Drawing (Imaginary) Lines: The Five Sub-Neighborhoods of Lakeview
Attention Chicagoans, we have a challenge for you: give us one word to describe Lakeview. Ready, set, go.
This is the point in the trivia night when the crowd at the bar responds angrily because, yeah, you’re right, it’s not a fair question. Perhaps if we asked for a description of the Gold Coast, Wicker Park, or any other neighborhood, you would all be scribbling away on your little trivia response sheets, but when it comes to Lakeview, there’s no one word because there is no one neighborhood.
Technically, according to the official maps, Lakeview is one neighborhood and covers this area of the city:
Diversey bordering on the south, Irving Park Road on the north, Ravenswood on the west, and none other than the lake itself on the east. We can’t always believe the official maps though, can we? The official map of the CTA says citizens of Evanston are also Chicagoans because of access to the Purple line. These examples are both indicators that we shouldn’t blindly believe everything we read on Wikipedia.
In order to truly understand the enigma that is Lakeview and the area that it covers, we’ve broken down the large neighborhood into its appropriate and widely-known five sub-neighborhoods: Belmont Harbor, Boystown, Wrigleyville, the Southport Corridor, and Lakeview East.
(For the record, these sub-neighborhood borders and names are not official, but based on our personal definitions of where we believe these areas exist and how we refer to them in our colloquial jargon; we are totally open to changing these terms if someone contests!)
Fun fact: this area used to be called Newtown. Some residents argue whether or not this area is Lakeview or Lincoln Park, but it doesn’t really matter because it means residents get the best of both neighborhoods since it’s all within walking distance. You know what else is walking distance? The lake. The Lake Shore Drive path at the harbor is a runner’s paradise. We’re not going to show you pictures because you’re better off going to the Belmont Harbor location on Instagram.
This is a neighborhood that gives Chicago a great deal of recognition; Boystown is one of the largest LGBQT areas in the country, as well as the first officially recognized gay village in the United States. You’ll know when you’re in Boystown because of the rainbow flags in the windows of homes and businesses on every block, as well as the tall, gold pillars lining the street with rainbow banners honoring professional LGBQT leaders in history. With a plethora of kitschy vintage shops, bars that range from clubs to wine bars to diners, comedy clubs, and everything in between, Boystown’s colorful streets and vibrant atmosphere makes it a lively and upbeat neighborhood for any and all demographics of people who live there.
Well this one’s a no-brainer: Wrigleyville is home to the Chicago Cubs stadium, Wrigley Field. The neighborhood vibes like any sports-centered community would. There are plenty of pubs, locally-owned shops selling all of the Chicago fan-gear your heart could desire, and on occasion, from any corner of the neighborhood, you’ll hear the sound of cheering fans coming from the stadium. Although a younger crowd of post-graduate professionals predominantly live in Wrigleyville, the neighborhood’s lively commercial scene and sports-loving atmosphere makes it home to any and all who don’t wear White Sox apparel.
Named after the thriving strip of shops on Southport, this corridor is the quaint area of Lakeview. The eclectic theaters (that’s an appropriate word to describe The Music Box, right?), boutiques, and locally-owned everything make Southport Corridor one of the hidden gems of Chicago. Southport Corridor vibes like a small, local village, but still has a crazy good WalkScore on any corner. Isn’t this everything we love about the Windy City all in one neighborhood? We’re ready to help find you a new place when you’re ready to move; you know where to find us.
Lakeview East is tricky to define: is it Boystown? Is it Belmont Harbor? Is it the love-child of Lakeview and Lincoln Park? All we know is that this contestation must mean it has it all: locally-owned shops and restaurants, some breweries, some live comedy theaters, and orange metal signs on every street with the shape of an eye punched out of it. High foot traffic, runners at every intersection, and all of the great stuff that is squeezed between the Fullerton and Belmont Red Line stops. We don’t have three words to describe Lakeview East, but we know we like it, and that’s good enough for us.