Lincoln Square & Ravenswood
Lincoln Square has come a long way since its early days as the celery capital of the nation. Despite its humble, agricultural beginnings, the Lincoln Square of today is a bustling, urban community of retail shops, restaurants and small businesses that have made the area a destination for folks from all around the Chicago area. It's also a great place to live with plenty of park space, cultural attractions and transportation options.
Settled by European immigrants in the early 1800s, Lincoln Square still maintains a strong German flavor in its bars, restaurants and community organizations. The name, Lincoln Square, can refer to the larger Chicago Community Area, but just as often it refers to the smaller neighborhood bordered by Foster Avenue to the north, Montrose Avenue to the south, Ravenswood Avenue to the east and the north branch of the Chicago River to the west.
Since the 1940s, business leaders in the community have promoted Lincoln Square as a vital shopping center. With the help of an active Chamber of Commerce, the corridor of Lincoln Avenue running south from Lawrence Avenue to Montrose, has been home to many great shops, comfortable neighborhood bars and fantastic restaurants. You can easily spend an entire day browsing the many small boutiques in search of everything from new and used books and records to antiques and vintage toys.
Few neighborhoods have the cultural cachet of Lincoln Square. The Old Town School of Folk Music has thrived since opening a branch on Lincoln Avenue in 1998. In addition to providing music lessons and selling instruments, the school hosts performances by nationally recognized artists. Just down Lincoln Avenue from the school is the Sulzer Regional Library; to the north is the independently run, Davis movie theater. For outdoor recreational options, Welles Park is your spot with tennis courts, a gazebo and plenty of grass to lie down on and soak up the sun or relax under a shady tree. There's also an indoor pool for exercise throughout the year. On the north end of Lincoln Square, you'll find the 40 acres of Winnemac Park. With a nature trail that's great for dog walking, birdwatching or jogging through the park's natural prairie garden. During Chicago's warmer months, Lincoln Square plays host to several outdoor festivals as well as a farmers' market.
The Brown Line el makes commuting to and from Lincoln Square very convenient with three recently renovated stations serving the area at Montrose, Western and Rockwell. Several major bus routes intersect Lincoln Square running along Lawrence, Montrose, Damen and Western. The Metra's Union Pacific North Line has a stop at Ravenswood and Lawrence which makes commuting to the northern suburbs or downtown simple, fast and inexpensive.
A mix of small apartment buildings provides housing for renters. Single family and multi-family dwellings can also be found on the neighborhood's many side streets, as well as new construction condos and townhouses. With so many options for everything, including grocery stores, a post office and great schools, Lincoln Square is a self contained small town within the larger city. It's a great place to spend a few hours, the afternoon or even years.