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Northwest of Chicago’s Loop on the city’s west side lies West Town, one of Chicago’s 77 designated communities and an area known for its vibrant artistic atmosphere. With numerous art galleries, abundant street art, independent theaters and many locally owned boutiques and retail outlets, West Town is a world unlike any other. Throw in the lively nightlife scene and some of Chicago’s best eateries and you get the drift.
Some of West Town’s popular sub-neighborhoods include: Ukrainian Village, Noble Square, East Village and Wicker Park. These neighborhoods offer fascinating condos, lofts and luxurious single family homes. With excellent schools to choose from, there really is something for everyone in Chicago’s trendy West Town.
West Town is pretty well defined geographically by the Chicago River to the east, the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the south, the former railroad tracks on Bloomingdale to the north and a western boundary that includes Humboldt Park, which is the name of a neighboring community to the west of West Town. Along with neighborhoods of Bucktown and the eastern portion of Logan Square to the north, West Town is often referred to as the “Near Northwest Side.” This reference sets West Town apart from Chicago’s sometimes violent west side.
Historic areas in West Town include River West, Noble Square, East Humboldt Park, Smith Park and East Village or East Ukrainian Village. Each area has its own story and its own personality. For example, River West is a small area east of the Kennedy Expressway that houses the prestigious Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center.
Since the 1960’s, East Village or East Ukrainian Village has been in transition. Originally a German American population dominated the area, but gradually the Poles migrated here. Today, East Village is a Hispanic neighborhood. Many of the original buildings have been scrapped in favor of new construction.
East Humboldt Park is a 104-block trek that includes the 208-acre park that gives the neighborhood its name. In 2014, Humboldt Park was named one of the “ten hottest” US neighborhoods by Redfin. The area has proved attractive for up-and-coming professionals who are priced out of surrounding areas.
Smith Park or the Patch is another West Town neighborhood named for the local park. Originally settled by Italians, the area has undergone steady improvements. Yet, many of the residents have lived in Smith Park for generations and have no inclination to relocate.
West Town high schools include Clemente High School, Wells Community Academy High School and Charter high schools Noble Street College Prep and Golder College Prep. There are also prominent private high schools in West Town, including Holy Trinity High School, River West’s The Chicago Academy for the Arts and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. West Town’s Magnet high school is the Ogden International School, which also offers a middle school program. There are also several public and Catholic elementary and middle schools in West Town where education is of great importance to the residents and children.
West Town housing is in demand. There is a lot to like about West Town and once residents settle in West Town, they rarely want to leave.