Illustration of Holstein Park by Ian Dingman

Average house price: $591,568
Transportation * * * (out of 4) Convenient to the Blue Line and the Kennedy
Schools * * Pulaski Elementary, the local public school, shows steady improvement.
Shopping * * * The larger Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Logan Square neighborhoods are dense with shopping and dining venues.
Plus: A swimming pool and handsome 98-year-old brick field house anchor the neighborhood at its eponymous park.

Bucktown has been popular for so long that it’s hard to remember when there were no new, look-at-me contemporary homes, none of the hipsters and their restaurants—just a working-class district of dusty antique brick or frame homes.

Up in its northwest corner, around the 156-year-old Holstein Park (at Shakespeare and Oakley avenues), Bucktown looks the most like its old, unreconstructed self. With the lovely, tree-shaded park and field house (and the neighboring Senior Citizens Memorial Playlot Park) as its center, the Holstein Park area has a quintessentially Chicago vibe: a mix of great old housing on charming, walkable blocks with dining, clubbing, and shopping an easy stroll or bike ride away.

On a late-summer weekend, the 25-year-old Bucktown Arts Fest fills the park with artists, food booths, and families (the fest is slated for August 28th and 29th this year). On other warm days, parents tote their little ones to the spray pool in the park; during the school year, they escort their older kids to the nearby Pulaski Fine Arts Academy, where test scores have been steadily rising. And for those occasions when residents absolutely must leave the neighborhood, transportation is a snap, with the CTA Blue Line and the Kennedy Expressway close at hand.


Illustration: Ian Dingman