Lincoln Park is probably my favorite neighborhood in Chicago. It’s pretty big, still feels city-like (as you go further north it starts feeling more suburban), but isn’t half as hectic as anything below North Ave. It feels comfortingly local, or at least like you’re surrounded by locals.
Lincoln Park is, of course, a lot more than the park itself. It starts with the park, sprawling along the coast of Lake Michigan. Then it extends west all the way to the river. Along the way, you hit different pockets of the neighborhood, each with its own charm. There’s Park West on the northern end, with shops and restaurants lining the well-pedestrianed N Clark St. In the heart of it all, there’s De Paul University, and a short distance away, the confusing but wonderfully populated intersection of Fullerton, Lincoln and Halsted. To the south, there is perhaps the most charming part of Lincoln Park, the wonderful stretch of Armitage that hosts a predictable selection of shops (read: Parachute, Aesop, Marine Layer, Kiehl’s, Bonobos… need I say more?) among multi-million dollar classic three-flats that line the classy neighboring streets. Not to mention “brunch row” with all the restaurants along Halsted that rack up long waits on the weekends.
As for the park? A million times better than Millennium Park. Way more local. Home to a zoo, several museums, plenty of recreational space, and a killer view of the skyline. How could anyone ask for a better running route, even if you can only realistically use it for 5 months each year.