My Kind of Town

Parks & Neighborhoods
By Christopher Collier

The real Chicago—the Chicago of those who live in Chicago—isn't the skyscrapers you see in the distance; it is rather the neighborhoods. Whether walking, running, biking, or driving, the Chicago experience is all about its plentiful parks and charming neighborhoods.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is where the action is if you're a professional in your twenties or thirties. Many brownstones, many restaurants, many bars. Within Lincoln Park, the neighborhood, also lay the pleasantries of Lincoln Park, the park. Just west of Lake Shore Drive, Lincoln Park (the park) is the sight of playing fields, the zoo, and the conservatory, which all cost nothing to explore. Like many of the parks on the other side of the Drive, Lincoln Park acts as western, more low-key continuation of the Lakefront.

Gold Coast

Even a five-minute drive through this neighborhood is worth it. The Gold Coast is perhaps the wealthiest neighborhood in the city; it's been said you have to be made of gold in order to afford it. State Street, Dearborn Street, and Astor Drive will bring you to some of the most palatial residential pads in the city. Drive, bike, walk, run or skate through. It's good for a gander.

Old Town

Find St. Michael's Church and you're in the heart of Old Town, an area known for its old-fashioned artistic flair. Host to the Sheffield Garden Walk and the Old Town Art Fair, the Old Town aesthetic has much to do with the celebration of beauty and nature. Wondrous gardens, laid-back neighborhood bars, and architectural charm. To find out what's great about residential Chicago, there is no better place.


Bucktown is almost too cool for school, ecclectica at its finest. Recently gentrified but still rough around the geographic edges, Bucktown hasgradually become the hip place for chic restaurants and swank bars. Its focalpoint is the six-way intersection of North Avenue, Damen Street, and MilwaukeeAvenue. It's the place to go if you want a tasty dish and a cluster of hipdrinking establishments. A great place to explore at night.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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