Near West Side, Chicago

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Near West Side
Community Area 28 - Near West Side
Madison Street in the West Loop area of the Near West Side.
Madison Street in the West Loop area of the Near West Side.
Location within the city of Chicago
Location within the city of Chicago
Coordinates: 41°52.2′N 87°40.2′W / 41.8700°N 87.6700°W / 41.8700; -87.6700Coordinates: 41°52.2′N 87°40.2′W / 41.8700°N 87.6700°W / 41.8700; -87.6700
CountryUnited States
 • Total5.75 sq mi (14.89 km2)
 • Total61,768
 • Density11,000/sq mi (4,100/km2)
Demographics 2015[1]
 • White41.89%
 • Black30.39%
 • Hispanic10%
 • Asian15.57%
 • Other2.14%
Educational Attainment 2015[2]
 • High School Diploma or Higher91.8%
 • Bachelor's Degree or Higher65.9%
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
parts of 60606, 60607, 60608, 60610, 60612 and 60661
Median household income$72,143[3]
Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services

The Near West Side, one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, is on the West Side, west of the Chicago River and adjacent to the Loop. The history of the Near West Side of Chicago includes the founding of Hull House, a prominent settlement house.[4] The Great Chicago Fire started on the Near West Side. The area is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago-Kent College of Law, Stuart School of Business, the United Center and the Illinois Medical District.


Street map of Near West Side.

Fulton River District and Fulton Market[edit]

The Fulton River District makes up the north east area of the Near West Side, just west of the Loop. It is bordered by the Chicago River to the east, Ohio Street on the north, Madison Street to the south, and the Kennedy Expressway to the west. The Fulton River District is a former manufacturing and current transportation corridor turned residential neighborhood. The neighborhood is made up of warehouses that have been converted to loft condominiums, new construction high rise condominiums and apartments, high rise and mid rise business offices, retail and restaurants. The Fulton River District is the home of Boeing, and the Ogilvie Transportation Center (formerly Chicago & North Western Station), a major commuter rail terminal. The neighborhood is known for the aroma of chocolate emanating from the Blommer Chocolate Company. The related Fulton Market area extends west of the expressway as far as Union Park.


Greektown is a restaurant and nightlife corridor along Halsted Street between Van Buren and Madison Streets. For a late nineteenth early twentieth century history of Greektown and Greeks in Chicago, see Greeks: Halsted Street, ["In the Vicinity of Maxwell and Halsted Streets: Chicago 1890-1930, A Human Documentary"]

It was popularized in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which was actually filmed mostly in Toronto. Formerly part of a larger Greek neighborhood called 'The Delta,'[5] the area previously bustled with Greek Restaurants.[6] Greektown now offers popular Greek restaurants like Greek Islands[7] along with multicultural dining options like Sizzling Pot King. Greektown is currently home to the National Hellenic Museum, the nation's leading museum dedicated to the significant cultural contributions of Greek people.

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios was formerly in the Near West Side.

Little Italy[edit]

The neighborhood between the Illinois Medical District and UIC's east campus is known as Little Italy. An Italian community developed in the late nineteenth century. For a late 19th early 20th century history of the Taylor Street area see ["Alien" Colonies: "In the Vicinity of Maxwell and Halsted Streets: Chicago 1890-1930, a Human Documentary"]

Italians never actually constituted a majority in the polyglot area,[8] but the neighborhood is still home to several Italian-American landmarks, such as the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, as well as Italian-American social clubs. Taylor Street is home to the Italian restaurants Rosebud, Francesca's, Pompei and Al's No. 1 Italian Beef. There are other schools in this neighborhood. For example, Village Leadership Academy (VLA).

Part of the Italian-American population of the neighborhood was displaced in the 1960s and 70s by the construction of UIC's east campus.[9] The university is the source of the newer name for the area.

The 1980 novel Paper Fish by Tina De Rosa takes place in this community.[10]

University Village/Maxwell Street[edit]

Located 5 minutes from the Loop, University Village is a vibrant neighborhood consisting of residential and retail properties. University Village, along with other major developments such as University Commons and University Station is conveniently located near the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) campus, the medical district, Chicago's fabled Maxwell Street, and downtown Chicago.

The blocks around the intersection of Maxwell and Halsted Streets, the heart of University Village, once served as a weekly outdoor market. The area was also a center in the development of the Chicago Blues in the mid-twentieth century. The Market was moved twice in the 1990s and 2000s, and continues on Des Plaines Street. In the 2000s, UIC led a redevelopment of the area, which included new dormitories, parking garages, commercial buildings, and housing.

The borders are 16th Street to the south, the Dan Ryan Expressway to the east, Racine to the west, and Harrison Street to the north. Taylor Street is part of University Village.

South Water Market[edit]

Chicago's original produce market sat along the south side of the Chicago River, west of what is now Michigan Ave. Incoming vessels could bring fruits and vegetables from the states located around the Great Lakes. This market became known as South Water Market because of its location.[11]

By the 1920s, the market was congested and overcrowded. The City of Chicago built new streets parallel to the Chicago River and moved the market to the neighborhood, alongside the St. Charles Air Line. The three-story buildings were originally designed by the architects Fugard & Knapp.

On July 10, 2003, The Chicago Planning Commission granted their approval on the sale of the produce market for a cost of approximately $36 million to Enterprise Companies of Chicago redevelop into retail and housing.[12]

Illinois Medical District[edit]

The Illinois Medical District is one of the largest medical districts in the United States, and the largest in the state. John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County (formerly known as Cook County Hospital), one of the largest county-run hospitals in the U.S. and inspiration for the TV shows ER and The Fugitive, is located here. T[13] he District had its start in the 1870s when Cook County Hospital, Rush Medical College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons were established on the Near West Side following the great Chicago fire of 1871. The cornerstone for the Medical Center was the building of Cook County Hospital in 1876. In 1877, Rush Medical College erected a building next to County at Harrison and Wood. Presbyterian Hospital (affiliated with Rush) was built in 1883. The University of Illinois at Chicago's origins in the District can be traced to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, founded in 1881. In 1917, the State acquired the vacated West Side Park located at Polk and Wolcott for the University.

The district is also home to University of Illinois Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, University of Illinois College of Medicine, UIC Eye & Ear Infirmary, UIC College of Dentistry, UIC College of Pharmacy, Jesse Brown VA, The Neuropsychiatric Institute, Rothstein CORE Center, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Illinois Forensic Science Center, West Side CDC, the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Chicago Dept. of Public Health and the Cook County Coroner's Office.


Tri-Taylor, the western end of Taylor Street's Little Italy, consists of the roughly triangular area bordered by Congress Parkway to the North, Ogden Avenue to the East, Roosevelt Road on the south and railroad tracks on the west. The neighborhood is traditionally an extension of the Little Italy neighborhood to its east, although it has consistently been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago as it was situated on the borders of African American, Irish, Hispanic, and Italian areas. It is a residential area for students from UIC. The neighborhood is also home to the Chicago Technology Park research center as well as the West Side Center for Disease Control, the office for the Medical Examiner of Cook County, and Chicago Hope Academy (a private Christian high school that opened in the former St. Callistus School in 2005).

United Center Area[edit]

The United Center opened its doors in 1994, replacing Chicago Stadium, which was located on the opposite side of Madison Street. The United Center is the home arena for the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, and also occasionally hosts concerts and other special events. The venue can seat between 20,000 and 25,000 people, depending on the event. A statue of Michael Jordan sits in front of the arena. The area around the United Center used to be known for its notoriously high crime rate and housing projects off Lake Street and Damen known as the Henry Horner Homes, also known as "the Hornetz nest".

West Loop[edit]

The West Loop lies along the western bank of the Chicago River. It is approximately bounded by Grand Avenue on the north, Ashland Avenue on the west, the Eisenhower Expressway on the south, and the Chicago River on the east. Popular restaurants line Randolph Street, including Girl and the Goat by Stephanie Izard,[14] and Leña Brava by Rick Bayless.[15] The area has experienced rapid gentrification.[16] A former manufacturing and warehousing area, many of the buildings have been converted to loft condominiums, restaurants, bars, and art galleries. Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios were located on Randolph Street,[17] and the site is currently under construction to be the corporate headquarters of McDonald's.[18] Soho House was one of the first boutique hotels in West Loop, and Ace Hotels followed in 2017. Retailers in West Loop include Maria Pinto, Billy Reid, Free People, and Aesop.


Designated Chicago Landmarks in the Near West Side include:



In the Chicago City Council, the plurality of the area is within 27th ward, represented by Democrat Walter Burnett Jr., while substantial parts are located within the 25th and 28th wards, represented by Democrats Daniel Solis and Jason Ervin, and smaller parts are within the 11th and 42nd wards, represented by Democrats Patrick Daley Thompson and Brendan Reilly.[20]


In the Illinois House of Representatives, the majority of the area is in District 9, represented by Democrat Art Turner, while a sizeable portion in the northwest is part of District 10, represented by Democrat Melissa Conyears, and miniscule parts in the northeast and southeast are respectively part of Districts 6 and 2, represented by Democrats Sonya Harper and Theresa Mah.[21]

In the Illinois Senate almost all of the area is in District 5, represented by Democrat Patricia Van Pelt. Tiny parts in the northeast and southeast are respectively parts of Districts 3 and 1, represented by Democrats Mattie Hunter and Antonio Munoz.[22]


Almost all of the area is part of Illinois's 7th congressional district, the most Democratically-leaning district in the state State of Illinois according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index with a score of D+38, represented by Democrat Danny K. Davis. The southeasternmost jog is part of Illinois's 4th congressional district, the second-most Democratically-leaning district in the state with a Cook score of D+33, represented by Democrat Luis Gutiérrez.


The United States Postal Service (USPS) operates the main Chicago Post Office at 433 West Harrison Street in the Near West Side.[23][24] The post office is the only 24-hour post office in the United States.[25] USPS also operates the Nancy B. Jefferson Post Office at 116 South Western Avenue.[26]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Chicago Field Office is at 2111 W. Roosevelt Road.[27]


Interstates 290 and 90 both run through the Near West Side. Their interchange is a major transportation hub for the region. The southern and western boundaries of the area are defined by busy rail-road tracks. The St. Charles Air Line, at the area's southern edge is also a major passenger train route.[28]

The area is served by the Blue, Green, Pink 'L' lines, as well as many CTA bus routes. Union and Ogilvie stations, major terminals for Metra and Amtrak trains, are on the eastern edge of the Near West Side.


Boeing operates its headquarters at 100 North Riverside.[29] Boeing moved into the facility, formerly the headquarters of Morton Salt, in 2001.[30] Orbitz has its headquarters in the Citigroup Center in the Near West Side.[31]

McDonald's plans to move its headquarters to West Loop in 2018.[32][33]

PepsiCo's Chicago offices are in the Near West Side.[34] Aeroméxico operates the Chicago Downtown Location on the first floor at 954 West Washington Boulevard.[35]

Previously Trizec Corporation's headquarters and Chicago-area offices were in 10 S. Riverside Plaza.[36]


Colleges and Universities[edit]

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago-Kent College of Law

IIT Stuart School of Business

Primary and Secondary Schools[edit]

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) operates public schools.[37]

K-8 schools serving the Near West Side include W. Brown, Calhoun North, Dett, Herbert, Washington Irving, King, Mitchell, Otis, Plamondon, Skinner, and Smyth.[38]

Crane High School previously served as the zoned high school for the Near West Side.[39] CPS announced in 2012 that Crane was to be converted into a magnet school for medical sciences.[40] Whitney M. Young Magnet High School is also in the Near West Side.

Washington Irving School is located in Tri-Taylor. In the 2000-2001 school year, of the area children who attended CPS schools (the figure does not include those who attended private schools nor charter schools), 69% attended Irving. By the 2013-2014 school year this declined to 46%, and Linda Lutton of WBEZ stated that Irving "is largely ignored by the families who live here."[41] As of that school year, 80% of Irving students originated from outside of the school's attendance zone, and according to Lutton it was "a neighborhood school in name only."[41]

Moses Montefiore Academy, a CPS special school for at-risk youth, was located in the Near West Side.

Chicago Virtual Charter School, a public K-12 charter school, is also located in the Near West Side.

Diplomatic missions[edit]

The Consulate-General of Mexico in Chicago is located at 204 South Ashland Avenue.[42]

Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201561,76812.5%


  1. ^ "Community Data Snapshot Near West Side" (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Community Data Snapshot Near West Side" (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Community Data Snapshot Near West Side" (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  4. ^ Taylor Street Archives
  5. ^ "Greeks". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago History Museum. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Can Greektown survive?". Crain's Chicago Business. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  7. ^ "Here Are Chicago's Top-Earning Restaurants (Gibsons Grossed $25M In 2016)". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on 2019-01-03. Retrieved 2019-01-02. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "Little Italy".
  9. ^ "Littly Italy, UIC". Explore Chicago. City of Chicago. Archived from the original on 21 December 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Candeloro, Dominic. "Chicago's Italians: A Survey of the Ethnic Factor, 1850–1990." In: Jones, Peter d'Alroy and Melvin G. Holli. Ethnic Chicago: A Multicultural Portrait. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995. p. 229–259. ISBN 0802870538, 9780802870537. p. 231.
  11. ^ "Retail Geography". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago History Museum. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  12. ^ "S. Water Market to become residences". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  13. ^ "Juvenile Temporary Detention Center |". Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  14. ^ Girl and the Goat
  15. ^ Leña Brava
  16. ^ Dizik, Alina. "Hot in Chicago: the West Loop Neighborhood". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  17. ^ "End of an Era: Harpo Studios Signs Removed from West Loop Building". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2016-01-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ RYAN ORI and PETER FROST, McDonald's moving HQ to Oprah's Harpo Studios site Crain’s Chicago Business, June 1, 2016
  19. ^ "Fulton-Randolph Market District Granted Formal Status as City Landmark". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on 2016-01-09. Retrieved 2016-01-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ "Aldermanic Wards for the City of Chicago" (PDF). City of Chicago. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Illinois House". Illinois Policy. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Illinois Senate". Illinois Policy. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Major Office Buildings". Chicago City and Neighborhood Guide. Retrieved April 17, 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  24. ^ "Richard Wright Immortalized on Postage". United States Postal Service. April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  25. ^ "New York City's main post office stops 24-hour service". Associated Press. Friday. April 17, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ "Post Office Location - NANCY B JEFFERSON". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  27. ^ "Chicago Division." Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved on June 9, 2015. "2111 W. Roosevelt Road Chicago, IL 60608"
  28. ^ Studenkov, Igor (18 January 2012). "Train traffic along 16th Street to decrease, but timeline unclear". Chicago Journal. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  29. ^ "Contact Us". Boeing. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  30. ^ "Boeing's First Day in New Era Goes Largely Unnoticed in Seattle, Chicago." The Seattle Times. September 5, 2001. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  31. ^ "Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: OWW)." Forbes. Retrieved on September 27, 2011. "Orbitz Worldwide 500 West Madison Avenue Suite 1000 Chicago, IL 60661 "
  32. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "McDonald's future Near West Side neighbors air parking, traffic safety beefs". Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  33. ^ Hufford, Austen (June 14, 2016). "McDonald's to Move Headquarters to Downtown Chicago". Retrieved August 7, 2016 – via Wall Street Journal.
  34. ^ "PepsiCo Contacts Archived 2009-12-23 at the Wayback Machine." PepsiCo. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  35. ^ "Illinois - Ticket Offices". Aeroméxico. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  36. ^ "Contact Us" (Archive). Trizec Properties. April 11, 2003. Retrieved on March 8, 2014. "Corporate Headquarters Trizec Properties, Inc. 10 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1100 Chicago, IL 60606"
  37. ^ "Near West Side" (map). City of Chicago. Retrieved on December 25, 2016.
  38. ^ "Near North/West/Central Elementary Schools Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine" (Archive). Chicago Public Schools. May 17, 2013. Retrieved on May 25, 2015.
  39. ^ "West/Central/South High Schools" (). Chicago Public Schools. May 17, 2013. Retrieved on May 25, 2015.
  40. ^ Monica Staton. "CPS changes mind on Crane, wants health sciences school". Gazette Chicago. April 5, 2012. Retrieved on July 6, 2012.
  41. ^ a b Lutton, Linda (2014-08-06). "More Chicago Kids Say 'No' To Their Neighborhood Grammar School". WBEZ. Retrieved 2016-12-25. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  42. ^ "Home Page". Consulate-General of Mexico in Chicago. Retrieved January 31, 2009.
  43. ^ "Community Data Snapshot Near West Side" (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2017.

External links[edit]