Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to. You’ve no doubt seen our Chicago City Guide, which includes a short section on a few of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—Chicago movers and throughout the country).
We’re searching Chicago for the top neighborhoods. The Windy City’s beautiful landscape, water-side activities, a continuing stream of sporting events, tasty local grub, and some of the best breweries in the country make this city one of the best places to live. Check out our list below of the 4 best neighborhoods Chicago has to offer.
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The vibrancy, the arts, and the colors burst through Pilsen, a community-oriented neighborhood southwest of downtown. This big hub has a small-town feel, filled with many families that have lived in the area for decades. You won’t get far down 18th Street without a belly happily full of delicious drinks and some of Chicago’s best grub.
Pilsen is passionate about maintaining and protecting the cultural richness of the neighborhood. And this warm and welcoming area opened a sacred spot for the history of the community. With the main purpose of preserving but also sharing the neighborhood’s culture, the National Museum of Mexican Art is free to the public. This museum is one of the largest Latino cultural organizations in the U.S. It proudly features over 6,000 pieces as well as educational programs about Mexican culture.
If you want more of local art and culture, visit the music venues in the ornate Thalia Hall. Tour the Chicago Arts District, a several-block stretch full of galleries, studios, and exhibition spaces. Or join the locals each month for 2nd Fridays Gallery Night. During this event, shops, galleries, and even residents open their doors to share the love of art and a few drinks together.
In Pilsen, you are set to explore a gamut of authentic Mexican dishes. Try out Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan. Specializing in their amazing Mexican goat stew, this restaurant has created a small, thoughtful, and immensely satiating menu. Canton Regio shows off elegant dishes of Mexican fare. And Carnitas Uruapan offers juicy pork, warm corn tortillas, and salsa verde – the beautiful, bare basics to one of the most delicious secrets that has ever hit our taste buds.
Pilsen’s most popular bar and restaurant, Del Toro, shakes up the freshest, juiciest tequilas. La Catrina Cafe’s owners created an inviting and warm coffee house that displays the colors and cultures of the area. And, if you need a break from the more fresh and vibrant flavors of the neighborhood, visit S.K.Y.. This hot spot was recently ranked as the best new restaurant in the city by Chicago Magazine and serves creative and contemporary American cuisine.
The top public schools serving Pilsen include Northside College Preparatory High School, Decatur Classical School, and Keller Regional Gifted Center among others.
Like many neighborhoods in Chicago, you’ll find bungalows and two- and Three-flat homes among the occasional larger house. But Pilsen adds its own splash of creativity. The neighborhood seems to view everything – even the buildings in their neighborhood – to have artistic potential. The streets here, let’s just say, aren’t dull to look at. Here are the current houses for sale and homes for rent in Pilsen.
With beautiful homes, a large historic district, green spaces, and low crime rates, Beverly is a popular spot for many local Chicagoans. This close-knit and family-friendly neighborhood, though, does offer a fair share of Irish pubs. More, in fact, than in any other Chicago neighborhood. And to fall in line with the Irish theme and the many Irish residents, Beverly has hosted the wild South Side Irish Parade every St. Patrick’s day since 1981.
The homes in Beverly are noteworthy. But some are exceptional and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. And the castle-like Beverly Unitarian Church looks like an architectural masterpiece plucked from medieval times. All in all, this neighborhood meets all its points aesthetically and offers a homey, small-town feel.
A trip around the neighborhood will have you sampling diverse cuisines, from Caribbean food at Kingston’s Jerk Chicken, to Italian dishes from Franconello. For a great breakfast stop, check out Beverly Bakery & Cafe. This coffee shop plates dishes like chorizo and grilled tomato benedict, as well as a long list of specialty omelets.
Beverly is home to two great microbreweries – Open Outcry Brewing Company, which serves pizzas with their brews, and Horse Thief Hollow, which makes some of the best crab cakes you’ll find around. And if you’d like a sweet treat to close out all your blissful binging, visit Original Rainbow Cone. This local favorite ice cream shop serves cones, shakes, sundaes, and banana splits.
The top public schools serving Beverly include Walter Payton College Prep, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, and Keller Regional Gifted Center among others.
This old industrial neighborhood is where Poland and Latin America meet. Part of Polish Village, Avondale is intimately tied in with the city’s Polish community. Avondale now also reflects the bright and friendly culture of the neighborhood’s many Hispanic immigrants and families from Mexico and Central America.
Supporting local food and art, Avondale’s streets are speckled with great new restaurants and pop with bright street art and murals. One mural, in particular, painted by Northeastern students, captures the cultural blend of the area, featuring Frida Kahlo dressed in Polish garb
While still not quite discovered, Avondale feels like it’s about to pop with popularity. Its welcoming vibe, proximity to downtown, and affordability add to its local lure. And in the past few years, restaurants have been opening all over the area, offering locals even more delicious options.
Where to begin?! Avondale’s amazing food scene will fatten you up, and its drink scene will float you home. Check out Yusho and their artistic variations on traditional ramen soups with earthy, spicy, and umami flavors. Parachute serves mouthwatering Korean-American fare from a continually changing menu.
The local favorite, Kuma’s Corner is a heavy-metal-themed burger joint with some of the best meat sandwiches in the city. And Honey Butter Fried Chicken makes crispy chicken with honey butter, as you could have guessed. Pair this with a side of creamy pimento mac and cheese, and you’ve found yourself a heart attack of happiness.
For drinks, grab a hot cappuccino from The Avondale Coffee Club. If you like your brews made with stronger stuff than coffee beans, check out Metropolitan Brewing. This brewery has not hopped on the hop-train. You won’t find a single IPA on their menu. But you will find crisp, clean, and incredibly drinkable German-style beers and lagers as well as a jovial community and geek-humor branding.
For a taste of Avondale’s art, history, and culture, visit the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. Or tour the awe-inspiring Basilica of St. Hyacinth. This Polish-style Roman Catholic Church from the late 1800s displays beautiful depictions of various Catholic Saints.
The top public schools serving Avondale include Walter Payton College Prep, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, and Avondale Public School among others.
Gridded by some of Chicago’s most beautiful historic streets, Edgewater is a picturesque neighborhood wedged against the edge of Lake Michigan. Residents are diverse in age, culture, and economy, and the neighborhood offers a spread of eclectic cuisines.
Its proximity to the lake and the Red Line gives this neighborhood easy access to most anything you’d need living in the city. And with some of the most affordable apartments in the area, lower crime rates, plus bars, restaurants, and local events galore, Edgewater is the happy home to many long-term locals.
Edgewater packs in the local activities. And we suggest you take a day trip to Osterman Beach. This sandy beachfront has watersport rentals, concessions, restrooms, and a lifeguard first aid station. Want more water activities? Check out Chicago River Canoe and Kayaking. Too cold to venture out? Spend some time burning energy at Chicago’s largest indoor recreation facility, Broadway Armory Park.
Edgewater doesn’t disappoint when it comes to tasty local food. The M.Henry bakery and cafe will make your morning pleasant. Nookies Edgewater serves American comfort food. While Mas Alla del Sol plates modern Mexican dishes, and Jin Ju serves authentic Korean fare. If you love some good wine with dinner, check out Edgewater’s tavern-style Income Tax.
The top public schools serving Edgewater include Walter Payton College Prep, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, and Keller Regional Gifted Center among others.
Houses in Edgewater range from $250k homes to multi-million dollar new constructions.
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhops. Like we said, we are the modern alternative to Chicago moving companies, and we would love to help.
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