Old Town - Second City and So Much More - bairdwarner.com
Old Town – Second City and So Much More

By John D’Ambrogio

Ah Old Town.  One of Chicago’s great neighborhoods. Separating the upscale, high-end Gold Coast with great residential “neighborhoody” neighborhoods (i.e. trees and small swatches of grass) lies Old Town.

Just between Division and North (okay go up a block or two) and from Clybourn/Larrabee to the park.  Many people do consider Old Town the south “sub neighborhood” of Lincoln Park, but this is truly where the north side begins to become “residential.” Far fewer business beside those that cater to the community which is filled with young hipsters, dedicated urban cool people and the spectrum in between.

Housing? With cool Victorians, lovely frame homes and, of course, a plethora of apartments, Old Town is vibrant. It’s beautiful. It’s lovely. It ain’t cheap. But you can (arguably) walk downtown,  walk to Lincoln Park, beaches, zoo, etc. and super easy El access. Driving? Did you just pass an open parking spot? You might want to grab it because you’ll never find parking here.

(My parking secret is LaSalle.  Something’s always open on LaSalle on the weekends. Hope I didn’t jinx myself)

In a city filled with great museums, Old Town is home to the Chicago History Museum. A relatively small institution, you’ll find such curiosities as the original walls of Fort Dearborn, the bed that Lincoln died in and a myriad of Chicago-focused traveling exhibits.

Now some of my older friends and relatives remember Old Town from the hippie heyday.  Anyone remember the famous Bizarre Bazaar Headshop? (Am I allowed to talk about this?) Oh, how about Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum? OK I’m dating myself. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you were born after The Beatles broke up. I’ll let you Google that.

This cool quirky neighborhood even spawned a little boutique furnishing company called Crate and Barrel! Now what Chicagoan didn’t register at www.crateandbarrel.com for their wedding? Hands please?

A great church to check out is St. Mike’s. One of only seven churches to survive the great fire. Lovely little community and they hold a great little beer festival each summer.

Read more from John at Chicago Relocation Blog.