Settled by German farmers in the middle of the 19th century, the oft-overlooked Lincoln Square neighborhood still carries the feeling of a quaint Bavarian village that just happens to have high-appeal amenities of a much larger city. The residents have gone to great lengths over the years to keep it that way, with approximately 20% of the community having been designated as a national historic preservation district.
A number of long-standing businesses founded by immigrant Germans are still thriving and helping maintain the unique identity of the neighborhood. There’s an authentic bakery and café, an Old-World apothecary that’s been a staple since 1875, and even the German American Cultural Center that hosts the annual Maifest and Oktoberfest out on the square—not to mention the bistros and bars where you can hoist a stein and put away some schnitzel.
All of that being said, Lincoln Square has evolved into a restaurant destination for people who like to introduce friends to their favorite hidden gems. Whether you’re looking for high-end restaurants, hearty Southern, authentic Thai, and even Uzbek cuisine, this neighborhood has you well covered. And why not enjoy a fantastic meal before a night out on the square?
The Old Town School of Folk Music regularly hosts internationally acclaimed musicians—both folk and otherwise. You’ll also find a fully restored landmark movie theater, craft breweries and cocktail bars giving you destinations to wander toward while you browse boutiques and window shop the variety of specialty stores.
But the heart of Lincoln Square lies in its laidback approach to accessible (the CTA’s Brown Line offers five stops across the neighborhood), family-friendly neighborhood living. Kids are welcome just about everywhere, the many parks are always busy when the weather is nice, and classic Chicago three- and four-flats sit side by side with single family homes, condos, and larger apartment buildings giving housing options for almost every budget.
Big city glitz and glamor is still there, just a short distance away, and that’s how residents of Lincoln Square like it.