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Chicago- walkable, family-friendly neighborhoods?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
We are moving back to Chicago this summer and I would like to get an idea about some neighborhoods. We used to live in the suburbs, but we want to give the city a try.

We would like to be in a nicer, safer area and just live "smaller", kwim?

I would like a walkable area with things to do. Ds and I are at home all day and have no car. I would also like to be able to take public transportation to the museums etc.

Does anyone have an recommendations?

Off the top of my head (without having lived in actual Chicago) I was thinking maybe Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 35
You may want to look into Roscoe Village. My husband and I liked it when we lived there, 3 years ago. I admit it was very expensive to buy a house (we rented), so I'm not sure if you were planning to buy or rent.

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thank you. That area looks very nice!

Anyone else?
post #4 of 35
What about Linconln Square, the West Loop, Printer's Row -- the last two are newer residential neighborhoods, but they are close to the loop, the museums and millenium park. I haven't lived in these areas, just visited.

ETA: Downtown Oak Park within walking distance to the train (green line and metra) and Oak Park area or along the blue line in Oak Park -- you will be 20 minutes from the loop if desired.

Wicker Park -- I heard it is getting family friendlier.
post #5 of 35
Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville fit your requirements pretty well, but they have a lot of "singles" things going on - bars/clubs, etc. I agree that Wicker Park or Lincoln Square are better. They're a lot crunchier than Wrigley or LP too and veryfamily friendly.

I live in Lincoln Square and have no car, and have no trouble doing everything I want. I can walk to pretty much everywhere and if not, there's a ton of public trans and bike routes.

I'm just not too crazy about the gentrification that's going on - the yuppies are taking over fast. We used to have avery diverse population ethnically and economically, but that's really over with now. But the other neighborhoods mentioned are much farther along in the gentrification process.
post #6 of 35
I would add that Edgewater and Andersonville are also nice and pretty walkable. Frankly most areas on the northside near the lakefront are walkable. Sigh.. I miss Chicago. Maine is nice but damn I want to go home.

post #7 of 35
We live in Ravenswood with our almost 2 year old dd and we love it. We've been here for almost 4 years, moved from Skokie. Very family friendly and right in between Lincoln Square and Andersonville. We can walk to either with a stroller. There are 2 parks with playgrounds within walking distance, a school playground and a playlot. Close to Metra stop, close to Brown and Red lines. Major buses all around, Damen, Lawrence, Clark, Foster, its a very easily accessible area. We're members of Peggy Notebeart Nature Museum in Lincoln Park and take the Clark bus to get there. Swedish American Museum in Andersonville has a great kids museum inside and its free one day a week. We have a car but use it mostly to buy groceries and to go to the suburbs (family). We're going to move when dd turns 5 but only because the home school is terrible IMHO.

Also, Wrigleyville is too crazy in my opinion. Tough to get parking especially during Cubs games. Lots of bars and noise, not very family friendly. Roscoe Village is much more family oriented. Lincoln Park is pretty much all really expensive and posh now. Within Lakeview, there is an area called Southport Corridor, its super cute and pretty family friendly as well. But all these areas are pricey. Ravenswood is becoming that as well.
post #8 of 35
I live in Lakeview (not in the Wrigleyville area, more in Boystown, which is fast becoming a family mecca) and love it! It can definitely be a bit pricey, though, and a single-family house isn't really an option. That said, I LOVE being within walking distance of the lake, take public transportation everywhere, walk through the park to the farmer's market, zoo, peggy notebaert museum, etc, and just love my very family-friendly (babies seem to be popping up everywhere around here!), very walkable, fun neighborhood. I'm actually not as big a fan of the Southport Corridor that someone else mentioned - it just turns into such a singles bar scene (as does Wrigleyville) at night. Though I think there are nice pockets and more residential areas not right on top of, say, Southport or Clark themselves, in both those areas.
Slightly more affordable and also very nice/fun/walkable is Andersonville. Only downside for me is that you're a bit farther from the lake (but still not too far). And Edgewater has some nice neighborhoods too. I'd also agree that Roscoe village is very family friendly.
post #9 of 35
i live in lincoln square, and absolutely love it! we're right on the border with albany park, and in the summer/fall i loved walking everywhere. there's a huge baby boom here, i've noticed. we could never afford to buy a house around here, but renting is still affordable, or at least we found a good deal. i agree that yuppies are moving in, but honestly the vibe here is still so much different than lakeview, lincoln park, or even the newest yuppie haven, wicker park.

if we weren't living here, i'd want to be in ravenswood (which is walking distance anyways), or andersonville (still walking distance, with good shoes on). ok, i guess i just love this area!
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! All these neighborhoods sound great!

I'm kind of disapointed that no one thinks Lincoln Park is nice.....
I really would love to be so near the zoo and Nature center that we could walk there in minutes.

Really....what do people think of that? Is Lincoln Park really that bad of a place for families? What is it really like?
post #11 of 35
lincoln park is definitely a nice neighborhood. i guess i've never considered living there because it's way out of our price range. it's also quite large with different areas-- sheffield is a nice part. but i don't think that's walking distance from the zoo!
post #12 of 35
My husband & I have lived all over the North Side, and decided to buy in Albany Park. We have been here for almost a decade now, and LOVE IT. We are just west of Andersonville & Lincoln Square, both lovely but more expensive neighborhoods, close enough to enjoy them without paying those premium rents. Our neighborhood is packed with parks, we walk to like 6 different parks, no kidding! We can walk to feed the ducks in the river, or stroll through North Park Nature Preserve. The Parks Dept. has many decent activities in the local field houses too. Albany Park is also very well served by public transportation, being right on the end of the well-maintained Brown Line means we can always get a seat on an inbound train to go to museums in the loop and such. It's also one of the most ethnically deiverse neighborhoods on Earth! (wikepedia says in the USA, but I disagree) It's not at all unusual to see other babywearing moms here, both US born attachment moms and immigrant traditional moms, which is pretty darn cool too. Lots of people from more traditional cultures and people who are used to being in ethnically mixed settings seems to increase the family-friendly atmosphere. I take my daughter everywhere, nurse her everywhere, and people are supportive. Very mixed & very friendly neighborhood, and I think every bit as safe as the more expensive neighborhoods to the east of us, if not moreso. The downside is the neighborhood can be noisy, from planes on the O'Hare flightpath, and ambulances going to Swedish Covenant & Children's Memorial Hospitals - but never because it's full of idiotic out-of-town drunks like Wrigglyville! Check it out:
post #13 of 35
we live right on the border of albany park, and go there often. some of my favorite spots are there-- andy's produce, semiramis, and the large village discount on lawrence.
post #14 of 35
I think if you can afford it, Lincoln Park is great for families, and tons of them live there. I'd try and be on a more residential street (there are lots of them). I chose Lakeview, just north of Lincoln Park, because it was just a bit more affordable (still pricey here though!) and I found it slightly more interesting. We can still walk easily to the zoo/nature museum/farmer's market, but it takes a little longer - maybe 20-30 minutes, depending where we're going. I have a friend who lives on Fullerton just west of Clark with a 3-year-old, and she loves it. They walk everywhere, and are in the park all the time. I think Chicago has lots of great walkable, family-friendly neighborhoods - I just love the lake and the park so much that I worked really hard to be near them both.
post #15 of 35
I live in Albany Park and love it! Its the second most diverse neighborhood in the US and very family friendly. The brown line & Blue line are the closets trains. Of course, it really doesn't matter where you live in the city without a car as the Public trans can get you anywhere you want. The buses are great too.
I'd also check out Uptown and Ravenswood. Lincoln Square is great for families too but its to "white" for me.
Like PP mentioned, Wrigleyville and other "trendy" areas aren't that great for families.
post #16 of 35
Originally Posted by jrose_lee View Post
Thanks everyone! All these neighborhoods sound great!

I'm kind of disapointed that no one thinks Lincoln Park is nice.....
I really would love to be so near the zoo and Nature center that we could walk there in minutes.

Really....what do people think of that? Is Lincoln Park really that bad of a place for families? What is it really like?
I went to high school in Lincoln Park @ Lincoln Park and worked there in my last years in Chicago, I really don't know that I would say its a great area for kids. For starters its extremely expensive and congested and depending on where in Lincoln Park you are you may be really close to the night light. As far as accessing the zoo, I always lived in areas that were just a bus ride away so going was never a problem especially if you live near the #22 or #36 bus lines.

The kids I knew back in the day who lived in Lincoln Park were uber trendy kids with parents who generally were well off and if they didn't attend Lincoln Park they either went to Latin or Francis Parker. Honestly if I were to move back to Chicago as cool as Lincoln Park is in terms of things to do, its just not an area I would live in.

post #17 of 35
I think Rockwell Crossing is a nice little part of Lincoln Square. I live in Lakeview and we might move up to the Lincoln Square area someday.
post #18 of 35
I didn't know so many MDCers lived in my neighborhood! I guess I should've guessed by the natural family businesses expanding on Rockwell.

beansricerevolt- I hear you about the whiteness I did not used to be that way. I'm so sad about the changes that are going on.
post #19 of 35
WOW! I am new to MDC and I am so excited to see people from Albany Park posting. I also live in Albany Park. We bought a condo last year and have lived in the neighborhood for two years. We also lived in Roscoe Village for a long time and I much prefer Albany Park. I think Kekone really summed up the neighborhood. Now I am wondering if I have met any of you at the Ravenswood Park playground!
post #20 of 35

Yay! I found some of you!

I am fairly new to MDC and DH and I just relocated here a few months ago. We currently are living with my parents in North Aurora, but would like to move closer to the city since he works in Rosemont. We were trying to find some places, but some parts I was just a little sketched out by. Could someone give me border streets/neighborhoods that would be good for us and our DS (8months)? TIA!
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