Uptown is Chicago’s Coolest Neighborhood
By Zach Long
Chicago is famously a city of neighborhoods, made up of a tapestry of distinct communities that lend a sense of variety to our urban environment. So when Time Out polled thousands of city-dwellers on their favorite places to spend time and narrowed down the 40 coolest neighborhoods in the world, we weren't surprised to find that Uptown is among them.
Of course, we understand that naming the coolest neighborhood in a city is a subjective distinction that differs from person to person, which is why picking them wasn't an easy task. We relied on a shortlist based on thousands of responses to our annual Time Out Index and crowned Uptown as Chicago's coolest nabe for the first time (Pilsen took the top honors last year).
A historic entertainment district that's home to old theaters like the Aragon and the Riviera, Uptown is a place where venues like Carol's Pub, The Green Mill and the Baton Show Lounge are finding ways to safely stage shows for locals and visitors while most marquees throughout the city remain dark. There's also no denying the breadth of the North Side neighborhood's restaurant scene, which includes Ethiopian food at Demera, sizzling Chinese barbecue from Sun Wah and steaming bowls of pho amid the Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street.
More importantly, Uptown reflects the turbulent times we're living through, as one of countless communities that has banded together to support neighbors near and far. The area hosted a variety of peaceful marches and demonstrations throughout the summer as well as a sprawling Black Lives Matter mural created by 18 local artists, which a prominent place on the pavement of Clifton Avenue.
Bolstered by the spectacular skyline views you can take in from Montrose Harbor, Uptown landed at number 24 on Time Out's list of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It may have been bested by stiff competition from the likes of Downtown Los Angeles, Wedding in Berlin and Centro in São Paulo, Brazil, but we're still proud to see Uptown representing Chicago.