Elementary Education: Right Where I Belong

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When we were first moving to Chicago in 2006, I remember someone asking me what neighborhood we had picked for our first home. By chance I knew that we had selected Lakeview East, however I hadn’t gone out with the intention to land in that area. I knew it was safe and had lots to do, but I figured that all Chicago neighborhoods probably offered the same things. After five years of living here, I can tell you that I was so very wrong. One of the best features of Chicago (in my opinion) are the tight-knit communities that exist in each tiny neighborhood borough. And selecting the right neighborhood? Is EVERYTHING.

Lakeview East was a great neighborhood for us as recent transfers to Chicago. My husband and I loved the close proximity to the lake and Lincoln Park. We lived right at Belmont and Sheridan, so we could hop on an express bus and be downtown in about 10 minutes flat. We lived near the Belmont El stop, which connected us to the red and brown lines. There are tons of small shops, performance venues, and lots of people out and about at all hours of the night.

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The pictures here are of my current neighborhood, North Center. We moved to North Center two years ago, shortly after we were married. You might be wondering, what’s the difference between North Center and Lakeview East? After all, they’re barely two miles apart.

North Center is a relatively quiet strip. Lakeview East largely attracts a younger crowd, from college to early professional. North Center seems to attract young families and people who are looking to settle down. There is still a lot to do (there are tons of bars, theatres, and shops all along Lincoln Avenue), but it is a bit more contained. And the area also attracts less tourism, so there is a local energy that is very attractive.

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This neighborhood is very conducive to graduate studies. I head outside and walk two blocks to my coffee shop and I feel quiet, connected, and focused. Some of the best schools in CPS are a short walk away from my doorstep, so I have good options for field observations. The neighborhood is also pretty cheap, which helps me put aside money for classes and (my very few) nights on the town. I am also walking distance from Roscoe Village, Lincoln Square, Southport Corridor, and Ravenswood… unique neighborhoods that all offer me exciting afternoon adventures.

If you are thinking of transplanting yourself to Chicago, I would suggest checking out the vast array of neighborhoods before you make a final decision on an apartment. If you use an apartment finding service, ask them what different neighborhoods have to offer. Each neighborhood in this city will have something completely unique to offer you, so take your time and think about what kind of energy you want to live in. It makes all the difference when you come home after a long day of classes.