After surveying our agents, we compiled a list of their favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. Read on to learn about the vibe of the neighborhood, things to do, and why you should live in one of the 5 best neighborhoods in Chicago.
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Related: Best Luxury Apartments in Chicago
Neighborhood vibe: Situated adjacent Gold Coast and Magnificent Mile, the lively and posh River North is a prime location for new Chicagoans looking for a full-value introduction to the city. Aptly named for its numerous art galleries and studios, River North is an artists’ haven and then some. A plethora of bars, clubs, and top-rated restaurants dot the streets whose age is marked by Chicago’s varied architecture.
Live here if: You crave fascinating culture, beautiful aesthetics, and a vibrant atmosphere. River North is pulsating with creative energy around every bend. 3 Greens Market hosts Chicago’s artists and professionals alike. Eclectic people mix and mingle at stylish hangouts and bump elbows at the communal tables.
Things to do: This vibrant neighborhood is home to more than just artists. It attracts Chicago residents from all walks of life because of its culture, convenience, and activity. Stroll along the city’s award-winning Chicago Riverwalk or indulge in flavor at restaurants like Tanta Chicago or RPM Steak. Swing by Good Measure if you’re looking for classy cocktails and an elegant atmosphere.
Neighborhood vibe: Lincoln Park has the ability to transport residents out of a bustling city and into a picturesque, natural paradise. Running trails, breathtaking botanic gardens, and numerous lake fronts speckle this neighborhood—pleasing nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. In addition to plenty of outdoor space, Lincoln Park is a diverse and happening spot for tourists and locals with entertainment options ranging from cocktail lounges to dive bars to comedy clubs.
Live here if: You desire a diverse array of activities all year long. Spend the summer at any one of the neighborhood’s parks, ride bikes along the lakeshore, or sip coffees near Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and enjoy Chicago’s amazing summer weather. Foodies could spend a year checking off restaurants on their bucket lists and never have to leave the neighborhood.
Things to do: This unique neighborhood is home to one of the oldest zoos in the country, one of the best restaurants in the world (Alinea) and fantastic shopping on Armitage and Halstead. Take in sweeping views of Lake Michigan from the rooftop of The J. Parker or relax on the shore of North Avenue Beach. Even once Winter hits, Lincoln Park offers a host of fantastic activities to keep you warm. Catch a show at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company or learn about the windy city at the Chicago History Museum.
Neighborhood vibe: South Loop offers a classical and creative feel to Chicago residents with a glimpse at historic Chicago as it was during its Industrial Revolution boom. Walk along Motor Row or Prairie Avenue District to witness the windy city through the ages. South Loop is one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago because it gives residents convenient access to Chicago’s business district, while also providing easy entry to the city’s quiet eastern locales.
Live here if: You crave a big city feel without big city stressors. South Loop’s convenient location between Magnificent Mile and South Commons strikes the perfect balance between urban dwelling and small town charm. Opt to stay in South Loop for an authentic Chicago experience and backdoor access to world-famous attractions.
Things to do: Residents and visitors to South Loop will never run out of things to do. South Loop is home to Chicago’s Museum Campus, boasting five of the city’s most renowned attractions—The Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, The Field Museum of Natural History, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. Legendary blues musicians have performed throughout Lincoln Park and music lovers will delight in the numerous music venues, jazz clubs, and speakeasies in this enchanting neighborhood.
Neighborhood vibe: Although this fresh Chicago neighborhood is tiny, life bursts from its seams with increased development in the 21st century. Streeterville is both beautiful to look at and interesting to dive head first into. Streeterville is home to some of the city’s tallest buildings and iconic landmarks, with a mix of professional and residential spaces. It’s a little neighborhood smack dab in the heart of one of America’s biggest cities.
Live here if: You enjoy living in the heart of the action but want to be a part of a caring community. Be a familiar face at any of Streeterville’s cool coffee shops and get to know the bartender at your local watering hole. When you need a break from a small town vibe, just walk a few blocks down to be a part of Chicago’s bustling urban center.
Things to do: Spend the day at the world-famous Navy Pier and ride the 200-ft Centennial Wheel. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and witness innovative, breaktaking pieces created by some of the world’s most talented artists. Witness the sunset behind the skyline during summer evenings at Oak Street beach, North Avenue Beach’s quiet neighbor. The Magnificent Mile borders Streeterville so residents get quick access to hundreds of high-end shops, five-star restaurants, and unique bars. Embrace Chicago’s crisp falls and hide out from snowy winters along the boundary of Streeterville.
Neighborhood vibe: Just north of Lower West Side and east of East Garfield Park sits the food-haven of West Loop. This former mecca of industry now boasts unique warehouse spaces, incredible restaurants, and Greek Town. The vibe is funky and fun, attracting residents of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. West Loop is an eclectic hotspot for eateries and nightlife, so this neighborhood is always bustling no matter the time of day.
Live here if: You are a food fanatic and want all the big-city restaurant experiences. Your weekend nights will be booked with reservations at world-renowned restaurants or spent vying for limited tables at wacky dessert spots, cafes, and bars.
Things to do: Loosen your belt and head to any of West Loop’s top rated eateries. Snack on duck tongues at Girl & The Goat, ran by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard. Wait in line for a table at Au Cheval and reap the reward of savouring one of the best burgers in America. Spend the day bopping around Greektown and enjoy the vibrant culture of a country oceans away, right in your backyard.
Now that you know the best neighborhoods in Chicago, let AptAmigo help you find your dream apartment. All you have to do is reach out to us and let us know what the perfect place for you looks like and we will handle the rest. Get started on your stress-free apartment search today!
Abigail is a freelance writer who loves exploring new places - especially in the southwest - and moved into her van full time last fall. When she's not working on writing gigs to support her #vanlife endeavors, she loves packrafting alpine lakes, floating lazy rivers, and trail running.