Chicago is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the entire United States. At the heart of this great city’s rich diversity is its tremendous number of remarkable neighborhoods. Chicago is home to over 200 distinct neighborhoods and some 77 community areas. As overwhelming as those numbers might seem at first, Chicago’s grid-like layout, expansive transit system, and world-famous attractions make setting to explore these vibrant neighborhoods a fun and exciting adventure.
For those visitors brand-new to Chicago, you won’t want to miss such standout spots as The Loop and Magnificent Mile. The Loop is an area prominently situated right at the heart of Chicago’s downtown. There you’ll find the city’s primary commercial business district and a significant assortment of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks. Prominent attractions located in the general vicinity of The Loop include the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, the Chicago Theater District, the Civic Opera House, Willis Tower, and much, much more. The Magnificent Mile refers to a one-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue that consists of one of the most famous stretches of commercial real estate in the world. There you’ll find all manner of high-end shopping and luxurious dining, as well as such popular attractions like Tribune Tower, Water Tower Place, and the John Hancock Building.
If you’re feeling in the mood for something a bit further afield, you won’t have to look far. Not far from the Magnificent Mile you’ll find the Gold Coast, with its mixture of stunning views of Lake Michigan and historic homes. Just a bit to the north of the Gold Coast is Chicago’s lovely Lincoln Park. This beautiful park, Chicago’s largest green space, also gives its names to a popular and lively neighborhood full of terrific restaurants, intimate music venues, and outstanding shopping. If you’re still looking for more to eat, drink, and see, head to Old Town, where you’ll find the legendary comedy club Second City, as well as a nice variety of attractive architecture, cozy bars, and eclectic cuisine.
Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods to visit in Chicago:
The Loop: The heart of Chicago’s downtown district, The Loop is full of architectural marvels, historic cityscapes, and cultural attractions. Here you’ll find Millennium Park, Willis Tower, the Art Institute, and more.
Streeterville:This lovely area is home to a little bit of everything, including the ever-popular Navy Pier. Here you’ll also find a pleasant collection of restaurants, shops, and hotels.
Magnificent Mile: A mile-long stretch of Michigan Avenue known throughout the world for its selection of high-end retailers and restaurants, the Magnificent Mile is a must-see for any visitor new to Chicago.
Andersonville:Andersonville is a vibrant community home to distinctive shops, restaurants, and wildly popular summer street festivals. It is also the heart of Chicago’s LGBTQ community.
River North: River North is one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods, famous for its nightlife scene and expanse of residential high-rise buildings. This lively area is jam-packed with bars, restaurants, clubs, and art galleries.
Gold Coast: Home to some of the most expensive residences in the entire United States, here you’ll find tree-lined streets and historic mansions all within easy walking distance of Chicago’s spectacular waterfront beaches and trails.
Lincoln Park: In this beautiful neighborhood you’ll find something for everyone, including world-class restaurants, quirky shopping, and plenty of hip places to catch live music—alongside the Chicago History Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and more.
Chinatown:Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood is home to a dynamic business district and features such attractions as Chinatown Square, the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, and a reproduction of Beijing’s 15th-Century Nine-Dragon Wall mural.
South Loop: South Loop is probably best known for being the gateway to the renowned Museum Campus. Here you’ll find some of the country’s finest museums, including the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.
Old Town: One of Chicago’s most historic neighborhoods, Old Town is home to classic examples of Chicago’s architectural complexity, numerous independently owned businesses, cozy pubs, unique restaurants, and The Second City comedy club.