Living in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village Neighborhood: An Urban Hotspot with a Relaxed Vibe
From quaint shops to tasty ethnic eateries and historical buildings, this lovely neighborhood is a mix of old world charm and modern city living, giving Chicagoans some rich options when it comes to finding a nice place to call home. It borders on East Village, sometimes referred to as East Ukrainian Village, which itself offers quite a lot to those in search of a more relaxed lifestyle.
In addition, the part of the Ukrainian Village neighborhood known as the Ukrainian Village District (bounded roughly from Damen Avenue on the east to Oakley Avenue on the west, Iowa Avenue to the south and Haddon Street to the north, according to Preservation Chicago) encompasses a series of landmark-designated areas featuring architecturally-significant residential buildings. Here you’ll find the oldest parts of the neighborhood, the development of which began in the 1880s, just after the Great Chicago Fire, and continued into the 1920s. The district includes a collection of well-built cottages, single-family homes, and two- and three-flat buildings.
Ukrainian Village’s boundaries are formed by Western Avenue on the west and Damen Avenue on the east. Its north and south borders are a bit fluid. Though the official City of Chicago designation for Ukrainian Village puts the northern boundary at Augusta Avenue (1000 N.) and its southern boundary at Grand Avenue (400 N.), some place the northern boundary as far north as Division (1200 N.) and only as far south as Chicago Avenue (800 N.). There is no doubt, however, that Chicago Avenue is indeed the neighborhood’s main commercial and entertainment strip.
Ukrainian Village, originally farmland, was first settled by German immigrants shortly after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. However, by the turn of the 20th century East Slav immigrants came to dominate the area, settling in the neighborhood because of their familiarity with Polish immigrants who lived in the surrounding area. In 1895, construction of an elevated railway spurred further settlement in the neighborhood, and given the political uncertainties following World War I many immigrants from the Ukraine made the neighborhood their home. Many of these newcomers were craftsmen who were employed to build the mansions of their affluent Wicker Park neighbors. Ukrainian Village began as a predominantly working-class neighborhood, in stark contrast to its neighbor, but it became middle-class and has remained as such throughout the remainder of the 20th century and up to the present day. It still boasts a large Ukrainian population.
A mere four miles to Chicago’s CBD, Ukrainian Village is extremely convenient to downtown. It is one of the Windy City’s most walkable neighborhoods with a recent ranking of a 93 Walk Score and 90 Bike Score. Along with being a cyclist’s paradise, public transportation is about as good as it gets in any large city.
There are many bus lines to choose from, including 66 Chicago Avenue, 70 Division Street, 49 Western Avenue, and 50 Damen Avenue. Though the neighborhood isn’t serviced by a CTA rail line station, the Chicago Avenue and Division Street buses both connect to CTA Brown, Blue and Red Line stops on their respective streets.
Shopping and Dining
Much of Ukrainian Village’s shopping and entertainment can be found along Chicago Avenue. When it comes to dining, you won’t find a better Italian restaurant around than a tavola, a farm to table food experience. Staying with the Italian theme, there’s Roots Handmade Pizza, a Zagat-rated restaurant. Then there’s the traditional Ukrainian ethnic fare in which one can indulge in at Old Lviv, serving a buffet of hearty old-world fare such as stuffed cabbage & pierogi. If cooking at home is your style, then you’ll find everything you need at the newly-opened Mariano’s (2021 W. Chicago Ave.); ethnic food lovers will love Kasia’s Deli and if you’re looking for some good Russian and Ukrainian breads and Polish pastries, then you have to stop in to a long-time neighborhood establishment, Ann’s Bakery and Deli.
Ukrainian Village is served by a top-rated public school, Columbus Elementary and the highly-rated Roberto Clemente High School, an international baccalaureate World School. In addition, the neighborhood has two quality Catholic elementary schools in St. Nicholas Cathedral School and St. Helen’s, both Chicago Archdiocese parish schools.
Ukrainian Village is generally a safe neighborhood but one still needs to be aware of their surroundings at all times. The broader West Town community in which it is located ranks quite well when it comes to violent crime and quality of life crimes (34th and 36th respectively out of 77 communities) and reasonably well when it comes to property crime (21st out of 77 communities).
Cost of Living
Though rents in some areas can be on the high side, around $2,000 on average, due to so many historically significant two-flats and three- flats that dominate the area, there are also apartments to found that gravitate more toward the $1,200-$1,300 range. The same applies to buying here as well, where you’ll find very affordable condominiums among million-dollar mansions.
What You Can Rent in Ukrainian Village
There are many beautiful apartment buildings in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, so you’re sure to have a hard time deciding, but you can be confident that you’ll find one that suits your taste and budget.
Don’t miss out on these great apartments in one of Ukrainian Village’s historic areas. The apartment community is located just steps from Chicago Avenue – with all the shopping and entertainment it has to offer – and a CTA bus stop that will easily get you downtown or to the trendy River North area. Amenities in these 1- and 2-bedroom apartments include hardwood floors throughout, high ceilings, a patio balcony, and an in-unit washer and dryer. Yes, pets are allowed. Rents for 2-bedrooms start at $1,550/mo.
You can have the best of both worlds, or in this case, neighborhoods. Right on the border of the trendy Wicker Park community, these 2-bedroom apartment homes at 2027 W. Division St. come with dishwashers, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, fireplaces, and walk-in closets. Need to get downtown? The CTA bus stop is only steps away.
This spacious five-bedroom, three-bath home at 900 N. Damen Ave. is perfect for urban professionals and families with kids that look for both convenience and style in their housing choices.The Damen bus is right outside your door and the Chicago Avenue bus is only a few blocks away.
What You Can Buy in Ukrainian Village
This beautiful 3-bedroom, 2-bath condo at 2210 West Chicago Avenue is currently listed at $579,900. Enjoying a prime location in the heart of the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, it comes with upscale finishes and fixtures, including quartz countertops, Thermador appliances, designer lights and tiles, a fireplace, a walk-in closet, and a bath with spa-like features such as a heated floor. There’s a front balcony and you get a section of the roof deck. A 1-car garage space is included. 50% of the units in this building have already been sold.
Make Ukrainian Village Your New Home
Trendy shops, lovely ethnic eateries, historic buildings and plenty of housing options. These are just a few of Ukrainian Village’s strong points. So, come find your next place to live right here at www.rentcafe.com and you, too, can enjoy all that makes Ukrainian Village such a great place to live!
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Contributor: Don Gordon is an accomplished author and copywriter, having written two books, university course content, political speeches, and press releases.
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