Neighborhoods with Nightlife in Chicago
Chicago is a big city with a small town feel. It has an amazing downtown area filled with great shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Chicago also has many smaller neighborhoods that have their own flavor. Use the city's terrific public transportation to hop around to any section of town you like, and enjoy the museums, nightlife, culture, theaters, and bars.
Wrigleyville is where you'll find the famous Wrigley Field, which is the second oldest ballpark in the country and home to the Chicago Cubs. Near the stadium you'll find a number of sports bars, souvenir stall, and restaurants. Clark Street is the main drag where you'll find locals and Cubs fans. Also outside of the stadium is Gallagher Way, which is a popular meeting spot for fans, locals, and tourists. There are often farmers markets, outdoor concerts, film screenings, and even a holiday winter wonderland here.
Wicker Park and Bucktown
The Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods are artsy areas that are popular with shoppers, foodies, and partiers. The area has vintage stores, record shops, and bookstores that are fun to browse during the day. At night, it comes to life with late-night clubs, pubs, dive bars, and live music. There are also restaurants that offer a diverse selection as well as laid back coffee houses with a trendy vibe.
Once an industrial area, the West Loop has grown into a popular foodie destination that's not far from Chicago's business district. The neighborhood is filled with upscale bars and restaurants as well as the indoor food hall, the French Market.
Uptown is known for its long history, cultural diversity, fun music scene, and lively entertainment options. The Green Mill is a popular spot in the neighborhood. It's a 100 year old jazz club that still has its Prohibition era vibe. Argyle Street is the place to go for Asian restaurants that offer Peking duck, sushi, dim sum, banh mi, and pho.
The Loop is Chicago's downtown neighborhood and it is at the heart of the city's tourism scene. This area is filled with iconic attractions, classic architecture, theaters, restaurants, and shopping. It's where you'll find Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the theatre district, and State Street. There are river cruises, architectural tours, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene with music festivals, and live music venues. For many tourists, this is the neighborhood where they spend the most time.
Chicago's South Loop is where you'll find the popular lakefront Museum Campus. This is home to several of the city's most notable attractions including the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. The neighborhood also has many popular jazz clubs, great restaurants, and several historic districts. Millionaire's Row is in the Prairie Avenue District and it's filled with elegant mansions and impressive architecture.
This upscale neighborhood is near Chicago's central business district. It's a popular area for after work Happy Hours and there are many bars and restaurants nearby. Head here to enjoy a vibrant nightlife scene or wander through some of the areas high end art galleries. This neighborhood is also where you'll find Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile.
Beer lovers will enjoy a visit to the Ravenswood neighborhood. It's got some of the city's most well-known breweries along the famous "Malt Row". Away from Malt Row, you'll find a family-friendly urban neighborhood with plenty of architectural sites and interesting museums.
Logan Square is a trendy neighborhood that is popular with artists, musicians, and anybody with a creative vibe. The neighborhood is home to the Logan Theatre, which hosts the Chicago Underground Film Festival. It's also a popular nightlife area with its cool cocktail bars and local music scene. There are also a number of breweries in the neighborhood. For foodies, there are a few Michelin star rated options, as well as more casual pizza and noodle shops. Near Logan Square there's a Sunday Farmers Market that's held year round.
Lincoln Square is a touch of Germany right in Chicago. You can explore the cobblestone part of Lincoln Avenue and head to uniquely local shops that sell everything from sausage to clothing. Head to one of the traditional Bavarian style beer halls or poke your head in a locally owned boutique shop. Restaurants are great in the neighborhood so grab a meal and then head to the Davie Theater, with its old fashioned charm. If folk music is your style check out the Old Town School of Folk Music which has regular live performances. The neighborhood also hosts Maifest, which is a summer festival that celebrates everything about Germany.
Bordering the shore of Lake Michigan to the east, Lakeview is a relaxed neighborhood with a laidback vibe. The area combines East Lakeview, Central Lakeview, Boystown, and Wrigleyville and it offers a number of entertainment options, shopping districts, as well as bars and restaurants that are popular with locals and tourists alike. There are live music venues, theaters, and dance clubs. There are also outdoor activities like the Lakefront Trail, picnic areas, a golf course, and summer street festivals. Boystown is also notable as the first gay neighborhood in the United States to gain official recognition by a city government. You can visit during June to celebrate the annual Pride Parade.
Andersonville offers a truly unique personality with a vibrant bar scene and an energetic atmosphere. This neighborhood is home to one of the city's largest LGBTQ+ communities and it hosts annual Pride celebrations. The neighborhood also has beautiful architecture and a charming urban atmosphere, particularly along its main street. There are a large number of independently owned shops here and the "shop local" movement runs deep. Head to Clark Street for the most restaurants including diners, dives, and pastry shops.
Where to Stay in Chicago