From River North to South Loop, West Town to Uptown, Chicago neighborhoods can leave you in a tizzy as to whether you are north, south, east, west, up, down, backwards, or forwards. But don’t worry; all you need to know is right here. Haute Living’s got you covered on Chi’s five best hoods to lay your roots.
Strategically bordered by the Chicago River and the lakefront, Lincoln Park is the place for urban families and young professionals to spread their wings. With a single family home priced around a cool mil, many homes in the area are valued at more than $10 million. In 2007, Forbes named the area between Armitage Avenue, Willow Street, Burling Street, and Orchard Street the most expensive block in Chicago and one of the priciest blocks in the nation. With streets lined with scenic red bricks and greystones, Lincoln Park offers a lovely mish-mash of upscale boutiques and local pubs, and is also home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, and DePaul University.
With a median household income of $459,000+, a Winnetka zip code promises Northshore decadence and elite living. Home of the world renowned New Trier High School (and my alma mater), it has repeatedly ranked in the top 10 of national public schools with unmatched academic and athletic achievement. Winnetka has been the stomping ground of countless celebrities, most notably Donald Rumsfeld and Chris O’Donnell.
As its name might suggest, Gold Coast properties are some of the crème de la crème here in Chicago. Designed primarily by architects Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Sumner Frost in the wake of the Chicago fire, the Gold Coast was home to the Palmer Mansion on Lake Shore Drive, once the largest private residence in Illinois. Demolished in 1951, Gold Coast residences are still among the priciest in the city with prime lakefront real estate.
Home to the corporate headquarters of an astounding 57 Fortune 1000 companies, including notables Boeing, McDonald’s, Motorola, Discover Financial Services, and United Airlines, Naperville is quickly becoming the city outside the city. The exclusive suburban area holds its own as a major financial center in North America, and is home to the largest futures exchange in the United States, the CME Group. In 2008, CNNMoney ranked Naperville as among the “best places to live and launch a business” in the United States.
It’s impossible to compile this list without including River North. Home of Michigan Avenue, the Park Avenue of the Midwest, River North is a chic, cultural mecca of art galleries, antique stores, boutiques, and luxury high rises. Boasting Chicago’s highest concentration of restaurants, this small neighborhood has become a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. Whether it’s a posh bite or a little spring shopping you’re after, a stroll down State will surely curb any craving.