Northwest of Chicago’s Loop you’ll find Wicker Park and Bucktown, two of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city. Wicker ranges from the Bloomingdale /Trail - known as the 606 - to Division, and Ashland Avenue to Western. Bucktown spans from the Chicago River to Western Avenue, Diversey Parkway to Bloomingdale Avenue. These Northwest-side neighborhoods offer plenty of new and vintage residences, exciting restaurants and arts scenes to entice locals and tourists alike. Here’s a look into the Wicker Park and Bucktown areas from residential options to entertainment to help you decide if they’re the right neighborhoods for your next move.
A Look Into the Past
Wicker Park was part of Chicago when it was first incorporated as a city in 1837. The neighborhood earned its name after the Wicker brothers, two well-known businessmen, one of whom was an alderman, and set aside the land that makes up Wicker Park today.
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, people moved north on Milwaukee Avenue thanks to affordable housing constructed for fire victims by the Committee on Aid Society. Soon, Roling Mill Steel Works opened at Armitage and Ashland and the neighborhood filled with Irish immigrants. Polish immigrants also populated the area, many of whom raised goats which contributed to the naming of Bucktown.
As the Kennedy Expressway grew, residents were displaced and the neighborhood was affected by a weakened economy in the 1960s and 1970s. Many artists moved into the region to take advantage of low-cost housing.
Housing Options in Every Architectural Style
Today, these areas are a mix of residential and commercial-use buildings with many influences of its Bohemian past still visible in the large arts scene and beautiful architecture. Whether you’re looking to rent an industrial-inspired unit in off Damen Avenue in the heart of Wicker Park or purchase a modern luxury two-flat on Milwaukee in Bucktown there are plenty of options spanning a variety of ages, architectural designs and price ranges.
You can also find new construction like the 16-story 121-unit rental building RDM Development has proposed for 1628 W. Division. The building will feature two rooftop decks and an outdoor pool if it is approved by the Zoning Board and City Council. If you’re more in the market for a live-work space you may luck out with a loft built in an old factory along the top end of Bucktown near the North Branch Industrial Corridor.
Dining, Drinking and Entertainment Galore
Bucktown and Wicker Park are well-connected to transit options with the Damen and Western CTA Blue Line stops and a plethora of buses from the Diversey and Fullerton lines to the North Avenue and Milwaukee buses. Plus, ridesharing options like Uber and Lyft frequent the area no matter the time.
In the summer, enjoy the patio at Big Star where you can dig into tasty pork belly tacos and sip on agave-based cocktails like the gold dust gimlet. After a long night, grab a table at the Bongo Room for a savory omelet or apple churros French toast. If you’re craving Asian fare head to Zagat-rated The Bento Box where chef Rick Spiros and his team use organic, locally farmed ingredients to create favorites like grilled chicken vindaloo, chili jam chicken wings and bulgogi bi bim bop.
Today, the Milwaukee portion of the neighborhoods is still largely populated by people of Polish heritage so you’re sure to find excellent sausages, barszcz, golabki and zurek if you’re looking for a hearty meal. Stop by Ipsento Coffee on Western to grab a pound of freshly roasted beans and kickstart your day with a tasty latte or a pour over coffee.
For a look at the arts scene visit the Flatiron Arts Building every first Friday of the month to peruse galleries featuring artists, watch dancers grace the stage and see open working studios where tattoo artists, painters, filmmakers and other creatives hone their crafts. If you’re in the market for a good read head to Myopic Books to browse the multi-floor local treasure stocked with tomes from mysteries to biographies, science and more.
Wicker Park and Bucktown also offer outdoor spaces for those looking to take a stroll and see the city. You can take advantage of these green spaces by heading to the 606 Trail, an elevated former rail line that housed industrial train traffic during the early 1900s and has been converted into an ADA-accessible 2.7-mile walking and biking path with small park offshoots including a dog run at the East end. The trail frequently hosts family-friendly events from art walks to stargazing so be sure to check their website to see what’s coming up next. For a more low-key stroll or access to fun playgrounds visit the area's namesake - Wicker Park. This 4.03-acre community spot features water fountains, gardens, a dog park and athletic fields and courts.
Let Us Help You Find Your Wicker Park or Bucktown Dream Home
Are you ready to move into the Wicker Park or Bucktown areas? The KlopasStratton Team is ready to make your move a reality thanks to our exceptional team of knowledgeable real estate agents and impressive network of homes listed for rent and for sale in these top Chicago neighborhoods. If you’re looking for an experienced and committed team, contact us today so you can start seeing potential homes right away.