Do you like your neighborhood? Is it friendly, and where everyone knows their neighbors? No matter if you live in the sticks or in an apartment building in downtown Chicago, you have a little pocket that you can call home. And each neighborhood is different.
Smaller neighborhoods usually have obvious benefits — less crime, a slower pace of life, and a lower cost of living. But not all Chicago neighborhoods are created equal. Some are better than others. But which ones?
Instead of relying on public opinion and speculation, we wanted to get the facts straight and find out which neighborhoods in Chicago are the best. If you’re in one of the places we’re about to highlight, odds are you know you’ve got it made.
Here are the best neighborhoods in Chicago for 2018:
- Edison Park (Homes)
- Forest Glen (Homes)
- Lincoln Park (Homes)
- Lake View (Homes)
- Near North Side (Homes)
- North Center (Homes)
- Norwood Park (Homes)
- Beverly (Homes)
- Loop (Homes)
- West Town (Homes)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Chicago that deserve a little bragging rights or maybe you’re interested in the worst neighborhoods in Chicago.
If you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Illinois check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois
How do you determine the top neighborhoods in Chicago for 2018?
In order to rank the best neighborhoods in Chicago, we had to determine what criteria defines a ‘best’.
Using crime, census, and extrapolated BLS data, we arrived at the following set of criteria:
- High incomes
- Low unemployment rates
- Low crime
- High home prices
- High population densities (A proxy for things to do)
We limited the analysis to neighborhoods with over 1,000 people.
We then ranked each neighborhood with scores from 1 to 77 in each category, where 1 was the best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each neighborhood to create a best neighborhood index.
And finally, we crowned the neighborhood with the lowest best neighborhood index the ‘Best City Neighborhood In Chicago.’ We’re lookin’ at you, Edison Park.
Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best places Chicago has to offer. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the neighborhoods in the city from best to worst.
1. Edison Park
Median Income: $90,852
Median Home Value: $326,580
Edison Park is one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, in North Side, Chicago, Illinois.
It consists entirely of the Edison Park neighborhood, and is named after Thomas Alva Edison, who gave his blessing to this community namesake in 1890. According to the 2000 Census, its population is 11,259. Edison Park has one of the highest concentrations of Irish ancestry in Chicago, where they make up over three-fourths of the neighborhood’s population.
Located between the Des Plaines River and the Chicago River this area served as a local watershed divide. The Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan, which connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes. The Des Plaines River feeds into the Illinois River and the Mississippi River to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Like nearby Portage Park, Edison Park was a common portage for early travelers, who would carry their canoes across it.
More on Edison Park: Real Estate | Data
2. Forest Glen
Median Income: $101,222
Median Home Value: $422,600
Forest Glen is located on the city’s Northwest Side. It comprises the neighborhoods of Forest Glen, Edgebrook and Sauganash, with sub-neighborhoods of Sauganash Park, Wildwood, North Edgebrook and Old Edgebrook.
More on Forest Glen: Real Estate | Data
3. Lincoln Park
Median Income: $94,993
Median Home Value: $491,661
Lincoln Park’s boundaries are precisely defined in the city’s list of official community areas. It is bordered on the north by Diversey Parkway, on the west by the Chicago River, on the south by North Avenue, and on the east by Lake Michigan.
It encompasses a number of neighborhoods, including Lincoln Central, Mid-North, Old Town Triangle, Park West, RANCH Triangle, Sheffield, and Wrightwood Neighbors. The area also includes most of the Clybourn Corridor retail district, which continues into the Near North Side. Lincoln Park neighborhood associations include: Lincoln Central Association, Mid-North Association, Old Town Triangle Association, Park West Community Association, RANCH Triangle Community Conservation Association, Sheffield Neighborhood Association, and Wrightwood Neighbors Association. All are affiliated with the Lincoln Park Conservation Association.
More on Lincoln Park: Real Estate | Data
4. Lake View
Median Income: $81,886
Median Home Value: $383,336
Lake View, also spelled Lakeview, is one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, Illinois, located on the city’s North Side. It is bordered by West Diversey Parkway on the south, West Irving Park Road on the north, North Ravenswood Avenue on the west, and the shore of Lake Michigan on the east. The Uptown community area is to Lakeview’s north, Lincoln Square to its northwest, North Center to its west and Lincoln Park to its south. The 2015 population of Lakeview was 98,212 residents, making it the largest of the Chicago community areas by population.
Lakeview unofficially includes smaller neighborhood enclaves: Sheridan Station Corridor, Boystown, Northhalsted, Southport Corridor, Wrigleyville, & Wrigley Plaza. Boystown, famous for its large LGBT population, holds the pride parade held each June. Wrigleyville, another popular district, surrounds Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Lakeview is home to the Belmont Theater District showcasing over 30 theaters and live performance venues located near the Belmont El station.
5. Near North Side
Median Income: $90,036
Median Home Value: $413,085
The Near North Side area is located north and east of the Chicago River. To its east is Lake Michigan, and its northern boundary is the early 19th-century city limit of Chicago, North Avenue. Of the downtown community areas, the Near North Side has the second largest total area, after the Near West Side, the highest number of skyscrapers, and the largest population.
With the exception of Goose Island and the remnants of Cabrini-Green, to the west, the Near North Side is known for its extreme affluence, typified by the Magnificent Mile, Gold Coast, Navy Pier, and its world-famous skyscrapers.
More on Near North Side: Real Estate | Data
6. North Center
Median Income: $92,806
Median Home Value: $496,500
North Center is located in the city’s North Side. North Center is bordered on the north by Montrose Avenue, on the south by Diversey Parkway, on the west by the Chicago River and on the east by Ravenswood Avenue; it includes the neighborhoods of Northcenter, Roscoe Village, St. Ben’s, and Hamlin Park. The Brown Line of the Chicago ‘L’ has stops within the community area at Addison and Irving Park.
North Center was settled in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century largely by Germans who worked in what is known as the industrial corridor along Ravenswood Avenue, and the large industrial plants along the Chicago River to the west.
More on North Center: Real Estate | Data
7. Norwood Park
Median Income: $74,627
Median Home Value: $289,086
Norwood Park encompasses the smaller neighborhoods of Big Oaks, Norwood Park East, Norwood Park West, Old Norwood Park, Oriole Park, and Union Ridge.
Originally organized in 1872 from adjacent townships as a village, and named after Henry Ward Beecher’s novel Norwood, or Village Life in New England, Norwood Park was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1893. Norwood Park was incorporated as a village in 1874 and annexed to Chicago on November 7, 1893.
Every Memorial Day there is a parade that runs through Norwood Park. The parade has been a local tradition for more than 90 years, starting in 1922. The community area also boasts the oldest extant building in Chicago, the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House. Taft High School was completed in 1939, with major additions made in 1959 and 1974.
More on Norwood Park: Real Estate | Data
Median Income: $94,107
Median Home Value: $284,345
Beverly is located on the South Side on the southwestern edge of the city.
The borders are 87th Street on the north; Beverly Avenue, Hale Avenue and Vincennes Road on the east; 107th Street on the south; and Francisco Avenue and Western Avenue on the west. A segment of the eastern part of the Ridge Country Club lies with the boundaries of the community.
Sparsely settled in the middle of the 19th century, Beverly began to be developed by business interests from Chicago in the latter part of the nineteenth century, encouraged largely by the completion in 1889 of the suburban line of the Rock Island Railroad that runs parallel with the eastern edge of the Blue Island ridge. Its position on the ridge allowed the community to become an exclusive streetcar suburb, and the homes and large lots reflect this historic distinction. Beverly is located on the highest elevation in Chicago.
More on Beverly: Real Estate | Data
Median Income: $92,187
Median Home Value: $397,629
The Loop is the central business district or downtown of Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the city’s 77 designated community areas. The Loop is home to Chicago’s commercial core, City Hall, and the seat of Cook County. In the late nineteenth century, cable car turnarounds and prominent elevated railway encircled the area, giving the Loop its name.
The community area is bounded on the north and west by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Roosevelt Road, although the commercial core has expanded into adjacent community areas. As a business center, some of the corporations the Loop hosts include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest options and futures contracts open interest exchange; the headquarters of United Continental Holdings, one of the world’s largest airlines; AON; Blue Cross Blue Shield; Hyatt Hotels Corporation; BorgWarner, and other major corporations.
The Loop is home to 500 acre Grant Park; State Street, which hosts a historic shopping district; the Art Institute of Chicago; several theaters; and numerous subway and elevated rapid transit stations. Other institutions in the Loop include the Willis Tower, once the tallest building in the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the central public Harold Washington Library, and the Chicago Cultural Center.
More on Loop: Real Estate | Data
10. West Town
Median Income: $72,318
Median Home Value: $400,940
West Town is located northwest of the Loop, on Chicago’s West Side. Much of this area was historically part of the city’s Polish Downtown, and its name may refer to Western Avenue, which was the city’s western boundary at the time of West Town’s settlement, but more likely was a convenient abstraction by the creators of Chicago’s community areas.
Then, as now, West Town was a collection of several distinct neighborhoods. The boundaries of the community area are the Chicago River to the east, the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the south, the former railroad tracks on Bloomingdale Avenue to the North, and an irregular western border to the west that includes the city park called Humboldt Park.
Humboldt Park is also the name of the community area to West Town’s west, Logan Square is to the north, Near North Side to the east, and Near West Side to the south. Currently, as well as historically, the collection of neighborhoods in West Town along with the neighborhoods of Bucktown and the eastern portion of Logan Square have been referred to by media as the Near Northwest Side. However, since the gentrification of West Town, media often refers to the area as solely the Northwest Side for the purposes of real estate gentrification tactics.
More on West Town: Real Estate | Data
Putting A Bow On Our Analysis Of Chicago
If you’re measuring the neighborhoods in Chicago where crime is low and everyone wants to live, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious, here are the worst places in Chicago:
- East Garfield Park
- West Englewood
- West Garfield Park
For more reading, check out:
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Illinois
- 10 Safest Places In Illinois
Detailed List Of The Best Neighborhoods In Chicago
|5||Near North Side||81,359|
|15||Near South Side||20,952|
|38||Near West Side||58,252|
|61||Lower West Side||34,986|
|75||West Garfield Park||18,664|
|77||East Garfield Park||20,134|