People looking for diversity and a lightning-fast trip downtown will love this area just south of the Loop. It’s a land of condos, condos, condos (with a dash of townhouses). Mercifully, they don’t all look the same. For vintage loft conversions, search along Michigan, Wabash, Dearborn, and Indiana; for conventional condo towers, the lakefront; and for semi-detached housing, Dearborn Park, just south of historic Printers Row.

While some properties here flailed mightily in the real-estate crash, the tide has turned. Consider 500 unsold units in the Central Station neighborhood, built on the former site of Illinois Central Station. Related Companies recently refinished and rebranded them and put them back on the market. More than half have sold, says David Wolf, Related’s president of sales. The median price: $491,000, which is 40 percent higher than the area median.