Do you know the Walk Score of your favorite Chicago neighborhood? At Domu, we’re constantly looking at interesting facets of life in Chicago apartments. And one of the interesting questions we recently asked was, “How easy is it to get around your Chicago neighborhood if you don’t have a car?”
First, we needed to come up with a list of our favorite Chicago neighborhoods and determine the Walk Score that way, but the term “favorite” is quite subjective. Instead, we looked back at the numbers to guide our analysis.
Looking at apartment listing data from the previous year, we were able to see the neighborhoods that ranked highest for the total number of apartments listed for rent. These were the top 10 Chicago neighborhoods on Domu based on the number of apartments for rent:
- Lincoln Park
- South Loop
- River North
- Gold Coast
- Logan Square
- Humboldt Park
- Rogers Park
For more insight into why these neighborhoods were the most popular on our site among Chicago apartment renters, we decided to look into the ease of mobility within each one. To do this, we used the popular real estate metric of Walk Score.
Lakeview | Walk Score: 91
Lakeview has a plethora of things to do, ranging from its nearly 2-mile stretch of lakefront to its friendly restaurants, lively theaters, concert halls, and trendy boutiques selling all manner of wares from locally owned businesses.
The upshot for Lakeview apartment renters? All the desirable aspects of this Chicago neighborhood can be reached on foot. With a strong Walk Score of 91, Lakeview renters can rest easy if they don’t have 24/7 access to a car because almost all of their errands can be done without needing a set of wheels.
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Lincoln Park | Walk Score: 94
Lincoln Park apartments are near miles of beachfront, bike paths, lovely parks, a college campus (DePaul University), museums, a free zoo, plus dining and entertainment options that are seemingly endless.
And it turns out that renters in this lively neighborhood can get by just fine without a car. Few neighborhoods in Chicago rank higher than Lincoln Park with its robust Walk Score of 94.
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South Loop | Walk Score: 92
Residents enjoy this neighborhood for the selection and quality of South Loop apartments, many of which are found in recently constructed buildings. That inventory of new or nearly new apartment buildings lends a gleaming edge to the neighborhood, but the South Loop isn’t without its quaint charms. The ability to walk to work or nearby museums, theaters, restaurants and entertainment spots are all huge bonuses for residents of the South Loop. The resulting Walk Score of 92 indicates the ease that South Loop apartment renters have when it comes to getting around town.
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River North* | Walk Score: 96
Home to many of Chicago’s legendary steakhouses and a fair share of restaurants helmed by rock star chefs, River North is a hotspot of the city’s bustling culinary scene. It’s a popular location for restaurants, clubs and hotels because of its central location and accessibility. Maybe this is why apartments for rent in River North get such a strong Walk Score of 96, putting this downtown neighborhood at a tie for the top of the list.
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Gold Coast* | Walk Score: 96
Apartments for rent in the Gold Coast offer good variety and decent value despite the glitzy nickname of this neighborhood, so renters usually have their choice between luxury high-rise apartments and more affordable apartments and condos for rent. Because of the neighborhood’s density of residential, there’s a lot of shopping, dining and entertainment within walking distance. The highest Walk Score on this list of Chicago neighborhoods belongs to this decidedly urban enclave, where views of the skyline are balanced by the ease of walking to buy groceries, go shopping or get to work.
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Logan Square | Walk Score: 88
Logan Square is often pictured with its classic greystones nestled along the green edges of the boulevards, along with stately mansions and vintage courtyard apartment buildings. The community has a homey vibe that can easily be felt while strolling to a coffee shop or heading to the weekend farmer’s market on the square. This is probably why the northwest side neighborhood garners a solid Walk Score of 88, along with the ease of commuting to work downtown or to catch a flight out of O’Hare Airport thanks to multiple ‘L’ Blue Line stops in Logan Square.
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Uptown | Walk Score: 91
Uptown apartments are easily found within walking distance of either Clark Street or Broadway, two major thoroughfares of the city’s north side. Uptown apartment renters can easily go out for a bite to eat or to catch a show along Broadway. The iconic marquees of the Uptown Theater and Aragon Ballroom are a familiar sight for CTA riders on the northern stretch of the ‘L’ Red line, and the multiple stops throughout Uptown make it convenient to catch a train going either downtown or north towards Evanston.
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Humboldt Park | Walk Score: 84
The Humboldt Park neighborhood is named for the 207-acre park, one of the brightest gems on the “emerald necklace,” the interconnected ring of parks and boulevards designed by Chicago urban planners during the 19th Century. Humboldt Park offers apartment renters all the recreational space they could ask for: bike paths, tennis courts, baseball diamonds and playgrounds; although it’s the extras -- winding roads, a lagoon, cloisters, fountains and statues -- that make it an exceptional public park.
The park makes up somewhat for the slightly scarce public transit options and some minor sprawl in parts of Humboldt Park -- you’ll see a few strip malls in the neighborhood, but most shopping can be done conveniently enough without a car. The Walk Score of 84 is decent but pay attention to this neighborhood and look for infrastructure improvements down the road.
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Rogers Park | Walk Score: 86
Rogers Park is the northernmost neighborhood within Chicago’s city limits. If you live in Rogers Park but work outside of the far north side of Chicago or Evanston, you’re probably logging quite a few miles to get around town. But the neighborhood isn’t entirely devoid of convenience. With a respectable Walk Score of 86, Rogers Park apartment renters can get most of the day-to-day necessities without getting behind the wheel of a car. You won’t find a major supermarket in Rogers Park (yet) but there’s a healthy number of smaller grocery stores, convenience shops and restaurants around. Consider that along with miles and miles of lakefront access in Rogers Park, and you end up with a neighborhood that can be surprisingly easygoing and breezy -- just like the winds off Lake Michigan on a nice summer day.
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Edgewater | Walk Score: 89
The ‘L’ Red line makes several stops throughout Edgewater, and the No. 36 CTA bus is a handy way to get around the ‘hood. Cyclists dig the Lakefront Trail as an express route to downtown (as long as conditions permit), and there’s a few on-ramps to get on Lake Shore Drive. But for as well connected as it is to transit, Edgewater is also a highly walkable neighborhood.
Residents are likely near a supermarket and all other daily conveniences they might need -- shops, salons, restaurants and schools are all easy to get to on foot versus driving, which is actually more of a hassle due to the many one-way side streets in Edgewater. A decent Walk Score of 89 for Edgewater reflects the ease of getting things done on foot, but it’s not quite the upper echelon...yet.
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*The real estate website WalkScore.com considers River North and the Gold Coast neighborhoods as part of the Near North Side. The Walk Score of 96 encompasses both of these slightly smaller neighborhoods. Domu distinguishes between the two neighborhoods on our site, and renters can search either apartments in Gold Coast or apartments for rent in River North.