|Wicker Park is the fun, attractive area located between Division and North avenues, from the Kennedy Expressway (90/94) to Western Avenue.|
Historic Wicker Park stands out as an area of attractive three-flats and old 1800 mansions, including those of Beer Baron Row (Hoyne Street between Pierce and Schiller). This area is now inhabited by one of the largest populations of working artists in any major city in the country. Its offbeat restaurants, bars, galleries, street musicians, and boutiques contribute to the amiability and familiarity reminiscent of a real, familiar neighborhood.
One day in Wicker Park could see you buy a sequined armchair, have a dinner of octopi and chocolate-covered asparagus, get a tattoo, see a thrash band, and watch the sun rise from one of its many late-night clubs. Cheap buildings and low rents, coupled with a convenient El stop, brought chic bohemia to Wicker Park, but those same cheap buildings and that same El stop now bring contractors, and with them the upwardly-mobile condo buyers. $15,000 Harleys and black SUVs now appear on Wicker Park streets as frequently as the rusty Schwinn Speedy and burping 10th-owner Vespa.
The offbeat quality of this great neighborhood still remains (for the moment), but the local restaurants, bars, and boutiques are beginning to sniff dollars on the breeze.
You'll find Bucktown just to the north of Wicker Park, between North and Fullerton avenues and from the Kennedy Expressway west to Western Avenue. The neighborhood is made up of formerly humble cottages now sporting skylights and new condos priced well into the six digits. As in nearby Wicker Park, affordable rents are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and the local artist population is reluctantly giving way to the yuppie crowd. Nevertheless, Bucktown is still populated by artists (those that can still afford the rising rents).
"Gallery Point," the area's central art colony, is bounded by Milwaukee, Damen, Wabansia and North Avenues, and the "Bucktown Arts Fest," attracts over 30,000 art lovers to the area every August as it has been for over 20 years.
Small neighborhood bars are found on every corner, and both North and Damen Avenue boast smoky late-night clubs and stylish bars, shops, and restaurants. Both Wicker Park and Bucktown contain several remarkable churches, the legacy of early Polish immigrants (many former farmers). In fact, "Bucktown" gets its name from the goats kept in the backyards of its early residents.
The Poles have all but been replaced by a Latin community, which is in turn fleeing Bucktown for cheaper rents. Still, a walk north from the large six-way corner of Damen, Milwaukee, and North Avenue will quickly take you from posh and hip to downright coarse. All is not yet lost.
Located west from the Kennedy Expressway to Kimball Avenue and north from Fullerton to Diversey Avenues, Logan Square provides one of the grandest intersections in Chicago. The square is set around an enormous marble column, which celebrates the centennial of Illinois statehood. Logan Boulevard, a split-street with flowers and trees presented between the eastbound and westbound thoroughfares, enters the square from the east, and is suitably majestic with large, well-tended homes with sweeping lawns along.
The neighborhood is well cared for and appealing, and truly one of the city's melting pots. Logan Square has a diverse population comprised of Latino and Eastern European communities, as well as a younger demographic attracted to the neighborhood's diversity as well as cheaper rents. Consequently, Logan Square offers a varied array of restaurants, bars, and shopping to its locals and visitors.