Called one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods, Bucktown is situated within the Logan Square community area. It’s positioned north of Wicker park and northwest of the Loop, with the Chicago River to its east. Once a part of the city’s famous Polish Downtown, Bucktown gets its name from its reputation for breeding goats in the 19th century. (Male goats are called bucks.)
Today, the area is primarily a residential neighborhood. There’s a mix of older single-family homes, converted loft spaces, and new, edgy architecture. The nabe has seen an array of cultural influences over the years, from Polish and German in the 19th and early 20th centuries to Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican starting in the 1960s. In the latter part of the 20th century, gentrification was sparked by a growing artists community here, followed by many young professionals. That’s the flavor of the neighborhood today, a young community of young Gen X and Millennial residents mixed with the diverse cultural history.
Like its diverse population, the Bucktown food scene is a mix of old classics and new, contemporary eateries. There are a host of stellar brunch outlets, as well as international cuisines like Japanese and French. Plus, neighborhood fixtures include The Goddess and the Grocer, both an artisanal cafe and market. And one of the area’s most enduring old-school Italian joints is Club Lucky, a family-friendly mainstay in the nabe.
There’s high-class dining in the nabe as well, including Mindy’s HotChocolate, opened by James Beard Award–winning chef Mindy Segal. There is also an impressive cocktail culture in the nabe, making it a favorite for imbibing.
In step with its unique character, Bucktown has some pretty uncommon entertainment. Play a game of WhirleyBall, a made-up sport played by two teams in bumper cars. There’s also a bar and restaurant with a full menu.
Architecturally, you’ll find it all in Bucktown—from historic single-family homes to renovated lofts and new construction. Horween Leather Company has been on North Elston Avenue since 1920. The nabe is also home to three churches that are prime examples of the Polish Cathedral style, including St. Mary of the Angels.
Due to its residential flair, there are a lot of big-box stores located in Bucktown along North Elston Avenue. There’s a Target, Home Depot, Michaels, Kohls, and Best Buy. It may not be the sexiest shopping enclave, but you can always get what you need to stock up on basics and necessities.
There’s plenty of live entertainment to be enjoyed in Bucktown. Gallery Cabaret is home of the blues, or you can find a more eclectic mix at The Hideout. There’s also Trap Door Theater with its ensemble performing an array of live plays. For a romantic evening, visit Gorilla Tango Theater.
Bucktown Festivals & Events
Each year, the neighborhood hosts the Bucktown Arts Fest in late August. The over 30 year tradition invites artists from all over the city to show off their works. There’s a mix of oil, watercolor, photography, textile, jewelry, and sculpture to be enjoyed.
Bucktown is home to the small but charming Holstein Park. It has baseball fields, a playground, basketball courts, and a popular spray pool in the summer. There’s even a swimming pool that is little known in the city. The park is home to an array of programming for children and teens throughout the summer and school year.