Old Town Chicago is a historically rich neighborhood that boasts many of the city's finest Victorian-era buildings. As such, it is a prime spot for walking tours when the weather is nice. You can find the Chicago Old Town neighborhood more or less wedged between the Near North Side and Lincoln Park communities, both of which are among Chicago's most affluent residential areas. Old Town in Chicago also carries an affluent tag, thanks largely to its location and historic homes. The official boundaries of Old Town include Armitage Avenue to the north, Division Street to the south, Clark Street to the east, and Larrabee and Orleans streets to the west. Inside these boundaries, the tree-lined streets provide a relatively calm setting that is quite different from the bustle of the nearby Loop.
The relative calm of Old Town Chicago helps make it such an ideal place to live, not to mention visit, and you're encouraged to wander the streets upon your arrival. The distinctive architecture of the old homes here is a joy to admire, and you'll want to make special note of St. Michael's Church. This brick church, which was finished in 1869, survived the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, making it one of the more historic buildings in the area. Though it was heavily damaged in the fire, repairs were quick to follow. Today, St. Michael's stands as a testament to the city's rich history, and according to locals, you know you're in Old Town Chicago when you can hear its bells ring.
It is interesting to note that unlike most of Chicago's streets and alleys, those in Old Town do not adhere to a grid pattern. That's because these streets and alleys predate the Great Chicago Fire. German Catholic immigrants were the first to officially settle the Chicago Old Town area, and they started arriving in the mid-1850s. In the 1920s and 1930s, artists began moving into the neighborhood, and it wouldn't be long until many of the families began moving to the suburbs. By the 1960s, Old Town Chicago had become the hippie hangout, thanks to the then-cheap rates. The hippie culture helped give rise to the neighborhood's boutique stores, which can still be found in relatively good number. Shopping is definitely one of the top things to do on a Chicago Old Town visit, and in addition to boutiques, you will also find some notable chain stores here.
When you need a break from sightseeing and shopping during your visit to Old Town in Chicago, there will be an array of tantalizing restaurants to choose from. Chicago is a paradise for dining enthusiasts, and neighborhoods such as Old Town have a lot to do with that. Whatever you have a taste for, you're likely to find it in Old Town, even if you have sushi in mind. Old Town might be mostly residential, but there's more than enough in the way of shopping and dining opportunities to keep you satisfied.
After a day of admiring old buildings, shopping, and tasting the cuisine in Old Town in Chicago, you might wander over to The Second City Chicago Theatre, which is one of the city's most famous institutions. This Old Town Chicago comedy house has been churning out laughs for more than 30 years, and it's a great place to catch a side-splitting act. Old Town has undeniable charm, which is why any Chicago visitors should look to include it on the itinerary. Its proximity to both the Near North Side and Lincoln Park only makes it a more attractive place to hang out, and you won't want for things to do and see when in this part of the city.