Welcome to Wicker Park and Bucktown, the Chicago neighborhoods that might as well be called hipstervilles. Here, you?ll find plenty fashionistas sporting skinny jeans, tattoos and piercings, mixed with cyclists, skateboarders, recent college grads, and both young and older families. Independent businesses rule this area, which is brimming with popular coffee houses, bars, boutiques, vintage clothing stores and great bookstores.
While the neighborhood names are often used interchangeably, they are two distinct areas. Wicker Park tends to draw a younger crowd, while Bucktown skews slightly older and more settled. At one time, Wicker Park and Bucktown had a fair amount of grit, and were known for cheap rents, underground concerts, art galleries, dive bars, and more. In recent years, gentrification has been a force, raising rents and mellowing the angst that once dominated. Today, the area retains just enough edginess to maintain its bohemian street cred.
Bucktown extends, approximately, from Ashland Avenue on the east to Western Avenue on the west, and from Fullerton Avenue on the north to North Avenue on the south, while adjacent Wicker Park is bordered by North Avenue on the north, Division Street on the south, Western Avenue to the west and Ashland Avenue to the east. The most lively intersection in the area is the six-point intersection at North, Damen and Milwaukee avenues.
Wicker Park and Bucktown are approximately four miles from downtown Chicago, and are easily accessible via the Blue Line, as well as a number of bus routes, including 9, 50, 49, 56, 70, 72, 73 and 74. Both neighborhoods are also quite bike friendly, In fact, the bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue is particularly bustling.
Bucktown and Wicker Park are comfortable neighborhoods for singles and families, alike. There are a number of parks in the area, including the namesake Wicker Park, and, throughout the summer, the streets come alive with art and music festivals. These neighborhoods are also densely packed with trendy restaurants and bars, which range from mellow wine bars to raging music venues. Surrounding neighborhoods include Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park and Logan Square.
In Wicker Park and Bucktown, 21 percent of males 19.9 percent of females are single. The median age is 33, and 28.5 percent of homes have kids. The average commute time is 35 minutes.
The real action in Bucktown and Wicker Park takes place at the six-corner intersection that unites Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues. Follow any of these streets, and you?ll find they?re chockablock with just about anything you could want: A pizzeria owned by Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick (Piece); a speakeasy serving prohibition-style cocktails (Violet Hour); a used bookstore you could get lost in (Myopic); a futuristic ice cream parlor that custom creates, flavors, colors and freezes your ice cream while you wait (iCream); all the vinyl you could want at Reckless Records (Wicker Park was, after all, the setting for the movie High Fidelity), and so much more. Step off any of the main drags, and you?ll find yourself surrounded by tree-lined streets filled with beautiful homes that represent architecture throughout the ages.
According to legend, Bucktown got its name from the Polish immigrants that used to keep goats?the males known as bucks?in their backyards in the 1830s. The vibe of the area changed with different waves of immigrants over the years. In the late 1850s, a large number of Irish families moved to the neighborhood to work at the Rolling Mill Steel Works, which opened in 1857. The area continued to grow after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when many of Chicago?s wealthiest families built homes here, having lost their own to the tragedy. In fact, Hoyne Avenue earned its nickname ?Beer Baron Row? because of the mansions built there in the late 1800s by successful Chicago brewers. Those mansions are still standing today.
1941 W. Schiller St.- Known as The Wicker Park Castle, this Queen Anne-style home was built in 1888 for Harris Cohn, a clothing manufacturer.
1958 W. Evergreen Ave. - Former apartment of novelist Nelson Algren.
1407 N. Hoyne Ave. - Former home of beer baron John H. Rapp.
1150 N. Damen Ave. - Home of The Rainbo Club, where writer Nelson Algren used to hang out.