Historic neighborhood with huge park and much to offer
Lincoln Park is a historic, family-friendly residential area on the North Side of Chicago. It shares its name with Chicago’s largest park, a sprawling 1,208-acre green space on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The neighborhood extends from Lake Michigan in the east to the Chicago River in the west, with Diversey Parkway and North Avenue respectively forming its northern and southern boundaries.
Numerous distinct neighborhoods comprise Lincoln Park, and the area has a wide variety of housing options, ranging from elegant 19th century brownstones to gleaming modern high-rises overlooking Lake Michigan. There are also walk-up apartment buildings and loft condos housed within converted industrial buildings.
Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s most affluent and diverse neighborhoods. It combines the youthful energy of the DePaul University campus and varied nightlife with its titular park’s plentiful recreation opportunities. Lincoln Park’s outstanding public and private schools have long made it a popular neighborhood among young families.
Halsted Street runs through the heart of Lincoln Park and is home to some of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Alinea is frequently ranked on lists of the world’s best restaurants and has earned the rare distinction of three Michelin stars for its daring seasonally driven 10-12 and 16-18 course tasting menus. Michelin-starred Boka has merited plaudits for its modern Mediterranean-influenced menu. Other standout Halsted Street restaurants include California-inspired cooking and baked goods at Zagat-rated Summer House Santa Monica, authentic Spanish tapas and sangria at bustling Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!, and a wide-ranging menu of international and New American dishes at rustic chic Willow Room. Halsted Street’s Steppenwolf Theatre has won a multitude of awards for its original productions, and its ensemble performances have launched the careers of John Malkovich and others. This storied street is also known as Blues Alley for its iconic music venues, such as Kingston Mines and Chicago B.L.U.E.S. Bar.
Lincoln Park’s other main commercial streets are Armitage Avenue, which is lined with upscale brands and boutique retailers, and lively Lincoln Avenue. Park West on Armitage Avenue is Lincoln Park’s most recognizable performance venue. Acts such as Aretha Franklin and Talking Heads have released live albums recorded on its stage. The venue opened in 1916 as a vaudeville theater and to this day stages a varied lineup of performers. Located near DePaul University, Lincoln Avenue is best known for its bars and nightlife, but it also boasts some of the area’s chicest restaurants. Try the James Beard Award-winning chef Zach Engel’s contemporary twists on Middle Eastern and Israeli dishes at Galit, or classic Italian and American dishes paired with an extensive wine selection at Bobby’s Lincoln Park. For a taste of Chicago deep-dish pizza, stop by Pequod’s Pizza on North Clybourn Avenue, famed for the caramelized crusts on its pan-style pizzas. The Second City improv comedy club on North Wells Street counts Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Joan Rivers among its star-studded improv troupe alumni.
Lincoln Park offers a wealth of things to do. There are a plethora of sports courts and fields, museums, nature reserves, harbors, and swimming beaches. The most famous attraction is Lincoln Park Zoo. Opened in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the nation’s oldest zoos and one of the few that charges no admission fee. The zoo has 1,100 animals from 200 different species. The most popular exhibits are the big cats, gorillas, and polar bears. In addition to the zoo, Lincoln Park is home to the Chicago History Museum, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which houses an amazing array of plants and gardens within its 1890s Victorian glasshouse.
Following Lake Michigan’s shoreline, Lake Shore Drive is an expressway flanked for most of its 15-mile length by beachfront, parkland, and gorgeous Lake Michigan views. The Lakefront Trail provides a scenic route around the lakeshore for walking, running, skating, and cycling. You can find fresh produce and live music Saturday mornings at Green City Market. Green City is open outdoors every Saturday between May and October; the market moves indoors to the Notebaert Nature Museum during the winter. The Lincoln Park area hosts different types of events throughout the year. June’s Old Town Art Fair features 250 acclaimed artists and attracts around 30,000 visitors. Taste of Lincoln Avenue in July brings in even larger crowds, with upward of 50,000 people joining a two-day street festival with live music, food and art booths, and a children’s carnival. Since 1959, the Chicago Air and Water Show, the largest of its kind in the United States, has taken place on Lake Michigan every August. Witness spectacular displays from civilian and military pilots and parachute teams.
Schools within Lincoln Park are operated by the City of Chicago School District 299.
Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, Public, K–8
Oscar Mayer Magnet School, Public, PK–8
Lincoln Park High School, Public, 9–12
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