In this series of blog posts, we provide a summary of the neighborhoods where we’re currently listing and developing homes. In this post, I’ll be focusing on living in Bucktown Chicago.
Bucktown is one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods. It looks roughly like a right triangle on a map, bounded by Western Ave on the west and the 606 on the south, with the North Branch of the Chicago River creating the hypotenuse. It’s part of both the West Town and Logan Square community areas and borders another popular neighborhood to the south: Wicker Park. Because of their close proximity, Bucktown and Wicker Park are often lumped together. Lincoln Park is also just to the east — but it comes with a higher price tag. Many chose to live in nearby Bucktown to have access to what these pricier neighborhoods have to offer, though prices in Bucktown have gone up to the point where it’s now mostly considered an upscale neighborhood.
Though Bucktown is close to downtown, the prominence of historic low-rise buildings and single family homes means it has a lower population density.
Known for its artistic vibe and late-night hot spots, Bucktown has more recently added the likes of fitness centers and sleek cafe/bars to its streets. At this point, there’s something for just about everyone in Bucktown.
Mural titled “Tribute to Vivian Maier” by Eduardo Kobra on a house at 1651 West North Avenue at Paulina Street in Bucktown. Photo cropped from the original, taken in 2019 by Terence Faircloth [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via Flickr.
Read on to see why it’s always a beautiful day to be living in Bucktown Chicago.
Entertainment and Eating
Damen Avenue is the epicenter of shopping and dining in Bucktown, but there are also stretches of Diversey Parkway, Fullerton, Elston, Milwaukee, and Armitage Avenues that offer excellent sources of eating and entertainment.
For dining, the options are plentiful: Le Bouchon is as close as you can get to Paris without crossing the Atlantic and has been in the neighborhood since 1993. The Bristol serves American food — also with an excellent wine list. The Bento Box is a heralded, small, Asian-inspired restaurant that offers BYOB, take out, and delivery. And the StopAlong is a fun spot with New-York-style pizza “and other good stuff.”
Finally, the Bucktown Arts Fest is an annual two-day event in August at which 190 individual artists sell their work.
The original location of Margie’s Candies, a candy and ice cream parlor, is on Western in Bucktown. It opened under a different name in 1921, then became Margie’s in 1933. Photo cropped from the original, taken in 2007 by Marc Heiden, via Wikimedia Commons.
Notably, many conveniences — department stores, large grocery chains, box stores, and the like — are located between the expressway and the river.
A typical commute to the Loop from Bucktown using public transportation takes anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, door to door, depending on when you get out the door. To get to O’Hare Airport via public transportation takes right around 45 minutes. By car, a typical drive to the Loop without traffic takes about 1o to 15 minutes, and a trip to O’Hare is about 15 to 20 minutes, again without traffic. Most locations in Bucktown offer easy access to I90/I94.
Walkscore.com considers Bucktown a walker’s paradise, meaning daily errands do not require a car. The neighborhood has excellent transit and is considered a biker’s paradise. The 606 recreational trail runs right along the southern border of the neighborhood, perfect for avid bikers, commuters, and those who enjoy the occasional leisurely ride — as well as for runners!
According to Zillow, the median home value in Bucktown is a bit more affordable than neighboring Wicker Park. Home values have remained relatively stable and are projected to do so over the next year.
A Bit of History
According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, “Bucktown supposedly takes its name from the goats that roamed its streets at the turn of the twentieth century.” (Male goats are known as “bucks.”) It started out as an enclave of working-class Polish immigrants, and was nicknamed “Little Poland.” After the Chicago Fire of 1871, the immigrant laborer community in Bucktown continued to grow. Germans, Scandinavians, and other moved to the area and built large mansions using brick and stone.
In the 1970s, both Bucktown and Wicker Park began attracting artists and musicians looking for affordable housing options, marking the beginning of both a cultural and economic boom for the area. The architecture has become more eclectic since this time, as well, making for neighborhood streets that include converted industrial lofts and modernist mansions alongside historic brownstones.
If you’d like to learn more about living in Bucktown Chicago, I recommend exploring the following resources:
- Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce
- Bucktown Community Organization
- West Bucktown Neighborhood Association
- Near Northwest Arts Council
- Friends of Holstein Park
Interested in living in Bucktown Chicago? I don’t have any active listings in the neighborhood as of this writing, but I’ve worked in Bucktown in the past. Please feel free to contact me for more information on buying — or selling — a home in Bucktown.