With both old-world charm and modern flair, Ukrainian Village is one of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods.
A unique mix of tradition and innovation, residents love their neighborhood’s laid-back feel and European tilt. And, in recent years, Ukrainian Village has gotten hipper. Top restaurants, creative shops, and even cultural hotspots now operate in the neighborhood. Only 3 miles northwest of the Loop, Ukrainian Village is accessible by the Kennedy Expressway, many bus lines, and the CTA Blue Line!
Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Guide
Ukrainian Village’ features a unique mix of Eastern European businesses, trendy new establishments, and longtime classics.
The restaurant scene is diverse, ranging from some of the best fine-dining in the city to classic Chicago dives. Local favorites include a Tavola, serving farm-to-table Italian cuisine and Kai Zan, named the best sushi spot in Chicago. Great local bars include the Rainbo Club and Stella’s Tap, though almost every block sports its own cozy dive.
Looking to try some Eastern European cuisine? Ann’s Bakery and Deli serves authentic (and delicious!) breads and pastries. Old Liv specializes in hearty fare including stuffed cabbage and pierogi. For a modern take on Ukrainian food, take a chance on Tryzub.
Culture and Entertainment
As you might expect, the cultural scene has a bit of a Ukrainian tilt to it. Top institutions such as the Ukrainian National Museum and the Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art act as anchors for the Ukrainian community but are accessible for all comers. But that only scratches the surface.
Like much of West Town, the area is a local music hub. The Empty Bottle- a loveable dumpy dive by day- moonlights as one of Chicago’s most beloved music venues. Music fanatics across the city flock there to see underground and indie acts. And Wicker Park and Bucktown aren’t the only players in the local art scene these days– great galleries in the neighborhood include Vertical Gallery and Corbett vs. Dempsey.
Ukrainian Village Shopping
Ukrainian Village has seen its shopping scene explode in the last ten years. Today, tons of exciting local shops have transformed the area into a shopping destination. The focus here is on local boutiques. Shops cover niches from chic jewelry, unique apparel, music, and furniture. Some notable shops include Paper Doll, with eclectic wares perfect for gift buyers and Komoda, for a curated clothing selection.
Parks and Recreation
While Ukrainian Village is only home to several small playground parks within its borders, some of Chicago’s nicest parks are within walking distance. Just to the south lies Smith Park, to the north, Wicker Park, and to the west, Humboldt Park, one of Chicago’s most beloved city parks.
Between these, residents have access to numerous gyms, sports fields, and recreational programming including youth and adult sports leagues, after-school programs, and summer day camps. And, in the summer, a day trip to a lovely Lake Michigan beach is always an attractive option.
Early Settlement (1830-1930)
Settled in the early 1830s, Ukrainian Village was first developed as a farming community by Polish and Slovak immigrants. In the aftermath of the Chicago Fire of 1871, the area experienced its first building boom as many relocated outside the fire’s devastation.
Unlike Wicker Park to the north, the area was primarily working-class, with many craftsmen and factory workers living in the area. Drawn to the neighborhood by familiar Polish speakers, thousands of Ukrainian immigrants arrived in the area in the late 1800s. Just before the turn of the century, they had become the most populous group in the neighborhood.
Ukrainian Immigration (1930-1990s)
By 1930, the neighborhood was home to over 30,000 Ukrainians. To support the community, many Ukrainian institutions were established including three major churches, a grammar school, the Ukrainian National Museum, a cultural center, and many restaurants, stores, and businesses. Many of these institutions are still operating today. Three additional waves of Ukrainian immigration arrived in the neighborhood (1920-1939; 1948-1955; and 1990-on), each adding to the textured fabric of the area.
Ukrainian Village Today
The stability of the middle-class Ukrainian community insured that the neighborhood withstood much of the stagnation and decline that struck Chicago in the 1950s. Still the hub of Chicago’s Ukrainian community, today one is just as likely to hear Spanish or Polish on the streets as Ukrainian. The area was recently named one of the “hottest neighborhoods” in the country.
Ukrainian Village Homes
Along the quiet tree-lined streets of Ukrainian Village, one will mostly find single-family homes, townhomes, and two- and three-flats. Modern condominium developments and apartment buildings are also available. Ukrainian Village is a great mixture of old and new, historic and up-and-coming. And, with great amenities and thriving business corridors, it makes sense why the buzz is growing. Come and check it out!