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Great Neighborhoods: Chicago


Chicago always has been a city of contrasts. It began as a humble trading post and through its resurrection from the devastation of the fire of 1871, this city on the lake was formed by two commercial construction booms—the period after the recession of the 1870s and the early 1890s in preparation for the coming of the Colombian Exposition to Chicago. Now the third largest city in the country, Chicago combines diversity and ethnic pride in 77 distinct neighborhoods, many of which have, over the years, retained their unique character. Chicagoans adhere to their cultural identities but welcome all.

Chicago constantly reinvents itself. Cabrini-Green, once a gang-ridden housing project, now boasts residential units for a variety of incomes. Renovation and new construction have spread to other urban neighborhoods as well.

The city area’s median home price is about $240,000, but a dramatic range of options, from multi-million dollar mansions along downtown's Gold Coast and Magnificent Mile to fixer-uppers in emerging neighborhoods such as Wrigleyville, Old Town and Lakeview make that number just a starting point.

Apartments are undergoing a renaissance. One-bedroom rentals start at about $600 per month in "ethnic" neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy and Greektown and rise to $1,700 in downtown hot spots like River East, River North, Streeterville and Printer's Row.

We’re focusing on the four neighborhoods that best mirror the Chicago blend: upscale Lincoln Park, bustling Wicker Park/Bucktown, Oak Park and booming Naperville.

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