Chicago has so many wonderful neighborhoods with so much to offer, that it’s easy to hit the most famous ones and keep returning, then forget about the other neighborhoods. But it’s definitely worth it to venture out and check out all the other amazing neighborhoods here in Chicago! So, here’s a list of some of my favorite sleeper neighborhoods:
I had actually never heard about Andersonville until a few weeks ago because it’s one of my close friend’s favorite neighborhoods, but she took me up there last week and it’s now one of my favorite places in the city. There are tons of really cool coffee shops and unique stores with all kinds of stuff that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. There are also plenty of trendy restaurants and bakeries. Andersonville is great because it has everything you could want, but maintains a laid back and comfortable atmosphere. It reminds me a lot of Savannah, Georgia because it has so many cool things, but it has a nice easy-going vibe and it’s not super crowded.
The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is one of the wealthiest areas of Chicago and it’s super fancy. It has tons of bougie shops like Dior, Le Labo, Stadium Goods, Versace, and so much more. It has a more laid back vibe than a lot of downtown Chicago, but it’s busier than Andersonville. The Gold Coast is a really fun place because you can see lots of really fancy cars and shops. It’s also super close to Michigan Avenue, so you can make a whole shopping day by hitting both spots.
Uptown is a pretty lowkey neighborhood that feels like a blending of the suburbs and the city. There aren’t as many high rises, but you can still see the Chicago skyline and there are still lots of businesses there. Uptown is really great because they have lots of good restaurants there and it’s really close to the beach. They have really good Ethiopian food, pizza, and cafes there, which are all nice places to stop before or after hitting Montrose Beach. At the beach, there are two sections, one that’s like a traditional beach with sand leading into shallow water, but it also has some rocks in a different part where you can jump into the water (the water here is about 5’ deep). You can also see the Chicago skyline when your in the water, so if you’re willing to risk getting your phone wet or you have a waterproof camera, you can get some really cool pictures
Pilsen is a neighborhood on the lower west side, right next to Chinatown. Named one of the twelve coolest neighborhoods in the world by Forbes, Pilsen is rich in Hispanic culture–it’s home to some of the best Mexican restaurants in the country and the National Museum of Mexican Art. It is also a large center for the arts in Chicago, a lot of the buildings are covered in really cool street art and there are tons of cool art galleries and music venues there. Pilsen is one of my favorite places in Chicago and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Southport Corridor is a smaller neighborhood that’s essentially a strip of Southport Avenue on the north side. However, just because it’s not the biggest, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. There are lots of clothing stores, so if you’re ever in need of a new outfit, Southport Corridor is a great place to go. It also has tons of great restaurants, it’s even being hailed as Chicago’s next great restaurant row. One of my favorite restaurants in Southport Corridor is Bodega Sur. It’s a nice little Argentine restaurant with a really great tapas menu, so it’s fun to bring a group of friends and sample all the great tapas dishes. They also have a really great brunch menu if that’s more your thing!
Rogers Park is on the north side and is to Loyola University Chicago what Hyde Park is to UChicago. It’s right by the lake, you can get tons of really good pictures of Lake Michigan. There are also a bunch of great paths to take a walk on, whether it be a nice stroll on the beach or exploring the West Ridge Nature Preserve. Rogers Park is also a vibrant immigrant community, so there are restaurants from every culture imaginable here. From Greek to Korean to Pakistani to Peruvian, Rogers Park has something to expand everyone’s palate! Some notable restaurants to try here are Badou Senegalese Cuisine, Sol Cafe, Denden, and Al Kabeer.
Honorable Mention: The Pullman Historic District is a national monument that features the first planned industrial community where people would live and work in the same place. It’s not so much a neighborhood, but it is a lesser known part of the city that makes for a fun day trip.