Which Chicago Neighborhood You Should Move to If…

Zara Hanawalt
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The best thing about living in Chicago? You’ve got options. And we’re not just talking about deep dish pizza vs. its thin crust counterpart.

Chicago is very much a city of neighborhoods, and that’s pretty great. You can experience a lively tourist-dense stretch, a quiet residential street, a sports-crazed hub of rabid Cubs fans, and the bright-lights-long-nights type of nightlife all in one weekend if you so choose – and you don’t have to leave the city limits to do this.

But because those neighborhoods are so varied, you’ll want to think long and hard before choosing a place to live. Many factors will go into this decision, naturally – how much you want to spend on rent or mortgage, how many roommates or family members you’ll have, where you work, etc. But let’s not forget the importance of living in a neighborhood that suits your vibe and preferences.

This is by no mean an exhaustive list (there are way, way more neighborhoods to choose from when you’re eyeing a relocation to Chicago), but here are a few of your options:

If you want that bustling big city feel…

When you think of true big city living, you may be picturing skyscraper views, fancy restaurants, high-rise living and lots of nightlife. Sound about your speed? If so, River North is likely the neighborhood for you. It’s home to many of the city’s trendiest hot spots and close to some of our most iconic attractions, which makes it an excellent pick for young people with cash to burn. One major point of appeal for young residents? River North is almost always bustling, even on like, random Monday nights.

If you’re a serious foodie…

There are amazing restaurants no matter where you go in Chicago, but there’s really nothing like the West Loop, an area that adds new eateries to its lineup with incredible frequency. Passionate foodies will feel right at home living just steps away from a stretch dubbed “restaurant row,” which totally lives up to its name. The neighborhood is teaming with 30-somethings, many of whom have left their hard-partying days behind in favor of long dinners and fine wines.

If you’re a new parent…

Lincoln Park is packed with natural beauty and plenty of charm, and the area is remarkably family-friendly to boot. You certainly won’t be the only one pushing a stroller down the street, yet the neighborhood retains a vibrant feel, which new parents – particularly those who aren’t at all ready for all-out suburbia – will appreciate. Proximity to Lincoln Park Zoo (great for the kids) and some solid shopping (great for the parents) only add to the charm.

If you love luxury…

Have you always dreamed of living a stone’s throw from a Prada store? If so, there’s a ‘hood for that. Chicago’s Gold Coast is home to Oak Street, which houses some seriously high-end shopping – you’ll find everything from Barney’s to Hermes right here. The area also houses some luxe hotels, high-end restaurants, and elite car dealerships (pro tip: Car enthusiasts will get a kick out of simply posting up in this area to ogle some of the fancy models on the streets). It’s not all luxury all the time, though: The area also boasts a stretch of dive-y bars that are popular among college students. Balance is key, right?

If you’re a die-hard sports fan…

Lakeview is home to Wrigleyville, which is home to Wrigley Field, which is home to the Chicago Cubs. The effect is keenly felt throughout the neighborhood, which is full of sports bars and packed with residents who declare their allegiance to teams via jerseys, hats and flags. Depending on which street you choose, you can either enjoy a more residential feel or a true urban experience. Either way, this ‘hood is wildly popular among Big Ten grads who flock to Chicago for their first jobs.

If you’re ready to put college behind you…

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Contrary to its name, Old Town actually has a very youthful (though not quite college-y) feel. Young professionals will feel right at home – yet more sophisticated than ever – at the neighborhood’s popular bars. The great thing about Old Town, though, is that it’s not just a hub for early 20-somethings: The neighborhood is also home to adorable boutiques and cafes, making it a great place for young professionals to become not-quite-so-young professionals. Old Town also happens to be home to some of the city’s most famous comedy clubs, so finding great entertainment is never an issue here – even after you’ve outgrown the bar scene.

If you want a bit more diversity…

Chicago has a reputation as a segregated city, and while certain neighborhoods are truly emblematic of that, others feel far more integrated. Rogers Park has earned a name for itself as one of the latter: With restaurants offering food from around the globe, a diverse population, and a quiet residential feel, this is a fantastic choice for families or singles who’d like to live in an area that feels far less homogenous than some of the surrounding ‘hoods.

If you pride yourself on being hip…

Logan Square has been accused of undergoing gentrification, but the neighborhood’s young residents have found a lot to love about the area, most notably, the top-notch bar and restaurant scene. It’s earned itself a reputation as Chicago’s “hipster” paradise, so if that classification – and a never-ending stream of cool new spots opening – is your speed, you may want to call Logan Square home.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 6, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Zara Hanawalt

Zara is a Chicago-based writer and editor.
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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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