Ukrainian Village is a tiny Chicago neighborhood. With an area of only about half a square mile, it’s a little slice of heaven in the Windy City.
It’s located near the west side of Chicago between Division Street to the north, Chicago Avenue to the south, Western Avenue to the west, and Damen Avenue to the east. Officially, Ukrainian Village is a “West Town” neighborhood and is also near both Wicker Park and the East Village.
As you walk through the neighborhood, you might smell a delicious hint of pierogis wafting over you. You will also notice that many of the storefronts and street signs are still in Ukrainian—there is no English in sight. Although the area’s inhabitants are of Ukrainian descent (now only mere thousands in population, compared to a one-time high of around 30,000), their cultural mark on the area is still as strong as ever.
When you move to or visit Ukrainian Village in Chicago, it’s truly like being transported to another place in time. This is one of the reasons locals love it here so much.
History of Ukrainian Village, Chicago
Immigrants from what is now Slovakia and Poland first settled the neighborhood. But many Ukrainian people soon followed after, immigrating to Chicago in the early 20th century due to the horrors of World War I. By the late 1930s, there were five Ukrainian Catholic parishes in Chicago. This was a reflection of the recent wave of immigration of Ukrainian Catholics. These people gave the neighborhood a distinct Ukrainian flair, which it retains.
These people built churches in the area in a style still popular in their motherland: the Byzantine-Slavonic style. Recent immigrants built St. Nicholas Cathedral between November 1913 and January 1915. Still an icon of the area, the church sits in the heart of Ukrainian Village.
Living in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
Working in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
There are many shops and restaurants to work at in the area. However, due to its central location and proximity to public transportation, many residents of the neighborhood commute to careers all across Chicago in a variety of fields.
Playing in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
If you choose to live in Ukrainian Village, you should take the time to immerse yourself in learning about the area’s original Ukrainians. To do this, you can spend a day at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, a contemporary art gallery. It tells the stories of both the Ukrainian and American experiences in the area through many different artistic traditions.
If you still have not gotten your fill of culture after your time at the institute, it’s not too far of a journey to the Ukrainian National Museum to take in the eastern European nation’s history and culture. Here, you can learn all about the original inhabitants of the area and their role in developing their culture in the village and greater Chicago.
Eating in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
This neighborhood has some of the best food in Chicago. Once you start dining in the Ukrainian Village, you will never want to leave.
Here are a few of the most popular spots in the area. Lucky you, if you decide to live here, you won’t even have to travel to experience some of Chicago’s best.
859 N Damen Chicago, Il 60622 // (773) 235-3116
Black Dog Gelato is a very popular place to have dessert. It is closed each winter, so on opening day in the spring, there are often lines out the door. These lines don’t let up for most of the season. When you finally try the gelato for yourself, you will quickly understand why.
Unique flavors like Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel Gelato bring customers back time and again. Sometimes, Black Dog even makes a delicious donut gelato sandwich—perfect for making your friends jealous. However, it’s not offered often, so locals have the best chance of dropping in at the right time and trying one.
1035 N. Western Ave Chicago, IL 60622 // (773) 276-3600
The Empty Bottle is a laid-back music venue with a classic vibe. Local artists jam to everything from garage rock to indie to folk. You never know who you might hear while enjoying a glass of wine at the venue. In fact, the White Stripes and The Strokes played here before they made it big.
The Empty Bottle opened in 1993 and continues to draw great bands to its stage. And recently, the team added to the experience by opening up a great place for brunch and dinner right next door: the Bite Cafe.
2521 W Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60622 // (773) 384-7827 |
Locals know Dark Matter Coffee for sassy slogans and smooth brews. While the coffee club has multiple locations throughout Chicago, the Ukrainian Village location feels cozy and is the perfect place to grab a cup to start your day of right—especially through the brutal Chicago winters.
Getting Around in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
The 1895 construction of an elevated train line along Paulina Ave (1700 W) originally spurred the dense settlement of the neighborhood by Ukrainian Catholics. This train line provided access to workplaces throughout the city. However, the city decommissioned this train line in 1964.
However, residents of modern-day Ukrainian Village still have plenty of options when it comes to getting around. Your own two feet are the best transportation in the area. There are grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and great shops within walking distance of most of the housing.
Biking is also a popular option, but there are nearby transit options. There are major bus lines on Chicago, Ashland, Damen, and Western. The Blue Line is about one mile away, with options at Damen (above ground) and at Division (subway).
Education in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
The schools in Ukrainian Village and surrounding areas belong to the Chicago Public School system. Locals can also choose to send their children to Catholic schools in the neighborhood if they wish.
Where to Live in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
The neighborhood is so small that the entire area is a solid choice. However, homes closer to famous architect Louis Sullivan’s landmark Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral are surely a highlight.
The neighborhood is brimming with stunning church buildings, as well as two- and three-bedroom flats, larger apartment buildings, workers’ cottages, and single-family homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These homes and churches reflect the style of the many eastern European immigrants who lived in this area.
Real Estate Market in Ukrainian Village, Chicago
Ukrainian Village is a low-key neighborhood where residential brick row houses and townhomes mix with eclectic shops and eateries. Many of the buildings are red brick, giving the area a classic Chicago look and feel.
As of October 2018, the median list price for homes in the Ukrainian Village is $457K, while the median sales price is $600K. While this jump in price indicates how competitive the housing market is, the neighborhood is still fairly affordable by Chicago’s standards, especially for its rather central location in the city.
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