As the name of this segment of The Examiner indicates, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Each area of the city caters to a different demographic, so newcomers and even old veterans can sometimes have difficulty deciphering the ideal part of Chicago in which to live, work, and find entertainment. These Chicago Neighborhood Profiles strive to untangle the web of Windy City neighborhoods and guide aspiring residents or adventurous natives to parts of the city that are ideally suited to their needs.
The triangle made up by North Avenue, Clark Street, and Ogden Avenue, just north of River North and south of Lincoln Park, is known as Old Town. One may assume that Old Town is named as such because it is somehow the octogenarian of the city, a surviving area from the Chicago fire or at least one of the first neighborhoods to be rebuilt. However, this is not the case. During World War II, Chicago’s Civil Defense Agency designated this triangular region as a “neighborhood defense unit.” After the war, the residents retained the close bonds formed by their weighty duties and regularly threw community art fairs known as “Old Town Holidays.” Ultimately, the name Old Town stuck. For a stimulating article filled with Chicago trivia, see http://mentalfloss.com/article/55060/how-chicagos-neighborhoods-got-their-names.
Today, Old Town remains a thriving triangle of shops, pre-war houses, clubs, restaurants, and walkable streets. For example, the world-renowned Second City improv comedy theater is celebrating its 50 Years of Funny with such varied special features as Apes of Wrath, a weekly walking tour of Old Town, an evening with the Hubbard Street Dance Company, and its Christmas collaboration with the Goodman Theater, Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You. Aspiring comics can even take classes at the premier theater that produced such luminaries as John Belushi, Steve Carrell, and Shelley Long. Everything that anyone could want to know about Second City can be found at http://www.secondcity.com/.
The Old Town neighborhood is ideally suited for both singles in their late twenties to mid-thirties or young families, preferably with pets. The singles will find the Old Town Pour House (or Ale House, or Pub), Kanela Breakfast Club, Spa Dabin, Adelaide Boutique, Pure Barre, and the Cobbler Square Lofts appealing. Apartments in the area tend to rent for a bit on the pricey side, though, so younger residents should be prepared to pay for their amenities.
The area also possesses the necessary services to cater to families with children, from kid-friendly restaurants like Topo Gigio and The Twisted Baker, merchants like The Spice House and Fleet Feet Sports, entertainment such as the Chicago History Museum and the proximate Lincoln Park Zoo, a variety of churches of all denominations, animal hospitals, and medical offices for humans.
Furthermore, the neighborhood provides necessary services for all residents. It hosts the alderman offices for the 27th and 43rd wards, a Plum Market and a Treasure Island, banks, a Walgreens, a UPS Store, and of course the preeminently important Starbucks. Prospective residents can visit the Old Town Merchants Association at http://oldtownchicago.org/directory/ for more information.