Bustling trendy neighborhoods with a chic bohemian vibe
Wicker Park and Bucktown are two adjacent neighborhoods straddling the divide between the Chicago community areas of West Town and Logan Square. These bustling neighborhoods boast a vibrant nightlife and plenty of shopping. Both saw a large influx of Polish immigrants during the early part of the 20th century, so much so that Wicker Park was referred to as the “Polish Gold Coast” because of the mansions erected there by affluent merchants. Bucktown borders prestigious Lincoln Park to the east, and its proximity and relative affordability made it popular among artists during the 1970s. The creative spirit and eclectic energy of Bucktown and Wicker Park has endured into the 21st century, with both considered among Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods.
Housing in Wicker Park and Bucktown is a diverse mix of old and new. Distinctive brownstones and graystones have been joined in recent years by contemporary condos, townhomes, and modern mansions.
Parks and The 606
Restaurants and shopping
Street fests and live music
Wicker Park and Bucktown are known for their free-spirited atmosphere, and there’s no shortage of artists and other creative types living in these neighborhoods. Spacious homes and excellent public schools have also made these neighborhoods popular among young families. Urban professionals have been drawn to the area thanks to the dynamic dining, nightlife, and shopping.
Damen Avenue runs north-south through the center of Bucktown and Wicker Park, and many of the area’s hippest restaurants, boutique shops, and nightlife spots are located along it. Big Star and Dove’s Luncheonette combine the flavors of Mexican and the American South, creating delicious dishes with bar menus focused on whiskey at Big Star and tequila and mezcal at Dove’s. Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is a hot drinks-and-dessert spot run by Mindy Segal, winner of a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. The Bristol is a favorite among local foodies for its handmade pasta, farm-fresh ingredients, handcrafted cocktails, and tantalizing charcuterie. En Hakkore serves Korean classics and creative fusion eats, such as paratha tacos. Parisian-style bistro Le Bouchon was voted one of the best French restaurants in America by Time Out magazine. Izakaya Mita is an inviting spot for okonomiyaki and omurice at breakfast or Japanese sake and small plates in the evening. Milwaukee Avenue cuts diagonally through Bucktown and Wicker Park. Standouts along this street include the casual cash-only Costa Rican BYOB Irazu, cozy British gastropub Owen & Engine, and seasonal breakfast-and-brunch specialists The Bongo Room. North Avenue and Division Street run east-west through Wicker Park and are lined with more eateries, shops, and nightlife spots. North Avenue neighborhood restaurant etta’s menu offers delicious woodfired pizza pies and other Italian-influenced specialty dishes.
The Wicker Park neighborhood shares its name with a 4.74-acre neighborhood green space known for its 10,000 square feet of ornamental gardens. Wicker Park has a historic fountain, interactive water spray area, dog park, baseball diamond, basketball court, and a sports field. Wicker Park Farmers Market takes place near the fountain every Sunday between June and October. The 3.25-acre Holstein Park in Bucktown has two gymnasiums, sports courts and fields, and a swimming pool. During the summer, various summer camps and aquatics programs are organized at Holstein Park. Another noteworthy outdoor recreation space is The 606, an elevated cycling and running trail that extends along 2.7 miles of the old Bloomingdale Line. Almost double the length of New York’s High Line, Chicago’s 606 is the world’s longest railway-to-greenway conversion.
There is no shortage of weekend-long street festivals taking place in the Wicker Park and Bucktown area during the summer. Wicker Park Fest brings over 100 vendors and more than 50 bands to Milwaukee Avenue, while Do Division Street Fest features two stages of live music and a Family Fun Fest. Music at Do Division Street is programmed by two of the West Town area’s most popular live music venues, Ukrainian Village’s Empty Bottle and Wicker Park’s Subterranean. Subterranean has been a staple of the local music scene since the 1990s, with its three floors hosting live music or DJs every night of the week.
Public schools within Wicker Park and Bucktown belong to the Chicago School District 299.
Drummond Montessori Magnet School, Public, PK–8
LaSalle Language Academy, Public, PK–8
The Chicago High School for the Arts, Public, 9–12
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