The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which ones should advance. Let the eliminations commence!
(4) Logan Square
The boulevards in Logan Square add much-appreciated greenery to city blocks, but they are also places where neighbors will gather for summer cookouts and block party celebrations. The neighborhood’s seven-acre Palmer Square Park connects Kedzie and Humboldt boulevards and is a valued spot of green space.
Beyond the lovely blocks and parks Logan Square is the location of several restaurants that hit home with Bon Appetit. The magazine named Chicago as Restaurant City of the Year thanks to neighborhood favorites such as Giant, Fat Rice, Mi Tocaya Antojería, and Lula Cafe. It also made a list of the nation’s 25 coolest neighborhoods along with Wicker Park. While restaurant culture has stepped up its game this year, there are still a good amount of dive bars, late night diners, arcades, galleries, and music venues that haven’t lost their edge.
Not unlike other areas in the city, the neighborhood has recently experienced gentrification. Developers rushed to throw up brand new apartment buildings without keeping the established, long-time residents in mind. Not all projects have been expensive luxury residences, earlier in November an LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing project was cleared to rise. Residents have been vocal about ensuring development be community driven too.
Neighborhood associations have stepped up making it a priority to support the area’s large Latino/a population by building up a sanctuary network, holding workshops to address immigration concerns, and helping residents understand their rights. In addition to providing resources, leaders in the community have sent the message that no one should feel alone in Logan Square.
(13) Hyde Park
Not exactly an up-and-coming neighborhood, Hyde Park established itself as one of Chicago’s most desirable communities long ago. Though anchored by the University of Chicago campus and cultural treasures such as the Oriental Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, DuSable Museum of African-American History, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Robie House, the South Side neighborhood isn’t just for snobby professor types.
Hyde Park boasts an impressive collection of historic—and relatively affordable—single-family homes along leafy side streets and vibrant commercial corridors with destination retail and dining. In recent years, the area has also added some cutting-edge modern architecture with projects like the Jenga-esque Vue53 apartments and Studio Gang’s striking and soon to open Solstice on the Park tower.
Much like neighboring Woodlawn, Hyde Park is poised for a major boost thanks to its proximity to the upcoming Obama Presidential Center in nearby Jackson Park. The neighborhood is even preparing to welcome a pair of boutique hotels in anticipation of the project.