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Best Neighborhoods in Chicago + Where to Live

You're trying to figure out where to live — let's help you figure out the best neighborhoods in Chicago for you.

If you're looking for a weird (mostly useless) "Where should you live in Chicago?" quiz that asks you what your favorite dog is and then spits out a neighborhood — you're in the wrong place. Sorry to disappoint!

This article is designed for anyone who wants to get a good feel for what areas of Chicago might be a good fit for their style. We'll cover three "categories" of neighborhood compatability that people frequently ask us about:

For those of you who just can't wait, here are the 9 best neighborhoods in Chicago for young professionals (in no particular order):

  1. Wrigleyville
  2. Pilsen
  3. West Loop
  4. Lakeview
  5. Lincoln Park
  6. Bucktown
  7. Logan Square
  8. Albany Park
  9. Rogers Park

Without further ado — let's get started helping you find the best neighborhoods to live in Chicago!

best neighborhoods in chicago

Heads up! There are 78 unique neighborhoods in Chicago.

Having so many options can be overwhelming. While I've already broken down the average rent in Chicago by neighborhood, this will give you a better idea of which neighborhoods fit your needs in a variety of ways.

Get started with our Chicago Neighborhoods web tool.

We put together an information-rich, interactive map of Chicago's neighborhoods to help give you a hand with understanding which neighborhoods will make the most sense for your specific move. Check out the sneak peek below and click to give it a try for yourself!

best neighborhoods in chicago

And check out this great map from VICE.

"The "Neighborhoods in Chicago" Wikipedia page alone lists more than 200 'hoods and so-called "community areas" which overlap more than the Marvel universe's storylines. This is a lot to take in if you're new to the city, so we're just gonna cover the basics." Source: VICE

best neighborhoods in chicago

Wrigleyville

Wrigleyville came out on top in the battle of the best neighborhoods. Home to the clubs, pubs, live entertainment and the youngest median age in Chicago, this is a great spot for a variety of young renters. Learn more about this awesome neighborhood at wrigleyville.org!

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Wrigleyville and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Wrigleyville might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

Pilsen / Lower West Side

Full of vibrant Mexican-American culture including murals and great food, Pilsen has what it takes to attract potential renters.  Students add to the diversity of the young neighborhood and rents are refreshingly low for Chicago.

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Pilsen/Lower West Side and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Pilsen might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

West Loop

If you're the type to thrive in the midst of downtown, West Loop could be an awesome neighborhood for you. With the convenience of being downtown and some of the best restaurants, bars and clubs around, it's hard to go wrong.

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Wrigleyville and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of West Loop might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

Lakeview

Lakeview is a big neighborhood that encompasses Wrigleyville. Some people might be sold by the name - I can't blame you. Whether strolling along the lake shore or shopping up and down the lively streets, Lakeview does not disappoint.

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Lakeview and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park has plenty to enjoy when the weather is tame - gardens, the lakefront and the amazing free zoo, just to name a few options. There's a great young population which includes the college environment of Depaul University. 

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Lincoln Park and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Lincoln Park might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

Bucktown

Often grouped as one with neighboring Wicker Park, Bucktown is the trendy spot to be. Unrivaled shopping for both the independent boutique lover and the big designer type alike differentiates this neighborhood from the rest. Like art and good drinks? They've got that, too!

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Bucktown and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Bucktown might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

Logan Square

Another hip(ster) neighborhood where you'll find more of a relaxed environment including the actual square in the heart of the area. Combine that with some great dive bars and farmers' markets and you've got one cool spot to live. 

You can click the image below to get a bit more detail on Logan Square and see it on a map.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Logan Square might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

And here's a great snapshot of Logan Square from Marriott Traveler.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Albany Park

If you like ethnic foods from the Middle East, Thailand, Mexico and around the world, this affordable multicultural neighborhood might be perfect for you.

Rogers Park

The city's northernmost neighborhood is accessible enough to keep you in the "Loop" - pun definitely intended - yet low key enough to be a hot spot for locals. Located along the lake, there is plenty to see and do in Rogers Park.

Best Neighborhoods in Chicago for Young Families

best neighborhoods in chicago

We figured we wouldn't reinvent the wheel on this one — Chicago Magazine has an outstanding list (geared towards families) of the top neighborhoods in Chicago, as well as the top suburbs. The team there poured through Census data, focused on safety, education, access to Downtown and home value appreciation. And came up with the following list:

North Side

West Side

South Side

Click the image below to check out their awesome interactive map as well!

best neighborhoods in chicago

best neighborhoods in chicago

Boystown

"The first officially recognized gay village in the United States, Boystown in Chicago, Illinois is the commonly accepted nickname for the eclectic East Lakeview neighborhood that is home to Chicago's visible and active gay and lesbian community. Boystown Chicago is situated just southeast of Wrigleyville in Lakeview. The area is bordered by Lake Michigan on the east and Clark Street on the west, Irving Park Road to the north and Diversey Avenue to the south." Source: chicago.gopride.com

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: chicago.gopride.com

Here's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on what a "typical" resident of Boystown might appear like — w/ some information on the neighborhood as well.

It's important to note that this "profile" is meant to be more of a light-hearted generalization, not any sort of "truth" — really just here to give you a very broad flavor.

best neighborhoods in chicago

Source: Apartment List

Want to make sure your top neighborhood is safe enough?

We got your back on that one! Alexa put together an awesome list of Chicago's "Safest" Neighborhoods so you'll know what to expect in each area of the city.

best neighborhoods in chicago 

How did we rank the best neighborhoods for young professionals?

There are five metrics that we think are crucial in finding a great neighborhood as a young renter. Using those criteria, I created a point system to award the most appealing neighborhoods. The metrics that awarded the most points are the ones that I find to be a bit more important than the others. Here's the breakdown:

1. Total young population

Jumpshell defines a "young population" here as between the ages of 20-39 based on Chicago census data.

2. Young population density

3. % of Units Occupied by Renters

These values represent the percentage of renter-occupied units within each community. The smaller neighborhoods were judged by the data given for the community that encompasses them. For example, Wrigleyville and Lakeview share the 62.3% because Wrigleyville is within the larger Lake View.

4. Median Age

5. Average Rent

The neighborhood demographics and average rents all come from realtor.com. The information regarding renter-occupied units by neighborhood is from areavibes.com. Also, shout out to thechicagoneighborhoods.com for all of the awesome images for each neighborhood!

I hope this was helpful!

I'm always looking to make these articles even better, so I'd love your feedback. What was useful? What wasn't? Was it easy to read and understand? Let me know at contact@jumpshell.com!

Doing some more research on moving to Chicago? We've got a few resources that can help you out!

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