Chicago’s current mixology scene .

Come summertime, Wicker Park is especially lively with street festivals, impromptu parties, gallery walks and more. The neighborhood is approximately 10 minutes west of downtown.

Wicker Park Accommodations

Bucktown, Humboldt Park, River West, Ukrainian Village


This bustling North Side neighborhood was red hot long before the Cubs baseball team won the World Series in 2016. While Wrigley Field is the heart of Wrigleyville, the neighborhood jumps with energy in off-baseball season.

The main Clark Street strip is where much of the action takes place, from live-music performances at the Cubby Bear and Metro to grabbing late-night eats at Wrigleyville Dogs . Plans are underway for Hotel Zachary , a seven-story, 175-room hotel across the street from Wrigley Field. Projected to open in early 2018, it will include several high-profile restaurants by local outfits, a full-service bank and an urban park setting.

The Wrigley Field Plaza should also be a hub of activity in the neighborhood now that it's debuted in front of the baseball stadium. It is set to host a number of family-friendly events , including weekly farmers' markets from Green City Market , movies, food festivals and live music.

Wrigleyville Accommodations

Chicago Guest House

Majestic Hotel

Boystown, Southport Corridor, Uptown

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Where to stay in Chicago: The best neighborhoods and places

See more of Chicago when you stay in one of these dynamic areas.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Morgan Olsen

If you're coming to Chicago, there's no shortage of places to explore—and you shouldn't limit yourself to the Loop . If you want to experience the  real  Chicago, head for the city's 77 community areas, where you'll find some of the most unique  things to do in Chicago  and many of the  best restaurants in Chicago . Keep in mind that Chicago is a city with excellent public transportation, so a trip downtown to Museum Campus or the "Bean" is only a short ride away (and we won't shame you for sneaking away to try the best deep dish pizza Chicago has to offer). From eclectic dining in Logan Square to a free Mexican art museum in Pilsen, here are the best neighborhoods to stay in Chicago when you visit.

RECOMMENDED:  🏨 The best hotels in Chicago 🛏️ The best Airbnbs in Chicago

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

The top places to stay in Chicago

West Loop

If you fancy yourself a foodie, there's no better place to stay than the West Loop. The neighborhood is known for its abundance of excellent restaurants and bars, including a handful of Michelin-starred kitchens like Oriole and Ever . Plus, you won't have to go far to explore must-see attractions downtown—the Loop is just a train ride away.

Time Out Market Chicago

Time Out Market Chicago brings together some of the city's best chefs under one roof, serving everything from comforting Southern fare and tender brisket to steaming bowls of ramen and one of the best burgers in Chicago. Time Out editors curate the entire lineup of vendors, hand-selecting the top chefs from around the city to cook with us. If you have time for just one dining experience, make it Time Out Market Chicago.

Located on the east side of the Kennedy Expressway, this West Loop spot specializes in classic cocktails. Sip sidecars, cosmopolitans, mojitos, negronis and martinis for $15 each, which is a steal when you consider the bar team is using house-made syrups, sodas and elixirs to craft perfectly balanced sippers.

WNDR Museum

The rule in most museums is look, but don’t come even close to touching. That’s thrown out the window at WNDR Museum, which is more like an immersive experience versus a traditional art museum. The museum began as a pop-up in 2018, but has since expanded and put down permanent roots, with dozens of exhibits, including the WNDR Light Floor, made up of hundreds of motion sensored LED panels.

Located in the heart of the West Loop, the Hoxton puts out-of-town visitors in the thick of things. But there's a good chance you won't want to leave the 182-room hotel thanks to its curated food and beverage offerings, including a rooftop restaurant and bar from famed chef Stephanie Izard as well as a sexy basement bar that slings classic cocktails.


River North and Streeterville

  • Things to do

River North and Streeterville

Anyone who’s ever been to Chicago will invariably end up in River North at some point. Bursting with nightlife and food-and-drink options, the bustling neighborhood has something for everyone. You’re just steps away from the city’s premier shopping district—the Magnificent Mile—as well as an amazing art scene. River North is also close to several other popular areas, including West Loop, the Loop and Gold Coast. And it’s easily accessible by train and bus if you need to venture further out.

There’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants in the area—especially ones specializing in steak . No city has a better collection of chophouses than Chicago, and Bavette’s is arguably the best of the bunch. Hogsalt Hospitality’s vaguely French steakhouse—decked out with jazz-era decor and music—is a sultry and charming experience. Diners need not be huge fans of beef to get a good meal; in fact, as good as the steak frites is, both the fried and roasted chicken are just as good. Elegant cocktails begin meals here; fabulous pies (lemon meringue, chocolate cream) end them.

Green Door Tavern

Established in 1921, Green Door Tavern is one of the oldest watering holes in Chicago. The menu offers elevated bar fare (think Scotch eggs and Chicago-style poutine), cocktails offer riffs on classics and the beer and whiskey lists are impressive. Pop by The Drifter , the basement bar that's located in the old speakeasy section of the bar, for a nightcap.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Among the largest institutions in the world dedicated to art created post-1950, the Museum of Contemporary Art is best known for hosting major touring exhibitions, including past exhibitions celebrating luminaries like Virgil Abloh, David Bowie and Takashi Murakami. Throughout the MCA's galleries, you'll also find exhibits dedicated to rising local and international artists (including the museum's ongoing Chicago Works series). Once you're finished strolling through the galleries, make sure to exit through the well-curated gift shop.

The Peninsula Chicago

Treat yourself to a relaxing vacation at the five-star Peninsula Chicago. Located along the Mag Mile, the hotel boasts 339 rooms decked out in simple and chic décor, with bedside tablets that let guests adjust the temperature, lighting and music in their cozy quarters. Stay active thanks to a state-of-the-art fitness center and glass-enclosed pool with views of Lake Michigan or enjoy afternoon tea in the elegant Lobby. The 20-foot-high, floor-to-ceiling windows overlook an al fresco dining area attached to the Shanghai Terrace restaurant, serving dim sum and more Asian-inspired fare in a smart-casual setting.

Wicker Park and Bucktown

Wicker Park and Bucktown

Ah, Wicker Park. That's where they shot High Fidelity . And there was that Wicker Park movie with Josh Hartnett. Wait, who's Josh Hartnett again? Point is, that was years ago. But Wicker Park and Bucktown still remain a vibrant hub of culture and commerce in Chicago, riddled with boutiques, restaurants, cocktail bars, concerts venues and condos. It's easy to get to from O'Hare Airport and boasts plenty of bus and train options for navigating the rest of your trip.

Dove's Luncheonette

For brunch, pop over to this insanely sweet (albeit cozy) eatery for Instagrammable southern-inspired Mexican fare. The 41-stool diner serves massive portions of hangover-curing goodies like buttermilk fried chicken smothered in chorizo verde gravy and showered in sweet peas and pearl onions. Whatever you do, don't skip the Bloody Mary.

Violet Hour

Mixology buffs will appreciate the attention to detail at this dark and sexy cocktail den that's known for discouraging cell phone use. Saddle up and see where Chicago's famed craft scene was born while tasting the menu of classic shaken and stirred concoctions.

For an active and totally free afternoon, hop on the 606 (a.k.a. the Bloomingdale Trail), an urban walkway that stretches across several surrounding 'hoods. It's easy to hop on and off to explore shops, parks and coffee shops located just off the trail.

This 12-story, 89-room hotel is the premiere place to stay in Wicker Park. The Robey's centralized location is easily its biggest perk and allows visitors to see the best of the neighborhood without going far. Design enthusiasts will get a kick out of the mid-century modern design touches, while foodies will adore Cafe Robey, the underrated first-floor restaurant.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city and home to an eponymous 1,200-acre park. Thanks to its close proximity to Lake Michigan and the Loop, it's a popular spot for commuters who want to enjoy the neighborhood lifestyle just a few train stops away from Chicago's urban center. If you're visiting, you'll find a host of restaurants, theaters, museums, bars and shops to explore, plus beaches, a zoo and a conservatory for nature lovers.

In its 20-plus years on Halsted Street, Boka has racked up a trophy case worth of awards, including one long-standing Michelin star and a handful of Jean Banchet Awards. But we prefer to let chef-partner Lee Wolen’s impeccable techniques—on everything from dry-aged duck and roasted chicken to parsnip agnolotti—do the talking. It'd be a shame to skip dessert from pastry chef Meghan McGarvey, who whips up dreamy, sugar-filled confections with serious range—from roasted rhubarb to chocolate angel food cake.

No Chicago bar list is complete without Mike Miller’s no-bullshit establishment, which is known for its extensive collection of whiskey and beer as well as its nightly DJ sets—everything from metal to ska (the good kind) and R&B—as well as VHS tape screenings. Miller holds court at the nearly three-decade-old bar, which is decorated with red Christmas lights, obscure works from local artists, a well-loved pool table and a pinball machine. If the more than 800 options on the whiskey list are too intimidating, don't be afraid to ask the bartender for a recommendation.

The Second City

Even if you know nothing about improv, chances are you've heard of Second City. This is the place that put both sketch and improvised comedy on the map while launching the careers of many distinguished comics including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Joan Rivers, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. Mainstage revues are occasionally stodgy, but most shows are still top-notch.

Hotel Lincoln

This boutique hotel offers 184 guest rooms, clever artwork (quirky paintings on a lobby wall were sourced from Lincoln Park yard sales), a coffee shop and two sushi concepts— Sushi Suite 202  and  Sushi By Bou . If that’s not enough, the rooftop bar,  The J. Parker , is a lively spot to grab a drink and take in sweeping views of the skyline and park, while street-level restaurant Americano serves approachable fare like lobster mac and cheese and steaks.


Pilsen is one of the most recognizable neighborhoods in the city. With its distinct murals and vibrant public art, it's not hard to see the artistic culture that's present in Chicago's Lower West Side. Home to one of the best museums in the city, some fantastic contemporary art galleries and a booming bar and restaurant scene to boot, Pilsen has everything a fun and culture-loving visitor could desire. It's accessible by way of bus, Pink Line, Metra or a quick hop off of the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan or Stevenson Expressways. Head to the gorgeous 'hood and enjoy all the culture and entertainment it has to offer.

Be sure to nab a reservation at this Vietnamese restaurant with plenty of curious and familiar bites, including fish sauce-glazed chicken wings and massive prawns simmered in garlic butter. For lunch the next day, hit the neighborhood's endless supply of taco joints and enjoy a quick, casual bite (we're particularly fond of Taqueria Los Comales and Carnitas Uruapan ).

Punch House

Guests are transported to a funky, 70s-era basement as soon as they walk into Punch House, which is located below Dusek's Tavern inside Thalia Hall. As its name suggests, this watering hole specializes in punch, so bring a friend or three to help you polish off a large-format cocktail.

The National Museum of Mexican Art

This underrated Chicago attraction houses an impressive 12,000-piece permanent collection, rotating exhibits and family-friendly workshops. The best part? Admission is always free.

Book an Airbnb

There are plenty of big-name hotels northeast of Pilsen in the Loop, but renting a pad for the weekend is your best bet for an immersive experience.

Logan Square

Logan Square

Boasting gorgeous boulevards and an ever-growing selection of restaurants and bars, Logan Square is one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, balancing family-friendly amenities with a thriving nightlife. The variety of diversions attracts vinyl lovers, musicians, pinball wizards and dining aficionados to this scenic (and rapidly-changing) section of Chicago. Logan Square is best suited for return visitors who have already hit the major tourist sites downtown. Centrally located around two Blue Line stations and plenty of buses, it's easy to bounce around to other popular 'hoods like Wicker Park, West Town and the Loop.

Mi Tocaya Antojería

Forget everything you thought you knew about Mexican food and allow chef Diana Dávila to wow you with soul-warming dishes like fried oyster tacos, chile ash-dusted guacamole and braised pork shank swimming in luscious mole. Finish your meal with a slice of legendary tres leches cake from South Side bakery Kristoffer's.

Pilot Project

Why settle for visiting one brewery when you could sample beer some several different creators in this incubator space? Home to several different breweries, Pilot Project boasts a sleek indoor lounge and a spacious patio. Sip the latest hazy IPAs and fruited sours before browsing a selection of cans that you can purchase and enjoy at home. If you'd rather have a cocktail, the Whister or Billy Sunday are great options.

Logan Square Farmers Market

Rain or shine, this expansive market draws vendors from Wisconsin, Michigan and southern Illinois. Beyond oodles of fresh produce, visitors can buy handmade soaps, empanadas, tacos, flowers, hot sauce and so much more. During the market’s outdoor season, it’s easy to grab some food and find a spot on Logan Square’s gorgeous boulevards to enjoy it.

Longman & Eagle

Known for its killer whiskey menu, Longman & Eagle is also home to a quaint upstairs hotel (simply known as “the INN”), where rooms are outfitted with stand-alone tubs, exposed brick and unique pieces of art. Book early to ensure a spot at this sweet inn—and be aware that you’ll be sleeping above a working bar, so those with early bedtimes might want to look elsewhere.


As its name suggests, if you’re heading to Chicago to take in Lake Michigan, you can’t do much better than Lakeview. The neighborhood doesn’t boast the lengthy beaches that other ‘hoods brag about, but it is home to Belmont Harbor Dog Beach, a sandy nook alongside the ships that dock at Belmont Harbor that’s a great spot for pup viewing when the weather is warmer. It also has just about everything else to satisfy any traveler’s needs, including the lively Northalsted area, the annual Pride Parade and several LGBTQ nightlife destinations .

Wood Who says refined dining has to be inaccessible? Case-in-point, Wood. Helmed by Executive Chef Devin Kreller, this Northalsted spot serves a wide variety of New American cuisine, including the charcuterie board to end all charcuterie boards: with eight different types of meat, including duck liver mousse and rosemary ham, alongside house-made pickles and grain mustard. Wood is also renowned for its bar program, including its fun and creative house cocktails, like the Eternal Sunshine—a rum drink infused with citrus ginger tea, alongside carrot juice, caramelized pineapple and aquavit.

Guthrie’s Tavern There are few places that feel as authentically Chicago as Guthries Tavern, a watering hole that is removed from the craziness of Clark Street, but still close enough that it’s an easy walk after a Cubs game. It’s a spot where Chicagoans have been gathering to drink for decades— although the location has only been called Guthries since the ’80s and recently reopened under new ownership, retaining its craft beer offerings and board game collection.

Music Box Theatre If you’re looking for somewhere to catch the newest blockbuster, then the Music Box Theatre might not be for you. But if you want to see a Japanese indie film that everyone has been talking about online, this is probably where it’s playing. Known for its regular repertoire screenings and arthouse programming, the Music Box Theatre is a sanctuary for anyone who loves film. Even if you don’t have time for a movie, you can sit in the adjacent lounge and admire the vintage movie posters on the wall.

Old Chicago Inn With nine guest rooms to choose from and located just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, the Vic Theater and many bars and restaurants, the Old Chicago Inn is a great home base for a Lakeview vacation. Don’t feel like going out? The hotel boasts its own Prohibition-style speakeasy ( Room 13 ), which is open by reservation, and serves cocktails that harken back to the roaring ’20s.




Though it may be small, Andersonville is a Far North Side neighborhood with plenty of personality and no shortage of ways for visitors to stay occupied. Walk along the bustling Clark Street corridor and you’ll find unique buys in cool vintage stores next to cozy bars, neighborhood restaurants and theaters where you can see comedy and magic. There are few better spots for LGBTQ+ nightlife in all of Chicago—and the Red Line is within walking distance if you want to explore the rest of the city.

Yes, Andersonville is a traditionally Swedish neighborhood, but the area's culinary delights span the globe, exemplified by this bustling, rustic Italian trattoria. The menu at Anteprima rotates with the seasons, but you can always count on fresh, homemade pasta. For a truly authentic Italian-American experience, give nonna the day off and pick up a Sunday supper.

If you value dinner just as much as you do a cold glass of beer, find a table at this bustling neighborhood favorite. The mile-long draft list includes cider, mead and pours from around the world, including a formidable selection of Belgian beers. Each Chicago-made beer on the menu is marked with the city flag, making it easy for you to drink local all night. And if you need a snack, we recommend the Belgian-style mussels with pommes frites.

Andersonville Galleria

Dozens of local vendors occupy this unique shopping hub where you can browse jewelry, apparel, candles, paper goods, prints and furniture without leaving the building. When you do come up for air, there are plenty of locally-owned shops in the surrounding blocks to explore, including Rattleback Records and Scout .

The Guesthouse Hotel

Steps away from the action farther north on Clark Street, this posh inn offers two- and three-bedroom suites that are perfect for families, small groups and guests traveling with pups. Its location on the edge of Andersonville makes it easy to explore Uptown and the Asian restaurants on Argyle Street.

Hyde Park

Home to the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Obama family (before they moved to the White House), Hyde Park is one of the city’s most historic and coolest neighborhoods . Not far from the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Metra Electric line, this South Side neighborhood boasts gorgeous parks (Washington Park to the West, Jackson Park to the South) and easy access to the lakefront. Whether you’re soaking in the views of the skyline from Promontory Point or exploring 53rd Street, this collegiate ‘hood is a great place to stay if you’ve already hit the major tourist attractions in the Loop.

Virtue An acclaimed addition to Chicago’s dining scene, the Southern-inspired cuisine at Virtue has been taking guests on a culinary journey since 2018. Owner and executive chef Erick Williams serves dishes with heart, including gumbo, short ribs and blackened catfish. Make sure to sample the cornbread, made according to Williams's grandmother's recipe and served with sweet honey butter.

Woodlawn Tap There’s nothing like a college bar, and for students at the University of Chicago, that bar is the Woodlawn Tap. Where else can you chow down on cheap burgers and fries while listening to Nobel Prize winners discuss any variety of topics? While it’s official name is the Woodlawn Tap, those in the know refer to the beloved Hyde Park bar as Jimmy’s, in honor of its late owner and barkeep, Jimmy Wilson.

Robie House While Frank Lloyd Wright’s works are scattered across the country, the famous architect designed many homes in Chicago while living in nearby Oak Park—including Hyde Park’s Frederick C. Robie House. Completed in 1910, the house is now a National Historic Landmark and stands as one of the primary examples of Wright’s Prairie style of architecture. Admire the clean lines from the outside, or buy tickets to take a tour through the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

The Study The thing about staying in Hyde Park is that you’re bound to run into a lot of University of Chicago students and professors. The Study understands and embraces that, with locations adjacent to the campuses of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. Its Hyde Park hotel features 167 rooms, a lounge area filled with books and publications as well as several event and conference spaces. The rooms come with feather-topped beds, modern bathrooms and some picturesque views of the university.

Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park

Sharing a name with the 207-acre park that lies adjacent to the neighborhood, Humboldt Park is a vibrant community of more than 54,000 residents. The neighborhood is also a home base for the city’s Puerto Rican community, and you can see its influence everywhere: especially along the Paseo Boricua. The neighborhood is located near foodie hubs like West Town and Ukrainian Village, but Humboldt Park also holds its own with a wide selection of delicious restaurants.

Spinning J Bakery and Soda Fountain

Spinning J doesn’t only serve pie, but the Humboldt Park cafe’s pies are so delicious that it wouldn’t be a problem if it did. Alongside an all-day breakfast menu and a lunch menu, the rotating selection of pies includes flavors like s’mores, Irish coffee cream and pineapple passion fruit cheesecake. Don’t forget to grab a drink as well—Spinning J’s soda syrups are all made in-house with fruits, herbs, botanicals and essential oils. Or try one of the milkshakes, which come in the standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry varieties, as well as unique flavors such as Thai tea, ginger and peanut butter.

The California Clipper

The California Clipper’s roots run deep. The beloved bar has been serving up drinks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood for nearly 90 years—and the building it's housed in dates back to 1912. The space, which is lined with red leather booths, is known for its weekly live music with local jazz artists. It also serves up a mean cocktail, like the Purple Martian, a vibrantly-colored cocktail made with aged rum, pisco, concord grape, lime and coconut.

Paseo Boricua

You’ll know when you’re in Humboldt Park. The neighborhood is easy to spot thanks to its two distinctive 59-foot-tall steel Puerto Rican flag sculptures that mark the boundaries of the Paseo Boricua, a half-mile section of Division Street where Puerto Rican culture is on full display. Stop in La Casita de Don Pedro, a community center where you can peruse a community photo gallery, or take a dance class. Grab a bite to eat at Café Colao, which serves up coffee, tea, sandwiches and deliciously-flavored Puerto Rican pastries.

There’s not many hotel options within Humboldt Park’s borders, but the nearby Ruby Room makes for a convenient stay. The hotel, located in nearby West Town, has eight rooms, some with garden views and others with views of the skyline. It also boasts a pleasant garden area, as well as a pretty lengthy history: The building has been there since the late 19th century.


One of Chicago’s more popular neighborhoods, Chinatown is renowned for its abundance of excellent eats, but it’s also a great spot to shop, explore cultural museums and lounge at some charming parks. Conveniently located off the Red Line, Chinatown’s major attractions, like Chinatown Square and the Nine Dragon Wall, can be easily reached. You can even get there by riding a water taxi, arguably the most scenic way to travel in Chicago.

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

Originally housed in the basement of the Richland Center, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings has built up a reputation as one of the best spots in the city to score delicious steamed or boiled soup dumplings (they also offer uncooked dumplings, in case you want to bring some extras home). There’s an abundance of fillings that customers can choose from, including traditional favorites like beef and onion, and pork and cabbage, as well as dumplings stuffed with plant-based Beyond Meat.

Chinatown’s never been a big bar neighborhood, but that might be changing after the recent success of Nine Bar, a cocktail lounge that opened in 2022. Nine Bar can be tricky to find, it’s cloistered behind Moon Palace Express, a restaurant owned by Nine Bar co-owner Lily Wang’s parents. The cocktail bar serves up drinks with Asian-inspired recipes, like its Electric Sheep highball, made with Kikori whiskey and mizu green tea. 

Ping Tom Memorial Park 

A lot of visitors come to Chinatown just to eat at some of the neighborhood’s incredible restaurants, and we can’t blame them. But there’s far more to do in Chinatown than just gorge yourself on dumplings. Take a stroll through Ping Tom Memorial Park, a 17.24-acre park named for Chinatown businessman and civic leader, Ping Tom, who died in 1995. Located directly along the Chicago River, the waterfront park features several murals, a beautiful pagoda and a stop for the city’s water taxi, which can take visitors to and from the Loop via a $10 one-way ride.

Jaslin Hotel

One of Chinatown’s newest hotels, the Jaslin Hotel is conveniently located a block from the Red Line, and steps away from some of the neighborhood’s best dining. The hotel has 101 guest rooms and suites, and boasts pretty impressive views of the both the Chicago River and the skyline. 


Wrigleyville might be the most well-known baseball neighborhood in the city, but Bridgeport definitely deserves a visit as well. Not only is the South Side neighborhood adjacent to Guaranteed Rate Field, the home of the White Sox, it’s also one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the city, so there’s a lot of interesting restaurants, bars and attractions that reflect the demographics. Located near the Sox-35th Red Line station, and directly off of the Stevenson Expressway, this working-class neighborhood is well worth a visit.

At first glance, Korean and Polish food might seem like an odd pairing. But try one of Kimski’s Polish sausages topped with kraut chi, a hybrid of sauerkraut and kimchi, and it’ll make perfect sense. The fusion restaurant serves up an assortment of foods representing both cultures, from potato and cheese pierogies to a Korean barbecue platter. 

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar

You don’t have to travel too far from Kimski to head over to one of Bridgeport’s most beloved watering holes. In fact, the fusion joint operates on an extension lot owned by Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar, and the two are located directly next to each other. While Kimski is newer, Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar has been a local staple since the mid-’80s, and for good reason. It serves up an impressive array of cocktails, but the bar also sells modest beers for $4-$6, depending on what’s ordered. 

Bridgeport Art Center

Sure, the Loop has The Art Institute and Pilsen has an impressive array of murals, but there’s plenty of art to be seen in Bridgeport as well, especially at the Bridgeport Art Center. The center hosts studios for artists, which are opened up once a month so the public can step inside and see the work as it’s being developed. The center also has a sculpture garden and regularly rotating exhibits that are open to the public. Want to make some of your own art? Sign up for a class, which offer up lessons in ceramics, painting, metal sculpture and more.

The Polo Inn

Not only can White Sox fans easily make their way to Guaranteed Rate Field to catch a game, they can also rent a White Sox-themed suite at this bed-and-breakfast in the South Side neighborhood. The Polo Inn also offers two additional suites to choose from: the Mayor’s Suite and the 11th Ward Suite. Each spacious suite contains either two rooms or three. They include discounted lunch and dinner offerings and, of course, complimentary breakfast. 

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Which Part Of Chicago Should You Visit? A Neighborhood Guide


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Things You Can't Find In Germany

7 life-changing travel destinations in america, 7 underrated cities in north carolina with asheville vibes, but better.

Chicago is one of America’s leading promoters of domestic tourism, thanks to its central location. Popularly known as the second city, Chicago paints the picture of grace to grass and back to grace story. Back in the early 19th century, Chicago was a vibrant city that would later burn down into ashes. The reconstruction journey of this magnificent city is something vacationers need to see to believe.

With most of the neighborhoods reorganized past the mid-19th century, buildings here are relatively new. The unique architecture employed in each neighborhood makes it hard for tourists to settle for a single one.

Why You Should Visit Chicago

Chicago houses everything the average vacationer would long for, including bold architecture, skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, and cultural attractions. Also, there are plenty of places to eat tasty foods . Best still, it is a walkable city with roads and major highways designed to incorporate pedestrian paths. These designated paths make it easy for vacationers to stroll around the different neighborhoods admiring them and taking pictures.

From the architectural cruise on the Chicago River to the city’s multiple skyscrapers, vacationers have a hard time settling for a single neighborhood that suits their needs. Leave alone the first-timers, even locals don’t seem to get enough of Chicago’s elegance.

Related: Here Are Some Dos And Don’ts When Visiting Chicago

The various neighborhoods that vacationers settle for will depend on the type of activity that brought them to Chicago. Those interested in water sports will settle for places near the coastline. Contemporary art enthusiasts will prefer neighborhoods close to the city center, and so on. In short, there is a neighborhood to match virtually every Chicago vacationer’s interests.

Best Neighborhoods For First-Timers In Chicago

Here are the best Chicago neighborhoods to consider.

Top on the list of great neighborhoods to consider in Chicago is the Loop. It is by far the most popular part of the city. In other major cities, areas around the city center are not popular among tourists. However, Chicago is built differently. The Loop continues to dominate the charts of top neighborhoods in Chicago despite being in the center.

Related: Chicago To Des Moines: Everything Worth Stopping For On This Short Straight-Shot Road Trip

Being largely a business center, vacationers shouldn’t expect to find so many eateries in this part of Chicago. However, the ones that are set up here are worth every effort. The advantage of operating from the city center is that it becomes easy for vacationers to connect to other neighborhoods hassle-free.


Chicago is never a preserve for high-end travelers alone. On-budget vacationers too stand an equal chance. Streeterville is the place to be for first-timers looking for free things they can do in Chicago . This neighborhood isn’t any lesser than others in Chicago. In fact, it enjoys a strategic position between the legendary Lake Michigan and Mag Mile.

The highlight of this neighborhood is Navy Pier, a vibrant entertainment hub in the city with everything the average vacationer would need. From lively rides to thrilling games, Navy Pier makes Streeterville look more than an on-budget neighborhood. The hub also houses multiple restaurants serving a wide range of delicacies.

Chicago is among the few major cities in America that can be inhabited by people from diverse social classes. This time around, it is the mighty Gold Coast region doing the magic. Gold Coast is a relatively new town that breathed new life after the infamous Chicago fire of the 19th Century. Since then, the town has erected superb structures that have continued to attract multiple luxury brands.

Gold coast is by far one of the leading Chicago neighborhoods whenever issues of luxury consumption are at stake. It is a high-end district lined with the latest mansions and skyscrapers. Vacationers traveling for luxury shopping will enjoy being around this neighborhood. The vibrant nightlife of this neighborhood also provides the best opportunity for vacationers to party their Chicago experience away.

Each Chicago neighborhood has its unique experience. Located on the South Side of the city of Hyde Park, a vibrant neighborhood known for its obsession with art and culture. It is the best place to explore the real Chicago roots while still embracing some modernity.

Hyde Park is a preserve for vacationers who have no problem with a bit of crowding. With so many institutions in the area including the well-known University of Chicago, streets all around Hyde Park are always busy. The area has several restaurants where vacationers will have a great time sampling a wide variety of global cuisines.

People travel to Chicago for different reasons. Some come for the city’s thrilling nightlife, some for the culture, and others for the food. Yes, the foodies also have a great time in this marvelous city. From the Chicago-style hot dog to the deep-dish pizza, food options for the foodies to sample are many.

Streets around the West Loop are lined up with multiple restaurants. Whether it is the local dishes or the much-pronounced Asian cuisine, foodies have every reason to be here in Chicago.

Knowing where not to stay while vacationing in Chicago is as important as knowing where to stay. Hyde Park exempted, neighborhoods in the South Side are a no-go zone because of the region’s high crime rate. Vacationers are free to explore other places, have a great time, and create lasting memories while at it.

Chicago   Travel Guide

Courtesy of jaskoomerovic | Getty Images

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28 Fun Things to Do in Chicago

Chicago shines for its world-class museums, various shopping districts, vibrant neighborhoods and lively nightlife venues. Explore the city's innovative roots at the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, where you can walk inside the U-505

  • All Things To Do
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Millennium Park and Cloud Gate Millennium Park and Cloud Gate free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Construction around the Cloud Gate sculpture will limit the public's access to this top tourist attraction until spring 2024. While you might not be able to snag a selfie with "The Bean," many other attractions are available within the park. – Cortney Fries

A first-time visit to Chicago isn't complete without a stop at Millennium Park. Situated in the Loop just north of the Art Institute of Chicago , this 25-acre space is used to showcase cutting-edge art, architecture and landscaping; it also acts as a backdrop for concerts and festivals.

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Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain free

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're visiting Chicago Sept. 8 through 10, head to Grant Park early – around 11 a.m. to avoid the lines – for the Taste of Chicago. Enjoy the park and eat the best cuisine the city has to offer. Admission is free. – Sarah Estime

Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is an approximately 313-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side.

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Art Institute of Chicago Art Institute of Chicago

Home to one of the country's most impressive collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art (plus works from numerous other genres), the expansive Art Institute of Chicago features nearly 300,000 works from all over the world in its permanent collection. You'll find pieces created in the Byzantine era, as well as paintings completed just a few decades ago.

Highlights include Jacob Lawrence's "The Wedding," Georgia O'Keeffe's "Sky above Clouds IV" and Grant Wood's "American Gothic." The Art Institute's exhibits also include all sorts of intriguing artifacts, from European armor to the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which showcase interior design and furnishings in Europe and America from the late 13th to early 20th centuries. In addition to the permanent collection, the Art Institute hosts traveling exhibitions covering a variety of subjects and showcasing a diverse array of artists and genres.

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The Magnificent Mile The Magnificent Mile free

U.S. News Insider Tip: The Magnificent Mile, known for its world-class shopping, also has plenty to offer architecture buffs. Book a walking tour with the Chicago Architecture Center and hear the untold stories of North Michigan Avenue's architectural icons. Tours start at $30. – Sarah Estime

For shopping at more than 450 retailers within walking distance in downtown Chicago, make your way to The Magnificent Mile.

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Navy Pier Navy Pier free

Extending out onto Lake Michigan, Navy Pier offers plenty in the way of family-friendly entertainment.

The first thing you'll spot once you set foot on the pier is the towering Ferris wheel (which stands 196 feet tall); you'll also find a drop tower and a carousel. Once the kids have had their fill of thrill rides, you can spend some time cruising the Chicago River on a sightseeing or speedboat tour or spend a few hours exploring the Chicago Children's Museum , with hands-on exhibits ranging from treehouses to fire trucks.

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Lincoln Park Zoo Lincoln Park Zoo free

U.S. News Insider Tip: North Avenue Beach is a short walk over the North Avenue Bridge when you park at the southern end of the Lincoln Park Zoo lot. Explore the zoo, then stroll over to the beach for an afternoon in the sand. – Cortney Fries

Located 2 miles north of the Loop in the North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo is home to nearly 200 species, such as zebras, sloths and hippos. Visitors can view the zoo's furry (or scaly) friends in their natural habitats: Check out the gorillas in the sprawling, award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes, or head to the Kovler Seal Pool to get up close and personal with harbor seals. Seal training and feeding occurs daily at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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360 CHICAGO Observation Deck 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck

One of Chicago's most notable attractions is its skyline, and one of the best places to experience it is at the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck.

Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 CHICAGO towers 1,000 feet over The Magnificent Mile from its location on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center (or 875 North Michigan Avenue as its more formally known). Encased by floor-to-ceiling windows, 360 CHICAGO boasts expansive views of the city; on a clear day, you can see four states. Meanwhile, the interactive screens will help you identify different landmarks that appear in your panorama.

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The Field Museum The Field Museum

U.S. News Insider Tip: After hours of museum hopping, grab a kid-approved lunch at Kim & Carlo's Hot Dog Cart. The no-frills stand offers everything from vegan dogs to the traditional Chicago hotdog. Enjoy your lunch on the water. – Sarah Estime

This extensive natural history museum occupies half an acre of Grant Park 's Museum Campus and houses exhibits that showcase artifacts from multiple eras and destinations, making it a must-see for kids (as well as any fans of the "Indiana Jones" movies).

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Chicago Architecture River Cruise Chicago Architecture River Cruise

A visit to 360 CHICAGO or Skydeck Chicago will give you a good overview of the city's layout. But if you want to learn more about Chicago's sky-high buildings, tag along on an architecture river cruise. During a river cruise, you'll gain great views and historical insight about well-known structures like the Wrigley Building, the Leo Burnett Building and the Fulton House.

Though several companies, including Wendella Sightseeing Co. and Chicago Line Cruises, offer architecture river cruises, most travelers recommend climbing aboard a Chicago's First Lady Cruises boat with a Chicago Architecture Center docent. You'll learn tons of information about the area's architecture, plus catch superb skyline photo-ops.

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Maggie Daley Park Maggie Daley Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip: There are many restaurant options around the park, but Wildberry Pancakes & Café is a satisfying brunch spot. Choose from creative pancake options, a variety of omelets, crepes, sandwiches and salads. Go hungry and leave happy. – Cortney Fries

Opened in 2014, Maggie Daley Park is an expansive property located just east of Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

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Griffin Museum of Science and Industry Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

U.S. News Insider Tip: Mid-November through the first week of January, experience the annual "Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light" exhibits. Volunteers decorate more than 50 trees in celebration of holiday traditions from around the globe. – Cortney Fries

Chicago's extensive Griffin Museum of Science and Industry is the Western Hemisphere's largest science museum, showcasing more than 35,000 artifacts and a variety of hands-on exhibits meant to inspire creativity. The museum resides in the 14-acre former Palace of Fine Arts, which hosted the famous World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. The fair brought together some of the world's greatest scientific minds, including Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, who at the time were competing to prove which type of electricity – direct current or alternating current – was more effective. 

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Wrigley Field Wrigley Field

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're visiting during the holiday season, don't miss Winterland at Gallagher Way for family-friendly rides and games inside and around the ballpark. Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville is free to enter. Enjoy festive shopping and international food and beverage selections. – Cortney Fries

Chicagoans take their love of sports very seriously. So, for a real taste of Chicago culture, head north of the Loop to Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play ball at the Friendly Confines. History buffs will also appreciate this sports treasure, which first opened in 1914 and holds the honor of being the second-oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country (after Fenway Park in Boston ).

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Shedd Aquarium Shedd Aquarium

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're visiting in the summer (June through August), check out Jazzin' at the Shedd. You can enjoy jazz music and drinks with incredible views from the terrace. Plus, the lights dim in the aquarium for a unique experience. – Elizabeth Von Tersch, Senior Editor

Shedd Aquarium is one of the world's largest indoor aquariums, housing around 32,000 creatures. While you're here, you can feel stingrays float beneath your fingers, listen to sea lions bark and learn all about a variety of turtles. A visit to Shedd Aquarium will lead you through a cornucopia of habitats, where you'll find additional animals like penguins, piranhas, sharks and beluga whales. Or, for an additional fee, you can participate in specialty experiences like animal encounters, feeding experiences and virtual reality.

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Chicago River Architecture Tour with Small Boat Upgrade Option

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The Chicago Riverwalk The Chicago Riverwalk free

U.S. News Insider Tip: During the summer, there is nothing better than watching the boats go by as you relax at City Winery Riverwalk Wine Garden. Rent a retro boat from Chicago Electric Boat Company and cruise the river yourself. – Cortney Fries

When the weather warms up in Chicago, there are few better places to enjoy the outdoors than the Chicago Riverwalk. The 1.25-mile pedestrian walkway on the south bank of the Chicago River is the perfect place to take a stroll and observe the city skyline. Plus, there are numerous activity options to enjoy directly on the water, such as a boat or kayak tour . If you prefer to explore on your own two feet, visit the public gardens and art displays, or grab a meal at a popular restaurant or bar overlooking the Chicago River. And if you want to learn more about the river's unique history, check out the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, which celebrates the city's famous movable bridges. What's more, Art on theMART – a massive digital art projection on the facade of theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart) – is best viewed from the Riverwalk.

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Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower

More than 1.7 million people make their way to Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago each year, and it's easy to see why. Occupying the 103rd floor – that's nine floors higher than 360 CHICAGO – of the 110-story Willis Tower (the third-tallest building in North America after One World Trade Center and Central Park Tower), Skydeck Chicago boasts breathtaking views of the city. Visit on a sunny day and you may be able to see far beyond Chicago's borders to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and other parts of Illinois.

The highlight for most visitors is the Ledge. Extending 4.3 feet beyond the building's exterior, this platform is made entirely of glass – even the floor. Travelers also liked the video screens that show what it would be like to stand 103 floors above other Chicago attractions, including Wrigley Field and Millennium Park . However, long lines quickly form for Skydeck Chicago, so plan on arriving early or purchasing a Chicago CityPASS, which covers expedited admission into the attraction. Or, simply pay extra for expedited entry, which features an express line to the elevators. For the best views, it's advised that you visit just after opening or after sunset. If you'd like to enjoy the sunset from the tower, plan on arriving 30 to 45 minutes before sunset to ensure you have enough time to get through the elevator line and up to the top.

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North Avenue Beach North Avenue Beach free

Located in Lincoln Park directly on Lake Michigan, North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular swimming spots in Chicago.

The sandy beach has volleyball courts, plenty of space for visitors to stretch out and multiple things to do near nearby. Plus, it offers spectacular views of the city skyline. Beachgoers can also find restaurants, sports rental companies, restrooms and more inside a 22,000-square-foot beach house adjacent to the shore.

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The Second City The Second City

If you've seen a sketch comedy show or hilarious movie in the last 40 years, it's likely that someone from The Second City appeared in it. The Second City is one of the world's most iconic improvisational comedy theaters, and it has helped launch the careers of numerous famous comedians, including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. If you're in the mood for a laugh, check out a live show on any night of the week at any number of The Second City's seven stages (which are all housed in its facility at the northwest corner of North Avenue and Wells Street in Old Town). 

Recent reviewers said that everyone in their group could not stop laughing during the shows, which typically last 90 minutes to two hours. Ticket prices vary by the show and date, but run anywhere from $30 to $100.

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The Chicago Theatre The Chicago Theatre

Aside from Cloud Gate and Buckingham Fountain , The Chicago Theatre's red and yellow marquee is perhaps one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Illuminating North State Street at the northern edge of the Loop, The Chicago Theatre first opened its doors in 1921 as an extravagant movie theater and performance venue. Throughout its history, the theater has hosted such big names as Duke Ellington, Diana Ross and Prince, in addition to screening blockbuster flicks. Though the theater fell into disuse in the 1970s, new management and a full renovation in the 1980s helped return the venue to its former glory. Today, the theater is still used for a variety of comedic, theatrical and musical performances.

According to past patrons, the theater's historic appearance enhances the overall experience of catching an event here. Just remember, cameras and video cameras, including those on cell phones, cannot be used during tours or performances.

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Lake Michigan Skyline Cruise in Chicago

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Chicago Children's Museum Chicago Children's Museum

Located at Navy Pier , the Chicago Children's Museum offers temporary and permanent play-based exhibits for babies, toddlers and kids ages 4 and older. Founded in 1982 by the Junior League of Chicago as a response to cuts in arts programming, the museum was originally housed in two hallways of what is now called the Chicago Cultural Center . Today, children can dig for "teeth" and "bones" in "Dinosaur Expedition," climb through tunnels of "Cloud Buster," test their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills in the Tinkering Lab and paint, draw or sew in the art studio.

Recent visitors appreciated the interactive, hands-on exhibits, which they recommend for young children.

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American Writers Museum American Writers Museum

U.S. News Insider Tip: Across the street from the museum, you will find the first Nutella Café, where you can savor French and Italian dishes featuring the heavenly hazelnut spread. The gelato is roll-your-eyes-to-the-back-of-your-head good. – Cortney Fries

The first museum in the United States dedicated to celebrating the diverse voices and influence of American authors, the American Writers Museum is an interactive journey through more than five centuries of written and spoken word. This relatively small museum, which opened in 2017, features thoughtful and reflective exhibits that you can touch, smell, hear and see. 

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DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

U.S. News Insider Tip: If driving in Chicago isn’t your thing, consider taking the No. 55 bus to the museum. The bus drops you off within just a five-minute walk of the museum. – Sarah Estime

The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, named for Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the entrepreneur who is credited with founding Chicago, is a must-visit for anyone looking to learn more about African American history in the city of Chicago and America. It celebrates its 62nd anniversary in 2023, and is full of thought-provoking exhibits, including those that showcase fine art created by influential African American artists and historical materials. Note that visitors hoping to enjoy “The March” exhibit, an immersive experience depicting the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, can go in groups of no more than four at a time.

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Adler Planetarium Adler Planetarium

The first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, the Adler offers unrivaled insights into our solar system. Indeed, "Our Solar System" is one of its permanent exhibits, along with "Mission Moon," "The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time," "Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass" and "Astronomy in Culture," among others. Its facilities include the Doane Observatory, which has the largest telescope available to the public in the Chicago area, through which visitors can glimpse celestial objects trillions of miles away. The Adler also has three full-size theaters – the 3D Universe Theater, the Definiti Space Theater and the Grainger Sky Theater – in which it screens programs like "Destination Solar System," "Planet Nine" and "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure."

Space enthusiasts invariably find the Adler's presentations both informative and entertaining, if somewhat pricey. Most visitors suggest setting aside a few hours to explore the various exhibits and shows. Travelers recommend maximizing your parking expenses by also visiting the Shedd Aquarium or The Field Museum , which also sit on the Museum Campus. Reviewers also appreciated the Lake Michigan and skyline views as seen from the planetarium.

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Offbeat Street Art Tour Offbeat Street Art Tour

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you’re looking for unique souvenirs from your Chicago trip, consider The Goddess & Grocer for its gift baskets. – Sarah Estime

In Chicago, you can find eye-catching street art nearly everywhere. As you sightsee, you’ll be greeted with unique, thought-provoking art on the sides of buildings and underneath bridges. If you’re looking for an experience that walks you through the history and cultural significance of Chicago's street art scene, look no further than the Offbeat Street Art Tour. On this two-hour tour, you’ll discover new artists and learn the inspiration behind their colorful works, along with some interesting neighborhood history. You’ll also be able to take great photos along the way.

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Skydeck Chicago Admission Ticket

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Chicago River 90-Minute Architecture Boat Tour

Chicago River 90-Minute Architecture Boat Tour

(1106 reviews)

from $ 37.00

Chicago River Cocktail Cruise

Chicago River Cocktail Cruise

(21 reviews)

from $ 59.00

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The Green Mill The Green Mill

U.S. News Insider Tip: For visitors looking for a bite to eat after a night of jazz music, head across the street to Damera for an authentic Ethiopian meal, or down the block to the Fat Cat for a burger. – Sarah Estime

Best known for serving gangsters during its speakeasy days, the Green Mill invites travelers to step back in time. The long bar that runs along the club's left side sits in front of smokey mirrors and is peppered with decor reminiscent of the Prohibition era. The entire place is cast in a warm reddish glow while old-time jazz plays from the jukebox. The bar – one of Al Capone’s favorites – has no set menu; order whatever cocktails you like (though the chocolate martinis are delicious). There is also a selection of beer and wine.

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Garfield Park Conservatory Garfield Park Conservatory free

One of the biggest botanical conservatories in the United States, the Garfield Park Conservatory houses thousands of plant species in eight indoor gardens, as well as 10 acres of outdoor gardens.

Each indoor space has a distinct focus. The Aroid House features varieties of its namesake, which are among the most popular houseplants; it also features sculptures by the world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly made specifically for the Aroid House. As its name suggests, the Desert House boasts cacti and succulents, while the Fern Room arranges ferns around an indoor lagoon. The Palm House, the conservatory's largest structure, recreates a tropical landscape complete with more than 70 palm trees. Meanwhile, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children's Garden aims to educate little ones about plants. Horticulture Hall displays a range of flowers and plants and also has tables where visitors can take a seat and have a rest.

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The Richard H. Driehaus Museum The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Occupying a restored mansion built in 1883, the Richard H. Driehaus Museum presents exhibitions relating to architecture, art and design from the 19th century to the present day.

The Nickerson Mansion containing the museum boasts an entrance hall made with so much marble that the building was nicknamed "the Marble Palace." (The museum takes its current name from the philanthropist who founded it in 2003.) Its reception room features intricate woodwork as well as items from the museum's permanent collection, such as a Tiffany Studios lamp that dates back to the early 1900s. Meanwhile, the front parlor displays Renaissance Revival furniture original to the Nickerson Mansion. The dining room, fitted with elaborately carved oak, houses a silver punch bowl first exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Other highlights from the permanent collection include a gem-encrusted inkstand, a ceramic clock, multiple chandeliers, paintings, sculptures and an array of decorative items.

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Chicago Cultural Center Chicago Cultural Center free

The "People’s Palace," a popular destination occupying a full city block in the downtown Loop neighborhood, is a stunning architectural marvel as well as a venue for a great deal of cultural programming, including art exhibits and concerts. Among its features are one of the largest Tiffany stained-glass domes in the world (made with around 30,000 individual pieces of glass) and a marble lobby adorned with mosaics made of gold, glass and precious stones.

Visitors invariably rave about the impressive structure and its elaborate decorations, saying it’s worth it to pop in for free to see the ornate ceiling.

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University of Chicago University of Chicago free

Founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller, the University of Chicago is an urban research university in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood close to Lake Michigan. Currently, it has more than 7,000 undergraduate students and more than 10,000 graduate, professional or other students as well as nearly 2,400 full-time faculty members.

Impressive as those statistics may be, they aren't reasons to visit. But the university's 217-acre campus, which was designated a botanic garden in 1997, and its mixture of English Gothic and modern architecture are. Some of the newer structures were designed by celebrated architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen, while some of the older ones are adorned with gargoyles that date back to the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. The university welcomes visitors to explore its campus, and provides information about its architecture on its website. Those who've visited before routinely call the buildings diverse and beautiful, and many recommend stopping by in the spring when flowers bloom across campus, or fall when amber leaves transform the grounds.

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Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour

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Chicago Skyline Sunset Sail Aboard a Tall Ship

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Chicago Gourmet Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

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The 9 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Chicago

Moving to or within Chicago, Illinois? Chicago is much more than its windy weather, Cubs and Bulls fans and the birthplace of a unique style of pizza. Here are our top 9 neighborhoods to check out before you sign your lease.

visit chicago neighborhoods

Table of contents

How we chose the best neighborhoods in chicago.

Chicago—The City in a Garden. The first things that may come to mind when thinking of this city, and rightfully so, are deep dish pizza and skyscrapers. However, we can't fail to mention the impressive and historic park system that makes the third largest city in the States an urban wonder.

Home to over 2.7 million residents and counting, this trendy, happening city is bursting with rich history and buzzing with culture, art, and some of the best food to grace your plate.

Chicago is one of the best places for city-wide events, festivals, art galleries, and museums. A true melting pot of history and culture, you can find happiness and a place to belong whether you’re a sports fanatic, a foodie, a nature lover, an art or music connoisseur, or all of the above!

Although Chicago definitely earns its world-famous nickname as the ‘Windy City’, the intense and often harsh winter could never freeze the midwestern friendliness that lives in the heart of every Chicagoan. In fact, some say the extreme winters make the warm summer that much better.

In order to help you find a place for you that fits as snuggly as those gloves you’ll be needing in the winter, we’ve compiled a list of the top nine unique, trendy, and lively neighborhoods that make up the heart and soul of Chicago.

What's more, we've built a ranking system for each one to help you make this big decision. We’re ranking:

Atmosphere: nightlife & entertainment, shopping & restaurants, and beauty & parks

Amenities: schools, public transit, and points of interest

Experience: safety, affordability, and walkability

The end result is a prioritized list of the best places to move to in Chicago, Illinois.

Why should you listen to us? We've been building top rental experiences– tall enough to rival the Chicago skyline– across the USA for a long time. We’ve picked up a thing or two along the way!

Top Neighborhoods in Chicago, Ranked

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9. West Loop

Perfect for young professionals looking for a family-friendly, safe, and luxury lifestyle..

West Loop repeatedly ranks as one of Chicago's most walkable neighborhoods. As a centralized location, it’s the perfect place if you want to kick it downtown.

West Loop prides itself on a vintage and industrial aesthetic with contemporary, high-end amenities. Think exposed brick walls and unbeatable views.

Once a former industrial zone, West Loop is now growing at a rapid rate which means construction everywhere—all the time. The upside of all the construction: new restaurants, businesses, and living opportunities popping up like daisies. The downside: constant change, less trees, more concrete, and there is always a road closure somewhere affecting traffic.

West Loop has fantastic public schools and is also home to one of the best high schools in the nation, Whitney Young High School. The schools, along with the pet friendly environment, the bike-ability, and our 5-star Safety rating make this neighborhood a dream for family life.

West Loop is also a foodie's paradise, bursting with eateries that have turned many of the city's old warehouses into the trendiest restaurants in the city. As you’re eating your way through the famous Restaurant Row don’t miss Oriole, Japanese cuisine that dishes out a jaw-dropping 13-course meal.

This neighborhood has easy access to all major highways, great connection to the airport, and 5-Stars on our Public Transit score, making it stress-free to get anywhere you need to go.

With all of the advantages that come with living in West Loop, it's no wonder that it comes in as the most expensive neighborhood in Chicago scoring a 1 in our Affordability category. This hotspot is one of the hippest and safest neighborhoods in Chicago, with endless options for a high-quality life—if you can afford it.

West Loop's Rankings:

Rankings: Weighted rankings were determined by scoring neighborhoods on a scale of 1-5 in the following categories, with 5 being the best.

Affordability: 💸

Beauty & Parks: 🌳 🌳 🌳

Nightlife & Entertainment: 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉

Points of Interest: 📍📍📍📍

Public Transit: 🚃 🚃 🚃 🚃

Safety: ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅

Schools: 🍎 🍎 🍎 🍎 🍎

Shopping & Restaurants: 🛍 🛍 🛍 🛍🛍

Walkability:🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️

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8. Bucktown

Perfect for young professionals looking for a chilled environment close to downtown..

Fun fact: Bucktown gets its name from its original settlers—mainly Polish immigrants who were known to keep goats. ‘Buck’ being a common nickname for goats, led to Bucktown and the name has stuck for over two centuries.

Bucktown is considered an up-and-coming neighborhood. However, in comparison to its counterparts, Bucktown is known as a more intimate, quieter neighborhood removed from the fast pace of downtown—an ideal place to raise a family or actually get some sleep from time to time.

A typical commute to the Loop from Bucktown takes about thirty to forty minutes on public transport and about ten to fifteen minutes by car in those rare traffic-free times. Don’t let all of that peace and quiet fool you, Bucktown still knows how to have a good time. The area scores a five in both Nightlife & Entertainment and a five in Safety—giving you the best of both worlds.

For those who love to be outside, you can enjoy access to Chicago's newest park, The 606, a nearly 3-mile recreational trail following an abandoned, elevated railway line with refreshing greenspace.

Looking to pick up a new hobby? Make sure to pass by the brand new, giant Whirlyball complex and try out Whirly ball—a sport unique to Chicago that involves bumper cars, a ball, and wild time.

If you’re looking for great food, inspiring art, theater, and packed weekends then Bucktown is the perfect place for you.

Bucktown's Rankings:

Affordability: 💸 💸 💸

Points of Interest:📍📍📍

Public Transit: 🚃 🚃 🚃

Schools: 🍎 🍎 🍎 🍎

Shopping & Restaurants: 🛍 🛍 🛍 🛍

Walkability:🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️ 🚶🏽‍♀️

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7. River North & Marina City

Perfect for trendy young professionals who want to be surrounded by world-class art and live in one of the most cultured neighborhoods in chicago..

High style, higher fashion, and sky scraping high rises make River North a cut above the rest. This go-to spot for art and design lovers, is bursting with sleek art galleries and has quietly become home to the largest concentration of art galleries outside of Manhattan.

Situated on the Chicago River, River North and Marina City dominate the cultural and architectural scene with must-see spots, including the House of Blues Chicago—a stunning music hall modeled after the Estavovski Opera House in Prague.

River North offers a more limited access to greenspace compared to some of the other neighborhoods in Chicago. However, for those looking to get their time outside, check out the 3.1 acres of greenspace in Ward Park located along the north branch of the river.

What River North lacks in greenspace, it makes up for in trendy nightlife, cultural activities, and great access to public transportation. Cultured by day, get prepared to turn up at night if you live in River North as it is undoubtedly one of the hottest spots for singles in all of Chicago.

When in River North, make sure to steer clear of the large chain restaurants and take advantage of the local options that live up to the hype. Treat yourself to the classic, original deep-dish pizza from Pizza Uno or some of the best hotdogs in Chicago at Portillo’s.

This neighborhood has everything from the only comedy club in downtown, to museums, to art shows, to arguably the biggest gym in Chicago that takes up two full city blocks! There is something here to tickle everyone´s fancy—believe us, it can get very fancy.

River North & Marina City's Rankings:

Affordability: 💸 💸

Points of Interest: 📍📍📍📍📍

Public Transit: 🚃 🚃 🚃 🚃 🚃

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6. West Town & Wicker Park

Perfect for young professionals looking for an artsy, eclectic neighborhood filled with culture and great art..

The Wicker Park and West Town neighborhoods give a hip, urban-suburban feel with one-of-a-kind boutique shops, record stores, art galleries, book stores, performance venues, and a popping craft cocktail scene.

Here you’ll find people from all walks of life: trendy hipsters, working artists, business professionals—you name it. Wicker Park is an eclectic melting pot of great urban art, both inside the galleries and out on the streets.

Wicker Park is one of the city’s up-and-coming hotspots where you can discover cool taprooms, funky museums, vintage shops, trendy music clubs, and specialty stores.

A diverse mashup of people from all backgrounds provides a fresh background and depth to any lifestyle in the neighborhood.

Looking for a place to expand your cultural horizons? Check out the Ukrainian Village, The Polish Museum of America, or the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, and travel the world without ever leaving your neighborhood.

Wicker Park and West Town have a dynamic restaurant scene perfect for impressing your in-laws when they come to town. Highlights include Bonci for pizza that has locations and origins in Rome, Kazuki for fantastic ramen and Antique Tacos for farmer’s market-style tacos made from scratch.

Here in Wicker Park, you will find a little bit of everything. Even though the most famous Chicago attractions are located outside the neighborhood, Wicker Park is the perfect place to become a local with your own favorite go-to spots amidst the hip global dining options. Enjoy that coveted Brooklyn feel, surrounded by incredible street art and prepare to meet people from all over the world.

West Town & Wicker Park's Rankings:

Beauty & Parks: 🌳 🌳 🌳 🌳

Points of Interest: 📍📍📍

Shopping & Restaurants: 🛍 🛍 🛍 🛍 🛍

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5. Lake View

Perfect for the active, young professionals looking for the best nightlife in the city..

Located on the north side of Chicago, Lake View is a commuter's dream, with a close proximity to downtown and easy public transportation. Lake View is named after the spectacular views of Lake Michigan, just a block away, and offers a classic urban city life with an unbeatable nightlife scene.

There’s something for everyone in Lake View, from the wild drag shows in Boystown to Wrigley´s baseball and country bars—you won’t even have to leave your neighborhood to find a good time.

Speaking of Wrigleyville and baseball, welcome to the home of the Chicago Cubs. Despite having notoriously bad luck, the Cubs draw in a huge and loyal fanbase that really know how to enjoy the ivy-covered walls of the second oldest baseball stadium in the Majors. Be prepared for the neighborhood to transform on game days and you might as well forget about parking!

Make sure to check out Boystown, one of the most energetic and vivacious LGBTQI+ communities in the entire United States. It’s a great destination for anyone who enjoys a high-energy nightlife and is arguably one of the best in Chicago—full of wild, uninhibited fun for everyone.

Even with all the hype, incredibly enough, Lakeview still scores a 4 in Affordability and 5 in Safety! This diverse, welcoming, and active community is great for art, shopping, culture, and tons of local restaurants and bars all within walking distance.

Lakeview has a fresh and laid back vibe with the majority of people being in their 20's and 30's. Come enjoy one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city and join the growing crowd of young professionals, couples, and young families looking for a quality life with plenty of weekend fun.

Lakeview's Rankings:

Affordability: 💸 💸 💸 💸

Nightlife & Entertainment: 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉

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4. Streeterville

Perfect for young professionals looking to live in the middle of all the action of downtown chicago..

Streeterville is a favorite Chicago neighborhood for downtown residents and tourists alike. Bursting with both people and things to do, this bustling and buzzing area has everything—and we mean everything—that the city of Chicago has to offer.

Streeterville is located just north of downtown and borders Lake Michigan on the East. This huge access to the Lake offers spectacular sunrises, refreshing lakeside breezes in the summertime, and Illinois’ most visited attraction—the iconic Navy Pier.

Chicago’s Navy Pier is jam-packed with so much to do that anyone of any age could easily spend the entire day enjoying all of the attractions. Families won’t want to miss the Children’s Museum, the Crystal Gardens, and the spectacular views from the nearly 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel.

Become a local and head over to Winter’s Jazz Club to hear live Jazz music six nights a week. Check out free summer Tuesdays at the Museum of Contemporary Art or challenge your friends to an intense game of indoor Bocce Ball at Pinstripes. The choice is yours.

Although public transport is definitely present in this neighborhood, due to the sheer volume of people moving around, it can get very busy at certain times of the day. So, make sure to strategically schedule those afterwork drinks to avoid the crowds.

Streeterville basically defines downtown urban living and thanks to the close proximity to some of the major employers in Chicago, you will encounter endless high-rise apartments and business professionals getting in on the hustle and bustle of downtown life.

This downtown area is so much more than a concrete jungle—it’s full of several green parks and sandy beaches that give a unique connection to nature in the middle of all the action.

Streeterville's Rankings:

Beauty & Parks: 🌳 🌳 🌳 🌳 🌳

Points of Interest:📍📍📍📍📍

Safety: ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅

Schools: 🍎 🍎 🍎

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3. The Loop

Perfect for young professionals looking for convenience, things to do, and easy access to business opportunities..

Located smack dab in the heart of downtown, the Loop is considered by many as the heartbeat of Chicago. Situated on the Chicago River, this neighborhood sets the standard for convenience and luxury.

With a perfect 5-Star rating in Walkability and Public Transit, The Loop actually gets its name from the elevated ‘L Train’ that literally loops around the boundaries of the neighborhood. We see what they did there.

Living in the Loop gives you unbeatable access to some of Chicago’s best cultural institutions. That, along with the unique public parks, delicious dining, and public transportation to get you anywhere else in the city, makes the Loop ideal for the young professional looking to maximize their free time.

Wander along the-mile-long Chicago Riverwalk, hit up the seasonal festivals and the numerous free events in Daley Plaza, check out the 103rd floor glass viewing Ledge in the Willis Tower, or explore the gorgeous 319 acres of Grant Park- filled with cultural attractions and annual events such as ´The Taste of Chicago´ and ´Lollapalooza´.

Tons of stores and services make it super easy to get whatever you need without having to rely on a car, giving you more time to enjoy those precious evenings after work. You just can’t beat the convenience of the Loop.

The Loop is close to the commercial core of Chicago, the second largest commercial business district in North America—perfect for those young professionals looking to climb the corporate ladder.

This vibrant and fun neighborhood does calm down towards the evening and offers a relaxed environment for those looking to get some rest before getting back on the grind the next morning.

The Loop is one of the most attractive locations in the city for major businesses and visitors alike. There is absolutely a good reason why all tracks in Chicago lead to the Loop.

The Loop's Rankings:

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2. Lincoln Park & Old Town

Perfect for young professionals looking to settle down and start a family with all the benefits of city-living..

Named after the largest park in Chicago, the Lincoln Park neighborhood is considered by many as one of the city's most desirable areas to live. Only a mile from downtown and right on the lakefront, this neighborhood is one of the most popular for a reason.

Location, location, location. The Lincoln Park and Old Town neighborhood offers fantastic access to Lincoln Park, a sprawling 8km of gorgeous greenspace. Spend your time exploring nature or participating in the numerous recreational activities on offer—including beach volleyball, a skate park, archery, a driving range, and so much more.

In addition to the Lake and the park, you’ve got the Chicago History Museum, the Nature Museum, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, North Pond, Green City Farmers Market, North Pond, and the top beaches in Chicago all located right around the Lincoln Park neighborhood… Enough to keep even the most avid explorers plenty busy.

This charming neighborhood is full of personality and scores a perfect 5-star rating in Walkability and Public Transit. Lincoln Park also has fantastic schools and an excellent Safety rating in our books that make it the perfect place to raise kids, without sacrificing the perks of living in the city.

Considered one of the most affluent neighborhoods of Chicago, Lincoln Park definitely lives up to the hype in all it has to offer- including one of Chicago's most iconic restaurants: a Michelin starred restaurant called Boka. Get ready to enjoy a vibrant entertainment and nightlife scene, packed full of options for every taste.

The in-demand location and gorgeous skyline does come with a price tag so keep that in mind as you plan to enjoy all that this hip neighborhood has to offer.

Lincoln Park & Old Town's Rankings:

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1. Near North Side & Gold Coast

Perfect for young professionals looking to live in one of the wealthiest historical neighborhoods in all of the country..

Welcome to Chicago's richest neighborhood; the home of the original playboy mansion and the place to be for the Who's Who of Chicago’s finest.

Located about a mile north of the heart of downtown, this highly desired neighborhood is pretty small, adding to the pride of the lucky few residents who get to call this place home.

The Gold Coast is known for its numerous historical landmarks and legendary mansions. These are just a couple of reasons why the entire Gold Coast District was put on the national register of historic places in 1979.

It’s home to the famous Magnificent Mile, renowned for its luxurious high-end department store shopping and robust restaurant scene.

The Gold Coast and Near North Side area have a nearly perfect score in every category on our list. The tree-lined streets, prestigious houses, and views of the iconic skyline from Oak Street Beach make you feel like you are living in the middle of a fairytale.

Although the Gold Coast is known as one of the most prestigious and affluent neighborhoods in the country, surprisingly, there are still quite a few affordable options that won't break the bank!

So dive into the swanky, magical vibe of the Gold Coast, a neighborhood dripping with charm and full of history with your name on it.

Near North Side & Gold Coast's Rankings:

What You Need to Know Before Moving to Chicago

Time to take a look at the numbers for our top neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois.

First thing's first, affording the Chicago lifestyle isn't cheap as affordability scores a 2.6 overall. So, keep that in mind as you are making those money moves.

However, you definitely get what you're paying for with our Shopping & Restaurants and Nightlife & Entertainment categories, both scoring a dazzling 4.7.

One of the best things about Chicago is the combined high scores of Walkability (4.8) and an impressive 4.7 in Safety. Enjoy the ability to go anywhere and everywhere while feeling safe in comparison to some other big cities in the States.

Public Transit, Beauty & Parks, Points of Interest, and Schools all score higher than a 4, contributing to the fantastic quality of life that Chicago brings to your table. Overall, Chicago comes in at an impressive 41/50 in our best neighborhoods to live in the USA ranking.

If you're looking for a bustling metropolis with character, art, and world-class parks, then join the ranks of the young professionals flocking to take advantage of all that Chicago has to offer.

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On the Ground: Chicago Neighborhoods at a Glance

As we near TCG’s 2024 national conference in Chicago, local critic and journalist Emily McClanathan offers an overview of the diverse offerings of Chicago’s many neighborhoods.

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One of the joys of writing about theatre in Chicago is getting to explore different neighborhoods in this city of nearly 2.7 million people. Chicago’s 77 municipally designated community areas—many of which are subdivided into smaller, unofficial neighborhoods—reflect a great diversity of cultures, architectural styles, cuisines, and recreational options.

As the city prepares to welcome theatre practitioners from across the country for TCG’s 33rd National Conference , presented in association with the League of Chicago Theatres June 20-22, American Theatre has created this neighborhood guide. With a mix of input from professionals across the city and suburbs as well as my own tips as a local critic, this guide offers an introductory rundown of the city’s extensive theatre scene alongside other food and entertainment options for those venturing around Chicago during the sprawling three-day conference.

The Loop & Near North

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Get to know the theatres

Stroll through Chicago’s downtown—known as the Loop due to the El trains that circle it—and you’ll glimpse the marquees of historic theatres such as the Auditorium (opened in 1889), CIBC (1906), James M. Nederlander (1926), and Cadillac Palace (1926). At these venues, as well as the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Broadway in Chicago presents pre-Broadway productions, national tours, and the occasional long-running show such as Hamilton or Wicked .

Also in the Loop is the Goodman Theatre , which will host conference programming on June 20. Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit theatre, the Goodman is known for premiering works by playwrights such as Rebecca Gilman, David Mamet, August Wilson, and Mary Zimmerman. Its 2023 revival of The Who’s Tommy opened on Broadway in March 2024.

Keep going north and you’ll find the host venue for the conference’s opening plenary, Chicago Shakespeare Theater , a three-venue complex with a stunning skyline view from its location on Navy Pier, the Midwest’s most visited tourist attraction. Further north still is the Second City comedy club, a staple of the Old Town neighborhood, along with A Red Orchid Theatre , a scrappy storefront company that recently welcomed back co-founding ensemble member Michael Shannon to star in the world premiere of Levi Holloway’s Turret . The Lincoln Park neighborhood is home to Steppenwolf Theatre , the company that has become the epitome of Chicago’s ensemble ethos since it was founded in 1974 by Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry, and Gary Sinise. Steppenwolf will host a number of conference sessions on Friday, June 21.

Get to know the neighborhoods

“I like to think that the neighborhood around Steppenwolf is an eclectic collision of energizing city and timeless neighborhood,” said Morgan Eklund, rental and events manager at Steppenwolf. “It feels very urban, but at the same time there are these beautiful, shaded neighborhood streets that sprawl out from major intersections.”

Nearby attractions include the Chicago History Museum , improv at iO Theater , Green City Market , Lincoln Park Zoo , and live music at the Salt Shed . For dining, Eklund recommends the Italian restaurant Vinci : “The place is warm and rustic and has this very classic old Chicago vibe. Their tiramisu is also pure bliss.” Lauren Katz, Steppenwolf’s education and engagement producer, names Pasta Palazzo and Cedar Palace as personal favorites.

The Loop also boasts a wealth of attractions for those interested in art forms beyond theatre, such as the American Writers Museum , Art Institute of Chicago , Chicago Cultural Center , Chicago Symphony Orchestra , Fine Arts Building , Grant Park Music Festival , Harold Washington Library Center , Harris Theater for Music and Dance , Joffrey Ballet , and Lyric Opera of Chicago . Nearby independent bookstores include after-words , Exile in Bookville , Sandmeyer’s Bookstore , and Semicolon Books .

Dining options in the Loop are equally wide-ranging. Revival Food Hall is a great pick on weekdays, while the 126-year-old Berghoff offers a taste of Chicago history. For a literal hidden gem, try Oasis Cafe , a Mediterranean restaurant tucked away in the back of a store on Wabash Avenue’s Jewelers Row. Other affordable but tasty dine-in restaurants include Nando’s and Flat Top Grill . Eleven City Diner and Wildberry Café have delicious brunch food, but be prepared to wait for a table.

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Chicago’s South Side is home to storied institutions and some of the city’s newest theatres. Nestled on the University of Chicago’s picturesque Hyde Park campus, Court Theatre is best known for its interpretations of classic texts. Founded in 1955, it became the sixth Chicago theatre to win the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2022. Court will host a number of conference sessions on Sat., June 22, including a Theatre Futures panel discussion looking at a brighter future for theatre, hosted by American Theatre .

Currently based just a few blocks away from Court, Definition Theatre was founded in 2012 by Tyrone Phillips and Julian Parker, graduates of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Modeled on the ensemble approach of Chicago’s storefront theatres, Definition “celebrates stories created with, inspired by, and intended for people and communities of color,” according to its website. The company is currently building a permanent theatre and community center in the neighborhood of Woodlawn, just south of Hyde Park.

Even newer to the area is Perceptions Theatre , founded in 2020 by artistic director Myesha-Tiara and executive director Jerluane “Jae” Jenkins. Located in the South Shore neighborhood, Perceptions states that its mission is “to strengthen the accessibility of theatre to the African American/Black communities of South Shore and to be an economic and artistic resource for BIPOC artists.” In 2023, Chicago magazine named Perceptions the “Best Storefront Theater on a Mission.”

“Hyde Park, like most of the neighborhoods in Chicago, is a small town,” said Gabrielle Randle-Bent, associate artistic director at Court Theatre. “It is a college town, and it is the most alive place I have ever lived.”

For dining in the neighborhood, she recommends Virtue Restaurant & Bar (“the go to”), Roux (“an amazing brunch spot”), Rajun Cajun , and Café 53 (“staples”). Her favorite coffee shop is Carver 47 in North Kenwood.

Randle-Bent enjoys shopping at the Silver Room and spending time at Promontory Point , a peninsula that extends into Lake Michigan and was designated a Chicago landmark in 2023. Another of her favorite restaurants is Pearl’s Place in the Bronzeville neighborhood. She also shared that spent Mother’s Day at the Japanese Garden in Jackson Park, and “wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate anywhere else.”

Personally, I look forward to visiting Call & Response the next time I’m in Hyde Park. The Black woman-owned bookstore opened in May 2024 and hosts author talks, book clubs, trivia nights, and children’s story times.

When asked to describe South Shore, Perceptions Theatre artistic director Myesha-Tiara said it is a friendly, walkable neighborhood with a strong sense of community. “You get to experience a lot of the African American culture in the area as well,” she added. She also enjoys South Shore’s proximity to Lake Michigan and the beautiful artwork painted on many buildings.

For dining, Myesha-Tiara recommends Maxwell Street Grill , L&G Family Restaurant , One Stop Jamaica Jerk , and the Retro Grill Stony Island . Two of her favorite coffee shops are Bridgeport Coffeehouse and Robust Coffee Lounge , and her tips for navigating the area are CTA buses and Metra trains.

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Located in the West Loop, Chicago Children’s Theatre has been a family favorite since 2005. With 22 world premieres in its production history, the theatre has gained a national reputation for new work. Also founded in 2005, UrbanTheater Company describes itself as “founded by, led by, and for people of color in order to preserve the Puerto Rican and Humboldt Park community voice.” Another leading Latino company, Aguijón Theater , produces Spanish-language and bilingual works in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. (Visit the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance to learn about the city’s other Latine theatres, some of which are itinerant companies.)

In the Wicker Park neighborhood, the Den Theatre , home to a handful of conference sessions on Friday, June 21, presents comedy and cabaret on its mainstage while its four black box spaces host productions by resident companies About Face , the Artistic Home , First Floor , and Haven . Just down the road, the 106-year-old Chopin Theatre presents its own Eastern and Central European productions and rents its two stages to companies such as the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival , Hell in a Handbag Productions , and Kokandy Productions .

North Lawndale is now home to Theatre Y , a former Lincoln Square company that recently relocated to the far west neighborhood. In collaboration with local artists, Theatre Y holds full-length productions, salon-type showcases, and a youth program in its four-story venue. Little Carl , Theatre Y’s original work of puppet theatre about gun violence, has been performed across Chicago and was developed with youth from Chicago’s west side, North Lawndale local Marvin Tate, puppetry artisan Michael Montenegro, and the Firehouse Community Arts Center.

When I have extra time before a show at the Den or the Chopin, I like to stop by Myopic Books to browse its three floors of used books, or sip a cup of tea while surrounded by bookish folks at Volumes Bookcafe . Falafel & Grill is a good pick for a hearty pre-show meal. I haven’t had a chance to try Iron Age Korean Steak House yet, but I regret that fact every time I catch a whiff of its food while walking by.

I reached out to three leaders from UrbanTheater Company—Ivan Vega (co-founder and executive director), Miranda Gonzalez (artistic director), and Tony Bruno (company manager)—for their perspectives on the neighborhood of Humboldt Park.

“Humboldt Park is the true expression of Puerto Rican-ness, best expressed with the concept of magic urbanism,” they wrote. “The community is renowned for its vibrant Puerto Rican history and culture, celebrated through parades, music festivals, delicious food, vivid public art and murals, and cultural landmarks like the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and the iconic Flags of Steel that mark the entry points to Paseo Boricua. Humboldt Park uniquely integrates cultural symbols, community practices, and traditional values into the very fabric of the neighborhood.”

For dining, they recommend Café Colao , Chucherías Tropical Creations , Janellie’s Kitchen , Papa’s Cache Sabroso , Bianca’s Burgers , Nellie’s Restaurant , La Bruquena , La Sandwichera Café , and Guerrero’s Tacos & Pizza . Other favorite local activities include walking or running in Humboldt Park , visiting La Casita de Don Pedro , and taking a walking tour of the neighborhood’s murals.

Far North & Northwest

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In an admittedly arbitrary designation for the sake of consolidation for this guide, the far north theatre scene can be said to begin with the Belmont Theater District , a group of theatres clustered around the Lakeview neighborhood. These include storefront companies such as Remy Bumppo , Shattered Globe , and Theater Wit , the midsize Mercury Theater , and the sci-fi and fantasy-themed Otherworld Theatre .

Further north in Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville, and Rogers Park, there is an abundance of small to midsize theatres: Black Ensemble , City Lit , the Edge , the Factory , Lifeline , Raven , Redtwist , Rivendell , and Steep , among others. Recent additions to the area include Bramble Theatre Company ’s multi-venue performance center and the Understudy , a theatre-themed bookstore and coffeeshop that presents play readings, author talks, and staged productions. Beyond the city limits, the extensive northern suburbs theatre scene includes Theo Ubique in Evanston, Northshore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Uptown Music Theater in Highland Park, and Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

A staple of its northwest neighborhood, Albany Park Theater Project develops new works based on true stories of immigrants, Chicago teens, people living in poverty, and others whose voices lack representation onstage. With guidance from an adult artistic team, an ensemble of teens—primarily people of color from immigrant families—stars in these original productions, which often sell out and receive rave reviews.

Albany Park is one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods, home to generations of immigrants from around the world. Maidenwena Alba, Carlos DeSantiago, Nely Gonzalez, and Maggie Popadiak—four staff members at Albany Park Theater Project who also grew up in the company’s youth ensemble—share what makes the neighborhood so special. “One of my favorite things is the diversity of the community and how close everything is,” said DeSantiago. “I can literally walk down the street, and I pass a Mexican restaurant, a Filipino restaurant, and a Middle Eastern restaurant.”

Their favorite local restaurants include Mar Rojo (Mexican seafood), Tikal Chapin (Guatemalan), LD Pho (Vietnamese), La Michoacana (dessert shop with several locations), Lawrence Fish Market (cash-only sushi shop), Lindo Michoacán (Mexican restaurant inside a supermarket), Kabobi (Persian and Mediterranean), Noon O Kabab (Persian), and Salam (Middle Eastern). Popadiak also loves the tamales that two street vendors named Glenda and Raul sell outside of Chicago Produce grocery store. For other things to do in this walkable neighborhood, the APTP staff recommend exploring the various offerings of street vendors and relaxing in the many local parks. Surge Billiards and Bokeh cocktail lounge are also popular attractions.

Writers Theatre executive assistant Chris Sciortino gives his perspective on the northern suburb of Glencoe: “The best part of Glencoe is the small-town, communal energy that you experience while only being a 30-minute train ride from downtown Chicago. There is a culture of care and support within the community that makes it unlike any place I’ve worked before.”

Sciortino recommends Honey Butter Fried Chicken , a new addition to the Glencoe dining scene that “totally stole my heart.” “They have a mac and cheese with buffalo chicken that is to die for,” he says. “ Foodstuffs and Hometown are my favorite places to get a lighter meal, coffee, smoothie, or sweet treat. I recommend the Monster Bites at Foodstuffs or the Shookies at Hometown.”

One guide simply cannot do justice to the breadth and depth of Chicago’s theatre scene and the distinctive character of each neighborhood that theatremakers call home. To learn more, visit the League of Chicago Theatres’ website and its sortable list of 200+ member theatres. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Chicago or a local looking for a unique experience, let a trip to the theatre be your excuse to explore a new neighborhood.

Emily McClanathan (she/her) is a Chicago-based writer whose work has appeared in the  Chicago Tribune ,  Chicago Reader , Playbill, TheaterMania, Theatrely, and more. She is a 2020 National Critics Institute Fellow.

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Crime and Public Safety | 22-year-old woman fatally wounded Wednesday…

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Crime and Public Safety

Crime and public safety | 22-year-old woman fatally wounded wednesday night in double shooting in bronzeville.

visit chicago neighborhoods

Officers responded to a call of shots fired Wednesday night on the South Side and found two women wounded, one fatally, in the Bronzeville neighborhood, Chicago police said.

Shortly after 10 p.m., officers discovered two women wounded in the 600 block of East 31st Street. A 22-year-old woman suffered  three gunshot wounds to the chest, and was taken in critical condition to Insight Hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.

A 20-year-old woman was wounded to the left thigh and taken to UChicago Medicine where she was listed in good condition.

No one was in custody, and detectives were investigating.

More in Crime and Public Safety

2 fatally wounded at 31st Street Beach overnight during exchange of gunfire; several in custody

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Lake County News-Sun | Robert Crimo III expected to change not guilty plea in Highland Park July 4 mass shooting

Jai'Mani Amir Rivera was shot about 3 p.m. Tuesday in the 2300 block of West Jackson Boulevard on the Near West Side.

Crime and Public Safety | Person in custody in killing of 7-year-old Jai’Mani Amir Rivera, police say

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