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6 Best Neighborhoods in Chicago (2022)

Are you planning a trip or even a big move to Chicago? It’s a big city, so you’d better know where to go.

Chicago is made up of 77 distinct communities that are home to a whopping 2.6 million people, making it one of the biggest cities in America. There’s no shortage of things to do and see in the Windy City, but some neighborhoods are better for exploring than others.

Whether you’re coming to Chicago for a vacation or you’re scouting out locations to live in, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ll tell you the 6 best neighborhoods in Chicago in 2022.

One thing’s for sure, Chicago has something for everyone, so keep reading and you’ll find the perfect nooks and crannies to spend your time in the big city.

1. The Loop

The Loop refers to the area encompassed by the L-train, the raised railway that covers most of downtown Chicago. Obviously, living in the loop offers a lot in the way of transit, so you’ll be able to reach every part of downtown with little effort and no need for a car.

If you’re a tourist, this is probably the best place to stay to look at the numerous attractions Chicago has to offer. From museums and galleries to renowned architecture, shopping, and dining, you’ll never get bored hanging out in The Loop.

In terms of real estate or renting, you’ll probably find yourself in a high-rise condo when you choose to live in The Loop. It’s a great option for those that want to be in the heart of the action in one of America’s great cities, but maybe not as ideal for young families that need more space to stretch out.

2. Wicker Park

Wicker Park, West Town, and Bucktown all kind of blend into one another to make up one of the trendier parts of northwest Chicago. You’ll find boutiques, record stores, music venues, contemporary art galleries, and plenty of beer and cocktail bars.

What’s great about Wicker Park is that you’ll find people of all kinds here, from the trendiest hipsters to artistically-inclined business folk. As an up-and-coming neighborhood, it’s still relatively affordable to find both houses and rentals with fewer high rises than there are in The Loop.

That said, the average household income in Wicker Park is way above the national average. It’s a testament to how hip the neighborhood really is, as you’ll see when you walk up and down Milwaukee and North Avenues.

3. Lincoln Park

With the city’s biggest park as its anchor, Lincoln Park is one of the most desirable neighborhoods for young professionals and growing families. It’s located about a mile away from downtown, so you’re not too far from all of the hustle and bustle, but you’ll have access to more spacious housing.

If you want to live or stay in Lincoln Park, you’re going to have to pay for it. It’s home to some of the wealthiest Chicagoans, with the average home going for somewhere in the mid $600K range. You can find out more about the properties for sale in Lincoln Park by doing a little bit of digging.

The perks of Lincoln Park are obvious. The park itself is huge, with plenty of greenery, paths, benches, and ponds. It’s also located on the waterfront, so the beach is perfectly accessible in the summer months.

Also found in the Lincoln Park area are the Chicago History Museum, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Nature Museum.

4. West Loop

The West Loop is located—you guessed it—just west of The Loop. It’s still pretty central and walkable to any of the other downtown Chicago neighborhoods. As a former industrial zone, the West Loop has that trendy industrial look that is extremely popular at the moment.

Because the entire area is being rapidly repurposed, you’re going to find near-constant construction—old warehouses turned into apartment lofts, restaurants, and boutiques. It can be annoying for drivers and a bit loud for those that live there, but there’s nothing like getting in on a neighborhood transformation.

If you’re in town for a weekend, you definitely need to check out some of the world-class West Loop restaurants. Oriole, for instance, services a 13-course Japanese feast that you really won’t see anywhere else in Chicago.

5. River North

Close by, north of downtown, is the River North neighborhood. If you’re into art and design, this is the place you’re going to spend most of your time. As one of America’s artistic hubs, Chicago is home to a bustling artistic scene with innovative young talents congregating in River North.

River North gets its name because it’s situated right on the Chicago River, where tourists will find the Chicago Riverwalk and The Merchandise Mart. It’s a lively nightlife spot, so if you’re a young professional, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying all that River North has to offer on evenings and weekends.

6. Lake View

Going further north from the center of the city, Lake View is a bit more laid back than River North or The Loop. That said, it’s still got some fantastic nightlife and it’s easily accessible to most other areas of central Chicago with public transportation.

Both Boystown and Wrigleyville are located in Lake View, so there’s a little something for everyone, from drag shows to baseball. Being so close to Lake Michigan, there are lots of fun outdoor activities to enjoy as well. It’s a diverse and open community, home to all sorts of interesting, laid-back folks.

Another great thing about Lake View is that it’s reasonably affordable to be so close to downtown. Average home prices are around $500K, which compares favorably to other Chicago real estate.

Choose Your Favorite Neighborhoods in Chicago

These are 6 of the best neighborhoods in Chicago that you can explore on your next trip. If you’re planning a move and don’t know what Chicago neighborhood to try out, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

That said, there are 71 more communities that each offer their own mix of culture, fun, and affordability, so do your research and explore before you settle on the perfect one.

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