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The Best Neighborhoods in Chicago

The Best Neighborhoods in Chicago

Find the best place to call home in the Windy City.

Chicago is known for being home to a number of Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries, including finance, retail, transportation and food processing. It also has world-class hospitals and universities, a robust tech scene and several welcoming start-up hubs and incubators. And, of course, a handful of great Chicago neighborhoods.

The best neighborhoods in Chicago feature a welcoming atmosphere, alongside award-winning restaurants and bars, coffee shops and independent businesses whose shopkeeper’s will ask you how you’re doing when you stop in. The difficult decision isn’t whether to move to Chicago. The hard part is deciding in which neighborhood to move.

Here are 10 of the best neighborhoods in Chicago to consider.

Andersonville, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Some people might find A’ville, as Andersonville is sometimes referred to, a bit too north for their taste and that’s fine with residents who live along tree-lined streets and frequent their local indie coffee shop, gift and home décor boutiques and restaurants along Clark Street.

It’s a popular area among LGBTQ residents, too. The current owners of Women and Children’s First bookstore, which has been around since 1979 and at this Andersonville location since 1990, consider themselves intersectional trans-inclusive feminists. They curate their bookshelves of more than 20,000 books on feminism, books by and about women, children’s books and LGBTQIA+ literature.

Kenwood, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Located on the South Side and just north of Hyde Park, Kenwood was once home to Muddy Waters, credited to be among the Chicago Blues pioneers, as well as Louis Sullivan, known as one of America’s greatest architects. The tree-lined streets of Kenwood are lined with 19th-century mansions and architecturally-significant apartment buildings.

The Burnham Nature Sanctuary is just one of the many reasons to escape to the outdoors within the 100-acre urban wilderness that makes up the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. Then, check out Goree Cuisine for a Sengalese meal before popping into Carver 47 Cafe half a block west for a drink made from ingredients from their in-house garden.

Lakeview, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Lakeview is all over the board when it comes to neighborhood personalities. At one point, Wrigleyville seemed to be the place where every college graduate decided to move so they could be closer to cheering their beloved Cubbies. It still attracts a younger crowd but there are plenty of seasoned residents who’ve learned to live with the crowded bars and congested streets whenever a baseball game is in play.

Just west of Wrigleyville is more subdued. The stroller brigades take residence so expect to see strollers parked outside popular brunch hangouts or the kid-friendly boutiques that line Southport Avenue.

Then there’s Lakeview East, also known as Boystown since it’s a popular LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood and where Pride Parade and the annual Halsted Street Market Days takes place. The recent controversy over the Boystown name resulted in a new name for the area: Northalsted. The jury is out whether that name will stick.

Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

The Lincoln Park neighborhood is home to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Park, a 1,208-acre park situation along Lake Michigan. It’s a tony neighborhood filled with million-dollar single-family homes along tree-lined streets. Thanks to its close proximity to Lake Michigan, it’s also home to several high-rise and low-rise apartments that range in rental rates.

Locals love strolling along the South Pond, which some call the Lincoln Park Lagoon, or visiting the animals in the free Lincoln Park Zoo. Shoppers who love independent stores will appreciate the cute indie shops along Armitage Avenue as well as a mix of locals and chains along Clark Street near Diversey.

Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

For those who want more of a family community feel, Lincoln Square is loaded with single-family homes, condos and apartment buildings and families with kids who are attending local public and private schools. This is very much a community at heart.

Neighbors and families often meet up at Welles Park to watch Little League games and many a new parent has brought their wee one to Wiggleworm classes at Old Town School of Folk Music just south of the park.

Logan Square, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes

What was once a quiet neighborhood with a large immigrant population has become more gentrified as young and hip Chicagoans who don’t want to pay the higher rental rates in Wicker Park or Bucktown head farther north to Logan Square.

Having a few stops along the Blue Line and easy access to both Milwaukee Avenue, which runs through Logan Square, and the Kennedy Expressway makes it convenient to live here and get around other parts of the city relatively quickly.

Locals love having their own farmers market along Logan Boulevard and tons of shops along Milwaukee Avenue, including a food co-op, boxing gym, tons of independent restaurants, bars and coffee shops, as well as their own movie theater.

Near South Side, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

The Near South Side includes the South Loop, Printers Row and Chinatown. Within walking distance to the Loop and Lake Michigan, it’s popular among both professionals who live in the business district and families who love the convenience of the location since it also includes the Museum Campus and a healthy dose of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

The South Loop is filled with mostly high-rise apartments and condo buildings. Printers Row, formerly part of the printing and publishing industry, is comprised of industrial-era brick buildings that have been converted into residential lofts. Chinatown has a mix of apartment buildings and single-family homes — the large Asian population that lives in this community appreciates having easy and walking access to restaurants and grocery shops stocking sizable selections of Asian sauces, meats, seafood, vegetables and more.

South Shore, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

The South Shore is one of Chicago’s 77 defined community areas which includes several neighborhoods within the area. It lines Lake Michigan, and residents love the easy access to Rainbow Beach, as well as the South Shore Cultural Center, a 65-acre park with a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, culinary center, nature center and a variety of cultural programming and classes.

The Japanese Garden within Jackson Park is another oasis within this city. Since the Stony Island Arts Bank re-opened as an art gallery, media archive, gorgeous library and community center in 2015, it’s quickly become not only a gathering space for the community but a place for scholars, artists and researchers to engage with the rich history of the South Side.

West Loop, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

As the name implies, West Loop is west of the Loop, and what was once an industrial meatpacking district has become one of the hottest and most expensive parts of the city. Developers razed those warehouses and replaced them with shiny new luxury condo and apartment complexes. Even Harpo Studios, which used to air the Oprah Winfrey Show, was demolished to make way for the new McDonald’s corporate headquarters.

It took some time for businesses to follow but once people started filling in those tall buildings, and corporations like McDonald’s Corporate and Google Chicago Headquarters moved in, daycare centers, puppy boutiques, florists and bike shops starting filling in those first-floor retail spaces. Randolph Street quickly became known as Restaurant Row with its high-end restaurants and bars.

This is a busy neighborhood so if you like the hustle and bustle of city living, West Loop might be a good fit for you.

Wicker Park, Chicago, IL

Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

As one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago, Wicker Park is known for its quirky shops and equally quirky residents. At the heart of Wicker Park is the Flat Iron Arts Building, which houses artist studios, tattoo parlors, galleries, creative businesses and restaurants. While the building is open daily to the public, the first Friday of the month is when the artists open their doors and invite the community in to see their work.

The area has become more gentrified and the low rents that once attracted the artist community have given way to larger condo buildings. Night and day, the area is bustling with activity, whether it’s locals heading to Quimby’s Bookstore for the latest ‘zine or meeting up with friends over coffee at Wormhole.

The best Chicago neighborhood: Yours

Chicago may have 77 community areas with unique neighborhoods within them, and choosing the best Chicago neighborhood can be hard. The best part of living in Chicago is no matter where you live, the entire city is accessible to you to have fun and explore.

Published at Wed, 11 Nov 2020 14:06:01 +0000

The Best Neighborhoods in Austin

Bursting at the seams with breakfast tacos, live music, high-tech jobs and vibrant youth culture, Austin has been topping best-of lists for decades.

While old-timers strive to “keep it weird,” the constant influx of new residents has introduced a flourishing restaurant, bar and hospitality element to many of the best neighborhoods in Austin.

In a place known for friendliness and fun, no matter where you land, you’re sure to find your groove. There really isn’t a bad part of town, which can make it hard to choose a neighborhood. Never fear, the following list will help you find your feet in this quirky capital.

crestview austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Midtown Commons at Crestview Station

Crestview is known for being family-friendly. It’s a quaint older neighborhood filled with bungalows and ranch-style homes boasting tidy, well-kept yards. The tight-knit district enjoys proximity to community gardens, parks and top-rated schools.

In recent years, younger professionals have moved into the area, and a flurry of hip eateries and boutique retail have popped up in response. The local dive bar Lala’s Little Nugget is a crowd-pleaser, and an enclave of Asian groceries and restaurants infuse some delicious diversity along Lamar. With a combination of old and new housing, there is something in Crestview for everyone.

downtown austin

The flashiest area code in town by far, this neighborhood is immediately recognizable for its towering glass high rises. Vibrating with life day and night, this is truly the epicenter of the city. Unlike downtowns in neighboring big cities, Austin’s downtown offers a healthy work/life balance.

This neighborhood is nestled against Ladybird Lake and the greenbelt, so fresh air and nature are never far away. You’re also within walking distance to live music at Moody Theater and a luxury spa day at Milk & Honey. The price tag is steep, but the payoff is worth it for singles and professionals who want to be where the action is.

hyde park austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Su Casa Apartments

Central to everything, Hyde Park is an Austin original. This enclave is hands-down the most well-preserved historic neighborhood in town and features a stunning collection of Victorian homes, mid-century bungalows and clapboard carriage houses.

The area offers chic and practical shopping and dining, including upscale Italian at Asti and local cheese from Antonelli’s. A mix of families and students keep Hyde Park diverse, and the small-town feel makes it one of the most sought-after ZIP codes.

mueller austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Mosaic at Mueller

The former home of the original Austin airport, Mueller is now the largest mixed-use development in the city. With an Alamo Theater within walking distance from kiddo paradise The Exploratorium, this area is ideal for singles, families, professionals and even seniors.

With ample park space, a farmer’s market and multiple public pools, this neighborhood is as engaging as it is convenient. You’ll find every type of housing at every price point.

north loop austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Flora Apartments

A quaint neighborhood brimming with vintage homes from the 1950s, North Loop is home to a nice slice of old Austin and a meaty helping of newcomers, too. A thriving local business scene is central to the area, with Epoch Coffeehouse and The Parlor pizzeria at its core.

Local bars and restaurants run the gamut from high-end to lowbrow, and there are plenty of boutique shops. Proximity to the University of Texas at Austin makes the neighborhood attractive to students, but the safety and local amenities also draw families and young professionals.

north university austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Venue on Guadalupe

Also known as North Campus, North University is quieter and more diverse than UT’s rowdy West Campus with its Greek societies. This neighborhood is extremely bike-friendly. And, its tree-lined streets are home to a mix of students, faculty, young professionals, families and retirees.

Local dining options range from funky hometown favorites like Torchy’s Tacos and Thundercloud Subs to eclectic Ethiopian and Japanese options. Housing ranges from duplexes to upscale condos, making this a comfortable landing spot for anyone looking to call Austin home.

riverside austin tx

Source: Rent.com / The Breakers on the Lake

This community has affordable neighborhoods with easy access to Downtown. Just south of the river, Riverside features a mix of housing and wide-ranging demographics. Many young professionals have moved into the new, modern riverfront condos, while students live in large apartment complexes further east.

Expect a blend of ethnic and budget shopping, along with bars, clubs and riverfront outdoor activities like stand-up paddleboarding and boating. Emos host raucous live indoor shows and the boardwalk trail at Ladybird Lake gives a unique vantage point of Downtown.

south lamar austin tx

Source: Rent.com / Thornton Flats

Trendy, hip and happening, South Lamar was once a humdrum part of town known best for used car lots. Now, it’s one of the most vibrant parts of the city, where singles, artists and creatives flock for inspiration, recreation and affordable living.

From two-stepping at the Broken Spoke to award-winning sushi at Uchi, there’s plenty for everyone here. If you don’t mind the traffic and noise, South Lamar serves up live music, bars, boutiques and local food better than anywhere else in town.

westgate austin tx

Source: Rent.com / 4704 Sunset Trail

Westgate is a small, classic Austin neighborhood that offers diversity, green space and plenty of shopping. This little pocket of the city is home to a community of families and empty-nesters.

With modest and rustic homes sitting beneath ancient oak trees, the proximity to schools, a sports complex and amenities galore attract residents who want access to the city without the noise and crowds. Meanwhile, foodies flock to Central Market, and Cavender’s Boot is fun to visit, even if you’re not in the market for cowboy duds.

zilker austin tx

In the rolling hills of Austin, just outside of the hustle and bustle of the nearby park of the same name, Zilker is an enclave of quiet and calm encased in greenspace.

While shopping, nightlife and dining are all a stone’s throw away, this community also attracts residents who love Barton Springs Pool, hiking the greenbelt and enjoying the nearby bike trails. Anyone who can afford the entry price is lucky to live in this verdant neighborhood in the hills.

Find the best Austin neighborhood for you

Despite a reputation as a party town, Austin is a complex city filled with every type of neighborhood you could imagine. Finding the right fit for you may take a bit of research, but whether you’re seeking a peaceful hideaway or a hipster hotspot, you can find it in the capital of Texas.

Published at Tue, 10 Nov 2020 21:52:41 +0000