Best neighborhoods in Chicago?

Hi everyone, I will be starting full time in Chicago soon and would love insight into where other analysts are living? What are the best neighborhoods in terms of proximity to office, cost, and lifestyle. For reference, my office is very close to Willis Tower. Many thanks

nawf side

but seriously best neighborhoods close to downtown are all directly north of downtown (river north, wrigleyville) and also the west seems to be getting pretty hip as well in places like Fulton Market.


63rd and St. Lawrence is cheap and safe. Was great when I was an AN1.

Seems like a no brainer imo. heres the highest rated google review for O Block. 

This is truly a sight behold! There is so much culture to be found here. The locals are super friendly, they will come up and ask where ya from and even let you in their vehicles to take you with them for a good time. Valet parking all around, many things to do and places to see. Alot of fireworks all around, I think the Chinese firecracker is popular. You can hear them but don't really see them in the sky much. You should greet others by saying things like "run my fade" or "smoking on that von pack". Security goes around putting up decorative yellow tape here and there. Only down side was I forgot an umbrella and it started raining.

Incoming intern living in the China Town area, what are everyone’s opinions on that?

People exaggerate the lack of safety of any area south of Roosevelt, and they are not completely wrong. 

But, South Loop and Chinatown are actually okay, provided you are more East (closer to the Red line) rather than West (I90/940), and north of Cermak/18th. 

But they are not as good as neighborhoods north of the River for sure.

As someone who works in IB in Chicago, you really have three “great” options:

- West Loop (Fulton Market)

- Gold Coast

- River North

If your office is in the loop and you really value proximity would also consider Lakeshore East.

The character of all of the above neighborhoods are different and so it really all comes down to personal preference. River North is a bit more nightlife focused/“downtown feel”/less clean if that’s your vibe.

West Loop has a really cool feel to it and is my personal preference. Ton of restaurants, clean/safe, and “up and coming” vibe.

I also know analysts/associates who love Gold Coast/Old Town, which is your pick if you want to be close to the lake, beaches, old town bars, and park for the summer. You would, however, likely need to bike to the office (easy with Divvy membership).

Chicago is an amazing city. Congratulations if you are moving.

Most Helpful

Here is your range of neighborhoods to take a look at. There are others, but these are the main ones It kind of depends on what you value (proximity / commute, restaurants / bars, affordability, etc.).

  • The Loop - don't live here. It's shut down on the weekends and is mainly just where people work
  • West Loop / Fulton Market - Cool area with a great restaurant and bar scene. Tends to lean more late 20s / early 30s and is pretty pricey to live there. Very close to where your office is (walkable)
  • River North - Another expensive area, but also walkable to your office. It's a bit showy in the sense that most of the nightclubs and pretty expensive restaurants are here (not to say they aren't elsewhere as well)
  • Gold Coast - You probably won't want to live here, but it's just north of RN and also expensive. It's a bit quieter and suited more for couples / families
  • Old Town - I love old town and think it's a good mix of slightly older and younger crowds. A bit more affordable here and still good places to go out and grab a drink. It's a similar commute to LP (below) but not bad at all
  • Wicker Park - Northwest of downtown (by only a bit), it's an easy train ride in and it pretty affordable. Great restaurant scene and cool vibes in the area. Definitely recommend checking it out 
  • Lincoln Park - Lincoln park is pretty diverse and caters to a broad range of people (it's a big area). There are wealthy townhouses there and apartment buildings full of 24 year olds. There are nice restaurants (alinea is nearby) and 5am bars to hit. You can definitely find something affordable here and hop on the train to work
  • Wrigleyville - Probably the furthest north of any place people consider living and I actually don't recommend it. It's a fun area to go out, see a game and get hammered but it's a hike from the office and while very affordable, I don't think the options for places are that nice unless you're rooming with 2-3 other people

Also, do analysts / associates usually have a car in Chicago?

I did River North as an analyst and would highly recommend. Being close to the Brown Line to get to work + less than 10 minutes to uber home from the office makes a big difference when you're getting grinded. Wherever you pick would solve for being less than a 10 minute walk from an L stop and grocery store

There's decent options for going out that aren't super pricey and it's easy to get up to LP / Lakeview on weekends to meet up with friends

do you know any apartments in river north that aren’t too expensive?

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