3 Great Chicago Neighborhoods to Explore
Walk under the El tracks at Roscoe Street and Lincoln Avenue on Chicago's North Side, and you can't miss the sign on the bridge: Welcome to Roscoe Village. Someone painted it years ago, and the flowery script captures a quaint rarity. A hand-painted welcome sign to a village tucked into a city of millions?
That neighborly touch stands out next to trendier neighbors of Bucktown, Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park. Still, most people haven't heard about Roscoe Village and Northcenter (and even some people who live there aren't sure where one starts and the other begins). Between the two, you'll find quirky antiques shops, hole-in-the-wall cafes, a retro breakfast spot, wine bars, a formal restaurant with a rooftop garden, and a craft brewery where people line up for hours just to take a tour.
The neighborhood began to flourish in the early 1900s, when an amusement park opened and dozens of watering holes sprang up to serve the crowds. Its fortunes rose and fell, but today, despite beautiful gardens surrounding pricey limestone homes, residents still tend to say "Roscoe Village" in hushed tones, as if it's a secret. And actually, that welcome sign isn't over the main thoroughfare. It's there for people who have made the effort to see a part of the city that feels undiscovered. Once you're in the know, you can't help but want to keep that delicious secret to yourself. - Kate Silver
Pictured: Tastings and super-busy tours draw fans to Half-Acre Beer Company in Northcenter.