The charming neighborhood of Old Town, also known as “Old Town Triangle,” is as historic as it is vibrant! Located just two miles north of downtown and less than a mile west of the lake, this pocketed area includes an assortment of diverse restaurants, lively to laid back bars, independent coffee shops, boutiques, comedy clubs, parks, and museums. This location is unbeatable with access to various entertainment, green space, summer festivals including Old Town Art Fair, and conveniences like Foxtrot Market.
Old Town was founded in the 1850s by German settlers. These settlers built St. Michael’s Church, one of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. According to Encyclopedia Chicago, during World War II, Chicago’s Civil Defense Agency designated the triangle bounded by North Ave, Clark St, and Ogden Ave, a neighborhood defense unit. This is how the area received the name “Old Town Triangle.” Fun fact! Since the streets in Old Town were constructed before the Great Chicago Fire, the neighborhood does not reflect the Chicago street grid system.
This neighborhood is surrounded by history, with century-old homes still standing today. Old Town features a blend of old and new construction, including brick townhouses and apartments, elegant single-family homes, and luxury condos and high-rises with stunning lake and city views.
The restaurant scene in Old Town does not disappoint. From decades-old family-owned favorites to new eateries popping up all over, you’ll be eating good and feeling good!
Stacked along Wells St. between North Ave and Division St are numerous bars to choose from! Day or night, Old Town has a variety of options to fit any occasion. Enjoy dive bars open until 4 a.m., funky rooftops, cocktail lounges, and large establishments with multiple floors.
In addition to the delicious eats and fun nightlife Old Town has, there is a ton more that you’ll quickly fall in love with. Just a short walk or bike ride to the Lake, Lakefront Trail, and the popular North Ave. and Oak St. beaches, summer and fall in this area are incomparable. Check out beachside party spots Shore Club and Castaways for tasty food and drinks. Life is better when you’re laughing, so catch a live show at the famous improv comedy enterprise, The Second City, or decades-old stand-up spot, Zanies Comedy Club. Embrace yourself in the city’s stories and its people at the Chicago History Museum. Any time is a good time for coffee! Head over to local favorite Cocoa + Co. Coffee and Chocolate Cafe, for chocolate everything or Kapéj Coffee which serves coffee from all over the world. Old Town is known for its eclectic shops and boutiques. Our favorites are The Spice House, Sara Jane, and Handle with Care.
The Loop: 7 mins by car and 10 mins by train
Union Station: 10 mins by car and 10 mins by train
Millennium Park: 10 mins by car and 10 mins by train
Metra: Clybourn Station, located at 2001 N. Ashland Ave.
Car or Taxi: Located off Lake Shore Drive with access at North Ave to Lasalle Dr, 2.5 miles West off the Kennedy Expressway, and I-90/I-94 with access at Division St.
Bike: Old Town is conveniently located near the Lake and Lakefront Trail, so biking in this neighborhood is very easy. There are also many Divvy’s stations and bike racks on Well St, North Ave, and Clark St.
CTA Red, Brown, and Purple Lines: North/Clybourn, Clark/Division, and Sedgwick
-#8 Halsted St.
-#22 Clark St.
-#70 Division St.
-#72 North Ave.
-#73 Armitage Ave.