Downtown Chicago serves as the center of most visitors’ itineraries, but beyond the city center, unique neighborhoods offer up one-of-a-kind experiences overflowing with character. These three neighborhoods exist outside the standard tourist confines, but they’re worth the extra stops on the El.
Best known as President Obama’s old stomping grounds, the Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhood seven miles south of the Loop is also home to the University of Chicago. Architectural design shines in this neighborhood where visitors can tour the restored Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Frederick C. Robie House.
Beyond the abundance of coffeehouses and bookshops, explore the wooded paths and serene lagoons of Jackson Park. Learn something new at the nearby Chicago Museum of Science and Industry or brush up on your history knowledge at the DuSable Museum of African-American History.
This once industrial area home to German and Swedish immigrants thrived until the Great Depression. It wasn’t until the 1980s that this area transformed into the quaint community that it is today.
Roscoe Village is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, colorful awnings, small restaurants and tree-lined Roscoe Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. Visitors can enjoy the largest concentration of antique stores in the Midwest while walking by vintage brick walkups and frame houses with front porches.
Now accessible via a new El stop at Lake and Morgan Streets, the West Loop is easier to get to than ever. Once known solely as Oprah’s neighborhood, this area has dozens of restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy.
You can sample futuristic drinks at the lounge next to Aviary restaurant or pick up your own market items at the family-run N&G Produce. Festivals often occupy the West Loop, such as the monthly Randolph Street Market Festival and the Taste of Randolph.