Good neighborhoods to Move To In Chicago?

We’re looking for a change of scenery, and Chicago has always been our Big City. We’re seriously considering re-locating there and kicking off the job hunt (education). So clue me in. What are the good neighborhoods in the city, preferably not the outer 'burbs. Good being defined as a place where a house and small yard are at least a possibility, safe, good schools public or private, the usual. I’d heard a some good things about Ukrainian Village. Where else should I look.

I had friends who lived in the Lincoln Square / Ravenswood area and it was pretty nice, lots of cute houses with yards, and reasonably priced compared to places like Old Town, Lakeview, or Lincoln Park (which are nice but expensive). Roscoe Square is also a nice area. I used to live in Uptown which is on its way to gentrification (or was when I lived there two years ago). Nice neighborhood as well, but like many areas of Chicago the difference between a decent area and a sketchy one can be as small as a block or two.

I can’t speak for the schools, but I lived in Lincoln Square for just short of twenty years and can heartily recommend it. Plenty of stores and restaurants, and easy access to public transit (I was within walking distance of the Brown Line, the Ravenswood Metra station, and several bus lines, which was good because I don’t drive).

I grew up in Hyde Park and my mom still lives there and loves it. It was a wonderful place to grow up in the '80s, and today we’d move our family there in a heartbeat except snow is a deal-breaker for us now.

I second Hyde Park. It’s got good schools (or at least it did when I was school age; I doubt that’s changed, though), good shopping, good restaurants, and it’s not very far at all from downtown. It’s basically a University [del]town[/del] hood.

If you don’t mind going further south, there’s also Beverly. Gorgeous houses, good schools, close to a commercial area, yadda yadda.

I have mixed feelings about Hyde Park. I went to grad school there and while the immediate area around the univeristy is lovely (if a bit overpriced) the surrounding area isn’t. During the year we were there, most of us experienced some form of robbery or violence (and it’s not like we were wandering around drunk at some random hour of the night on the wrong side of the Midway). Also most of the time it didn’t even feel like we were living in Chicago - the subway was not within walking distance, the Metra runs on a schedule (not like the subway which comes every few minutes or whatever), and there were only one or two buses that went downtown.

I did see plenty of families living there and as long as you’re sensible I suppose it’s all right. My friends and I much preferred living on the north side though. I actually found Hyde Park quite limited in terms of shopping and restaurants. The co-op was pretty meh in terms of price and stock (although they did have a great produce store on 51st). Give me a Jewel’s any day.

I lived in Hyde Park from 2006-7.

Thanks for the great responses so far!

I hear the south side is pretty bad: maybe even the baddest.

I lived in Park Ridge (a near suburb) for a couple of years, 20 years ago. It’s a very nice town, even picturesque in a few places. Part of the chase scene in “Blues Brothers” was filmed there, so I guess some other people agree. I worked in Park Ridge, while wifey would go to the town center and take the train; she thought it the most relaxing commute she ever had.

Getting downtown by car was a bit of a pain, because the Dan Ryan is a pain, as is driving just about anywhere in the Chicago area. So if bright lights/big city is what you want, you’ll probably want to find something in town. I knew a few people who lived around Lincoln Park, and liked it quite a bit. I went drinking there some and found it fairly pleasant.

Just for completeness you might want to check out Beverly (probably overpriced, but nice) and Mount Greenwood on the far SW side.

Also, the far NW side has some neighborhoods unlike any others. Sorry, I don’t know the funky bullshit made up neighborhood names, but there are some really neat areas as you go up along the north brach of the river. Way up around Devon, near Edgebrook and Billy Caldwell are some areas you would not think were in the city. North of Addison/Irving west of the Kennedy is a really neat collection of bungalows.

Regarding suburbs, you might want to check out Oak Park. It abuts the city, and is served by the Metra, el, and the Ike. Might be the most city-like of the suburbs. Same for Evanston to the north.

Depends on how bored you want to be.

I grew up on the Southwest side, near Midway Airport (Harlem & Archer aves.). Ethnic Polish neighborhoods, dominated by city workers and their families-- cops, firefighters, nurses. Straight shot downtown on the Stevenson. Schools are fine, no crime to speak of-- alas, no nightlife or culture, either. It’s the closest you can get to living in the suburbs while still paying ridiculous Chicago taxes.

Affordable homes, though, and good place to raise a family.

Personally, however, if I ever move back to Chicago, I want to live in Oak Park.

Can’t believe that wiki article omits mention of my favorite roadhouse - Fitzgerald’s. I may have to pop my wiki-cherry to correct that…

Another vote for Lincolon Square. It also has The Old Town School of Folk Music, and the Folk and Roots festival in Welles Park, The Davis Theater, A seasonal farmer’s market, Oktoberfest (could get a bit annoying when I lived 1/2 block away), and a lot more.

Edit: and a big public library branch (Sulzer), too!

My son works at the U. of Chicago and he definitely has mixed feelings about Hyde Park. (For that matter, he has mixed feelings about the 9-block walk from his office to the Metra.) Whenever we go there, his directions always include streets to avoid, as well as the ones to take.

My niece lived in Ukranian Village for several years and loved it. She now lives in Oak Brook and would definitely agree with davekhps.

I love Fitzgerald’s, too. But it’s actually in Berwyn.

Jobs are pretty slim in Chicago and rentals are at an all time high due to the poor housing market, so people are renting not selling.

The funny thing about Chicago is you can live in a nice area, walk two blocks and it’s awful. Also Chicago neighborhoods can change quickly, like in two years, it can go from good to bad or vice versa.

The best way to get a flat in Chicago is simply to find an area you like and then walk around, Chicago is well known for a city that doesn’t advertise its apartments. I can’t tell you the number of people who say, “Mark I wish I had taken your advice and walked around, 'cause now I’m overpaying.”

If you’d like a “house and small yard” you’re going to be pretty much on the NW side or the south side, which is mostly African America, but it does have nice areas too. Inner suburbs like Oak Park and Evanston tend to be overpriced, but the southern “inner suburbs” like Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn are nice with much more affordable housing.

It depends on what you have. Parking is outrageous in Chicago, so if you must have a car, you have to find a flat with that or you’ll be paying not only your monthly rent but an equivilent cost to park the car, or in parking tickets.

Chicago has a lot of nice neighborhood parks where kids can play. So you may need a yard.

In April when the whether gets nice, definately plan on a weekend trip to Chicago. Go online to the “Chicago Reader” and Craigslist and get an idea of what flats go for online.

Ouch. Did you really say that?

I grew up in Hyde Park and couldn’t get away fast enough. The private schools are filled with snobby professor’s brats, and the public schools are full of ghetto kids. 53rd street used to be nice, but it is now an extension of the surrounding ghetto. An old friend was ambushed in her doorway, robbed, and for no reason severely beaten. She was in her 70’s and almost didn’t pull through. The urban youths acted like they were having the time of their lives destroying this frail old woman AFTER they had already taken the $20 in her purse. One of them screamed at her, “Next time you carry more money bitch!”

Nice restaurants? Maybe a handful, but you will get tired of them fast, and then it is a long trek to the north side for anything else.

If you don’t have a good reason to be there, i.e. a connection with the U of C, stay far far away. I won’t even go back for a visit. Last time I was there was for Dad’s funeral.

And what is wrong with saying that? Why don’t you go rent an apartment at 63rd and Cottage Grove and see how you like it? Report back to us…

Maybe the implication that it’s a bad neighborhood simply because it’s African American? You don’t find that a bigoted statement?