Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood (more commonly spelled Lakeview today) is bordered by Diversey Pkwy (2800 N), Irving Park Rd (4000 N), Lake Michigan and Ravenswood Ave (1800 W). The official Lake View community area also includes Irving Park Rd north to Montrose Ave (4400 N), and Clark St west to Ravenswood Ave.
Lake View neighborhoods
Lake View is a large community that consists of many smaller sub-neighborhoods: Belmont Harbor, Boys Town, East Ravenswood / Graceland West, Lakeview Central, Lakeview East, Southport Corridor and Wrigleyville. You’ll often see references to West Lakeview, which is part of the North Center neighborhood rather than Lake View itself.
Who lives here?
Lake View is the preferred destination for many in the post-collegiate crowd, and most households consist of singles and young couples. Families with school-age children are scarce in most parts of Lake View, but more common in the Southport Corridor and Graceland West areas. The high-rise condos along Lake Shore Drive house an older crowd.
Lake View’s population of nearly 100,000 is more than 80% white overall, and nearly 100% white in several Census tracts. The African-American and Hispanic populations are approximately 3.5% and 8%, respectively. In general, the further west you go in Lake View, the less diverse the population.
Residents are well-educated, with more than 70% of residents having a college degree and a quarter having an advanced degree. Median household incomes are in the mid-$50s to $60s in most areas east of Racine Ave (1200 W) and in the low $100s in the western parts of Lake View.
Although Boys Town is a mecca for gay tourists and nightlife, gays are distinctly in the minority in the area.
Why people move here
Lake View is a great, dense, vibrant urban playground that boasts a wide variety of attractions.
The park and lake. Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan form Lake View’s eastern border. This stretch of Lincoln Park hosts a beautiful harbor, tennis courts, ball fields, a golf driving range, a 9-hole golf course, a popular dog beach, and bike, walking and jogging trails. You’ll have to head north or south of Lake View for swimming beaches.
Restaurants, bars, nightlife. You’ll find every imaginable option in Lake View, although most of the establishments cater to a younger crowd.
Wrigley Field. The lure of walking to Cubs games is irresistible to many Chicagoans. The street scene near Wrigley Field on a game day is a draw in itself.
The price. Housing in Lake View tends to be less expensive than in neighboring Lincoln Park.
Shopping. Lake View has a host of locally-owned, one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques, along with a decent mix of national brands. Check the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce site for a glimpse of them.
Transportation. The CTA Red, Brown and Purple lines serve Lakeview Central residents well, while Lakeview East residents often opt for CTA bus lines. Cabs are plentiful in most parts of Lake View. Lake View does not have convenient access to Chicago’s expressway grid.
Neighborhood events. Lake View hosts a stunning array of neighborhood events, large and small, throughout the year. And who knows, this may be the year when we see a World Series at Wrigley Field.
Why people don’t move here
People don’t move here for some of the same reasons that people do move here – most notably density and the sometimes raucous, youth-oriented scene in many parts of Lake View.
Housing stock, prices. The area’s housing stock (see below) is often of lower quality, with fewer amenities and higher rents than in other areas popular with young professionals. Lake View residents, however, are willing to make these trade-offs to live in the area.
Parking. Parking is scarce in most of Lake View, and expensive when available. There are few public parking lots in the area, and street parking is difficult. Permit parking areas provide some relief for residents in some parts of Lake View.
Transportation. Access to Chicago’s expressway system is inconvenient from most parts of Lake View, and involves a slow cross-town trek from its eastern stretches. Commute times to the Loop by public transit are lengthier from Lake View than from closer-in neighborhoods. Cabs are plentiful in most of the denser parts of Lake View.
Neighborhood parks. Unless you’re close to the lakefront, public park space is scarce to non-existent in most parts of Lake View.
Grocery shopping. Many Lake View residents have expressed strong dissatisfaction with the proximity and quality of their local grocery shopping options, especially in light of the often difficult parking situation.
Almost all of Lake View’s rental housing stock pre-dates the 1970s, and it varies widely by sub-neighborhood. Courtyard buildings and 4+1s (see below), along with high-rises are the dominant housing type in high-density Lakeview East, while smaller buildings and single-family homes are common in other parts of Lake View.
What’s scarce. Three-bedroom and larger apartments and single-family rentals are often in short supply, especially closer to the lake. Except for condo rentals, you can almost forget the notion of having an in-unit laundry. Many Lake View apartments lack dishwashers and central air-conditioning.
The supply of studios and 1-bedrooms is limited in the further west, lower-density parts of Lake View.
What’s plentiful. Closer to the lake you’ll almost always find a wide selection of studio and 1-bedroom apartments, and a decent selection of 2-bedrooms , in a variety of building types.
The 4+1. Chicago 4+1 buildings include four floors of apartments (the 4) above a lobby / parking area (the 1). Four plus ones are common in Lakeview East, where they exploited a loophole in the zoning code to maximize the number of units on a site.
The typical 4+1 has a small lobby, in-building laundry and an elevator, although some offer additional amenities. Almost all lack central air-conditioning (window units only) or any private outdoor space (balcony, porch). Ceiling heights are most often a minimal 7’ 8” and carpeting is far more common than hardwood flooring. Apartments generally have a single entrance from a common hallway.
Most Lake View 4+1s were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Many lacked curb appeal, and they were often cheaply built with minimal amenities, tenant-paid utilities, and little soundproofing between floors and units. Few have positive ventilation in the hallways, ensuring that you’ll often know what your neighbor has on the stove.
During the past few years a number of Lake View property owners have substantially upgraded the kitchens and baths in their 4+1 buildings, and a few have “re-skinned” the buildings to enhance curb appeal .
Courtyard buildings are common in Lakeview East. The courtyard buildings, as the name implies, are arranged around a central open area.
Courtyards usually have multiple lobby areas, with 6 to 8 apartments opening off each lobby, and no lengthy hallways. Apartments face the courtyard and stretch through to a back door opening onto a porch that faces another building or an alley. This arrangement affords cross ventilation and a small amount of semi-private outdoor space.
Almost all of Lake View’s courtyards were built in the 1920s. They typically have little if any parking, radiator heat, limited closet space and decent sound-dampening between units. Few of the buildings have elevators or central air-conditioning.
High-rise apartments. Most Lake View high-rises were built in the 1920s or during the 50s, 60s and early 70s. They lack the extensive in-unit and common-area amenities found in newer buildings, but rent for much less and often have larger-sized apartments than the newer buildings.
Lofts. Lake View is one of the few neighborhoods that still has a decent selection of rental lofts. You can learn more about loft living in Yo’s Guide to loft condos.
Vintage walk-ups. Lake View has many small vintage walk-ups which often include a fireplace, a parking space and a shared yard. You’ll find a far wider selection of this building type in Lake View than in any of the Downtown / Loop neighborhoods.
New construction. Lake View has seen almost no new rental construction within the past 30 years, although the area has seen a large amount of condo and single-family home construction.
Condo, home rentals. You can find 100s of condo and home rentals listed in the Multiple Listing Service and searchable through reputable real estate broker sites. Many of them are in newer buildings with more in-unit and common-area amenities.
What it costs to live here
Rents in Lake View are generally slightly below Lincoln Park levels and significantly below Downtown / Loop rents largely due to the greater distance from the Loop and the often lower-quality housing stock.
Studio apartments can occasionally be found in the $600 – $700 a month range, but more commonly start in the $800s.
You should generally expect to pay $900 to $1,500 for one-bedrooms, $1,300 to $3,000 for 2-bedrooms and a minimum of $2,000 a month for 3-bedrooms in most parts of Lake View.
You might also consider
If you want an apartment with the latest in-unit and common-area amenities, and can afford them, the Downtown and Loop neighborhoods offer your widest selection.
Wicker Park, Bucktown and Ukrainian Village are popular with younger renters seeking lower rents, more recently rehabbed apartments and a hipper, edgier scene. Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village, Buena Park and Andersonville are also alternatives that many would-be Lake View residents consider.
Yo’s at-a-glance apartment list
If you just want to laser in on larger rental buildings and management companies in the downtown, Lincoln Park and Lake View neighborhoods, we’ve summarized all of your options into a downloadable Google spreadsheet that has links to the properties, to Yelp and Apartment Ratings reviews, and a grid showing you the types of apartments (Studio, 1-bedroom, etc.) available. You can save and mark up a copy of the spreadsheet to keep track of your favorites and store notes on your search.
We value your feedback
Add your comments below, with any suggestions you think will be helpful to people deciding whether and where to rent in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood. Commercial solicitations will be deleted.