With an incomparable culinary and cultural scene, grandiose architecture, and beautifully manicured park lawns, there’s not much the Windy City lacks in terms of excitement. So in a city where boredom ceases to exist, where is a one expected to begin? Lucky for you, we’ve taken the stress out of planning your next Chi-town excursion with a list of our own must-see neighborhoods, shops, eateries and happenings. Experience them at your own enjoyment.
Hot Hoods To Visit
A mini-guide to Chicago's most popular areas.
This area of Chi-town attracts millions of tourists each year for its endless shops, attractions and restaurants that form a loop (pun intended) around downtown Chicago. Considered the business district of Chicago, with all of the hustle, bustle and skyscrapers (we suggest a boat tour), the Loop manages to find balance with the lush green lawns of Grant Park and Millennium Park, just steps apart from one another. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet and annual Taste of Chicago are just a few wonderful attractions to enjoy in the bustling neighborhood.
Near North Side
The Near North Side, made up of the Gold Coast, Streeterville and River North neighborhoods, is considered one of the wealthiest and ritziest areas of the city – making it the touristiest as well. The gorgeous buildings, apartments and condos along Lakeshore drive make it a great walk-around neighborhood. The Navy Pier, the number one tourist stop in Chicago is home to plenty of shops and restaurants. Magnificent Mile (which runs down Michigan Ave.) is home to endless retail stores ranging from chain stores to high-end designers. If you’re in the mood for something less bustling, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out a few exhibits.
The trendy neighborhood of Bucktown offers the best of both worlds for Chicagoans. Located near Wicker Park and the Loop, the area is a central location for folks searching for easy access to downtown, but the slower pace of the burbs. A stroll down Damen Avenue will have you forgetting you’re in suburbia with stores like Bebe, Arden B., Marc Jacobs and some of the city’s best thrift stores and one-of-a-kind boutiques. If you get hungry, you’re in luck. The area is filled with eclectic eateries, cafes and pubs to satisfy your thirst and huger.
This neighborhood has seen some drastic change over the years. The once crime ridden community now attracts a young and vibrant crowd (thanks gentrification) and is considered one of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse ‘hoods. There is no shortage of delicious Mexican food thanks to the large Latin population and the Farmer’s Market is a favorite among locals. The relatively close distance from downtown makes it ideal real estate for young professionals.
Lakeview: Home to Wrigley Field, the Lakeview neighborhood attracts plenty of sports fans, shopaholics and tourists alike, year round. The community is offers great mix of residents making all who visit feel welcome. After Wrigley Field, the most talked about destination is Boystown, where a large population of Chicago’s gay community resides and where the annual Gay Pride Parade takes place. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs in the area – both gay and straight – that are perfect for dancing the night away.
The Lincoln Park area of Chicago is one of the more sought after residential areas of the city. The massive green lawns that make up Lincoln Park run all along the city’s lakefront, giving residents and tourists breathtaking waterfront views and easy beach access. Inside the park, locals can perfect their backhand on the open tennis courts or test out their 9 iron on the manicured golf course. Don’t miss a stroll through the Lincoln Park Conservatory or the Lincoln Park Zoo.
For more places to venture to in Chi Town, head over to Uptown’s Chicago Guides page for listings.