After a dozen years of false starts, gentrification has finally taken hold not just in pricey Bucktown—colonized by artsy types well over a decade ago—but in the larger community area. “There was a lot of gang stuff when I arrived [in the late 1990s], but I’ve been here long enough to see it change dramatically,” says Whitney Bradshaw, a photographer who heads the visual arts department of the Chicago High School for the Arts and lives near Mozart Park, at Logan’s border with Hermosa. “Three empty homes have new owners on my block, and there’s a new jazz bar and a vegetarian restaurant [nearby].”

Big draws to Logan Square proper are its still-affordable home prices and its cutting-edge bars (Scofflaw) and restaurants (Longman & Eagle). Also check out Palmer Square, which connects Kedzie to Sacramento Boulevard and contains gracious stone and brick houses and courtyard buildings. Though inventory is tight, you can snag a respectable two-bedroom condo nearby for about $250,000 and a newly built 2,500-square-foot house for less than $600,000. Spend your savings on private school: The publics here still aren’t great.