The Gold Coast has been the address of Chicago's wealthiest residents for more than 125 years. Bejeweled women glide in and out of the neighborhood's stylish boutiques. The occasional Rolls Royce wheels along the leafy streets. The cloud-poking 360° Chicago and provocative Museum of Contemporary Art are the top attention grabbers.
Lake View & Wrigleyville
Wrigley Field, both cursed and hallowed, draws baseball pilgrims. The bar-filled neighborhood around it parties hard and collides with the rainbow banners of Boystown, the nearby gay district, chockablock with dance clubs. Kicky eateries and shops cater to the masses.
Hyde Park & South Side
Brainy Hyde Park holds bookstores galore and sights like Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and the Museum of Science & Industry. Irish enclave Bridgeport has blossomed with bars and galleries, while Bronzeville has architecture and jazzy African American–history shrines.
Near West Side & Pilsen
The meatpacking West Loop buzzes with hot-chef restaurants and on-trend bars. Development continues here big-time. Greektown and Little Italy serve ethnic fare nearby. In Pilsen, Mexican culture mixes with Chicago's bohemian underground, and colorful murals, taquerias and cafes result.
Lincoln Park & Old Town
Lincoln Park – the green space – is the city's premier playground of lagoons, footpaths, beaches and zoo animals. Lincoln Park – the surrounding neighborhood – adds top-notch restaurants, kicky shops, and lively blues and rock clubs to the mix. Next door, stylish Old Town hangs on to its free-spirited past with artsy bars and improv-comedy bastion Second City.
Andersonville, Lincoln Square & Uptown
Vestiges of Andersonville's Swedish past remain, but today the area is about foodie taverns, funky boutiques and gay and lesbian bars. Uptown offers historic jazz houses like the Green Mill (Al Capone's fave), along with the thriving eateries of 'Little Saigon.'
Logan Square & Humboldt Park
Logan Square is Chicago's current 'it' neighborhood, the place to go for the hippest tiki lounge or all-the-rage fried chicken cafe. Gastronomes flock in for Michelin-starred Parachute and Longman & Eagle, plus several other chowhound hot spots. Puerto Rican stronghold Humboldt Park is the place to sample a jibarito, the local sandwich specialty.