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Welcome to the Neighborhood: Lincoln Park

Published:
December 14, 2023
August 31, 2023
Get to know Lincoln Park, a Chicago neighborhood, by reading this local's guide.

Roughly bound by North Avenue to the south, Diversey Parkway to the north, and the North Branch of the Chicago River to the west, Lincoln Park boasts so many top features: a lush green lakefront, world-renowned zoo, museums and cultural hotspots, DePaul university, high-end shopping and entertainment, and lively bar and nightlife choices. It’s as emblematic of Chicago as it is historic, and nothing beats a sunny day strolling the leafy streets. Here’s what to know about Lincoln Park.

Basics

Lincoln Park is a large neighborhood north of Old Town with a dense population of college students, families, young and established professionals, and high-end real estate. It’s served by three CTA lines (Red, Brown, Purple) and several bus routes. Named for Lincoln Park, Chicago’s largest public park, the neighborhood is home to an abundance of Chicago’s top features: the world-renowned Lincoln Park zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, and North Avenue Beach, among others. Locals might feel Lincoln Park is “quintessential North Side,” with a deep love for the Cubs and the bustling urban lifestyle mixed within its namesake greenspace. 

Where to Live

According to the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce reported data, the population of the area is roughly 55% aged 25-54, with a median age of 30. The average household income is $115,774, and roughly 49% of Lincoln Park households earn $75,000 or more, meaning the housing market can skew high for new residents. In fact, Lincoln Park is often touted as the most expensive neighborhood in Chicago, with many famous athletes, business billionaires, and legacy families calling it home. Thanks to the DePaul University campus, an estimated 57% of Lincoln Park’s housing is renter-occupied, but first-time renters might find the cost of living higher than other neighborhoods simply because demand is high for a limited supply of rentals. 

If you didn’t happen to inherit a million-dollar mansion, you’ll find most rentals in the area fall into the walk-up Chicago Greystone and courtyard building category. Like its neighbor to the north, Lakeview, renters can expect charming studio or one-bedroom apartments in a two-flat or three-flat with possible greenspace, or try a garden apartment in an older historic home. 

Keep in Mind… 

Lincoln Park is more of an established neighborhood, with stately mansions, luxury condominiums, and two-flats. Parking is also extremely coveted. There is limited street parking available and many streets are restricted for overnight parking because of the competition with foot traffic and parking with small businesses. Lincoln Park residents like the charming feel of a small town within the big city, and they have plenty of zoning restrictions and one-way streets to keep it from becoming congested.

Click here to download our free Lincoln Park Neighborhood Guide.
Nightlife: Bars & Restaurants

Lincoln Park is a foodie’s dream come true, starting with the world famous, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience Alinea. If spending your rent on a single (yet incredible) dinner isn’t what you had in mind, Lincoln Park boasts every type of dining out option — from college student-friendly pub grub to brunchy bistros to solid bar food and late-night options. To make the most of the expansive lakefront and park views as well as the canopy of tree-lined streets, many restaurants throw open their windows, sidewalks, and rooftops to maximize the alfresco dining options, including the J. Parker rooftop lounge atop the Lincoln Hotel and the Restaurant at Theater on the Lake. 

In recent years, new developments and neighborhood upgrades have made the Lincoln Park dining scene a cultural and culinary destination. 

  • Lincoln Park is dreamy and perfectly romantic, especially when dining at Geja’s Cafe, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, and Gemini. 
  • If you want to go big or go home, make reservations at three (!!!) Michelin-starred restaurants Alinea and Boka, Michelin-starred LP favorite North Pond with beautiful natural setting, or new fine-dining darling Esmé. 
  • Tucked throughout Lincoln Park streets are an abundance of neighborhood bars where you can enjoy a pint and good grub, such as the Red Lion Pub, Gaslight, Ranalli’s, Galway Arms, Kelly’s Pub, or Pequod’s Pizza.
  • The beloved Green City Market is a summer-only treat that pops up on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the south end of the eponymous Lincoln Park. 
  • Don’t skip dessert! These specialty shops lend to the sweet neighborhood feel by supplying only-found-here types of treats: macaroons from Vanille Patisserie, cakes and cookies from Sweet Mandy B’s, cupcakes from Molly’s Cupcakes, and danishes from Floriole Bakery & Cafe are all well worth the calories. 
  • Beloved global food spots — such as Athenian Room for Greek cuisine, Mon Ami Gabi for French bistro fare, or Evette’s Chicago for Lebanese/Mexican fusion food — are area favorites.
Entertainment

Steppenwolf Theater is the unparalleled center for burgeoning American theater — so many big names got their starts on this acclaimed stage on Clark Street. Nearby is Greenhouse Theater Center and the art deco gem Biograph Theater, where notorious bank robber John Dillinger famously met his end. Though the Biograph is no longer hosting theatrical works, the building is a designated Chicago landmark and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

For live music, there’s Park West or Lincoln Hall and plenty of small stages at nearby bars, such as Kingston Mines, where you can hear live music until 4 a.m. The Apollo Theater is also a neighborhood gem, so keep an eye out for visiting tours and productions. 

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. 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 Lincoln Park for their welcoming attitudes and neighborhood connectivity.

Catholic Churches in Lincoln Park

St. Clement Parish in Lincoln Park strives to live its message of community inclusion through several programs such as a young adult group that caters to post-college young professionals seeking a social outlet that mixes social justice, and the Lydia Institute, which is a mentorship and support system for professional women of the parish. 

Built shortly after the Great Chicago Fire, St. Teresa of Avila Parish is a testament to the power of neighborhood parishes. First constructed to meet the spiritual needs of the German immigrants of the area, St. Teresa quickly grew into a community with a neighboring school that brought influential Catholic sisters and pastors through its doors. Today it continues to welcome and serve the area. 

St. Vincent de Paul Parish is not just the namesake of the neighboring largest Catholic university in the US but also a church community that lives its mission to serve those on the margin through love and care. The Romanesque architecture provides a sweeping, stately home to the parishioners and services happening within. 

Other churches close by include St. Josaphat Parish — which prides itself on being a warm and inviting parish for first-time visitors — and the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, which is dedicated to the mission and memory of Mother Cabrini.

Looking for other denominations or faith communities? Check out these neighborhood options.

Shopping

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

There are four main commercial shopping areas in Lincoln Park:

  • Armitage Avenue and Halstead Street retail district — a bustling shopping destination, perfect for a shop-and-stroll 
  • Clark Street and Diversey Parkway — one of the more heavily trafficked pedestrian areas for shopping commercial businesses, clothing boutiques, and specialty shops
  • North Avenue and Clybourn Corridor — a hub for national brands, most notably popular home goods and furniture stores, plus home to a huge Apple store

Lincoln Park might be the epitome of “North Side Chicago”— charming and luxurious, youthful and historic. With the lush Lincoln Park and accessible lakefront as a backdrop, this popular neighborhood is iconic and approachable, full of features and amenities that appeal to residents old and new. 

Learn more about Lincoln Park by visiting the 43rd ward office, the 32nd ward office, or the 2nd ward office (depending on your area) and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Or plan a day soaking up all that Lincoln Park has to offer: delicious food, unique shopping, beautiful views, relaxing parks, engaging culture, exciting entertainment, and energetic nightlife — we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Creators:
Jennon Bell Hoffmann
Published:
December 14, 2023
August 31, 2023
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