Whether or not you’re originally from the Chicago area, chances are you’re looking for a place to live before you start the MDP program.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of Chicago neighborhoods, this should give you a good picture of where some of your colleagues have chosen to live. A few MDPs share their neighborhoods below; maybe you’ll find one that fits exactly what you’re looking for!
Photo by Genial 23
I live in Uptown, on the north side of Chicago, where wide tree-lined streets offer dappled sunlight and cool breezes off nearby Lake Michigan. Uptown offers large apartments in classic 19th and 20th century six-flats for an extremely affordable price. In the early 20th century, the neighborhood was Chicago’s entertainment hub. Iconic theaters like the Riviera and Aragon Ballroom still host great shows and concerts, while bars like the Green Mill offer live jazz most nights and house secret tunnels used by Al Capone. Within walking distance to the red line, the commute to work is quick and easy. The lakeshore trail offers the opportunity to bike to work in about 30 minutes. Uptown has a number of bakeries and restaurants, and is within walking distance to other great neighborhoods like Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood. My favorite part of the neighborhood is the community. Uptown was ranked as the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago and maintains its own news site, uptownupdate.com, which provides local news and information on neighborhood events.
Photo by Roman Boed
I live in the Gold Coast – a serene, yet lively neighborhood. I live on Dearborn and Division (right next to the red line!) – a safe area, and a few minutes away from the “beach”! There are many bars around, so after Wednesdays, the area is buzzing. Gold Coast is also full of restaurants and stores, which makes it a fun area to explore, but it isn’t too noisy at the same time. I live in an apartment with a roommate, and although the prices in the area are on the steeper side, the proximity to work (around 15-20 minutes by train) and clubs/bars is a huge plus, if that’s what you’re looking for. I would recommend Gold Coast if you prioritize proximity to the city and a moderate-to-high level of activity.
Photo by Bert Kaufmann
The short answer for why I chose River North…“Location, Location, Location.” I’ve been at Morningstar for almost ten months, and I think I’ve only taken public transportation to/from work maybe 5 times. I walk to work every day, and it takes no more than 15 minutes each way. The nightlife caters to the more club/fancy bar scene, with many upscale places that serve more expensive drinks. That being said, there are so many bars in such a short radius (Hubbard Street especially) that it’s hard to go wrong. I live alone in a studio apartment; my building is a high rise but I’m on the third floor. The amenities are incredible though: half basketball court, full size racquetball court, pool, cardio room, weight room, two tennis courts, locker rooms (with steam room and sauna).
In terms of adventures, my friends and I like to start at my place and walk east to the Ohio St Beach, then walk up Lake Short Drive and see the Oak Street Beach and then the North Ave Beach. There’s always an adventure when going out in River North. If you want to live here, expect to pay higher rent for less space! The prime location and excellent nightlife comes with a price.
I live with a friend from college who goes to Northwestern Medical School, so we decided to live in that area because it’s close to her campus. What I like about my neighborhood is that it has the iconic “Chicago look” – historic, yet timeless stainless steel skyscrapers. Streeterville is conveniently located to the east of River North, and with it one of the most popular destination in Chicago – the Magnificent Mile. It’s a convenient location for shopping, groceries, upscale dining, and Batman-seeking on top of the Hancock Tower. There are also seasonal festivals, like winter lighting on Michigan Avenue or the St. Patrick’s Day river dyeing along Wacker Drive. My apartment is a high rise, so there is a nice view of the lake and periodic fireworks from Navy Pier. If you like the arts, there is the marvelous Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, architecture boat and walking tours, and two movie theaters that have commercial blockbusters (where you can lie down while watching), as well as indie favorites like the annual Chicago International Film Festival.
Photo by Matt Watts
I live in East Lakeview close to Wrigley! I will be moving soon to Diversey & Sheridan, which is still in Lakeview but closer to Lincoln Park. I chose Lakeview because it was safe, it feels like a neighborhood, and it is lively at night. I live in a one-bedroom apartment, love going out in Wrigley, going to Cubs games and being close to the lakeshore trail. My commute is about 25 minutes via the red line. The area is walkable and full of restaurants, stores, and a lot of families. I would definitely recommend Wrigleyville if you like being in the middle of action (especially during baseball season).
Photo by David Ohmer
I live in Lakeview East, right at the edge of Lincoln Park and I have really enjoyed exploring this area since July! The main reason for living in this location was the proximity to the lake—it is just a quick walk or bike ride. I also enjoy the commute to and from work—approximately 25 minutes each way. Living next to the Lincoln Park Zoo is a huge perk, as it’s a great place to visit on the weekend for free! Favorite places to eat in the area are primarily the BYOB restaurants. Broadway has a lot of great BYOBs, as does Belmont. Mista has yummy pizza and Italian dishes, there are endless sushi options such as Sushi Para and Toro Sushi, and Buena Vista is the best Mexican restaurant around. It’s nice to live in a place where a lot of families, kids, and dogs are always out walking around–Lakeview feels very homey!
Photo by vonderauvisuals
I love South Loop because of its proximity to many things, including: the New Maxwell Street Festival (cheap tacos and flea finds), the Lakeshore, the museums, grocery stores (Trader Joe’s for the win), the Red Line, and Morningstar. Primarily, we chose this neighborhood because of the location and its affordability (relative to other neighborhoods around work). This summer, I am really looking forward to going on more runs by the lake and eating guacamole from my balcony. I wouldn’t recommend the South Loop for everyone moving to Chicago, but definitely for MDPs.
I moved here because it’s very close to Morningstar, so it’s an easy commute (2 red line stops or around 20 minutes by foot). I live in a studio apartment by myself, but I have a really good friend who lives in a studio in the same building, so it turned out great. My absolute favorite part about the South Loop is that it’s very close to Museum Campus, which is gorgeous all throughout spring, summer, and fall. Beautiful view, great museums, bikes, water taxi, and greenery – it’s amazing. Also, South Loop has great brunch places (Yolk and Bongo Room, and Wildberry is within walking distance too, though that’s technically the Loop area). Every June there is a big book fair in Printer’s Row, which is great if you’re a bookworm like me. I’d recommend the South Loop top anyone who’s not crazy about being in the middle of a super busy, loud neighborhood. South Loop is quiet, close to work and city center, has nice places to eat and walk and relax – and everything else is only ever few train stops or an Uber ride away.