The Most Bike-Friendly Neighborhoods for Chicago Apartment Renters

Although fewer apartment renters in Chicago were commuting into the city center in 2020, many apartment renters relied on the occasional bicycle ride to provide accessible, low-cost recreation opportunities amid business closures or to break up the monotony of working from home. As renters look ahead and plan their next move, one selection criteria for their next apartment is whether or not they're able to enjoy the many miles of bike lanes and designated bicycling paths in Chicago. 

Biking in Chicago & Chicago Bike Map

Whether riding for sport or as part of the daily commute, cyclists can cruise hundreds of miles across Chicago to get where they need to go. The Divvy bike-share program is another affordable transit option for Chicago apartment renters. It offers them the chance to check out bicycles for brief rides as part of North America’s most extensive bike-sharing program. There are over 300 miles of bikeways in Chicago and 100 miles of protected bike lanes put in place by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) from 2011 to 2015. With more protected bike lanes and off-street bike trails being built since the inception of the ambitious Vision Zero plan, Chicago’s infrastructure is becoming more bike-friendly with each passing year.  

cyclists riding northwest on North Milwaukee Avenue in the Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago

The Best Bike-Friendly Neighborhoods for Chicago Apartment Renters

But which neighborhoods in Chicago are genuinely places built with bicycles in mind? At a glance, these neighborhoods are probably the best for bikes in Chicago:

Vision Zero targets overall pedestrian safety and safety measures specifically geared towards cyclists, but it’s not guaranteed that every city street will become safe for bicycles. The city has followed a “hub and spoke” design principle as it has developed infrastructure around bicycling safety.

Spoke Routes are direct routes in and out of the Loop that will provide safe, continuous bike trails and connect all areas of Chicago with the downtown. The primary goal of the Spoke Route network is to increase bicycle commuting citywide. 

The seven Spoke Routes are: 

  1. Clark Street (paving the way to Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and Edgewater neighborhoods)
  2. Milwaukee Avenue (taking cyclists through Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square)
  3. Lake Street/Randolph Street (heading west to Humboldt Park
  4. Archer Avenue (going southwest to Chinatown, Bridgeport)
  5. Vincennes Avenue (spanning Auburn Gresham and Morgan Park)
  6. South Chicago Avenue (connecting Calumet Heights and South Shore)
  7. State Street/Wabash Avenue (through the heart of the Loop and South Loop)

protected bike lane on North Glenwood Avenue in Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago