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Anchored by the intersection of Lawrence, Western and Lincoln Avenues on Chicago’s North Side, Lincoln Square is a cosmopolitan, close-knit neighborhood. It provides a dynamic, diverse blend of tree-lined residential streets and bustling retail and commercial spaces, easily accessible by the CTA Brown Line and Metra.
The early 1800s saw largely commercial agriculture in the Lincoln Square area, but beginning in the 1850s, residential subdivisions began springing up amongst the fields of flowers and celery. When the Ravenswood Elevated opened in 1907, it cemented the area as a location both livable and convenient, and it was annexed by the City of Chicago in the 1920s.
In the 1940s, the Chamber of Commerce began a campaign to establish Lincoln Square’s commercial identity, culminating in 1978 with the development of the Lincoln Square mall. This charming, Old World-influenced pedestrian plaza now forms the commercial and social heart of Lincoln Square, and solidified Lincoln Square as one of the North Side’s keystone neighborhoods.
Public amenities, services, civic organizations
Historically populated by German, English and Polish immigrants, Lincoln Square retains a distinctly European air. It is home to the DANK-Haus German Cultural Center and Language School and the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, as well as the vibrant Old Town School of Folk Music. Winnemac and Welles Parks provide ample green space, and the neighborhood is bookended by Swedish Covenant Hospital and Methodist Hospital of Chicago.
Lincoln Square is particularly attractive in terms of family-friendly housing, offering a high percentage of single-family homes and smaller multi-unit buildings, both condominiums and rentals.
While there are the occasional higher-end properties, most single-family homes in Lincoln Square are priced in the $200-400s. Condo prices range widely from the low $100s through the $500s, reflecting Lincoln Square’s wide range of original-condition buildings, modern rehabs and new construction.
CTA’s Brown Line trundles above the southern part of Lincoln Square, making several stops at the major north-south thoroughfares and providing easy access to the Red Line and downtown. The Metra’s Northern Pacific Line marks the eastern boundary of Lincoln Square, with the Ravenswood stop being a viable option to access the northern suburbs. Western Avenue cuts through the very center of the neighborhood and allows a direct route north and south.
Shopping, dining and nightlife
Much of Lincoln Square’s charm lies in the diverse collection of small businesses that line its streets. With bookshops, cafes, handmade gifts, European imports, pharmacies, children’s boutiques and gourmet food shops to choose from, it’s not hard to find something to take home. There is a fantastic range of dining options as well, notable examples being Café Selmarie, Huettenbar and the Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna.
Nightlife takes a similarly eclectic turn, and one can spend a Friday night dancing at the Chicago Brauhaus, taking in a concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music, or catching a budget-friendly film at the Davis Theater. Few things exemplify the Lincoln Square experience more than strolling the pedestrian mall on a snowy night and stopping in at the Huettenbar for a beer.