Chicago’s Millennium Park


Chicago’s Millennium Park

Chicago’s Millennium Park is a large public park located in the Loop community area of the city. It covers a 24.5 acre section of North Western Grant Park. This park was opened on July 16th 2004, and since then it has become a top tourist destination in Chicago and the Midwest with over 25 million annual visitors. While there are many of reasons to visit this park at any time of the year, here are some highlights to keep in mind when you visit it.


Jay Pritzker Pavilion

This open air pavilion is the crown jewel of Millennium Park. This open air pavilion has 4,000 fixed seats plus an additional lawn seating area that fits 7,000 additional people. The pavilion hosts a wide range of music acts and performances, which range from mainstream bands, classical musicians, opera singers and others. All events at the pavilion are open to the public, including the rehearsals. You could hire a city guide who would take you and inform you of who is rehearsing and at what times.

Other events include the Annual Millennium Park Summer Film Series, where every Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm, from June 13 to September 5th, classic blockbuster films are shown at the pavilion. The event is also completely free, and the movies are shown with concert-hall quality sound system for a memorable movie going experience. Cinephiles and those looking to explore a different side of Chicago will love attending this festival.


AT&T Plaza and Cloud gate

The AT&T Plaza is a public space that hosts the world famous Cloud gate sculpture, designed by the Indian born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor. This sculpture is a highly polished, reflective steel sculpture that looks like a giant bean made of mercury. This culture reflects the city’s skyline, and it’s a huge hit with tourists, and with those looking for the perfect selfie.


Crown Fountain

The crown Fountain is an interactive piece of public art designed by Jaume Plensa., made up of two black granite monoliths facing each other. Each monolith is about 15 feet in height, and have LEDs sandwiched under glass bricks. There is also a reflecting pool placed between the monoliths. The towers uses the LEDs behind the bricks to display faces and animation. On hot days, water spouts from the towers and the faces projected through its LEDs making it look like the subjects mouths are spouting out the water, just like a gargoyle fountain.


Harris Theater

The Harris Theater is a performing arts theater located along the northern edge of Millennium Park on Randolph Street. It was constructed in 2002, in order to have a venue for small and medium-sized music and dance groups. It serves as a home venue for many different music and dance groups including the Chicago ballet, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Old Town School of Folk Music, Hubbard Street dance Chicago, and many others. The theater has hosted several successful jazz performances, and other unique events such as “Imagine Tap”, a show that features an array of tap dance styles. Unlike many other venues of this kind, the Harris’ theater is unique for its industrial aesthetic.


McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink

The McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink is a venue located along the western edge of the Millennium Park. It opened up on December 20th 2001 and became the first attraction in Millennium Park to open. It is generally open for ice skating from mid-November until mid-march. It hosts over 100,000 skaters annually. It is also completely free if you bring your own skates, but if you don’t own a pair, you can always rent them for only $12.

For the rest of the year, the rink gets converted into Chicago’s largest open air dining facility, which also includes a large walk-up bar. The 150-seat outdoor restaurant offers scenic views of Chicago Millennium Park and hosts various culinary events and musical performances during its months of operation.


Lurie Garden

The Lurie Garden is a five-acre garden that pays homage to Chicago’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden). This garden features thousands of plants of more than 240 varieties. Most of the plants are native to North America, and all are grown organically, with no extra chemicals. Because of the huge plant biomass, it has become the home of migratory birds, butterflies, honeybees and songbirds. The Lurie Garden offers free educational programs, presentations and events for the whole family year-round, and it focuses on presenting an urban model of responsible horticulture.

The Best Neighborhoods in Chicago

Chicago's best neighborhood center

The Best Neighborhoods in Chicago

The 5 Hottest Neighborhoods in Chicago

Chicago is known as the city of neighborhoods and for a good reason – with 77 distinct communities and over 200 “unofficial” neighborhoods, anyone can find a place to fit their personality and style. When you looking for the best neighborhoods in Chicago make sure to check out these ‘5 ‘hoods’.

Chicago best neighborhoods lincoln

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of the largest neighborhoods and is situated in the city center. If you need a place that is close to everything but still leaves you with a bit of separation from the busy city life, Lincoln Park can deliver.

You have condos, apartments, and housing options to choose from. Take a short train ride and you will be in the Downtown, which is near the Central Business District. Your ride to work will be short and pleasant. Aside from work, Lincoln Park is loaded with restaurants, parks, and entertainment facilities. You will also have an easy access to North Avenue Beach.

Armitage Avenue is lined with high-end retailers and boutiques. Clark Street offers casual cafes, sweet shops, and ethnic restaurants. Lincoln Avenue buzzes with nightclubs, bars, and taverns that cater to the younger crowd from the nearby University. In addition to some nice dining and shopping, there are plenty of arts and entertainment destinations as well as theaters, museums and live music clubs from which to choose.

If you prefer green space, there is a lot of outdoors and natural beauty to enjoy. The North Side Park features over 1,200 acres of greenery with a free zoo, a conservatory, and a nature museum. And when the weather is good, you can head to the beaches, where surf and sand are set against skyscrapers.

Chicago best neighborhoods hyde

Hyde Park

Hyde Park has amazing educational opportunities with different private and public schools for students and the University of Chicago nearby. The median home prices here are a bit above the average and most of them are mansions and stately homes.

As a college neighborhood, there are several libraries and bookstores in Hyde Park. There are also plenty of entertainment areas managed by the University, such as a theater, athletics, and other offerings. In addition, the food is amazing in Chicago and you will be able to try it in some of the best restaurants and cafes in the city.

Chicago best neighborhoods edison

Edison Park

Edison Park has some of the lowest crime rates in the city and it’s perfect for families who are looking for houses for sale in Chicago. There are both expensive and inexpensive condos and single-family dwellings in the area with various floor plans, square footage, and age and the choice is entirely up to you.

Edison Park is known as one of the quietest and most peaceful neighborhoods in Chicago and the park itself is the center for lots of entertainment and activities in the area. Families with children can take art classes and there are outdoor and indoor activities for children of all ages year-round.

Manicured lanes accommodate beautiful homes with Georgian architecture, Cape Cod, English Tudor, and brick-style. In addition, commercial corridors are spread throughout the neighborhood with several options for dining, shopping, and many other convenient services.

It has the feel of a countryside. It is very family oriented and the Chicago River slowly sprawls along Sauganash and provides a sense of peace and calmness. It’s one of the main reasons why people live here. The neighborhood is easily accessible to areas such as Wrigleyville, which has a lot to offer, but Edison Park also has bars and family restaurants for an evening out with children or for a date night for adults.

Chicago best neighborhoods sauganash

Sauganash / Forest Glen

This neighborhood gets high safety ratings as well, probably because there is a police station right in the center of the neighborhood. It offers good schools, too. Sauganash Elementary, for example, is one of the best schools in the city.

It is one of the most affluent neighborhoods and the prices are a bit more than the average. This neighborhood is loved by families with children and adults who choose calmness in a busy city.

In contrast to other neighborhoods, this is a quiet area and life there is slow-paced. Some prefer to travel to the city center for shopping, dining, and entertainment, but there are churches and golf courses in the area to keep your weekends busy.

Chicago best neighborhoods beverly


Chicago residents can tell you that Beverly is one of the most popular places to live in the city because it is one of those rare places that have a small town feel. It is totally safe and there are plenty of things to do for both children and adults. It is located in the city center and you might think it has high crime ratings but Beverly actually has an A-grade, which is pretty impressive.

Beverly has plenty of public and private schools to choose from. With Ridge Academy, St. Barnabas School, and Beverly Montessori, it’s obvious why families choose this neighborhood. For the same reason, homes are more expensive here than the national average. Anyway, even though homes are expensive in Beverly, it gets the highest rating for housing because the quality of homes is unbeatable.

Many homes offer more square footage, especially newly constructed homes. If you prefer older homes, there are a lot to choose from and they have splendid architecture. As you would expect, older homes usually have a character and a story.

Beverly has a lot to offer when it comes to entertainment and amenities as well. There are Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the area. Along with high-end shopping and restaurants, there are art galleries, historic districts, parks, an arts center, and a forest preserve.

Whether this article about the best neighborhoods in Chicago has encouraged your family to move to the city or you were browsing through houses for sale in Chicago, you have 5 safe neighborhoods with good schools, affordable housing, and convenient access to amenities such as entertainment, dining, and shopping. Essentially, they are the best in Chicago and can fulfill anyone’s need.

Are you looking at a houses for sale in Chicago? Let us help you. Sign up for our newsletter which shares the best available properties in the Chicago area and of course – Download this mobile app to get up to the minute housing info.

How To Buy A House In Chicago

Buy house chicago

How to Buy a House in Chicago

Are you thinking to buy a house in Chicago – The Windy City? Do you have your eye on the bustling historic West Side – Logan Hood? Maybe you’ve got that sought after career promotion and have your heart set on the views from Lincoln Park? Perhaps you want to buy into the next big neighborhood to be gentrified, like Avondale. Whatever suburb you have chosen, there are a plethora of options in Chicago for first time home buyers or seasoned veterans.

Getting ready

Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified?

Buy house loan approval

There are a few things to consider before embarking on your Chicago house hunting expedition. Before you start the process, make sure you have pre-approval, which is different from pre-qualification. With pre-approval, you have a guaranteed loan. Knowing when you search and find your dream home, and can make an offer, makes the journey stress free. Part of the home buying process involves determining a purchase price as well as the subsequent repayments you are comfortable paying every month. These payments include property taxes, potential homeowner association fees, maintenance fees, etc.

Second Highest Property Tax in the State of Illinois

Chicago house tax

One downside to buying a home in Chicago is that property taxes have increased by as much as 50% in the last five years. The taxes may affect what you’re able to afford. However, the bonus of buying a home in Chicago is that there is no city income tax that you have to pay. Once you have decided on your spending cap, you can shop with ease in that price bracket.

The home buying process

So Many Houses at Bargain Prices

Buy house chicago graph

Figure1: Northern Illinois/Chicago’s Region real estate market statistics

At the moment, there are over 14,000 houses for sale in Chicago, which means you have plenty of choices (for now). The current situation is ideal for the home buyer because you have an excellent chance of finding and getting your dream home. But that situation is steadily changing, and inventory will lessen, so now is the perfect time to invest in buying property. Chicago’s population is large but slow growing. It’s only grown at approximately half the national rate for some time now, which has resulted in home prices being pulled down to well below local income levels. That is why houses for sale in Chicago are such a bargain at the moment.

The city is also becoming a regional hub of high wage manufacturing jobs, which impacts the real estate market positively. We see that in Chicago, home prices are meager compared to the average income. Properties are currently on sale for 25 percent below the average price level. The median price list is about $234,900 for a new home, but it is still possible to buy a house in Chicago for under $200,000. When you see that the median household income in Chicago is $47,010 you can see how buying your own home becomes an affordable option.

“It’s always a good time to buy,” Matt Silver, President of the Chicago Association of Realtors

Location Near The Loop

Chicago subway station

Chicago’s famous Loop ‘L’ Train

A great perk of living in Chicago is that the city focuses on commuters. You do not have to own a car in the city and pay all of the gas, insurance, parking and maintenance costs; you can only use the super efficient and affordable public transit system. The famous Chicago Loop ‘L’ train is an elevated system traveling above the street congestion, and services all neighborhoods. The closer to the loop, the shorter your commute time. Even if you choose to drive around the city, the average commute time is around 32 minutes.

Steps to Closing the Deal on Your New Home

You’ve been pre-approved; you’ve decided on what you can afford every month, and now you can actively start searching for homes online or via apps that have huge numbers of listings. Your pre-approval can make viewing the house (and the sale) smooth and effortless. You can even drive around your favorite neighborhoods to get a feel for the area. Location is an essential factor in your ultimate choice. When looking at houses for sale in Chicago, always try and see past any exterior surface problems like a bad paint job –you can solve that quickly, but if it’s in the right location, that gives the home a tremendous resale value.
While you can create your short list of ideal homes, the next step is to go and see the property in person before making your final decision.

Put it in writing

When you finally find the home you wish to buy, the next step is writing an offer. If the seller accepts the offer, you can then negotiate the final terms and price. Once you have negotiated terms, the final sale will be contingent on a home inspection and an attorney’s approval. Never waive the home inspection process as you want to be sure there are no hidden problems. A professional will be able to access the property and assure you that the home is safe and secure.

The last step is doing a final walk through. It is your last opportunity to check for any damages and make sure that everything you agreed upon to the terms and conditions has been met. You can now sign the papers for the transfer of the property from the seller to you, and then it’s a closed deal. You will also sign all of the necessary mortgage paperwork.

Signature buy house

Now you are ready to move in.

Final Thoughts

If you’re contemplating to buy a house in Chicago, remember these great attributes going for the city:

  • Overall crime rate is down and is at a historical low

  • There is an architectural style to suit all tastes –postmodern, traditional bungalows, Chicago cottages, etc.
  • The grid system of the city is easy to navigate with wide streets

  • Streets are clean

  • Cost of living is lower than in other big cities like New York

  • Every person in Chicago is in walking distance from a park
  • There are 29 miles of beach in the city

  • Huge theater and restaurant scene

Ready to start looking at a houses for sale in Chicago? Let us help you. Sign up for our newsletter which shares the best available properties in the Chicago area and of course- Download this mobile app to get up to the minute housing info.