Welcome to the Wicker Park (sometimes referred to as Wicker Park/Bucktown) Neighborhood!
Over the last decade, the Wicker Park (and Bucktown) epicenter—the six-corner intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen Avenues—has gradually transformed from a somewhat gritty, artsy neighborhood of galleries and dive bars to an area flush with trendy, upscale living spaces and entertainment options.
The neighborhood is now home to artists, families and young professionals who want to be in the hub of the northwest side of Chicago, with easy access to downtown.
Growth is mainly attributed to an increase of development—homes being bought, renovated and built. Most recently, the opening of the 606/Bloomingdale Trail, an elevated trail that stretches roughly 3 miles west starting at Ashland Ave., has brought more interest to the area.
However, despite the changes, Wicker Park remains a vibrant hub of culture and commerce in Chicago, rich with boutiques, restaurants, cocktail bars, concerts venues and condos.
Wicker Park fun facts
The Wicker Park Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Chicago. Much of Wicker Park was also designated as a Chicago Landmark District. The neighborhood’s stretch of Hoyne Ave. boasts lines of well-preserved historic homes.
2000’s quintessential John Cusak film, High Fidelity, was filmed here—Rob’s store was located at the corner of Milwaukee and Honore. Rainbo Club, located near the intersection of Division and Damen on the edge of Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village was also a popular spot in the movie.
In 2001 a season of MTV’s The Real World, was filmed in Wicker Park in the loft building currently home to Cheetah Gym.
Milwaukee Avenue’s Costa Rica Restaurant, Irazu, has been featured on PBS television’s Check, Please!, Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Guy Fieri sampled several dishes) and Food Network’s The Secret Life of Milkshakes. The burritos competed in ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight’s 2014 Burrito Bracket.
Some notable residents include:
WWE wrestlers, Colt Cabana and CM Punk; singer/songwriter, Liz Phair; former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist, James Iha; singer/guitarist for The Alkaline Trio, Matt Skiba.
Wicker Park’s entertainment and parks
Mildblend Supply Co.
1342 N Milwaukee Avenue
With “a rustic and recycled interior,” MildBlend Supply Co. (formerly Untitled, a Chicago legend) carries high-end denim along with all type of trendy men’s and women’s casual and fine clothing, leather goods, shoes, bags, and grooming products. They are also pioneering supporters of the Made In USA movement.
Green Music Fest
Intersection of Damen, North and Milwaukee
This environmentally conscious Wicker Park street festival takes over Damen Ave, bringing green vendors, food and biodiesel- and bicycle-powered live music to the neighborhood for two nights each summer.
1542 N. Milwaukee Avenue
SAIC graduate, Vincent Uribe opened this gallery in 2009, just after he finished his freshman year. Years later, he’s still runs this space and is presenting some the area’s most exciting group shows, gathering work from artists all over the country.
1425 N. Damen Avenue
This four-acre park may be small, but when the weather is warm you can find residents sitting by the fountain, playing basketball on the courts and kids playing on the swings. A field house in the middle of the park contains a gymnasium and meeting rooms, overlooking a lush public garden that is tended by members of the community. The park featured an ice skating rink in the winter.
Wicker Park Farmers Market
1425 N. Damen Avenue
Each Sunday between May and October, a small grouping of farmers, vendors and shoppers descend on Wicker Park for the neighborhood’s farmers market, which features fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, meats, cheeses, and flowers.
This old elevated train line has been given new life as a connective system of parks, access points and multi-use exercise trail.
Getting to and from Wicker Park
Easy access to the CTA Blue Line services this area. Stations are located at Division/Ashland/Milwaukee, Ashland, Damen/North/Milwaukee, and Milwaukee/Western.
The following bus routes are nearby:
North-South bus lines:
- #9 Ashland Avenue
- #50 Damen Avenue
- #49 Western Avenue
- #56 Milwaukee Avenue
East-West bus lines:
- #70 Division Street
- #72 North Avenue
- #73 Armitage Avenue
- #74 Fullerton Avenue
Wicker Park is a hub of cyclists, and Damen and Milwaukee Avenues both have bike lanes for commuters. Milwaukee Avenue is one of the city’s most used and most protected bike lanes that stretches all the way downtown.
Andrew Nast is the founder and president of Lofty Real Estate Co.