Top 20 Chicago Neighborhoods to Explore

Chicago, the windy city, is one of America’s greatest hubs for innovation. It will surprise you with a blend of history, architecture, culture, and entrepreneurial spirit. A thriving economy and home to world-class museums and institutions such as Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and The Loop make this city so beautiful place to live or visit. The city is also famous for its neighborhoods with fascinating community feels and buildings that are architectural wonders. This goes back in history and continues to shape its today. This list of Chicago neighborhoods is a glimpse into this wonderful community life.

Hyde Park 

Hyde Park is an up-and-coming district where you’ll have tons of stuff to do and enjoy yourself. With lots of beautiful restaurants, killer food, shopping, nightlife, and outdoor spaces, there’s a lot of places to visit in the Hyde Park district. 

Jazz singing, learning with your kids, and a definitive French restaurant. This area is a slice of New York in Chicago. Or maybe it’s a slice of Paris. Regardless of which way you think of it, there’s an international feel to it which makes for fun things to do around town. 

By Urbanrules, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Andersonville is located about 10 minutes north of the Loop and three miles west of Wrigley Field on the Brown Line. It’s a charming and historically significant part of town and it’s considered one of the better up-and-coming Chicago neighborhoods with Tanoshii by its side.  

Founded in 1870 by Swedish immigrants, Andersonville has established its own funky personality. Home to Swedish shops, farmer’s markets, restaurants, and cafes, this district is also home to Andersonville Brewing Company, Town Hall Pub, and the now famous Victory Garden Theater.  

Welcome to Andersonville Sign.jpg
By Charles Carper, CC BY 2.0, Link

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If you look at a map of Chicago’s neighborhoods, Pilsen looks like an “L” turned on its side. It runs southwest to northeast from the Union Stockyard to Division Street in Little Village. Along the way, it crosses the Chicago River and angles west with Upper New York Avenue serving as its backbone. 

Built from scratch as part of several waves of immigration with each wave building upon what was there before, Pilsen has a rich history filled with industrial and artistic accomplishments. Much of this history is still being made today in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with visitors coming in by the day. Trust us when we sat this is one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago. 

Pilsen Historic District Chicago IL.jpg
By Andrew Jameson, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Logan Square 

Logan Square is one of the most interesting Chicago neighborhoods. It holds its own boundaries while being a part of more than one community. Much like Logan, this neighborhood has quintessential Chicago character: diverse, beautiful, and full of different people who are proud to call it their home. 

Logan Square conjures up images of shiny new coffee shops and restaurants and killer food. However, it’s ironic that a neighborhood that is known as Logan Square typically doesn’t include many square blocks.  

The amount of asphalt here is indefensible (34670702672).jpg
By Steven Vance, CC BY 2.0, Link

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Wrigleyville adores its baseball team with a fervor second only to Cubs fans. Along Waveland Avenue, the main thoroughfare of Wrigleyville, the blue-green lights are ablaze year-round at bars and restaurants with Cubs themed names and decor. 

Wrigleyville is an interesting neighborhood because it caters to both tourists and locals. There are a variety of pubs, restaurants, and shops that stay open late. There’s also a community feel here as well as friendly neighbors. The true locals are few and far between, but the population is stable thanks to the condo developments that keep springing up. 

Wrigleyville, Chicago, Illinois

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West Loop

The West Loop is one of the fastest growing and best neighborhoods in Chicago and the best tech hub. You might have heard stories about the West Loop, a great little locality to live and work. If you have been to the West Loop, you probably spent an afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center or Giordano’s for deep dishes. 

The West Loop is a cultural hub and is home to many theaters like Steppenwolf, the best comedy clubs like Second City, and comedy stores like Annoyance Theatre. But there’s a lot more to the West Loop than pasta for dinner and improv for laughs. 

West Loop (30274250246).jpg
By Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, Link

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Southport Corridor 

The Southport community is one of the most historic and beautiful on the South Side. It’s convenient to the Lake and downtown by way of the Metra Electric Line, but it’s still far enough from the hustle and bustle of city life. The proximity to beautiful beaches is a big draw for residents who enjoy running along Lake Michigan or riding bicycles on trails. 

The Southport neighborhood is a beautiful place for families. Its location along Lake Michigan provides views of the lake and harbor, a sandy beach with concession stands, and a boat launch. It also is home to Lincoln Park Zoo’s 23-acre Desert Dome, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  

20021200 07 CTA Brown Line @ Southport Ave.jpg
By David Wilson, CC BY 2.0, Link

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Bronzeville is one of the 77 officially designated community areas of Chicago. It is part of the Golden Corridor, which runs from the shore of Lake Michigan through downtown Chicago and onward south to University Park and Hyde Park. 

The neighborhood is named after the Bronzeville artistic and business community that settled here. It is composed of two distinct gores, which were commonly referred to together as Bronzeville: Washington Park and the Douglas Community Area. 

20100409 Bronzeville Childrens Museum.jpg
By Zol87, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

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Wicker Park 

Some people still consider Wicker Park to be a hipster haven. It was the first Chicago neighborhood to undergo gentrification, and have young urban professionals settling down and creating their own families. 

The New York Times named it the ‘hippest neighborhood on earth’ in 2004, and in recent years, several Chicago neighborhoods surrounding the former eastern edge of Polish Downtown now have encroaching clusters of condos, construction sites, trendy restaurants, killer food, and hip bars. 

Wicker Park, Chicago.jpg
By Ben Collins-Sussman, CC BY 2.0, Link

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Boystown is the only predominantly gay neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, centered at the intersection of Maplewood and Halsted Street, along with surrounding areas, in Lakeview. It was founded in the early 1970s as a small enclave for gay men (particularly those not from Chicago) living in nearby Lincoln Park or Oakland near DePaul University who wanted to live closer to where they worked. 

Halloween Parade in Boystown, Chicago 2012 IMG_3530

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Located north of the Chicago River, in the area known as Little Italy, Bridgeport is well known for its historically Italian roots. This neighborhood has seen many changes throughout the years but remains a beautiful area to live and work. 

It originally was known as Gowrie Creek Valley and was settled in 1833. The name was for a time changed to Blue Island Avenue but was changed to its present name to honor Jacob Levi Wardle (1816 1884), an English immigrant and important resident. 

Art in Bridgeport

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Old Town 

Old Town Historic District is the oldest, most architecturally beautiful part of the city. Chicago moved from a frontier town to a classical city between 1830 and 1860 and the character of its historic heart reflects that transition in a real way. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Old Town neighborhood. If you are in search of a cozy, yet beautiful neighborhood, then look no further. This neighborhood is the perfect mix of nightlife and old-fashioned cafes.  

Old Town Arch

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Edgewater, the city’s most unique district, is located just north of Andersonville and Lincoln Square. Edgewater still has that classic, generational neighborhood feeling — it has a strong sense of community.  

With approximately 3,500 residents, this leafy neighborhood is dominated by single-family homes with a handful of condos and a large number of renters and young families.  

Edgewater is bordered on two sides by the Chicago River; Clybourn to the North, Devon on the West. A notable attraction in this dainty locality is the Breakers.  

Edgewater, Chicago, IL, USA - panoramio.jpg
By bogdanstepniak, CC BY 3.0, Link

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Ravenswood is a trendy and fascinating district with a lot of cool features. It’s close to the city but staying true to its old charm that’s been there for many years. It has history and culture just waiting to be explored. 

It’s nestled just north of downtown Chicago and home to the historic Ravenswood Gardens. This neighborhood began as an artist’s haven back in the late 1800s. The two biggest draws to Ravenswood are the architecture of its gorgeous buildings and some great new restaurants. 

Ravenswood Manor Historic District 1.JPG
By Thshriver, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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The Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago is one of the largest in the mid-west. Restaurants, shops, and banks line Wentworth Avenue, forming a traditional Chinese style main street. Chinatown is experiencing a building boom unlike any other part of the city. It is the largest Chinatown in the US outside of San Francisco and has become a real attraction for visitors who want to try authentic Chinese cuisine or buy some unusual merchandise, like tea or pottery. 

By Yinan Chen, Public Domain, Link

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River North 

River North is no longer the little kid on the block. Due to its beautiful location between the Loop and the river, River North is an area that virtually grew overnight. River North now has all the signs of being a self-sustaining neighborhood: green space, shopping, and nightlife. If you want to know what River North is all about, all you need to do is look at its proximity to everything. 

The Chicago Water Tower and Magnificent Mile are a short walk away, which gets you on the Lake Michigan shoreline in no time. The Loop and Streeterville are located to the north of River North as well, providing quick access to Union Station, Navy Pier, and Grant Park. 

River North, Chicago, IL, USA - panoramio (3).jpg
By Roman Eugeniusz, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Humboldt Park 

Humboldt Park is a small neighborhood located on Chicago’s northwest side. It is mostly residential with a few commercial businesses near the intersection of North Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard. Humboldt Park has a close-knit community feel with walls made of brick and colorful doors. 

While there’s diverse population, the residents tend to hold on to their Latino culture due to the large number of Spanish speakers around. Sometimes referred to as the “Barrio”, families strive to make it their home year after year. 

Humboldt Park Field House and Refectory.jpg
By Steven Kevil, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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Garfield Park 

Garfield Park is a neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, occupying nearly the entire eastern half of West Garfield Park’s official city-designated community area. The backstory of the locality is central to understanding the neighborhood. Designed by Daniel Burnham, it was created, “for lovers of nature and pursuits of health” in 1868. It would become one of the most highly used gardens in the city. 

By Peterson Jon, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Little Village 

Little Village is the heart of Mexican culture in Chicago. It’s affectionately known as “La Villita” by the locals after its sister city – La Villita, Mexico. 

The Little Village Neighborhood (AKA La Villita) is one of the oldest and most urban neighborhoods around. It’s not surprising since it is located near 12th street and Grand Avenue in between Ashland Avenue and Damen Avenue. It has been settled by Mexicans, Poles, Ukrainians, Italians, as well as a now-growing portion of Asian Americans. 

La Villita.jpg
By Peter Fitzgerald, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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Roscoe Village 

Roscoe Village is always in the news and it is not hard to see why. This lovely stretch of real estate is occupied by several medium-sized businesses, million-dollar homes as well as some of the most talked-about restaurants in the city. The businesses that occupy Roscoe Village are mainly restaurants, but there are also a few beautiful specialty shops sprinkled in for good measure. You’ll find much of what you would expect from a large producer of quality food and services. 

Roscoe Village is a beautiful place to live, work, or shop. This neighborhood has the density to host multiple playgrounds, restaurants, bars, and retail shops. It’s small enough for everyone to know each other and feel safe. It’s an area with a rich history and diversity of people, businesses, and architecture.  

New "Welcome to Roscoe Village" Painted Sign on Roscoe at the Train Tracks

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Chicago, also known as the Windy City, has a lot to offer. It is famous for its beautiful art, architecture, museums, sky-high buildings, and sports teams. But the most important thing you will get from Chicago is its people. Chicagoans have long prided themselves on the city’s many distinctive communities. Do plan a visit for an experience of a lifetime.