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A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Chicago for Young Professionals

Sep 6, 2023

Whether you’re looking to start your career or are already established but feel like it’s time to make a change, there are plenty of reasons to move to a new city. It’s a chance to find new opportunities, meet new people, and reinvent yourself. And there are few better places to do that than Chicago. This town is ripe with professional opportunities, vibrant communities, and cultural institutions. And that’s to say nothing of its world-class culinary scene. If you’re ready to call the windy city your new home, then here are the best neighborhoods in Chicago for young professionals.

What We Look For in a Neighborhood

Chicago has a population of over 2.7 million residents spread across more than 200 distinct neighborhoods. Narrowing that list down to the best of the best was no easy task.

What’s more, the city has so much to offer that residents are almost spoiled for choice.

If you’re a sports fanatic, then Chicago is one of the best cities in the world for you. If you’re a lover of fine arts or fine food, you could explore the city for years without ever running out of new delights to discover.

There’s even something for gaming enthusiasts. Chicago boasts the world’s largest arcade in the form of Galloping Ghost Arcade, an institution dedicated to preserving rare video games from decades past and making them accessible to the public.

We tried to take all of that into account a produce a list that reflects everything Chicago has to offer.

Whether you love fine dining or pub crawls, there’s a neighborhood for you. Whether you live for the nightlife or the serenity of public parks and museums, there’s a neighborhood for you.

We also made sure to fill the list with safe Chicago neighborhoods. While the city government has taken steps to improve public security, crime is still a fact of life, as is the case in most large cities. So we made sure to consider that when making the best neighborhoods in Chicago.

Roscoe Village

Located on the north side, Roscoe Village is fast becoming one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Chicago.

One reason is because of its central location. Roscoe Park is only a few miles from downtown, letting locals can get to work, downtown events, or the nightlife scene with ease. Residents also enjoy convenient transportation links, granting easy access to most of the city.

This makes Roscoe Village one of the most convenient neighborhoods for young professionals. The location and transit options make it easy to strike a balance between work and play. You’re never too far removed from the office, the bustling entertainment districts, or the more quiet, serene parts of the city.

Not that you ever need to leave the village to have a good time. It boasts an eclectic mix of local businesses, boutiques, and trendy restaurants that can cater to anyone’s tastes. And it’s home to numerous performing arts venues for anyone looking to take in some underground music or theater.

Roscoe Village also has a reputation for being one of the most friendly Chicago neighborhoods. Its nickname, “the village within the city”, is more than a cute moniker. The locals go above and beyond to foster a real sense of neighborhood community.

Expect to see numerous events and festivals year-round. These are great opportunities to engage with your new neighbors and form lifelong connections.

The annual Retro on Roscoe music festival is always a big draw. So are the Roscoe Village Beer Fest, the Halloween Block Party, and plenty of other seasonal gatherings. There’s always something happening to bring people together.

It’s even a great place to start a family, for those so inclined. It’s one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Chicago and boasts plenty of good schools, public parks, and green spaces.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a wonderful South Side neighborhood for young professionals. It offers a vibrant local culture and plenty of amenities, making it a great choice for those starting their careers.

You could think of Hyde Park as the “college town” section of the city because of its proximity to many of Chicago’s universities. This makes it a particularly attractive neighborhood if you see yourself pursuing an advanced degree in the future.

The prestigious University of Chicago for example, sits in the heart of the neighborhood. The venerable institution attracts a diverse and stimulating population of students and professors from around the world. This fosters a vibrant atmosphere and provides young professionals with countless opportunities for networking and professional growth.

As you’d expect from any college town, Hyde Park boasts a thriving artistic scene, as well. The Hyde Park Art Center and Court Theatre also offer residents plenty of cultural enrichment. Or if your interests skew more toward the STEM fields, Hyde Park’s Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest such institutions in the world.

For day-to-day amenities, Hyde Park is full of small markets, boutiques, and dining options.

The transit system also affords residents easy access to downtown. That comes in handy as, while Hyde Park is a fairly upscale neighborhood, you’ll have an easier time finding affordable accommodations here than you would in the downtown neighbors. Even a small discount on rent can help you stretch your moving budget.

The Chicago Loop

The Chicago Loop – or just The Loop, as the locals call it – is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the city. It rests in the very heart of the city and is rich in historic architecture, world-class shopping and dining, theatre and live entertainment, and all museums and exhibitions.

For young professionals, one of the biggest draws is the abundance of job opportunities. This downtown neighborhood serves as one of Chicago’s main business hubs and is home to a plethora of major corporations, financial institutions, startups, and law firms. If you have an interview in the windy city, it’s a fair bet that it will take place somewhere in The Loop.

That’s not to say this neighborhood is all business all of the time. A thriving culinary, bar, and club scene give residents plenty of places to unwind close to home after a long day at the office.

The Loop is home to the Art Institute of Chicago. Visitors can peruse a collection that spans thousands of years of art history and includes pieces from around the globe. Or they can just pop in to recreate an iconic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The Loop also rests on the Chicago Riverwalk. This award-winning, pedestrian-only footpath is thronged with trendy restaurants, more museums, and stunning views of the city across the river.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Chicago is Cloud Gate – the famous public sculpture better known as “The Bean”. It’s the centerpiece of the Millenium Park campus, which is also home to the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The pavilion is notable for hosting live music festivals and community events throughout the year.

River North

If you’re a true urbanite at heart, then look no further than the River North neighborhood. A former industrial hub, the architecture is a mix of repurposed warehouses and modern high rises that’s sure to delight anyone with more cosmopolitan sensibilities.

River North sits directly across the river from downtown. If you’re involved in finance, law, or marketing, you probably either work downtown or make regular trips there. River North is a great neighborhood for anyone in those fields who would prefer to keep work life and home life separate.

River North residents also get to live in one of the most bustling nightlife spots in Chicago. Many of the old warehouses now host clubs, performance venues, galleries, or any number of other diversions.

There are plenty of green spaces in the neighborhood, as well. Residents can enjoy numerous parks, recreational areas, and river walks throughout the neighborhood. They make for great places to decompress after a hectic workweek or long night out on the town.

Ukrainian Village

One of the best reasons to move to Chicago is to broaden your horizons, meet new people, and experience new cultures. As the largest metro area in the midwest, it’s something the windy city is uniquely suited to, as you’d normally have to visit one of the coastal megalopolises to find a city this diverse. And few neighborhoods exemplify that quality like Ukrainian Village.

It also happens to be one of the more affordable neighborhoods on this list, so it’s great if you’re moving to Chicago on a budget. It’s still a trendy neighborhood, of course, so you shouldn’t expect a steal. But compared to some of the downtown districts, the frugal renter will have an easier time finding options in their price range.

Don’t assume that because it’s affordable it’s a rundown part of town. While not as ostentatious as some neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village has a lot of character.

It’s a more community-focused part of town, with locals congregating around small shops, cafes, and restaurants that have been around for years. There’s plenty of Ukrainian cuisine represented, as you would expect. But there’s drinking and dining scene is large and varied enough to provide something for everyone.

Speaking of community, Ukrainian Village has a reputation for being one of the friendliest neighborhoods in Chicago. Its residents take pride in their community and enthusiastically welcome newcomers. The neighborhood also puts on plenty of street fairs, festivals, and other events to bring people together.

Like all the neighborhoods on this list, Ukranian Village is well-served by Chicago’s public transit network. You should never have to worry about the daily commute or getting downtown for a special event. But if you prefer to live and play in a more tight-knit community, Ukrainian Village is one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is another one of Chicago’s most famous neighborhoods. Known for its beautiful, tree-lined streets and lush parks, it’s one of the most serene and peaceful neighborhoods in the city. It’s the ideal home for anyone who likes to unwind with a little peace and quiet after a hectic day.

The neighborhood’s namesake park is a sprawling oasis that spans over 1,200 acres. The complex offers sports fields, jogging paths, and even a zoo. Naturally, it’s a popular gathering place for the locals, so it’s a great place to meet new people, socialize, and even network out in some fresh air.

That’s not to say that Lincoln Park is an isolated neighborhood far from the rest of the city. It’s just outside the center of town, only a few miles from The Loop. This gives residents easy access to downtown and all of the professional opportunities the business district offers.

At the same time, there’s a nearby train station and numerous bus routes that pass through Lincoln Park. This means that for the cost of a metro pass, residents can reach almost the entire city.

There’s plenty to see and do without ever leaving Lincoln Park, of course. This neighborhood is home to a world-class theatre scene, with the famous Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the renowned Victory Gardens Theater meriting special mention. And the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will delight any nature lovers.

For those more interested in the nightlife scene, Lincoln Park does not disappoint. There are countless bars, clubs, and live music venues to explore throughout the neighborhood. The dining scene is sure to delight gourmands, featuring everything from trendy gastropubs to cozy Italian eateries.

Moving Into the Best Neighborhoods in Chicago for Young Professionals

The Chicago metro area is massive, and thanks to its robust public transit system, you’re never far from a train, trolley, or bus that can take you wherever you need to go. That means that no matter where you settle in the city, you’re never far from the action.

But the examples listed here are, by far, the best neighborhoods in Chicago for young professionals. Any of them would be a dream destination for up-and-comers looking to make their mark. If you’re ready to take that next step, contact us to get an estimate for your Chicago move.



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