Bordered by water east to west, Lincoln Park is a prime mix of palatial vintage and collegiate cool. A Midwest sister to Central Park, Lincoln Park’s namesake green space is Chicago’s largest—housing athletic fields, a zoo, and a Lake Michigan beachfront at its edge. Don’t let all that grass fool you though, Lincoln Park is a verdant-urban nabe; its pristine streets are lined with vintage trees and an abundance of central city amenities—retail, restaurants, and bars abound.
Lincoln Park Data
Pet friendly 9.9
Public Transportation 8.3
Green space 8.1
Empty nesters 6.7
lincoln park Reviews
Gardens, Brunch and more Gardens
There are a million things I could stress about Lincoln Park, but that would take too long and frankly most of it would be redundant. This nabe can be easily split in two categories: DePaul Students and Families. Once upon a time this Lincoln Park was a predominantly African-American neighborhood; however, sprawling houses (as far as a three story walk up can sprawl) and college campus have really changed it. Not that this is a bad thing exactly, but there isn’t much to see of the old nabe.
Regardless, if you like to brunch (as is the current trend), then turn a corner. Seriously, just one corner and you’ll get bombarded with options and bottomless bloody mary bars. If you’d rather spend your time shopping, start at Armitage and Halsted and work your way north or west to find boutiques, frozen yogurt and of course, purse dogs!
Come summertime Lincoln Park really is a lovely place to be. The Lincoln Park Zoo (free all year long) is en route to the Lake just east of the nabe, and stop by the greenhouse for the Green City Market on your way. There’s always something to do whether it be bar hopping or lounging in Oz Park just on the southern edge.What’s awesome
parks, close to lake, good transportationWhat’s not so awesome
families and college students at once is overwhelming, beach extremely crowded
So Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is a little bit of paradise on Chicago’s North side. There’s really nothing quite like it I’ve seen anywhere I’ve traveled.
Its so many things to so many people. Simply put, its complex. To some, its the very best neighborhood for schools and families and to buy or build a home. To others its trendy, young hipsters, nightlife and great boutiques & food options. Still others find the available green space, and the natural beauty of the parks, beaches, zoo and the ease of walking and biking around Lincoln Park to be exceptional.
What stands out to me is the variety of housing choices and styles. From vintage, pre-war, to Queen Anne, Victorian, Palladian, Colonial, Transitional, Modern, to cottages, greystones, McMansions, row homes, 2-flats, mid-rise, townhomes and also new construction high rise and town-home and condo options – the choices are as varied as the neighborhood. This is one of the best times to buy a single family home in Lincoln Park we’ve seen in quite some time, so there’s been a noticeable uptick in sales numbers (not volume) in these types of home sales since last summer.
School choices are abundant. Frances Parker & Lincoln Park High School are a few of the many local favorites.
Local Fav’s include Underthings on Webster, Lululemon, Nina & Wei at Essential Nail Spa, & Blue Mercury (cosmetics) on Halsted. Health food = Karyn’s Raw on Halsted.What’s awesome
Dog-lovers paradise….. and so much wonderful green stuff. Yards, parks, playlots, flowers and gardens.
Not So Gentle Reminders
I have lived and socialized in Lincoln Park since graduating high school. Along the way, I made some serious errors in judgment. I admit I’ve been over served a few times. I’ve gone home with a few people I didn’t know. I’ve forgotten valuables at bars and restaurants. I’ve walked along many a dark and deserted street late at night. And over a decade of debauchery downtown, I’ve walked away unscathed. Sure, my pocket got picked once at a bar and some fellow walked off with over $100 in cash and merchandise. I knew a friend who had his wallets cut out of his pants while they napped on the Red Line late in the evening. It happened twice. I suggested he take a cab next time. But, the point is, it’s easy to forget Lincoln Park is part of a big city with some less savory elements.
The lush green parks, the young-professional crowds strolling along pristine streets and the comfortable boutique bars and restaurants all give an air of safety and serenity. I love that element of Lincoln Park and hope it remains for decades to come. However, residents and visitors put themselves at risk by forgetting the ganglands to the west and south of our Pleasantville and once or twice a year we receive a not so gentle reminder. A few years ago, a woman was raped outside my apartment. I lived next to a Starbucks just step from North Pond at the center of Lincoln Park’s wealthy brownstone neighborhood. Last year, several students were beaten and robbed on their way home from the bars and this year similar incidents occurred south of Lincoln Park at North Avenue Beach.
I received my personal reminder last month around noon on a Tuesday. I work from home as a writer on the second floor alley side of a Lincoln Park brownstone. There is much construction and traffic during the days in my alley, so when I heard a cracking, pounding noise outside my living room I didn’t think much of it. I continued writing in my office until the noise seemed curiously close. I stood and peered into my living room to see what the fuss was about when my porch door was forced open and an intruder began to enter. He didn’t expect to encounter a resident during working hours and ran when he heard my protest. I am thankful that I was home to prevent a burglary, but still felt violated and unsafe in my own home.
Though I marked Lincoln Park as “Very Safe” in my rankings, crime and violence are still part of the big city experience and precautions should be taken. I always lock my doors when I come and go from my apartment. I try to walk at night with other people along well lit streets and when it is past midnight or I am not in a sober state, I take cabs to and from my destinations. Most of all, I am aware of my surroundings. Taking a few simple precautions can limit those not so gentle reminder.What’s awesome
The safety I feel going out in Lincoln ParkWhat’s not so awesome
The not so gentle reminders that this is a big city with all the issues that go along with it.
Apart from the students attending DePaul University, Lincoln Park is a wealthy community – even though you probably should be well off if you want to pay DePaul’s astronomical tuition prices. There are actually several secluded areas of this nabe, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, where some of the houses are seemingly bigger than the buildings housing classrooms on DePaul’s campus. Nevertheless, there are still reasonably sized apartments, at reasonable prices. Believe me, I’ve lived there.
Even if you don’t attend DePaul, facilities like the Ray Meyer Fitness Center are open to the community. For a monthly rate, members can use this state of the art fitness center, equipped with a lap pool, racquetball and basketball courts, a plethora of exercise equipment and group fitness classrooms. Members of the community can also attend other events on campus, including DePaul women’s basketball games at McGrath Arena.
Head east on Fullerton Avenue from DePaul and just before you hit Lake Shore Drive will be the Lincoln Park Zoo. Key exhibits there include the Kovler Sea Lion Pool, the Helen V. Brach primate house, and Regenstein African Journey. However, the best part about the zoo? It’s free.
For those who enjoy shopping, there are plenty of upscale shops and boutiques. Also, for those who like food, there are plenty of great restaurants. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba, a Tapas restaurant on Halsted Avenue, is a hotspot on weekends. And because there are plenty of college students around, a lot of the fare in this area is fairly cheap. Uncle Sammy’s on Fullerton has great sandwiches for around $5. In addition, like any good college town there are a lot of good bars. One spot, The Local Option, located on Webster Avenue was even ranked on Rate Beer’s “Best Beer Bars of 2011.”
And in case you wondering, there is no relation between Lincoln Park and the band with the same name.
The location between Old Town and Gold Coast to the South and Wrigleyville to the Northwest is not only geographic but demographic as well. From Old Town and Gold Coast you get the affluent and wealthy out for an afternoon of shopping, avoiding the choas of downtown. From Wrigleyville you get the faternity crowd out for a night of drinking. This neighborhood is a mixture of these two crouds. Residents include those who see Lincoln Park as a more affordable alternative to places nearer downtown, and those who see Lincoln Park as an exciting semi-urban post-college mecca.
Lincoln Park is all of these things. It’s upscale. It’s clean. It’s fun. It’s relatively safe. There are parks near by. There are beaches nearby. The zoo is right there. There’s shopping and dining of all kinds.
If you can afford it, and if you don’t mind being surrounded by wither of the demographics described above this may be the place for you.
Post College Paradise
Lincoln Park (or “LP” as a lot of people call it when they want to sound stupid) is certainly a favorite place to live for young folk making their transition into adult life. Most of the residents are yuppies and Depaul students but there are a number of families in the area and you’ll see tons of little tikes running around Oz Park on the weekends. And yes, that’s Oz like the Wizard of. There are statues of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man around the park. Most of the people around this area have money so you’ll find lots of fancy little shops and restaurants all over the place. Armitage Ave is sometimes full of people with spoiled kids and even more spoiled dogs. Don’t take this to mean that Lincoln Park is stook up and snotty, but if you’re a person bothered by giant strollers that unfold like Optimus Prime you might want to avoid Armitage on summer weekends.
Lincoln Park is the first neighborhood north of downtown that is almost full residential. There are a few larger apartment complexes and Depaul has some big buildings, but in general it has a much more neighborhood feel than the Gold Coast or River North. The nightlife is great with a little bit of everything to offer. The strip of bars on Lincoln Ave will have something for everybody on any given night. Some bars will give you a calm place for a couple beers and trivia while others will be jam-packed like a college bar. Lions Head Pub and The Apartment offer both in the same building. Downstairs is Lions Head where it’s more chill and upstairs is The Apartment if you feel like a dance party. After you’ve had enough of the bars, stop by Lincoln Park Pizza or everybody’s favorite late night burrito joint, Allende. Be careful though, lines full of drunks will pick up at these places around 2 on weekends. This area can get pretty loud and rowdy too, so watch out if you’re out late on a Saturday night.
In general, Lincoln Park is the perfect spot for young people that work downtown. Public transportation is very convenient with the red and brown lines taking you downtown and buses that can take you anywhere else. Parking is usually pretty rough, but you can find it if you’re persistent. Rent around Lincoln Park is pretty expensive and so are a lot of the bars and restaurants, but if you pay attention and look for the right deals it can be affordable. Intramural leagues are set up around this area and there’s a street festival every weekend during the summer so there’s always something to do. It really is an extension of college just a little less drunk and a little more expensive.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Lincoln Park is the perfect place to live upon exiting college. Students from all over the Midwest dream about moving to this nabe, living with friends, and working downtown. This is because this neighborhood has exactly what recent college grads look for: a great nightlife. Transitioning from the world of partying to the world of work is difficult for most recent grads to grasp. Lincoln Park offers an alternative— You don’t have to choose! While the young families may not like it, more and more young singles are moving into apartments with the intent to work hard downtown, play hard in the Park.
The newcomers to LP like sticking to the basics. That is, they tend to stick to Lincoln Avenue. The most popular bars, located between Wrightwood and Webster, are a safe-haven for most recent newbies to the Lincoln Park area. Lion Head Pub, John Barleycorn, Halligan’s, and Wise Fools Pub are some of the regulars. Going to the corner of North Lincoln Ave. and West Belden Ave. is like being transported back to college. You are always bound to run into someone you know. However, I assure you, recent grads, that there are many more options for a quality bar scene in Lincoln Park. Drift over to Fullerton and enjoy live music Thursdays at Faith and Whiskey. Or head over to Clark Street, walk around and find whatever might peak your interest, whether it be wine at the Doc Wine Bar or a fresh pint at the Galway Arms.
Overall, Lincoln Park is like college- young, fun, exciting and rowdy. Brace yourself for this environment, but don’t get too comfortable sticking to the same fun bars. There is more to Lincoln Park than Lincoln Avenue!
LP Will Always Feel Like Home
Lincoln Park was my home for several years in the ‘90s and I’ll always have great memories of those years. I think of it as the ideal urban neighborhood. You could stumble out of your door and land in a great bar, restaurant, park, beach, and most importantly…street fair! Street Fairs are a quintessential part of summer life in Chicago and if you are in Lincoln Park you are in the heart of it all.
It was nothing to go for a run on the Lakefront, walk to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, and then stroll to a great restaurant and bar to wrap up a perfect summer day. Many places I’ve lived in lose their luster as time goes by, but LP has never faded. Its like time stands still there, yet moves ahead at the same time.
Amidst all of the fun of living in LP, the benefit of being a stone’s throw from the L, and a short trip into the Loop for work, can’t be overstated. And, perhaps most importantly, its only a 45 minute drive to El Farol. If you don’t know what El Farol is, you really should find out.
Ok, I’m a little biased when it comes to this neighborhood since it’s the only one I’ve lived in since coming to Chicago, but Lincoln Park has everything a Chicago nabe needs. It blends the comfort and quiet of a family-friendly neighborhood with the hip, upbeat vibe of a slightly younger crowd. As someone in her early 20’s, the desire to see what else Chicago has to offer has finally caught up with me. However, I leave Lincoln Park with stunning recommendations.
You really can’t go wrong in LP. East of Ashland, you can find everything from great restaurants, bars, and of course, the Lincoln Park Zoo. Shoppers need only to head down to Halstead or Armitage, where they will be inundated with adorable boutiques and stores to sate a shopper’s frenzy. For families, Jonquil and Oz parks are great for taking children, walking dogs, tennis, and spending a lazy day finishing the RedEye crossword. Lincoln is the street to go for bars and nightlife; after nine on weekends, every other doorway on Lincoln opens its arms to passersby looking for something to do and drink. You can find any and every type of restaurant in this neighborhood, and almost every place delivers. There is a great mexican place on the corner of Wrightwood and Halsted that has phenomenal margaritas and an outdoor deck that is great in the summertime.
Cost of living is a little steep here, but you definitely get what you pay for. Public transportation is easily accessible, and there are plenty of permit-free parking. The young crowd from the university makes this neighborhood great for people in their early 20’s, but the quiet, tree lined streets, parks, and friendly business owners make Lincoln Park just as perfect for families. It is really one of the best all-around nabes in Chicago.
Lincoln Park has long been one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant neighborhoods in Chicago. It’s where stately single family homes- any style from Art Nouveau to modern- sit along gorgeous tree lined streets. A large variety of casual and upscale eatery’s draw in the locals as well as the occasional tourist. Located next to Lake Michigan, you can walk through any of the 1,208 acre park, including the Lincoln Park Zoo (for free!) to at least 3 different beach fronts. Or hop on your bike or Rollerblades and take cruise down the always bustling lake path. With it’s warm secluded neighborhood feel, it still manages to entertain with fabulous retail shops, the largest Whole Foods in the united states, and plenty of public transportation options to take you out of the area for work or play.
Lincoln Park is a quaint neighborhood that brings a bit of the suburbs to the big city. Full of cobblestone alley-ways and mature trees, Lincoln Park is an interesting mix between young professional families and college students.
DePaul University is located smack dab in the center of Lincoln Park – this has greatly increased the number of bars/nightlife/dining options in the recent years. While the community does have a young-hip-urban appeal it equally boasts the availability of green space, including: Oz Park, Wilder Park and Lincoln Park Zoo.
As such, Lincoln Park does have a higher than usual population of amenities (fitness centers, salons, retail shops), but it definitely comes with a price tag. To get the most bang for your buck I would recommend living further on the West end near Clybourn & Webster.
One of the best features of Lincoln Park is that it is only a fifteen minute commute by the EL train to the downtown “loop” area. The proximity to the loop allows for a quick visit to Chicago’s best nightlife & entertainment.
Even still, Lincoln Park boasts many local options that are a step above the average chain. This includes a diverse array of independently owned shops such as Sweet Mandy B’s desserts and John’s Place – a breakfast bistro. Ultimately, it is an exceptionally clean & wonderful place to live if it doesn’t break your piggy bank.