Near South Side & Chinatown
Formerly known for crumbling housing projects, the Near South Side is enjoying a transformation. As nearby Columbia College students opt for affordable housing, this section of Chicago is welcoming more residents, more restaurants and more reasons for locals to consider moving south of downtown.
Sample dim sum at one of Chinatown's many eateries, or catch Chicago's other baseball team (the White Sox have actually won a World Series recently, which is a sore spot for Northside fans) at US Cellular Field. For a free way to enjoy this part of town, head east to the 31st Street Beach along Lake Michigan for an unobstructed view of the Chicago skyline.
For music lovers, Reggie's Rock Club in Chinatown hosts a mix of alternative, metal and punk bands each night of the week. For a more upscale evening without the noise, head to The Chicago Firehouse, a legendary steak destination in a converted - you guessed it - firehouse.