Chicago Neighborhood Profile: Lincoln Square

As a resident of this vibrant and diverse neighborhood on the far northside of Chicago, people unfamiliar with the city often ask: “Where is that in relation to Lincoln Park?”  Quickly becoming a destination neighborhood of Chicago,  Lincoln Square has gained momentum in the past decade for those looking for something a little more low-key than Lakeview or congested as Lincoln Park.   Historically this part of Chicago is known as Ravenswood but the Community Area encompassing the area has seen a name shift in the last decade.   Regardless of what one chooses to call it, Lincoln Square is gem of a neighborhood and offers its residents a wide range of entertainment and opportunities in housing, jobs and fun.

To those wondering where geographically is Lincoln Square from Lincoln Park, just head north on Lincoln Avenue to its geographical center, Western / Lawrence & Lincoln streets.   When my wife and I started to look for a place to live in Lincoln Square, we noticed that much of the demograhic of people living here was somewhat similar in regard to their life-stage.  Most are in their late 20’s and 30’s, have child or are expecting and have a dog.  This is a generalization certainly, but there is some truth that many current residents here have migrated from the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods.

The draw to this neighborhood is noticeable once you step foot in the “Square” proper.  Just about every ethnic restaurant you can think of is located on a half mile stretch of Lincoln Avenue.   Originally a German neighborhood, the effects of time and pluralization have sadly washed away these roots in the last generation or two.  However, the Chicago Brauhaus and other German institutions still linger as reminders of what this neighborhood might have looked / felt like at the turn of the last century.  Arguably the anchor of the neighborhood is the Old Town School of Folk Music.   Musicians, novice and professional, come from all over to practice and learn here.  And if you curious as to the fun and camaraderie Old Town gives the neighborhood, just stop by the neighboring Grafton Pub and see what the students have learned lately.

Perhaps over even the cultural and entertainment attributes that makes this neighborhood a draw for people is sense of community.  Truly a city within a city, familiar faces are everywhere.  Stop into the Heuttentag bar and chances are you’ll see your next door neighbor or Gody, the a local celebrity (of sorts) lounge singer from the Brauhaus across the street.  With a great mix of single family homes and affordable condos and apartments, great parks and the Brown Line elevated train station, you get some seclusion in the ‘hood with easy access to the more hectic nearby parts of the city.

Chicago real estate prices have not taken the hard hits here as have other parts of the city and region.  Prices have stayed within a couple percentage points of the good times seem to be very resilient, perhaps due to the stability of the neighborhood and its desirability.