It’s easy to mix up Chicago’s neighborhoods. After all, there’s 77 city districts in total — not counting all the distinct communities within those districts. Chicago newcomers sometimes don’t know where to start. If you’re a neighborhood noob, don’t worry, we’ll explain the basics.
Our total guide to Chicago neighborhoods will teach you the art of Chicago neighborhood navigation. Buckle in for our ultimate tour. We’re going to visit a number of core Chicago neighborhoods, Click on any of Chicago’s neighborhoods below to drop down to read more information:
- Bucktown/Wicker Park
- Gold Coast
- Lincoln Park
- Logan Square
- Lincoln Square
- Old Town
- South Loop
- River North
- West Loop
For each neighborhood we’ll cover:
- What it’s famous for
- Average price for housing
- Best restaurants
At Giordano’s, we empathize with novices of the Chicago landscape. We once counted ourselves among the ranks of the uninitiated. When Brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio opened the first Giordano’s in the neighborhood of South Side, they had to master the neighborhoods the hard way. Consider yourself lucky. We’ll save you the trouble of learning the old-fashioned way.
As proud Chicagoans, neighborhoods mean a lot to us at Giordano’s. We fondly remember those early deep dish days in South Side. Today we cover a lot of ground in Chicago, but we never forget where we came from.
Reconnect with your roots. Learn about your neighborhood, or if you’re new to Chicago, welcome! We hope this guide helps you discover where you might want to live.
Tucked away in Chicago’s North End, Andersonville boasts a distinctly Swedish cultural legacy. The traditions, which early Swedish immigrants brought to Andersonville, continue to this day.
Sweden’s unique cuisine helps define Andersonville’s charm. Walk down North Clark Street and sample some glögg (mulled wine) from Simon’s Tavern or chomp into a weinerbrod custard pastry at the aptly named Swedish Bakery. Don’t forget to buy a tin of sill — who doesn’t love pickled herring on a knäcklebrot cracker with sour cream?
Andersonville’s funky traditions hail from a fascinating history of opportunism and immigration. In the 1880s, a crowded Chicago turned its attention to the undeveloped areas north of the city. Entrepreneurs saw great potential in the forests of the Lake View Township.
Developers fell the trees and used the wood to build houses. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 prohibited the construction of wooden dwellings in the city, but the north end was unincorporated land, so the city turned a blind eye. Rapid construction, fueled by cheap lumber, boosted the population of the township from 2,000 to 45,000 by 1887.
Lake View Township received its current name, Edgewater, in 1885. The neighboring community of Andersonville experienced a similar boom as Edgewater, thanks to some Nordic newcomers.
As Swedes poured into Andersonville, they put their trademark carpentry skills to use. As construction exploded under Swedish hammers, Andersonville began to take shape. Many of these early buildings survive today, earning the neighborhood its title as a historic district.
This quaint corner of Chicago’s North End lies just south of Edgewater and Magnolia Glens and west of Edgewater Beach, not far from the lake.
Andersonville is Best Known For:
- Swedish Bakeries. Andersonville offers an abundance of delicious Swedish bakeries. Make sure to stop in for fika, the Swedish version of a coffee break.
- Midsummer Festival. Make the Andersonville Midsummer Festival a priority this year. This high energy public party lets you celebrate the Summer Solstice, Swedish style. Dance around the majstång maypole, drink some elderflower saft juice and snaps, and if you’re a young maiden, pluck seven different types of flowers to place under your pillow to dream of your future soulmate.
The population of 15,179 generally includes higher income, thirty-something, family-oriented, American-born citizens from outside Illinois, with 24.3% hailing from abroad (slightly above the civic average).
Higher than the Chicago average, the average detached house goes for $466,568. Townhouses are $375,589 and the median rental rate is $1,056 per month.
Andersonville’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s. It may not be Swedish, but it’s delicious. Even the most diehard lutefisk lover appreciates a Chicago Deep Dish now and again. Come into our location at 5207 North Clark Street, in the historic heart of Andersonville, call ahead at (773) 989-7449 for delivery or pickup or order online. As they say in Sweden ses snart! See you soon!
- M. Henry. This creative, health conscious, art gallery cafe, serves up some delicious dishes inspired by world cuisine and new American style cooking. M. Henry endeavors to use only the freshest, locally sourced, organically grown ingredients. Their diverse and original menu offers a modern twist on classic American favorites, with a hint of the exotic. A restaurant as idiosyncratic as Andersonville itself.
- Big Jones. The heartwarming food of the American South comes alive at Big Jones. There’s nothing better than familiar southern classics done well. If you enjoy a drink, join their Big Jones Bourbon Society and run the gauntlet of their 46 bourbons and whiskeys to earn the status of Master Taster and win tickets to their special all-out whiskey dinner. Bottoms up!
- The Brixton. This restaurant focuses on dish perfection. They concentrate their efforts on mastering several dishes, without spreading their resources thin. The result centers on a menu of only stunning dishes. If you appreciate the razor sharp attention required to craft exquisite food, then go to the Brixton.
- Hop Leaf. A beer lover’s paradise. As the name suggests, Hop Leaf takes beer seriously. The song 99 bottles of beer reflects the experience of counting their selection of beers. Hop Leaf matches delicious beer with dishes like mussels and frites, chicken and waffles and sausages (to name a few). Their whole menu celebrates the harmonious marriage of beer and hearty cuisine. Let the symphony of flavors play out on your palette before resting easy in your stomach.
The story of Wicker Park began when brothers Charles and Joel Wicker purchased the area and began development. The brothers bore witness to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and championed the use of brick-and-stone buildings in their new neighborhood.
Many of these structures survive today, giving Wicker Park its trademark architecture. The Wicker brothers crafted their project around the centerpiece of a public park. Their self-named Wicker Park represents the true legacy of these generous entrepreneurs.
Just north of Wicker Park lies Bucktown. This neighborhood proudly maintains a history of cultural diversity, even including members of different species. Bucktown got its moniker from its resident goats, or bucks.
Bucktown began as the township of Holstein. Located on the outskirts of Chicago, waves of Polish immigrants settled this community starting in the 1830s. A number of Polish churches recall the influence of these early Bucktown pioneers.
After Chicago incorporated Holstein in 1863, the neighborhood underwent another growth spurt. As this new neighborhood housed a sizable number of goats, usually kept by Poles, Holstein rebranded itself as Bucktown.
As the goat craze faded, new immigrant communities established themselves in Bucktown. Besides Poles, many German, Latino, Scandinavian, Jewish and African-Americans also call this neighborhood home.
You’re unlikely to meet a goat in Bucktown nowadays, but the mosaic of interwoven cultures more than compensates for the disappearance of Bucktown’s cloven-hoofed namesake.
Bucktown and Wicker Park are surrounded by Logan Square and Humboldt Park to the west, West Town to the south, the North Branch Chicago River to the east, and the Kennedy Expressway wrapping around as a boarder to the north.
Bucktown/Wicker Park is Best Known For:
- Hipsters. Wax up your mustache, button your grandfather’s suit and ride your unicycle down to the hipster hotspots of Wicker Park and Bucktown. No, you’re not a circus performer — you’re a confident hipster. Wear your flannel shirt wide open. Everyone should see the pop-culture t-shirt of your choice beneath your suspenders. Proudly flaunt your ironic attitude — this is your town.It’s fun to mock hipsters, especially since they love to join right in — self-reference is key. Never rudely call one out (to their face). Who knows, you might even be a hipster yourself.These two neighborhoods host lots of cool hipster haunts. Walk around and see what you find.
- Great Nightlife. Wicker Par and Bucktown stake their name in the nightlife. Tons of bars and nightclubs pack the streets, appealing to your weekend temptations. During the day, visit the cornucopia of cafés and boutiques along North Avenue and Damen, and unwind at a Chicago dive bar at night. Keep it casual.
Wicker Park and Bucktown share a similar trend in demographics. The average age of residents centers between age 25 and 30. This younger crowd rakes in more income than the city average, but also pays more rent at an average around $1,175. Half of both populations hail from Illinois and around 10% are foreign-born residents.
Detached houses go for around $596,668 in Bucktown and $377,423 in Wicker Park — both far above the Chicago average.
Bucktown/Wicker Park’s Best Restaurants:
- Big Star. No, it’s not named for the legendary pop band from the 90s, but Big Star does make some rockin’ food. This top-notch taco bar mixes ingredients from around the globe to muster some macho tacos. Come and crunch into Mexican flavor heaven.
- Xoco. This acclaimed Mexican inspired restaurant elevates classic recipes to the next level. Xoco, pronounced “Sho-ko,” takes its name from the Aztec word for “little sister,” and like the respect paid to the preciousness of family, Xoco honors its Mexican roots by letting recipes grow and develop, with the guiding hand of an older sibling. Sample their trademark churros, delicate and crisp empanadas, torta, caldo bowls and soothingly delicious Mexican hot chocolate.
- Le Bouchon. French cuisine maintains its prestige because of restaurants like Le Bouchon. This quintessentially French restaurant carries the torch of the French tradition. Le Bouchon stocks all the classics: steak frites, bouillabaisse, steak tartare, and even cuisses de grenouille, or frog legs. Journey down for the true taste of France.
- Piece Pizza. We at Giordano’s live for great pizza. We appreciate the art of pizza mastery, and Piece Pizza’s got what it takes. With an assortment of beers, they offer whatever you’re feeling. Head down for a pizza and beer. They get the Giordano’s seal of approval, and we know pizza.
- Doves Luncheonette. With a nod to classic Chicago soul and blues, chef de cuisine Dennis Bernard paints a scene of the American south on the plate. Incorporating elements of Mexican food, Doves Luncheonette fuses styles, traditions, and eras. The restaurant seeks to recall the by-gone days of community lunch counters with good food, good music, and good friends.
- Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. Few restaurants do dessert like Mindy’s. With a constantly evolving menu of elegant and diverse sweets, Mindy’s makes an excellent evening stop. Of course, Mindy’s serves hot chocolate, but you’ve never had a hot coco like Mindy’s.
- Cumin. Come in to Cumin. Named for that all-purpose spice known throughout the world, Cumin incorporates all realms of earthly knowledge into its cooking. Centering on modern Nepalese and Indian cuisine, Cumin will have you coming back again.
- Mott Street. This modern Korean-fusion restaurant showcases the versatility of Korean cuisine. Their team of world-class chefs maneuver like acrobats in the jungle-gym of fusion cuisine. Their creations are nothing short of superlative. Try their Kimchi and Oaxaca empanadas or candied shrimp and kohlrabi salad and see what we mean.
- Bongo Room. For 21 years, Bongo Room has treated breakfast right. Bongo Room’s long-term success makes sense once you try their pancakes, or anything else they offer. Definitely one of the best breakfast joints in town, start the day off right at the Bongo Room.
- Trencherman. Built into a decommissioned 1920s Russian bathhouse, Trencherman’s beautiful art-deco interior and exceptional food make it a member of the Wicker Park restaurant elite. The only thing better than the ambiance is the food. Make it a priority.
This certified historic district emerged after the Great Chicago Fire. In the 1880s, real estate tycoons shifted their attention north to the undeveloped lakeside. In 1882, bigwig developer Potter Palmer relocated to the area.
Filling in the swamp, he constructed his personal Xanadu, Palmer Mansion. His shift north galvanized the salons of the Chicago elite, and many followed in his footsteps north. This established the Gold Coast’s legacy of wealth, which continues today.
Along the lakeside, walking distance to Oak Street Beach, Old Town sits to the west and the Magnificent Mile leads to the Gold Coast from the south.
Gold Coast is Best Known For:
- Shopping. Naturally this hoity-toity neighborhood hosts some high-end shopping. Grab your Versace or Dolce & Gabbana — let your status symbols work their magic.
This densely packed neighborhood houses wealthy 30 to 35 year olds.
Nearly all residential buildings are apartments that cost $1,059,904. Rent is $1,271 but most people own their residences.
Gold Coast’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s Pizza. Step on into our Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile location at 730 N. Rush St. Treat yourself to a deep dish in this decadent neighborhood. Call us at (312) 951-0747.
- Nico Osteria. This sumptuous Italian seafood restaurant harnesses the elegance of Gold Coast to produce a primo platter. Try their house-made pasta and bliss-inducing seafood.
- Le Colonial. This French Vietnamese restaurant embarks on a culinary voyage to a forgotten era. The crossover of styles meshes perfectly at Le Colonial.
- The Halal Guys. Delicious Middle Eastern fast food like chicken gyro wraps and falafel offer a great meal on the go. Made to order, spiced to perfection, and complete with all the sides, you’ll holler for the Halal Guys.
Lakeview took shape later than other neighborhoods. Finally, in the 1850s, this far-flung northern area received a number of German and Swedish settlers. This sparse land hosted a Civil War encampment after 1864. Camp Fry trained members of the Illinois infantry. After the troops departed to Kentucky, Camp Fry converted to an internment camp for Confederate POWs.
After the war, the population of Lakeview steadily increased. A major boom in the late 1880s accompanied the rise in infrastructure and public services.
As the name Lakeview suggests, this neighborhood lies along Lake Michigan. Lincoln Park sits to the south, Roscoe Village to the west and Uptown to the north.
Lakeview is Best Known For:
- Wrigley Field. Lakeview famously hosts the home of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. We at Giordano’s love attending Cubs games so much, we moved into Wrigley Field. Nothing tops a deep dish at a Cubs game — we also sell individual thin crust or deep dish slices.
- Great nightlife. Lakeview boasts everything from trendy nightclubs to laid-back bars. Everything a weekend warrior could want.
Lakeview maintains a large population of young and vibrant inhabitants. Most people are in their late twenties.
Detached houses go for $928,586, but most units comprise large apartment buildings. Rent is $1,211.
Lakeview’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s Pizza. Enjoy the pizza you know and love in the heart of Lakeview. Step on into our location at 1040 W. Belmont Ave or give us a ring at (773) 327-1200. See you there.
- Crisp. Sample the tangy Korean Fried Chicken or a hearty Buddha Bowl at Crisp. The name says it all. It’s crunchy, fresh, and satisfying.
- Fish Bar. Wade into Fish Bar for some southern seafood specialties like po’boys, catfish, hush puppies and whole $3 oysters.
- DMK Burger Bar. We let DMK Burger Bar speak for themselves: “Best damn grass-fed burgers, shakes and fries that ever hit your lips.” See for yourself.
On the north end of Chicago, near the lake, you’ll find Lincoln Park. Before the civil war, this 60-acre swath of land was called Lake Park. After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, city officials renamed the area Lincoln Park.
After the name change, Lincoln Park received funding for a zoo. Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo remains one of the oldest Zoos in America. This free zoo contains a veritable ark of animals including penguins, giraffes, gorillas, reptiles, polar bears, monkeys, and an Amur Tiger named Pavel.
This lakeside neighborhood lies south of Lake View, east of Bucktown, and north of Near North Side.
Lincoln Park is Best Known For:
- Lincoln Park Zoo. The Lincoln Park Zoo makes for an excellent (and free!) way to spend an afternoon. The zoo exemplifies Lincoln Park’s proud history as a unique part of Chicago.
- Fullerton Beach. Jump on into the lake, or walk along the vast beachfront of Fullerton Beach. Nothing beats a day at the beach. Because Lake Michigan is freshwater, you won’t feel like a French fry after you dry off.
Middle income thirty-somethings represent the norm in Lincoln Park.
Over nine percent of residences are detached houses at $1,607,995. Apartments go for $274,418. Rent is $1,325.
Lincoln Park’s Best Restaurants:
- Athenian Room. Enjoy delicious Greek comfort food at an affordable price. Their roasted chicken even garnered the praise Second City star Tina Fey. She once praised the Athenian Room for serving her “favorite meal in Chicago.” We can’t beat that recommendation.
- Café Ba BaReeba. Northern Spanish style pintxos tapas are Café Ba BaReeba specialty. Only $2 for a tapa?! What are you waiting for? ¡Arriba!
- Del Seoul. The Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant Del Seoul showcases the best of both cultures. Take a trip with this stylistic hybrid of Asian and Latin flavors.
- Mon Ami Gabi. Mon Ami Gabi does sophisticated cooking in an effective way. If you’re an aficionado of French cuisine, definitely visit this premiere Lincoln Park bistro.
- MFK. Is that the ocean calling, or just your hunger? Either way paddle down to this acclaimed seafood restaurant. They won the Chicago Tribune Diners Award in 2015. Test the waters, you’ll like what you find at MFK.
- Summer House Santa Monica. This relaxing restaurant will brighten your day with their airy atmosphere and vibrant cuisine. The crisp freshness of their food matches this beach-inspired restaurant perfectly. Forget the towel, just bring your appetite.
- Eleven Lincoln Park. Nostalgic for the diner days of old? Eleven Lincoln Park prides itself as an “old school, diner, delicatessen.” So slump down in a booth and grab a Reuben, bagel or plate of latkes. Take a trip back to the bygone glory days of Chicago at Eleven Lincoln Park.
- Riccardo Trattoria. We at Giordano’s respect high-quality Italian food. Riccardo Trattoria upholds the same primo standard of Italian food that we strive to honor ourselves. Don’t miss out on this truly exceptional restaurant.
- Stella Barra. We at Giordano’s also live for top-notch pizza. Stella Barra appreciates the art of pizza. Their secret isn’t so hard to figure out: smart and original pizza toppings, delicious crispy dough and a wood-fired pizza oven. Branch out and try something new. Embrace the love of pizza.
Logan Square derives its name from the mustached Civil War General, John A. Logan.
Logan Square lies west of Bucktown, east of Hermosa, North of Humboldt Park and south of Avondale.
Logan Square is Best Known For:
- Logan’s statue. As a native of Illinois, Chicago honored Logan with his memorial eponymous square, and an impressive statue in Grant Park. If you’re feeling the Logan vibe, take a walk down Logan Boulevard while singing the Illinois state song — which also mentions Logan.If Logan had found a time machine and arrived in modern Logan Square, the general’s outlandish mustache wouldn’t raise any eyebrows in this fledgling hipster neighborhood. The neighborhood that honors his name also honors his style.
Of the 24,612 people in Logan Square, most are in their late 20s and early 30s. A more modest income defines Logan Square, compared to the other neighborhoods we’ve covered.
Most of the housing involves rented apartments, townhouses, and 2-unit or more structures. The average cost of a detached house is $387,656. The median rent is $851.
Logan Square’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s Pizza. A deep dish offers a perfect finishing touch to a day in Logan Square. Check out our spot at 2855 N. Milwaukee Ave or call at (773) 862-4200.
- Fat Rice. Enjoy locally sourced, organic Asian cuisine — Logan Square style. Get lost in their diverse menu of Far East specialties.
- Bang Bang Pie. Dessert done right. Their eclectic menu of pastry delights will fix your nagging sweet-tooth. Give in to temptation.
- Longman & Eagle. Start the day off at Longman & Eagle. Logan Square’s breakfast champs will charge your batteries with their legendary breakfasts.
This prestigious neighborhood provided the birthplace of Chicago. In 1803, the army erected Fort Dearborn near present-day Michigan Bridge. Increased settlement of the area paved the way for rapid development.
The neighborhood assumed the nickname “the Loop” after the El Train created a natural loop around the area, following its completion in 1897.
Walk around this neighborhood and absorb the visual splendor of Chicago’s architectural heritage. Austere art deco buildings cast a spellbinding power over the area. Conjuring dark dreams of the past — no wonder downtown Chicago stars in the role of Gotham in the latest Batman movies.
The Loop is the central business district of Chicago, home to City Hall and the Seat of Cook County. On the north and west is the Chicago River, on the east is Lake Michigan, and on the south is Roosevelt Road.
The Loop is Best Known For:
- Skyscrapers. Buzzing with commercial hubbub, the Loop acts as Chicago’s financial heart. Skyscrapers reach to dizzying heights as the streets below flow in a sea of suits. Elegant boutiques line the sidewalks of State Street. The Loop celebrates the ostentatious side of the city.
- Famous landmarks. Many Chicago landmarks pack this larger-than-life neighborhood. The Willis Tower, City Hall and numerous theatres and opera houses all call the Loop home — and so does Giordano’s!
- Giordano’s “Pie in the Sky.” At Giordano’s we took the expression “pie in the sky” literally. No, it’s no fantasy, this restaurant is real. Perched above the city on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, sits our highest pizza location. We call it our “Pie in the Sky.”The incredible view from up there only complements our deep dish pizza. Honestly, what’s more “Chicago” than eating deep dish at Willis Tower? Give in to this perfect combo of Chicago heavyweights. See you up there.
The median age in the Loop is 36. The average income is $96,426 annually.
This area is not particularly residential but some options exist. Apartments generally go for 2 million dollars, so start saving. The average rent is $1,687.
The Loop’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s Pizza. Afraid of heights but still want deep dish? Snag a pie at ground level at our Loop location at 223 W. Jackson Blvd. Call if you like at (312) 583-9400.
- Luke’s Lobster. Put your exoskeleton cracking talents to use at Luke’s Lobster. Bib up and get down.
- Blackwood BBQ. Smokey, flavorful and mouth-watering BBQ, Chicago style.
- The Gage. Regular rules don’t apply at the Gage. Scotch egg, tuna tartare, poutine, you name it. The Gage creates its own gage to measure its performance. Prepare for optimum cuisine.
- M Burger. Delectable burgers at a reasonable price, come in for a top-notch meal. Your wallet and stomach will thank you.
- Cafecito. There’s nothing diminutive about the taste of Cafecito’s grill pressed Cuban sandwiches and robust Cuban coffee. It’s an ideal afternoon lunch spot.
This neighborhood owes its development to waves of German immigrants. Establishing themselves on the outskirts of Chicago, Lincoln Square grew with community. It received the name Lincoln Square in 1925.
This North End neighborhood lies southeast of Andersonville.
Lincoln Square is Best Known For:
- Old Town School of Folk Music. Offering a charming vibe, the 55-year-old school moved to the neighborhood in 1998 and helped make the area a hotspot for dining and nightlife before and after concerts.
Many young families call this highly residential neighborhood home. Most people fall into the 35 – 40 age bracket.
The abundance of houses attracts many young families. These detached homes go for about $441,969. Townhouses and other residential units cost between $300,000 and $350,000. Rent is roughly $880.
Lincoln Square’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s. Nothing complements your time in Lincoln Square like our deep dish pizza. Make time for an unforgettable meal at Giordano’s. Visit our place at 2010 W Montrose Ave or call us direct at (773) 275-4600.
- Gather. This reasonably priced restaurant stands with one foot in Europe and the other in America. Their continent-spanning menu is guaranteed to please.
- Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen. With over 40 varieties of homemade natural wood-smoked sausages, Gene’s provides a true shrine for sausage worshipers. Come in, what’s the wurst that could happen?
It should come as no surprise that Old Town wasn’t always old. One hundred years ago, Old Town was called “the Cabbage Patch” — and not because of those dolls from the 80s. The German immigrants who built Old Town grew fields of cabbage — and the name stuck.
Eventually, the name Cabbage Patch fell out of style and the area became “North Town.” Although some people still call the neighborhood North Town, we know it as Old Town.
Beside Gold Coast and north of Near North Side.
Old Town is Best Known For:
- The Second City. This Chicago comedy outlet routinely turns out legendary performers. John Belushi, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey among others began at this landmark improv theatre in Old Town. Visit their website and get tickets to see the next batch of groundbreaking comedians.
An older crowd lives in Old Town — maybe they’re attracted by the name. The average age for residents is 37 years-old.
Old Town features some beautiful heritage buildings, but they fetch a hefty price. Rent is $1,150.
Old Town’s Best Restaurants:
- Topo Gigio Restorante. Enjoy deeply satisfying Tuscan-inspired cuisine in a laid-back and friendly restaurant. Their gorgeous garden and covered outdoor dining room make for perfect alfresco dining year round.
- Kamehachi. Savor classic Japanese food done immaculate. Noodles, Nigiri, Moriwase Sashimi, and of course Sushi — Kamehachi has your favorites.
- Kanela Breakfast Club. Order a delicious Greek-inspired breakfast at Kanela Breakfast Club. With gourmet Mediterranean-themed dishes at a reasonable price, Kanela easily gets our recommendation.
Always close to the action, South Loop rode the wave of development propelled by its commercial neighbor, the Loop. While its neighbor basked in metropolitan glory, South Loop humbly accepted the less glamorous warehouses and factories.
South Loop relaxed into its role as “the wrong side of the tracks.” It gained a reputation as a vice-ridden haven for brothels, bars and arcades. In the 1970s, Chicago gentrified the area and now all those old warehouses are studio apartments.
It’s next to the lake, flanked by Chinatown to the west, South Commons to the south, and the Loop at the north.
South Loop is Best Known For:
- Being many different things to many different people. Offering a mix of attractions and histories, South Loop is an assortment of cultural treasures, such as Shedd Aquarium, Grant Park, Alder Planetarium, and Field Museum.
Over 33,000 people pack this dense neighborhood. Most people fall between the age of 30 and 40 and rake in a much higher income than the city average.
Residential housing trends toward townhouses and 5-or-more unit structures priced between $267,733 and $583,711 respectively. The average rent is $1,432. Most people rent.
South Loop’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s. Your favorite deep dish place has a location in South Loop at 1340 S. Michigan Ave. Come in after a day looping around the neighborhood. Call us at (312) 842-1100.
- Devil Dogs South Loop. Nothing beats a downtown hot dog skillfully dressed in your favorite fixings. It’s open late for those uncontrollable nighttime dog urges. Indulge in the dog.
- Little Branch Café. Visit this hip, laid-back café that serves an awesome cup of Joe.
- Meli. Named after the Greek word for honey, Meli will sweeten up your day with its Greek inspired breakfasts.
Nowadays upscale shops and art galleries line the streets of River North, but this neighborhood wasn’t always so picture-perfect. In the late 1800s, River North went by the name Smokey Hollow. Pollution from coal deposits, factories, railway yards and shipping ports filled the air with dark fumes, sometimes even obfuscating the sun.
After the 1950s rolled around, and the city’s populous emptied into the suburbs, a long period of decline set upon Smokey Hollow. But in 1974, a real estate campaign renamed the neighborhood “River North” and began transforming abandoned warehouses into spacious art galleries. This trend continued, and River North Galley District coalesced into its present incarnation.
River North appropriately sits on the north of the Chicago River, above the Loop, below Near North Side and to the west of Streeterville.
High income people in their mid thirties form the main demographic. Almost half of married couples have children, and 57.7% of families are single-mother households, but only 28.6% of the populous constitute families.
Nearly all residences are townhouses for around $451,162 or apartments for $421,690. Rent is $1,826.
River North’s Best Restaurants:
- Portillo’s. This all-American joint dishes up some mind-blowing burgers. Relieve your beef craving at Portillo’s.
- Joe’s Stone Crab. Break out the mallet and get cracking at this premium seafood establishment. With great steaks too, Joe’s Stone Crab serves up a sublime surf and turf.
West Loop began as an industrial zone, home to factories and warehouses. Since those grimy years of exhaust fumes and work houses, West Loop metamorphosed into a sleek and modern neighborhood.
Even Oprah Winfrey nurtures a soft-spot for West Loop — she still operates her groundbreaking talk show from Harpo Studios in West Loop.
Situated in the Near West Side district, West Loop naturally sits to the west of the Loop, north of University Village and Little Italy.
West Loop is Best Known For:
- Greektown. The center of Greek culture in Chicago, Greektown boasts an array of Greek restaurants and shops. Catch the annual Greek Independence Day Parade and other events, like Greek Christmas, year-round.
A higher-income, mid-thirties crowd populate West Loop. This inclusive neighborhood boasts 37.7% from another U.S. state and 25.2% from outside America.
Most people live in apartments, which generally cost $214,039. Rent is $1,360.
West Loop’s Best Restaurants:
- Giordano’s. At our Greektown location, in the heart of the Greektown restaurant scene, we count ourselves among fine company. Visit us at 815 W. Van Buren St. Our number’s (312) 421-1221.
- The Publican. This fine-dining restaurant specializes in aged ham and fish, but their lively salads rival the product of any animal.
- J.P Graziano’s. This Italian grocery and sub shop maintains a long history with Chicago. Since it opened in 1937, it’s given us some legendarily good subs. Come experience the subs yourself.
- Girl and the Goat. This memorably named restaurant offers an equally unforgettable dining experience. Their influences cast a wide net, freely experimenting with Indian, Asian, European and Mediterranean flavors.
- Green Street Smoked Meats. This “nationally acclaimed” BBQ place is pure Texas — exceptional BBQ in an easy-going atmosphere.
- RM Champagne Salon. This spacious, French-inspired seafood restaurant offers a variety of inspired recipes. Come in for their late night menu. A shrimp cocktails tastes great after a night out.
Get Out and Discover New Neighborhoods
Congrats! You made it. As you’ve seen, Chicago offers a wide variety of options. Listen to your intuition and you’ll find the right neighborhood for you. We hope this guide assists your journey to Chicago acclimation. If you’re visiting or already living in Chicago, visit one of Giordano’s many locations. Call for delivery or pick-up and try our frozen pizzas.
Share this guide on your social media, especially if you know someone coming to Chicago. They’ll thank you, and they might even buy you a deep dish. We know you’ll love it.