I needed a drastic change, so I took the plunge of moving from the Southside (Chatham) to the Northside in March. Boy, do I now have mixed feelings about it. Originally I was hanging out a lot further north and I thought I got acclimated to it. But finally moving up to the away I realized the Northside life carries a very different culture and vibe.
If you like to be able to walk wherever you need to go for errands be it the cleaners, the salon, or grocery shopping. Northside life is for you. The proximity between places is very close with a lot of condominiums and apartment style housing where people are very close to one anothe. This makes it easier for smaller stores to have a good business out of convenience and the people in general have a greater sense of community. I suggest you buy a transportable cart or some strong bags for your groceries and laundry.
The Northside is a hub of all sorts of different nationalities, races, and religions. My neighborhood is full of DOGS for one, but after that a lot of different types of people. It is refreshing to walk past a school of children where all nationalities are walking home together and chatting and seeing interracial couples of all sorts of colors walking hand in hand with no staring. Being a Southsider, I was not a minority as a black person. Many people who looked like me lived in my neighborhood aside from some areas with Mexicans. Not that other people didn’t live around there but again, a lot less diverse.
There is way more of a selection to choose from in terms of deliverable foods due to location than the Southside. Delivery is not a problem for practically any sort of food type! Thanks to the diversity of people up here, you can get an assortment of all types of Asian, Vegetarian, African cuisine etc. This is perfect for foodies who are homebodies. A lot of times you want to try a restaurant that is authentic in it’s origin you will have to travel somewhere north, unless you live here!
There is NO need for a car in the Northside. Buses run very regularly and on many a main street. I’m an ‘el’ (referring to Chicago’s El trains) person preferably and the red line will take you all the way from the Southside to the tip top of the north, with the yellow line leading to Skokie and purple line leading to Evanston.
Good luck trying to find parking. I mentioned how there are lots of apartment style homes? Well a lot of them have cars, and a lot of the neighborhoods cannot supply enough parking for them. The street cleanings are VERY regular here, so expect to get parking tickets if you aren’t into moving around a lot and enjoy fishing for public space to park your car. If you do have $70 – $100+ to budget into your monthly spending, do it on a garage or lot parking permit. Will save you a lot of time and hassle.
This would be a pro if I wasn’t a Southsider, and Southsider do make their way up north. I have a few neighbors I see sporting our beloved paraphernalia. But otherwise you have got to know that North is Cubbie territory and they are inexplicably unavoidable. Be prepared to gag at a few W flags flying in storefronts and house windows. Furthermore commuting during a CUBS game is bound to give you anxiety beyond belief. I often wait a few trains for the crowds to die down in the summer.
Long Rides Down South
As far as I am in my Northside neighborhood currently the only way to get south to visit people is lakeshore drive, which gets extremely crowded during rush hour, not to mention the delay due to construction when it’s time to transfer to 55. I personally hate being so far a drive home from my family so if you have family south your are close to, or still do a lot of business on the Southside this is something to consider if you prefer a short commute.