Chicago- walkable, family-friendly neighborhoods? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 02-01-2008, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#2 of 35 Old 02-02-2008, 12:47 AM
 
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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.

Link:
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#3 of 35 Old 02-02-2008, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. That area looks very nice!

Anyone else?

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#4 of 35 Old 02-02-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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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.
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#5 of 35 Old 02-02-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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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.

Rainbow.gif ~ Molly
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#6 of 35 Old 02-02-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 35 Old 02-03-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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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.
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#8 of 35 Old 02-03-2008, 04:19 PM
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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.
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#9 of 35 Old 02-06-2008, 02:19 AM
 
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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!

Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

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#10 of 35 Old 02-06-2008, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#11 of 35 Old 02-07-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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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!

Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

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#12 of 35 Old 02-07-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Park%2C_Chicago
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#13 of 35 Old 02-07-2008, 02:58 PM
 
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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.

Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

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#14 of 35 Old 02-07-2008, 03:24 PM
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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.
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#15 of 35 Old 02-10-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 35 Old 02-11-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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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.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#17 of 35 Old 08-27-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 35 Old 09-02-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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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.

Rainbow.gif ~ Molly
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#19 of 35 Old 09-05-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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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!
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#20 of 35 Old 09-13-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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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!

SAHM to DS 12/29/07 and DD 9/15/10 smile.gif
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#21 of 35 Old 09-14-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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I'm married and have a 2yo DS. We moved to Chicago right after he was born and lived in Wicker Park. There's tons of great places to eat there and we felt safe but it was loud and very expensive. We looked at Lincoln Park, but it was too expensive and apartments rent too fast there.

Last year we moved to south Logan Square (Armitage & Humboldt). We love it here. We have a beautiful place for way less money, it's a nice neighborhood, lower rent than Wicker Park but lots of young families, mostly Puerto Rican. The Armitage bus takes us right to the zoo and Nature Museum, the blue line takes DH downtown to work, the library's nearby, and Humboldt Park is a fantastic place to take a toddler (when the weather's nice, obviously). I've never felt unsafe here, mostly because there are lots of other low-key families here just like us, and they tend to be outside a lot (we live on the boulevard). We decided to stay another year, and if I'm lucky enough to get a permanent job in Chicago, we'd definitely consider buying in this area.
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#22 of 35 Old 09-14-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kimmab View Post
I'm married and have a 2yo DS. We moved to Chicago right after he was born and lived in Wicker Park. There's tons of great places to eat there and we felt safe but it was loud and very expensive. We looked at Lincoln Park, but it was too expensive and apartments rent too fast there.

Last year we moved to south Logan Square (Armitage & Humboldt). We love it here. We have a beautiful place for way less money, it's a nice neighborhood, lower rent than Wicker Park but lots of young families, mostly Puerto Rican. The Armitage bus takes us right to the zoo and Nature Museum, the blue line takes DH downtown to work, the library's nearby, and Humboldt Park is a fantastic place to take a toddler (when the weather's nice, obviously). I've never felt unsafe here, mostly because there are lots of other low-key families here just like us, and they tend to be outside a lot (we live on the boulevard). We decided to stay another year, and if I'm lucky enough to get a permanent job in Chicago, we'd definitely consider buying in this area.
I've been hearing a lot of good things about Logan Square. I think we need to investigate this area a little more. Thanks!

SAHM to DS 12/29/07 and DD 9/15/10 smile.gif
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#23 of 35 Old 10-27-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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If it were up to me, I would live in the ravenswood manor area, lincoln square, budlong woods, or peterson park. I basically love this river park along the chicago river from north of lawrence all the way to peterson. The are around it is nice and there are a lot of single family homes, but some of the areas lack good public transportation and thereare not many "cool" things to walk to really, but it would be a beautiful walk through the neighborhood and I love the park.

I agree that wrigleyville is not that good of a family neighborhood. I would also avoid the west loop are like someone mentioned if you want a place for your kids to walk outside. I used to love the active city neighborhoods but as my daughter gets older I start to feel like I want a close park near by or else a back yard. I don't feel good raising children just in an apartment building and don't find it practical for me to have to travel other than walking eveyday to get them out.
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#24 of 35 Old 01-22-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I know this is in an old post, but I have to give a vote for Andersonville. We can walk to everything, the parking isn't *too* horrendous, and we are 2 blocks from the red line. It's perfect for us!

Lincoln Park is nice, too, but it's very expensive, very congested, and a parking nightmare (unless you can afford to buy a parking space.) One thing I will say in favor of Lincoln Park is that their public schools are generally better -- Nettlehorst comes to mind. Here in Andersonville, our neighborhood schools are not the greatest. We are just outside the Peirce District, which is the closest desirable school to us.

But since you mentioned Independent Schools, if you can afford Latin, Parker, or Catherine Cook I have heard good things about them.

Personally, I'm going to check out Pilgrim Lutheran. Does anyone know of this school? It's in Ravenswood.
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#25 of 35 Old 01-24-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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I agree that the north side is nice I live in Rogers Park myself, (ETA home to my alma mater, LUC and the most diverse neighborhood in the city! I second that Andersonville & Edgewater (my neighbors to the south) are great places. Home prices there have inflated hugely over the years but it's certainly not more than you will pay in any equally nice area. Also my heart warmed when someone suggested Oak Park. I spent time there when I was young and I still think it's the most charming little neighborhood. Many of the best shops I once knew there are gone, but I'm sure there are some excellent ones in their places. Find something close to the pedestrian walkway between North Blvd & Lake St. just E of Harlem.
I certainly fear that the nice neighborhoods are disappearing. I grew up in North Berwyn, and a quality decline in the area pretty much scooted us out further East & a little south...
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#26 of 35 Old 01-29-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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I know this post is old but I also want to vote for my neighborhood, Albany Park. While it doesn't have the "hip" factor of Lincoln Square or Andersonville, or even Logan Square (where I used to live), it is full of regular people of all kinds, colors, ages. I hear several different languages being spoken when I leave my house and I love being immersed in the diversity, yet still having all the conveniences nearby in Lincoln Square. I can't believe there are several posters in the hood...where are you all and why haven't we met??? I always despair because none of my friends live in the neighborhood.
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#27 of 35 Old 02-19-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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this thread is a little dead, but I just found this site and thought it was neat and wanted to share!!

http://www.walkscore.com/
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#28 of 35 Old 03-06-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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All of the neighborhoods mentioned so far seem to be on, or mostly on, the north side. We're moving to Chicago this summer and are seriously considering Hyde Park (my brother and his family lived there for 10 years and really loved it). It has a high walkability score. Any personal experience or thoughts about living there? Our son will be 7 months old when we move there.
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#29 of 35 Old 04-20-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Hello, Chicagoland Mamas! I'm another mom getting ready to move to your area. This is kind of an old thread, so I don't know if any of you are still watching this forum, but I thought I'd pop in and say hi anyway.

We're moving in August. My husband will be teaching at DePaul, which, I'm told, is close to an El stop, so we're open to commuting. We have one car now and would like to keep it that way if we can.

We homeschool all the way. My three sons will be living with us (4, 15, 21). My 18yo daughter is away at school, but I'd really love to have an extra room for her (and other guests) to stay in. We've got a dog and two cats. We don't eat out a lot, but when we do, we like to patronize small establishments. I want to live near parks, libraries, a farmers market, a grocery store, a coffeeshop, and obviously easy access to the El.

Are Andersonville, Ravenswood, and Albany Park still where I want to be looking? Any other up-and-coming neighborhoods I should poke around in? Anyone know of a rental opening up down the street and want a crunchy, nerdy family as a neighbor? I'd LOVE to have other at-home families in close proximity!

Thanks for any help you can send my way... looking forward to meeting you soon!
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#30 of 35 Old 04-20-2009, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, Chicagoland Mamas! I'm another mom getting ready to move to your area. This is kind of an old thread, so I don't know if any of you are still watching this forum, but I thought I'd pop in and say hi anyway.

We're moving in August. My husband will be teaching at DePaul, which, I'm told, is close to an El stop, so we're open to commuting. We have one car now and would like to keep it that way if we can.

We homeschool all the way. My three sons will be living with us (4, 15, 21). My 18yo daughter is away at school, but I'd really love to have an extra room for her (and other guests) to stay in. We've got a dog and two cats. We don't eat out a lot, but when we do, we like to patronize small establishments. I want to live near parks, libraries, a farmers market, a grocery store, a coffeeshop, and obviously easy access to the El.

Are Andersonville, Ravenswood, and Albany Park still where I want to be looking? Any other up-and-coming neighborhoods I should poke around in? Anyone know of a rental opening up down the street and want a crunchy, nerdy family as a neighbor? I'd LOVE to have other at-home families in close proximity!

Thanks for any help you can send my way... looking forward to meeting you soon!

Hi! Good luck with your move! We just moved to Lincoln Park (right around Clybourn/Fullerton intersection). We are within walking distance to DePaul and pass it on the way to the El stop. We are within walking distance of three or four parks here (one of which is the bigger park, Oz park, which takes us 25 min to walk). Definitely coffee shops and restaurants around here. There is a big green city market that takes place by the zoo all during the nicer months and then moves to the Nature Museum (right by the zoo) in the colder months. I believe it's all local and lots of organic. There is a Treasure Island and Trader Joe's within walking distance and a Whole Foods that we go to up Ashland about a five minute bus ride. There is also, of course, a Jewel store..or is it Dominicks. We can also walk to the library from here and there is a Barnes and Noble right by us. It is a bit busier around here than some neighborhoods, but generally I have been liking it. We don't have a car at all, but our neighbors don't seem to have a problem finding parking. We are homeschoolers too (although ds is only 3 and we're due with another any day). We're starting to go to the unschooler meet-ups as well as Chicago Homeschool group. Hope you find a really great neighborhood that you love! Good luck with everything!

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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