Lake View is loud, brash, playful, and inviting. But it can also be quiet, family-friendly and quaint. Located between Lincoln Park and Uptown on Chicago’s North Side, Lake View enjoys some of the best lakefront property in all of Chicago.
Within Lake View are several sub-neighborhoods that are perhaps better known to outsiders, including Wrigleyville, Boystown and Lake View East. In addition to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigleyville is Lake View’s primary bar and nightlife district. Boystown, which is centered around North Halsted Street, is Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
The main streets of Lake View, including Belmont Avenue, Clark Street and Halsted Street, are among Chicago’s most vibrant. Retail flourishes, with an even mix of bars, short-order restaurants, fashion boutiques, coffee shops novelty stores, and record shops.
Public Amenities, Services, Civic Organizations
The Cubs play 81 games each year at Wrigley Field (and more when they make the playoffs), and whenever a game is played the neighborhood comes alive. In the summer, most Lake View residents can be found at the neighborhood’s beaches and on the bicycle trail that runs along the lakefront. Boaters also enjoy the use of Belmont Harbor, one of the city’s larger harbors for recreational boats as well as the Belmont Dog Beach, a great place for letting your pooch run and swim off leash.
The Lake View East Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Lake View East Festival of Arts, the Lake View Citizens’ Council puts on the Lake View Music Fest every year, and the Pride Parade is one of the city’s biggest and most festive parades.
A good way of measuring real estate value in Lake View is to check how far a particular property is from the lakefront. Lake View East is filled with large high-rises that are in a different price range altogether from the low-rise six-flats and courtyard conversions found in the rest of the neighborhood.
The majority of Lake View residents rent their homes, as just about 20 percent of homes in the neighborhood are owner-occupied. The vast majority of the homes in Lake View were built before 1999, which means that vintage resale and gut-rehab homes are more common that new-construction. However, a new crop of mid-rise condo developments and townhouses has recently been added to Ashland Avenue and Halsted Street.
Part of the reason that Lake View is such a destination for many is that it’s so easy to access by car or public transportation. Lake Shore Drive can be accessed from Belmont Avenue and Irving Park Road, presenting drivers with a 10-minute drive to the Loop. The CTA Red and Brown lines stop at the Belmont Station, and Cubs fans can take the Red Line right to the ballpark, stopping at Addison.
Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
The baseball-themed sports bars, including the Cubby Bear, Murphy’s Bleachers, Sluggers, and Harry Caray’s Tavern, are the loudest and most conspicuous nightlife options in Wrigleyville, but by no means are they the only options. Metro, located just a block north of Wrigley Field, is one of Chicago’s premier rock clubs, and the after-party usually takes place downstairs, at Smart Bar. Comedy clubs in the neighborhood include the iO Theater, ComedySportz Theatre and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy. Vegetarian food is popular Lake View too, with such standbys as the Chicago Diner and the Pick Me Up Café.
Although outsiders associate Lake View with baseball and nightlife, families are drawn to some of Chicago’s most coveted public school districts. The James G. Blaine School is one of the most popular public primary schools in the city. Hamilton, Burley and Nettelhorst elementary schools are also popular options in the neighborhood.