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Things To Do In and Around Chicago:
A Neighborhood Guide


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The Big Onion, the White City, Chi-Town, the Windy City and New York Done Right are just a few of the names Chicago goes by. Like its many names, Chicago is a city of many neighborhoods, each with its own particular feel. Some are perfect for college students on the prowl for a night on the town; others are ideal for a young family just starting out. One thing is for sure, there is something for everyone in Chicago.

Whether you are moving to the city permanently or for a few years to study, take a quick look at Chicago's many neighborhoods and choose the one that best fits your personality and needs.

The Chicago World

When you consider Chicago, your first thought may very well be its magnificent skyline, highlighted by such iconic buildings as Willis Tower, The John Hancock Center and the Trump International Hotel and Tower - but it's so much more. Chicago's rich history can still be seen today in its 77 recognized neighborhoods, each contributing to an enriched cultural diversity rooted strongly in the origins of early settlers. Chicago's prime location on the shore of Lake Michigan, and its position as a major trading post, made it the perfect destination for early pioneers looking to start anew.

Today, the lines drawn by early settlers have faded, but their stamp remains on each area of Chicago. For example, Hegewisch, Pullman, South Chicago and Back of the Yards were settled primarily by people of Polish descent. Now, these areas are much more culturally diverse while still offering Chicagoans and tourists alike a taste of Polish history, culture, and cuisine.

While it is impossible to cover all 77 neighborhoods in detail, Belmont Central and Edgewater showcase what Chicago's neighborhoods have to offer.

Belmont Central

In the 1830s, Belmont Central was nothing more than a plank road, offering easy access to greater Chicago for merchants and haulers of goods. Growing up in tandem with a neighboring industrial area, Belmont Central quickly became a residential area for blue collar workers employed in Cragin. Today, Belmont Central is primarily a residential neighborhood located between the cross streets of West Belmont & Grand River Avenue and Central & West McLean. The neighborhood contains a great deal of affordable housing, a 55-acre park and a well-developed commercial area. Known throughout Chicago for its culturally diverse restaurants, almost anything is on the menu in this neighborhood. Favorite choices include

  • Hong Huah - Authentic Schzewan cuisine
  • Borinquen Restaurant - Puerto Rican food
  • Congress Pizzeria - Pizza
  • Taqueria La Oaxaquena - Traditional Mexican fare

A part of the great Chicago shopping district, Belmont Central is also home to an eclectic mix of shops. Many of the stores are family owned and operated, providing you with a unique and welcoming shopping experience. From shoes to books and everything in between, the Belmont Central shopping area has it all, including:

  • Euro Children's Shoes
  • Paco Sportswear, Inc.
  • Baco Linen & Fashions


Once known as one of the most elite residential suburbs of Chicago, Edgewater was not officially recognized as one of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods until the 1970s. Home to Loyola University Chicago, the Edgewater neighborhood is in the northern part of the city. Providing both college-town and small-town charm, Edgewater has been a popular destination since the early 1900s, when tourists traveled to the area to enjoy lake vacations. Today, the area is more residential and offers a wide range of activities to help keep its residents busy.

Located just off of Lake Michigan, Edgewater is home to one of Chicago's most iconic buildings, the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Built in 1916, visitors to the hotel included Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole and many more. While much of the original structure was demolished or destroyed by fire, remnants of this famous pink hotel can still be seen today in the Edgewater Beach Co-Op (apartments). When you run out of things to do at the beach, Edgewater keeps up a steady calendar of activities, including:

The area is also located close to several parks and recreation areas including Berger Park, Senn Park and George Lane Park.

No matter the reason you are moving to Chicago, it is important to remember that the Windy City is so much more than a big town.It is a vibrant network of communities with more than 77 different recognized neighborhoods within its borders. From campy college neighborhoods to over-the-top glam ones, there really is a Chicago neighborhood to match every personality.

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