10 Things We Love About Living in Lincoln Square

With an array of independent shops, community events, and nearby restaurants, Lincoln Square is a thriving neighborhood that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re searching for a place to call “home” or a spot to spend a memorable afternoon, be sure to visit this vibrant North Side community. Here are 10 things we love about living in Lincoln Square.

1. It’s a True Melting Pot

Living in Lincoln Square offers endless cultural experiences. Among them are the National Cambodian Heritage Museum, the Swedish-American Museum, and the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center – a museum, art gallery, library, and language school.

The neighborhood is also home to the Berlin Wall Monument inside the Western Brown Line station.

2. Community Spirit

The Lincoln Square community spirit shines during annual happenings like the Square Roots Festival, the Lincoln Square Mistletoe Market, German American Oktoberfest, Apple Fest, and more. Many events take place in Giddings Plaza, a public square at the center of the neighborhood. Even when there aren’t events, this pedestrian-only area is bustling with activity.

3. Shopping

Image credit: merzapothecary.com

Lincoln Square is a stronghold of independent businesses, from one-of-a-kind boutiques and bookshops like The Book Cellar to artisanal coffee shops and craft breweries on Malt Row. One must-see: Merz Apothecary, which opened in 1875. A pharmacy with an herbal approach, the shop is now a local landmark. Head inside to browse their remedies or check out the architectural details, including leaded glass windows, a carved wooden exterior, and tin ceilings.

4. Green Spaces Galore

Image credit: Chicago Park District

Another perk to visiting or living in Lincoln Square is the incredible outdoor spaces. The area has many parks and green spaces, providing ample spots to relax and take in the urban landscape.

During the summer, residents head to River Park, which has a swimming pool, canoe launch, and fishing. There’s also seven tennis courts, baseball fields, a playground, and a splash pad for younger visitors. Winnemac Park is also popular with its prairie garden, nature trail, and sports fields. If you’d rather hike, check out the North Shore Channel Trail, a 6.7-mile “out and back” trail suitable for all experience levels.

 5. A Vibrant Arts Scene

Image credit: lillstreet.com

Art thrives in Lincoln Square, from street murals to galleries and workshops at the Lillstreet Art Center. Here, kids and adults can sign up for diverse classes and workshops including ceramics and sculpture, drawing and painting, metalsmithing and glass, photography, and printmaking.

The neighborhood also nurtures creative expression, hosting art walks, craft fairs, and live music events that showcase local talent and foster community engagement. To get a glimpse, check out Ainslie Arts Plaza. This pedestrian plaza is home to murals and Wednesday Night Live, a maker’s market featuring live music and more.

6. Architectural Charm

Strolling through Lincoln Square is like walking through a living museum of Chicago architecture. The area boasts beautifully preserved bungalows, stately greystones, and quaint courtyard buildings that highlight the city’s storied past.

If the area’s architectural history is calling your name, don’t miss Louis Sullivan’s final masterpiece, the Krause Music Store, built in 1922. A legendary figure in Chicago’s architectural lore, Sullivan designed 126 buildings, including landmarks like the Carson Pirie Scott building and the Auditorium Theatre. Over the years, the Krause Music Store was restored to its original glory, offering a glimpse into the neighborhood’s history and rich culture.

7. Gourmet and Global Eats

Image credit: lincolnsquare.org/farmers-market

Lincoln Square’s dining scene reflects its diversity, offering everything from Michelin-starred brewpubs to authentic global cuisines. Foodies can indulge in Korean bar food at Dancen, a 10-course tasting menu at Atelier, or fried chicken (and BYOB) at Luella’s Southern Kitchen.

Be sure to check out Restaurant Week in late winter; each year, local restaurants offer special prix fixe menus, attracting visitors and locals. Also popular are the Lincoln Square Farmers Market and Ravenswood Farmers Market, where you’ll find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, prepared foods, and more.

8. The Davis Theater

The neighborhood boasts iconic entertainment venues like the Davis Theater – the oldest continually operated theatre in Chicago – which plays a mix of contemporary and classic films in a historical setting. Other acclaimed entertainment spots include the nearby Chicago Magic Lounge; Glass Apple Theatre, home to plays, musicals, and events; and the American Blues Theater.

9. There’s Plenty to Do

With no shortage of recreational activities, Lincoln Square is ideal for learners of all ages. The neighborhood’s parks, libraries, and community centers offer programs and events that cater to young minds and provide enriching experiences for everyone.

The Old Town School of Folk Music is popular among school groups and families. The school offers music classes including Wiggleworms for toddlers and small children and traditional folk groups featuring guitar, banjo, and mandolin. They also offer dance and movement classes like Flamenco, Irish Step Dance, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Bollywood, West African Dance, and more.

10. A Commuter’s Dream

Lincoln Square’s location puts residents within easy access of downtown Chicago. Commuters can quickly reach the Loop on the Brown Line “L” train and Metra’s Union Pacific North Line, which has a local stop on Lawrence Avenue.

Any Lincoln Square favorites we missed? Comment below!

Written by @properties
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