Chicago is a beloved city — by different generations alike. Whether it’s the lakefront, restaurants and nightlife, theatre and arts, sports culture, or thriving business scene, it’s a place many happily call “home.”
And it’s no coincidence young professionals continue to move to Chicago each year. In fact, Forbes named Chicago as the third leading city for attracting educated Millennials, following New York City and Los Angeles. Given our city’s 77 diverse neighborhoods, where are Millennials deciding to live in Chicago? Our team at Preview Chicago compiled a list of best neighborhoods for young professionals, based on location, access to transportation, housing options, and social scene.
Here are the 9 best neighborhoods in Chicago for Millennials:
Arguably the hottest neighborhood in Chicago these days, the West Loop is an increasingly popular place to eat, play, work — and stay. Along Randolph Street are gathering spots like: Parlor, Soho House, Green Street Meats, Au Cheval, Federales, and Girl & The Goat. As the West Loop continues to develop, so does its neighboring area of Fulton Market — another destination for Chicago Millennials.
The main drag in Old Town is Wells Street, which is home to a whole host of restaurants, bars and shops. Here you’ll find 20-somethings flocking to Soul Cycle, Pour House, Happy Camper and Benchmark. You also get the arts in Old Town, with Second City comedy and the annual Old Town Art Fair.
Logan Square is known for its ‘hipster’ vibe, boasting a buzzy scene of ultra-cool coffee shops, thrift stores, music venues, and breweries, like Revolution. The neighborhood also scores high for its walkability, bicycle friendliness and ease of public transportation, as well as availability of places to eat and hear music.
The South Loop neighborhood has developed and grown in popularity, especially in the last five years. Just south of Chicago’s main downtown, the neighborhood is characterized by modern high-rises, condo buildings, and impressive views of Chicago’s skyline. Residents of the South Loop enjoy close proximity to Chicago’s museum campus, the lakefront, Grant Park, historic Printer’s Row, and a variety of good eats.
Lakeview is a sprawling Chicago neighborhood, with distinct pocket areas like Wrigleyville and Boystown. Given its diverse residents, Lakeview offers a range of amenities and attractions for all to enjoy. Main streets, like Broadway, Halsted and Clark, are bustling with activity nearly 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for quieter residential areas, explore East Lakeview or Southport Corridor.
To Chicago’s west side is Wicker Park, where you’ll find a mix of hip, urban millennials and young professionals. Popular hangouts include Big Star, Antique Taco, Bongo Room, Chop Shop, Dove’s Luncheonette, and Emporium. Residents of Wicker Park enjoy easy access to the El train along the Blue Line, as well as close proximity to the 606 Trail and robust Damen district.
Rush & Division
If you’re into post-grad night life and the downtown scene, Rush & Division may be right for you. The neighborhood is nestled between River North and Gold Coast, offering the excitement and activity you’d expect living in a big city. There are plenty of apartment rentals, shops, restaurants and bars all in walkable distance, like: Blue Door Kitchen, Chicago q, Hopsmith, Luxbar, and The Hangge Uppe.
As a subset community of Lincoln Park, this neighborhood runs along Chicago’s east side near Lake Michigan. Its location is desirable for those prioritizing the lakefront, green space, and access to Lake Shore Drive. The neighborhood offers a variety of rental apartments, local restaurants, and an active social scene along Clark, Fullerton and nearby North Avenue Beach.
If you want to be in the middle of it all: River North is for you. River North is a hub for Chicago businesses, hotels, attractions and nightlife. You’ll probably rent a small studio or one-bedroom, but can walk to work and most everything downtown has to offer. River North residents enjoy top restaurants, the riverwalk, night clubs, a variety of shops and galleries, and a lively bar scene on Hubbard Street.
Do you agree with our list?
Tell us where you’d want to live in Chicago!
Feature image by Tiffany Louise