Central Location, Low Key Charms
If you are buying a house in Chicago and considering Bucktown, use this neighborhood real estate guide for an insider's take before you purchase a home. Bucktown is a hot area with condos for sale in all prices, as well as single family homes for sale.
Quiet and quaint, Bucktown offers idyllic city living. Picture beautiful brick cottages around the corner from historic old churches. Modern luxury condos alongside fashion-forward boutiques. And busy playgrounds packed with children down the street from bustling little cafes. Bucktown may be small in size, but it boasts a lot of low key charm. And residents soak it up on the regular: sidewalks are filled with families pushing strollers, as well as dog owners and their happy pets doing laps around the block.
Damen Avenue serves as the main artery of the neighborhood — running north to south, it is the heart of Bucktown. Two other major streets serve as borders, Western Avenue and Elston Avenue. Along here are the businesses essential for nearby residents (from grocery stores to hardware stores, shopping plazas to auto shops). The Kennedy Expressway and Chicago River are also major dividers, running along either side of Elston Avenue, and separating the busier commercial district from the residential areas.
Transportation is quick and convenient via the Blue Line 'L' Train for travel downtown (and also O'Hare International Airport) 24 hours a day. The Western Blue Line station is the main hub, but nearby Damen station in Wicker Park is also used by commuters. The Kennedy Expressway cuts through the neighborhood. Suburban rail line Metra passes through as well with its Clybourn station. CTA bus lines include #73 Armitage, #50 Damen, #49 Western, #9 Ashland, #56 Milwaukee and #72 North.
Bucktown is closely tied to its next door neighborhood Wicker Park, with Damen Avenue as the connector between the two. So this shared street is one continuous stretch of shopping and dining, though it leans more towards upscale tastes than hipster types. Follow the foot traffic north for great gifts and home decor (artful antiques at Pavilion, handcrafted ceramics at Virtu, and modern furnishings at Stitch), or fashion forward styles (for two decades Robin Richman has been a showcase for unique designer finds, while charming children's boutique The Red Balloon outfits the little ones).
For more shopping, albeit the "big box" variety, the stretch of Elston Avenue that neighbors the Lincoln Park neighborhood offers many nearby conveniences. Stock up on groceries at one of three big chains: Mariano's, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Strack & Van Til. Other basics are covered with stores like The Home Depot, Target, Best Buy and PetSmart.
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The Essentials: Eat & Drink
Let brunch be your starting point for a neighborhood dine-around: Toast is a byob and Jane's is as pretty as can be. Jump to dinner, which offers up a spread that is both diverse and delicious: try Okonomiyaki at Izakaya Mita (Japanese), or Côte de Boeuf at Le Bouchon (French), Ají de Gallina at Rios D'Sudamerica (Peruvian), or Man Doo at En Hakkore (Korean) or Casado at Irazu (Costa Rican) or Ropa Vieja at Paladar (Cuban).
Other neighborhood winners:
- Belly Shack: Unassuming from the outside, inside find a Michelin-lauded menu mashup of Puerto Rican and Korean
- The Bristol: Where the chefs take a "nose-to-tail" approach and the service exudes hospitality
- Coast Sushi: Neighborhood staple where despite its spacious size, the dining room is buzzing every night (the byob factor has a lot to do with it)
- Margie's Candies: Part candy shop and part ice cream parlor, this old school shop has been serving generations for 95 years
- George's Hot Dogs: Chicago-style hot dogs are a budget bet (fries included!) at this quintessential storefront that has been family-owned and operated since opening in 1948
- Mi Pi Pizza: This counter service shop does deep dish without the downtown waits, with slices at the ready
- Map Room: This beer-centric corner tavern takes on a travelers' theme, and touts 26 taps and more than 100 bottles
- Danny's: Blink and you'll walk right past this venerable dive bar... unless its after 11pm, in which case a line forms out the door for the late night dance parties
- Lottie’s Pub: A typical-looking tavern on a quiet block, this former grocery store from the 1930s hides its Prohibition past well
- Ipsento: Sip on the signature latte (coconut milk and honey with a kick of cayenne pepper) or go nitro at this indie coffee roaster
Anchoring the Area
A favorite with families, Holstein Park is a spacious 3-acres nestled amid a quiet pocket of homes. There is a handsome brick fieldhouse, open fields and a playground, but in the summers, everyone makes a beeline for the outdoor pool. Next door, retreat to a spot in the shade for a game of chess at the built-in gaming tables at Senior Citizens Memorial Park.
The 606 trail and park system has been making headlines since its debut — the 2016 National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design is one of the honors — and Bucktown has three parks along the former elevated train line. Walsh Park makes up the eastern trailhead, Churchill Field is perhaps the busiest access point, and Park 567 is a great locale to stop and spot the downtown skyline.
Visible from the trail (and the highway), St. Mary of the Angels church was completed in 1920 and is a striking example of Renaissance-Revival architecture. Taking up two city blocks, it is a prominent part of the neighborhood landscape with its bright white terracotta dome and 21 angels adorning the rooftops. A few blocks away, St. Hedwig Church was organized to serve the Polish families immigrating to the area much like its neighbor. Today the two both hold mass in English and Polish as well as Spanish.
Diversey River Bowl is located, aptly enough, right on the Chicago River, though you couldn't miss this local hangout with its big neon sign and retro marquee out front.
Locals Who Live Here
Families make up a large contingent of residents; while some have called Bucktown home for generations, there are many newer to the neighborhood giving it a younger — and more affluent — profile. A strong base of single family homes for sale, almost all boasting spacious backyards and garages, make it very appealing. From vintage houses to modern living that includes duplex condos for sale and townhomes for sale, there is a good mix of real estate inventory in Bucktown. Double lots with luxury custom homes for sale can be found here as well. The young professionals that are also drawn to the area find many older 2- and 3-flat buildings converted to condos for sale (not to mention many new condo developments for sale).
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