Gold Coast/Old Town
Old money and stunning lake views characterize this hot neighborhood that runs contrary to the Chicago phrase: "cooler by the lake." Oprah once lived on the border of this high-priced community, where homebuyers can pay millions for a two-bedroom condo. And if you're into "intentional living," or sharing humongous spaces commune style, this area has some of Chicago's largest old homes that could fit the bill. People are drawn to this area because of the nightspots, the good food, its proximity to the lake and to the business district.
Without question, one of the most famous residents is the 44th President Barack Obama. Seven miles from the Loop on the South Side of Chicago, you'll find several of the country's more prestigious institutions. The University of Chicago, renown for producing over 87 Nobel Prize laureates, including two 2013 award recipients for economics, is here. Chicago Blues legend Muddy Waters played the standing-room-only gig with the Rolling Stones at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981.
People who live here don’t really need a car to get around, which is a good thing, because parking here is scarce. Residential streets are lined with cars bumper to bumper, and most of the streets require a permit to park. The neighborhood's young energy is fed by the 3,000 students who attend DePaul University's oldest and largest campus in the heart of Lincoln Park. Named for Chicago’s largest park (with more than 1,200 acres), the neighborhood offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including bike trails, jogging paths and athletic fields. There really is not a main artery in Lincoln Park, because every major street running through the neighborhood is a hub of commercial activity.
Like a village within the city, this quaint community is very popular with young families. Parents are often seen pushing strollers past the shops with colorful awnings, small restaurants and trees that line Roscoe Street, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare. Vintage brick walkups and well-maintained frame houses with front porches help maintain the atmosphere of this family-oriented community. Along with the newer designer boutiques that have sprung up in the area, residents of Roscoe Village can enjoy the largest concentration of antiques stores in the Midwest, located along the neighborhood's Southern border.
Today, luxury high-rises and modern townhomes are being built in an area once known as "Satan's Mile," a stretch from Van Buren to 22nd that was so crime-infested an 1896 judge ruled that a man deserved whatever he got for entering it. Generally considered a slum, the South Loop was a far cry from the expensive neighborhood it is today. Now a thriving community where visitors flock to tourist spots like the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum, the South Loop is an area that draws executives who enjoy its proximity to Lake Michigan and the downtown business district.