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Welcome to the Neighborhood: Lakeview

Published:
December 4, 2023
July 26, 2023
Get to know Lakeview, a Chicago neighborhood, by reading this local's guide.

Roughly bound by Diversey Parkway to the south, Irving Park Road to the north, and Ravenswood Avenue to the west, Lakeview boasts so many top features: a sprawling lakefront, shopping and entertainment, wide range of housing options, and exciting bar and nightlife choices. No wonder it’s one of the most popular and desired places to live for post-college young professionals. Here’s what to know about Lakeview:

Basics

Lakeview has a dense population mixed with post-college graduates, early career professionals, and young families. Covering 3.13 square miles, Lakeview is split into four main areas with overlapping unofficial boundaries: Lakeview East, Central Lakeview, Northalsted, and Wrigleyville, and is served by three CTA lines (Red, Brown, Purple) and several bus routes. Hands down, the draw of the neighborhood is the accessibility to so many desirable features — the lakefront, entertainment, commerce, public transportation — while being a short distance to the city center and plenty of personality and mature trees. 

Where to Live

Because Lakeview is one of the largest neighborhoods, there is a lot of variety when it comes to housing. Real estate developers make use of the glittering lake views by building many high-rise apartments and condos along the winding Lake Shore Drive barrier. Covered or garage parking is usually included in a Lakeview East high rise because street parking is regulated with permits and is very competitive.  

Wrigleyville, Northalsted, and Central Lakeview are littered with walk-up Chicago Greystones and courtyard buildings. You can expect charming studio or one-bedroom apartments in a two- or three-story building (or as Chicagoans say, two-flat or three-flat) with possible greenspace. Many storefronts on popular shopping stretches, like Southport and Lincoln Avenue, also have apartments above or behind their business, and some older historic homes have been converted into two-flats and three-flats with varying degree of modern updates. 

Keep in mind… 

Because of the popularity of the area, rents can skew higher than areas farther out from the lake, entertainment districts, or main commerce areas. Parking is at a premium because there’s not enough space for all the people living, working, and hanging out in Lakeview. If you have a car, finding a reliable, affordable regular spot might be difficult, though the ward office does have parking permits for residents and passes for visitors.

Click here to download our free Lakeview Neighborhood guide.
Nightlife: Bars & Restaurants

Because it is so big, Lakeview offers both the bustling nightlife of late-night bars and venues, as well as quiet neighborhood restaurants on tree-lined streets. In recent years, new developments and neighborhood upgrades have made the Wrigleyville area even more of a destination. Lined with bars down Clark Street, and new boutique hotels and lounges sprouting by the historical ballpark, Wrigleyville is always a weekend destination, regardless if the Cubs are playing. 

Lakeview offers every cuisine (and price point) to cater to the diverse population. For example:

  • To impress a date, you can’t go wrong with Dear Margaret, Ella Elli, or Coalfire.
  • Feed your inner foodie with reservations at Michelin-starred restaurant MFK and Bib Gourmand recipient Sochi Saigonese Kitchen.
  • Visit the corner gastropub, like Wilde, Kirkwood, or Will’s Northwoods Inn, to meet your neighbors over a beer and good grub.  
  • For a break from burgers and pizza, check out area favorites such as BITES Asian Kitchen, the Gundis Kurdish Kitchen, and Taipei Cafe, and Tango Sur..
  • Vegan hotspot Chicago Diner is not to be ignored. 

Or just pick a favorite street to stroll and pop into whatever looks and smells tasty. In this area, chances are high it’s a winner. 

Entertainment

Belmont Theater District includes the Vic Theater, which features famous stand-ups as well as indie bands, Comedy Sports for live improv, Briar Street Theater, home of the long-running Blue Man Group show, Stage 773, Chicago Theater Works, and Theater Witt for impactful theater away from the Loop. The Laugh Factory in Lakeview East boasts national touring comedians or swing by the world-famous Annoyance theater to see future comedy greats hone their skills. 

On Southport, you can also watch indie film favorites or join in Rocky Horror Picture show at the Music Box Theater or catch a limited series musical at Mercury Theater just down the street. 

For live music, hit up Schubas, the famous Cubby Bear, or dance the night away at the Metro. 

If you’re in Wrigleyville, then Wrigleyville — catch a Cubs game then bar-hop to celebrate with fellow fans or drown your sorrows. Since this small three block radius fills up with fans from all over, be mindful that parking can be nearly impossible if you don’t have a secured space. 

Northalsted — what was formerly known as Boystown — is the internationally known hub of LGBTQ+ activism and awareness. Pride Parade is renowned for its colorful floats and boisterous party atmosphere, and Halsted Street is packed with revelers every weekend. 

Faith Communities

Making a move to a big city after college life can be a big adjustment and finding a place that fills your cup spiritually can be profoundly comforting at such a period of transition. The large geography and dense population of Lakeview means there are plenty of options for religious-minded people, or those curious, to find their spiritual home. Because spirituality and seeking community can mean different things to each person, a good place to start would be with the following churches, which are known in Lakeview for their welcoming attitudes and neighborhood connectivity.

Catholic Churches in Lakeview

There are a few Catholic churches in the neighborhood that serve the people of Lakeview. St. Alphonsus has a strong young adult ministry program that hosts many events for the post-college adults new to the neighborhood. Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Northalsted is the seat of AGLO, the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach community for Chicago. And St. Andrew is a welcoming, family parish with a growing community of young adults — you’ll find that crowd at the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturdays.

Looking for other places of worship and faith? Here are a few to check out.

  • Grace Chicago Church
  • Lakeview Lutheran
  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
  • St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
  • Chabad East Lakeview
  • Zen Buddhist Temple
Shopping

What makes a neighborhood feel, well, neighborhoody is how convenient your area is to your own life and needs. Though Lakeview covers a large geographical area, there is plenty of commerce and shops in each corner to satisfy your needs. 

Southport Corridor is a chic strip of brunch spots and boutiques that feels both charming and trendy. Lincoln Avenue has a fresh mix of indie shops and trusted neighborhood staples with pedestrian-friendly landscaping. Paulina Station District showcases glimpses of its Old-World past, including Paulina Meat Market and Chicago Music Exchange, with modern amenities like Target.

Lakeview is a popular post-college destination because it features all the amenities a young person just starting out could want: young crowds, exciting nightlife, affordable housing options, accessible public transportation, small commute to downtown, and plenty of charming personality on every leafy street. Not to mention the jewel of Chicago: a glittering lakefront. 

Learn more about Lakeview by visiting your ward office and the Chambers of Commerce for Lakeview-Roscoe Village and Lakeview East. Or do it the old-fashioned way and spend a day walking the tree-lined streets to see if Lakeview could be your next home sweet home.

Creators:
Jennon Bell Hoffmann
Published:
December 4, 2023
July 26, 2023
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