Chicago's Hipster Neighborhoods May Surprise You (Or Not)

By Lisa White in News on Nov 21, 2013 9:30PM

2013_11_21_lincolnsquarehipster.jpg
Photo credit: Steve Koo

The website RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, recently released a “report” on the top 25 hipster zip codes for returns on rental properties and Chicago made the cut with three neighborhoods. But they might not be what you are expecting when the word "hipster" comes to mind.

First, the criteria for the report is based first on the age range of “the hipster” which is apparently 25-34 (sorry all you 24-year-old wannabes). They then factored in that the area must have at least 20 percent of the population either walk to work or use public transit (um, that could account for most areas in the city of Chicago). Lastly, renters had to account for at least 50 percent of the properties and vacancy rate on rentals had to be 5 percent or less. Most people we know in that age range living in Chicago use public transit and rent, so we’re not sure how they figured these as the top hipster zip codes, but who doesn’t love a buzzword in real estate?

Topping the list in Chicago was 60625—Lincoln Square, Albany Park, North Park and Ravenswood. You know, the hipster mecca of Chicago. We love to visit Lincoln Square because they have amazing restaurants, bars, a Dollar Tree and is right off the Brown Line, but "hipster" it is not. The only true hipster thing probably is shopping at the Dollar Tree ironically. We run into more strollers in Lincoln Square than bearded men on fixies.

Next up is 60647, the area of Logan Square, Bucktown and some of Humboldt Park. Good job RealtyTrac! Your guess on this one was correct. This is probably one of the fastest growing trendy neighborhoods in Chicago currently. Personally I’ve lived in the area since 2009 and the amount of modern houses, trendy restaurants and bars, coffee shops and boutiques that have popped up is staggering. You can’t swing a stick around without hitting an adorably dressed quirky girl with bangs, a laid back coffee shop or an artisanal cocktail. I love my neighborhood and I’m glad all the business is pouring in but yeah, it is the epicenter of what many would call hipster.

The third hipster zip code is 60642, which is the edge of West Town and River West. Um, we feel like if someone shifted the map slightly to the left and down, this would make more sense. The 60642 zip code has the borders of Ashland Avenue and Halsted Street east to west, and extends from just below Grand Avenue to North Avenue and then covers a small hook of an area north of there sandwiched between the Kennedy expressway and Clybourn Avenue. Seriously? The Hideout and Stanley’s seems like the type of stuff a hipster digs and the Apple store is a must for getting your iPhone fixed, but this seems like such a random area. We’d have picked the area south of Division from Ashland over to Western or even farther as a more hipster area.

What the study is really does is show people where to buy property if they have the money because young folks that can’t afford to own will be clamoring to live in these areas. Which isn’t far off for these zip codes. But "hipster?" Nah, just highly populated and full of neat things to check out. If you really need that hipster fix though, head to your dream location now, which is apparently Saint Paul. We think “Saint Paul; The Hipster Oasis” has a nice ring to it.