Lincoln Square is a popular neighborhood on Chicago’s North side. Lincoln Square, officially designated Community Area 4, encompasses smaller neighborhoods such as Ravenswood Gardens, Ravenswood Manor, Bowmanville, and Budlong Woods. Peterson and Bryn Mawr Avenues form the northern boundary, Montrose Avenue in the south, Ravenswood Avenue to the east and the Chicago River forms the western boundary line.
The neighborhood is a highly sought after market. Housing primarily consists of small apartment buildings, two flats and single family residences. Like most of the North side and South Loop, there is a rehab boom bringing back life to older buildings and homes.
Transportation in the neighborhood is accessible through the CTA Brown Line of the “L”, mulitple bus lines and Metra’s Union Pacific North line. All public transit routes have stations near main Lincoln Square shopping areas. Metered street parking, free street parking and several public parking lots are available.
Lincoln Square residents have a wide variety of public, private and parochial schools to choose from. The Chicago Public Schools serve the neighborhood as well as a variety of magnet and charter schools. These schools offer advanced curricula in areas such as math and finance, fine and performing arts, international studies, law, science and medicine, military sciences, special education and alternative learning.
Entertainment/ Restaurants/ Shopping
The heart of commerce in the neighborhood is at the intersection of Lawrence, Western and Lincoln Avenues with the majority of shopping and restaurants southeast of this intersection.
The Lincoln Square pedestrian mall was developed in 1978 to evoke an Old World European style but, true to Chicago, an increasing number of store owners with a variety of ethnicities have come to represent the diversity of the city.
Festivals/ Parks/ Recreation
There are activities for all tastes in Lincoln Square. Winter holiday season is welcomed with the Lincoln Square Tree Lighting. May Fest celebrates the arrival of spring and warmer weather brings the Summer Concert Series and the Square Roots Festival, put on by the Old Town School of Folk Music. The AppleFest and German-American Fest usher in fall. Athletes can run and raise money for a good cause at the Ravenswood Run 5K and the artistic side of the local community is expressed through the many public galleries, exquisite restaurants and trendy stores located throughout Lincoln Square.
Roughly 44,000 people call the neighborhood home along with over 1,000 small to medium sized businesses. Historically, Lincoln Square was highly influenced by German culture but, as with all Chicago neighborhoods today, it has become much more diverse. However, the German influence is still strong and a number of German businesses are still in the neighborhood with the most notable being the Chicago Brauhaus, Merz Apothecary and Lutz Continental Café. Lincoln Square is also home to the Chicago branches of the German-American National Congress (DANK) and the Niedersachsen Club. Amerika-Woche, the German language weekly newspaper was launched from its original headquarters above the Brauhaus over 35 years ago.
Early commerce in the area consisted mainly of crops of flowers, pickles and celery farmed by English, Swiss and German settlers. The celery trade was so successful that the area became known as the region’s Celery Capital and the Budlong brothers opened their pickle factory in 1857 and a greenhouse in 1880. Close to the turn of the century, electric streetcars began running through Lincoln Square and, in 1907 the arrival of the “L” train brought new residents to the area. As a result, farmland transitioned into a streets lined with bungalows, two flats and apartments. After World War II, Greek immigrants flocked to the area and Lincoln Square became the new “Greektown”.
The area also developed an industrial corridor along the North Western Railway on Ravenswood Avenue with the opening of Abbott Laboratories in 1888.