Lincoln Park

Not to be confused with the band Linkin Park — they’re from California and were supposedly referencing Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park neighborhood with their band name  — Lincoln Park Chicago is far more than a black-and-gray-denim-clad rock band. It’s also more than a famous nail polish color.

But you probably already knew that.

Perhaps it’s not just imitation but also a multitude of eponymous bits of pop culture that is the sincerest form of place-flattery.

Home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, DePaul University, the Chicago History Museum, North Avenue Beach, The Second City, and, of course, the 1,200-acre Lincoln Park proper, Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s most well-known neighborhoods.

Read on for a deeper dive into what it’s like to live in Lincoln Park Chicago.


Entertainment and Eating

In a city known for its culinary scene, Lincoln Park is renowned.

Lincoln Park’s dining scene includes everything from a restaurant regularly regarded as one of the best not just in the city, but in the country, to a tiny place that only serves empanadas to a sweet old-fashioned bakery (pun intended).

Entire articles could be dedicated to how to spend a weekend — or a couple of weeks — in Lincoln Park. The neighborhood has everything from museums to outdoor activities to live entertainment.

Here are a handful of arts and entertainment highlights that I haven’t already mentioned:


A Bit of History

The early residents of what is now Lincoln Park were a combination of the affluent, German farmers and shopkeepers, and industrial workers. The German truck farmers lent the area the nickname “Cabbage Patch.” The southeastern part of the neighborhood was the city cemetery between 1837 and 1864, at which point the cemetery, deemed a health hazard, was moved, and the land was renamed Lake Park. The following year it was renamed Lincoln Park in honor of the assassinated president. The Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Chicago Historical Society opened soon thereafter.

Much of Lincoln Park was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871; however, rebuilding happened quickly. Industrial plants moved in and attracted immigrant workers, who usually lived in the western part of the neighborhood. Middle-class and affluent families dominated the residents of the eastern portion of the neighborhood nearest the park. In 1898, St. Vincent’s College was opened — we know it by its current name, DePaul University, which it garnered in 1907.

Lincoln Park experienced deterioration during the Great Depression. After World War II neighborhood associations were established as part of neighborhood renewal efforts. The Lincoln Park Conservation Association (LPCA) was formed in 1954 and the city designated Lincoln Park a conservation area in 1956. Some of the efforts led to controversy surrounding the displacement of socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations. The development of high-rise apartment buildings near the park also led to scorn from residents.

Land values have been increasing since the last quarter of the twentieth century to today, with Lincoln Park being considered one of the highest-status Chicago neighborhoods.


Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about living in Lincoln Park Chicago, I recommend exploring the following resources:

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