Chicago, the Windy City, is known for many things — it’s the home of the deep-dish pizza, a vibrant music scene, world-class architecture and, of course, its diverse and distinctive neighborhoods. From the hustle and bustle of The Loop to the serene streets of Forest Glen, each neighborhood offers its unique charm. However, safety is one aspect that tops the priority list for most of us when we are looking for the perfect community.
In a city as vast and diverse as Chicago, safety can sometimes seem like a game of roulette. But fret not, for this city is home to numerous neighborhoods where safety isn’t merely an afterthought; it’s ingrained in their very identity. This article will journey through the safest neighborhoods in Chicago, providing insights into what makes each one a secure haven in the heart of the Windy City.
We’re talking about neighborhoods that blend the dynamism of city life with the tranquility and safety of suburban living, where you can take an evening stroll or let your kids play in the park without hesitation. These neighborhoods are where community ties are strong, crime rates are low and the vibe is inviting.
From the idyllic Edison Park to the vibrant Lakeview, from the historic Printers Row to the family-friendly Buffalo Grove, we’ll delve into each of these 10 neighborhoods to find out what makes them tick and why they consistently rank among the safest places in Chicago.
So, if you’re planning to move to the city or simply looking to explore new areas, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a fascinating tour. By the end of this journey, you’ll have a deeper understanding of these neighborhoods and, who knows, you might even find the safe haven you’ve been looking for in Chicago!
Here’re the 10 safest neighborhoods to live in Chicago, Illinois.
Table of Contents:
1. Lincoln Park
Next up, we visit Lincoln Park, a vibrant neighborhood with a rich tapestry of culture, entertainment and, of course, safety. Nestled on the North Side, this neighborhood effortlessly blends the energy of city life with the calm of residential living.
One of Lincoln Park’s defining features is its namesake, Lincoln Park, the city’s largest public park. This massive 1,208-acre green space is home to attractions like the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory and a plethora of recreational facilities. Residents and tourists can enjoy these amenities without concern, thanks to the dedicated local law enforcement presence and a community that values safety and public spirit.
Adding to its charm are Lincoln Park’s diverse architectural styles, with stately brownstones and modern condominiums lining the neighborhood’s streets. With a crime rate significantly lower than the city average, residents can rest easy, focusing on the aesthetics of their surroundings rather than worrying about safety.
Yet, Lincoln Park isn’t just about peace and tranquility. This neighborhood offers a rich cultural scene, including the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company and DePaul University’s Theatre School, contributing to an atmosphere of artistic expression. Art enthusiasts can enjoy shows and performances without fretting over security issues.
Education is another cornerstone of Lincoln Park’s appeal, with some of Chicago’s top-rated schools nestled in the neighborhood. From the award-winning Lincoln Park High School to DePaul University, one of the nation’s largest private universities, education remains an accessible and safe endeavor in this area.
Despite its calm, residential vibe, Lincoln Park does not shy away from a bit of nightlife. The neighborhood is dotted with numerous restaurants, bars and music venues, such as Kingston Mines, a famous blues club. These establishments have an implicit trust in the neighborhood’s safety, operating into the night and providing residents with a vibrant nightlife.
In essence, Lincoln Park is a neighborhood where safety meets dynamic city life. Its blend of natural beauty, cultural offerings and a safe, engaging environment make it one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago.
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Landing on the north side of Chicago, we find ourselves in Lakeview, an energetic neighborhood known for its bustling entertainment scene, beautiful green spaces and a safety reputation that will put your mind at ease.
Lakeview is a diverse and dynamic neighborhood, teeming with an array of activities. From the lively bars and clubs in Boystown, the city’s LGBTQ+ hub, to the family-friendly vibe of Southport Corridor, this neighborhood caters to all. Despite its bustling nature, Lakeview remains a secure place for residents and visitors.
The neighborhood is home to several parks and a stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, including the popular Belmont Harbor. Thanks to the well-patrolled and secure environment, these spaces offer locals a chance to relax and unwind without concern.
Safety extends into Lakeview’s vibrant nightlife scene. Wrigleyville, named after the historic Wrigley Field, is popular for its sports bars and lively atmosphere, especially during the Cubs’ home games. The area’s safety standards enable the neighborhood to balance excitement and security seamlessly.
Lakeview’s excellent public transportation links offer safe and reliable commutes, including the “L” train and multiple bus routes. Cyclists also have access to bike-friendly streets, enhancing the safety and convenience of non-motorized transportation.
The neighborhood’s commitment to safety and security also extends into its schools. Schools such as Nettelhorst Elementary are praised for their safe and nurturing learning environments, a sign that this neighborhood prioritizes safety at every level.
In essence, Lakeview offers a neighborhood where diversity meets security, creating a vibrant yet safe living environment that stands as one of Chicago’s highlights.
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3. The Loop
The heart of downtown Chicago, the Loop, is the city’s economic, cultural and governmental center. With towering skyscrapers, historic architecture and a wealth of cultural institutions, the Loop is a bustling neighborhood that takes safety seriously.
As Chicago’s central business district, the Loop is home to numerous offices, including several Fortune 500 companies. These businesses rely on the area’s safety for daily operations, contributing to the neighborhood’s reputation as a safe workplace.
The neighborhood is also a cultural hub, hosting renowned institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. These places attract millions of visitors each year, and the high level of security in the area helps to keep these experiences safe and enjoyable.
Public transportation in the Loop is comprehensive and reliable, with almost all CTA train lines converging here. In addition, a robust network of buses, bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks make commuting safe and convenient.
Despite being a bustling urban center, the Loop offers several green spaces, such as Millennium Park and Grant Park, known for the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture and Buckingham Fountain. These parks provide peaceful havens amid the city’s bustle.
The Loop’s vibrant residential scene includes high-rise apartments and condominiums that offer secure living options, underpinned by the neighborhood’s low crime rate. The building management and local law enforcement work closely to maintain a safe environment for residents.
Overall, the Loop is a testament to Chicago’s ability to balance urban hustle with a secure, safe environment. It’s a place where safety and city life coexist harmoniously, creating a thrilling and secure urban experience.
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4. Forest Glen
A hidden gem in the far northwest corner of Chicago, Forest Glen is often referred to as a “suburb in the city,” and it’s no wonder why. With its abundance of green spaces, single-family homes and a remarkably low crime rate, Forest Glen offers a haven for those seeking a suburban lifestyle without losing the benefits of the city.
Forest Glen is characterized by its serene, tree-lined streets and varied architectural styles, from classic bungalows to stately mansions. Residents enjoy the tranquility of a suburban neighborhood, taking evening strolls and morning jogs without the concerns of city crime rates. Forest Glen is undoubtedly one of the safest corners of the city.
Forest preserves are a significant part of the neighborhood, giving the area its name. LaBagh Woods and Edgebrook Woods offer trails for hiking and biking, picnic spots and ample green space for outdoor activities. Families can enjoy a day out in these lush green areas, confident about the neighborhood’s safety.
Forest Glen’s community is known for its unity and proactive initiatives towards maintaining safety. The community organizes regular neighborhood watch meetings and works closely with law enforcement agencies, contributing to its reputation as one of Chicago’s safest neighborhoods.
The neighborhood also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Edgebrook Community Association’s annual Garden Walk, further strengthening the community bond and sense of safety.
Education is a top priority in Forest Glen, with several highly rated schools, like the Wildwood International Baccalaureate World Magnet School. Here, safety goes beyond just the low crime rate — it extends into creating an environment conducive to learning and development.
Forest Glen may offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life; however, it still provides easy access to the city’s heart via the Metra. It’s the perfect blend of urban accessibility and suburban living, underscored by a strong commitment to safety and community.
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5. Rogers Park
Positioned along the shores of Lake Michigan in the city’s far North Side, Rogers Park bursts with cultural diversity and, notably, an impressive safety record. This neighborhood is a melting pot, boasting a community as vibrant and diverse as the city itself.
Rogers Park is famous for its rich art scene. From the Mile of Murals — a community-based public art initiative — to the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, art breathes life into this neighborhood. Engaging in an art walk or attending local festivals, like the annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, is a joy in Rogers Park, with the safety of the area making these experiences even more rewarding.
Adding to the cultural richness are the unique dining options representing global cuisine. Whether you’re craving Ethiopian food at Ethiopian Diamond or in the mood for Mexican cuisine at Rocky’s Tacos, the choices are as diverse as the residents. All this and the neighborhood’s safety make Rogers Park a foodie’s paradise.
Outdoor enthusiasts will also find much to love in Rogers Park. With numerous parks and public beaches, such as the popular Loyola Beach, residents and visitors can enjoy the natural beauty in a secure environment. Families picnicking, children playing and people walking their dogs well into the evening underpin the sense of safety in this lakefront neighborhood.
Rogers Park’s reputation for safety is further enhanced by its educational institutions, including Loyola University Chicago. Students from around the world call this neighborhood home, contributing to the area’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity while enjoying a safe, conducive environment for learning and growth.
Above all, what makes Rogers Park truly remarkable is the sense of community. The residents’ active participation in community initiatives, block clubs and the CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) program makes this neighborhood safe and welcoming.
Rogers Park is a testament to how safety and culture can intertwine, creating an environment that’s secure and vibrantly alive with diversity and community spirit.
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6. Printers Row
The first stop on our list is the literary hub of Chicago, Printers Row. This neighborhood, the center of printing for the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is now one of the safest places in the city, presenting an ideal blend of historic charm and modern amenities.
Laying down roots in Printers Row means stepping into a community that values its history, as evidenced by the architectural beauty of its historic buildings. These structures stand as a testament to the area’s past while being repurposed for contemporary life, housing both residences and businesses. So, whether you’re a history buff or a sucker for beautiful brick and mortar, Printers Row is an aesthetically pleasing treat.
But aesthetics isn’t the only appealing aspect of this neighborhood. Printers Row hosts one of the largest outdoor literary events in the Midwest, the Printers Row Lit Fest, attracting bookworms from all over. The festival is a sign of a community that comes together over shared interests and passions. If you’re a bibliophile, this neighborhood could be your next haven. Imagine strolling through rows of bookstalls, engaging in literary conversations and scoring some great deals, all amid the safety and charm of Printers Row.
The neighborhood also boasts some delectable dining options. Restaurants range from casual, like Hackney’s Printers’ Row, where you can enjoy a classic American burger, to refined dining experiences like the Villains Chicago, where you can enjoy unique gastronomic creations. Dining out late into the night is a viable option, thanks to the neighborhood’s safety.
Additionally, Printers Row has done a remarkable job keeping crime rates low. This is primarily due to the concerted efforts of the community and local law enforcement. The neighborhood watch is active, and community members know and look out for each other, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where you can enjoy an evening walk or leisurely read in Dearborn Park without worrying about safety.
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7. Edison Park
Tucked away in the northwest part of the city, Edison Park is a neighborhood that offers a suburban feel within the city limits. Edison Park provides the best of urban and suburban life and is filled with tree-lined streets, charming single-family homes and a robust offering of parks and recreational areas.
This neighborhood radiates a warm, small-town feel, thanks to the tight-knit community that takes pride in its surroundings. Edison Park residents are known for their strong community spirit, as seen in the neighborhood’s numerous annual events, such as the Edison Park Fest — a community celebration featuring live music, local cuisine and a parade. This event highlights not just the fun-loving nature of the community but also its safety, as families and friends revel in the activities late into the night without worry.
Edison Park embodies a welcoming, close-knit community ambiance at its core, owing to the harmonious bond among its residents, who collectively cherish their locality. The local inhabitants are renowned for their vigorous sense of community spirit, made evident by the myriad annual events held in the area. A prime example is the highly anticipated Edison Park Fest. This engaging neighborhood gathering offers live entertainment, a feast of local gastronomic delights and a vibrant parade. Not only does this event underscore the community’s festive character, but it also accentuates the high level of safety in the area, as families and friends are free to bask in the festivities well into the twilight hours without apprehension.
Adding to the neighborhood’s appeal, Edison Park offers several educational institutions that uphold a standard of excellence. Schools such as Edison Park Elementary School provide a comprehensive, quality education for their pupils, reflecting the community’s strong emphasis on academics. In Edison Park, safety isn’t solely a matter of low crime rates — it’s about nurturing an environment where learning and personal growth can flourish.
Although Edison Park delivers a taste of serene suburban living, it doesn’t lose touch with the heartbeat of the city. With convenient transportation options, including the Edison Park Metra station, residents can seamlessly commute to downtown Chicago and enjoy everything the city offers. Therefore, Edison Park is a harmonious union of city life accessibility and suburban tranquility, underscored by a deep-rooted sense of community, safety and neighborhood pride.
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8. Buffalo Grove
Buffalo Grove, nestled in the northern suburbs of Chicago, is often celebrated as one of the best places to live in the state, and safety plays a significant role in its appeal. This vibrant community offers a mix of residential tranquility, public amenities and a strong sense of community, all under the umbrella of impressive safety standards.
Buffalo Grove offers a variety of housing options, from apartments to single-family homes, all nestled in quiet, well-maintained neighborhoods. The low crime rate in these areas allows residents to enjoy the comfort of suburban living with peace of mind.
Buffalo Grove is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting over 50 parks and a beautiful biking and walking trail system. The Buffalo Grove Park District keeps these spaces well-maintained and safe for all to use, contributing to the town’s reputation as a safe, family-friendly environment.
The neighborhood’s commitment to safety is also visible in its well-respected schools. Schools in Buffalo Grove, such as Adlai E. Stevenson High School, consistently receive high rankings for their academic achievements and safe, supportive learning environments.
Buffalo Grove’s community is also noteworthy for its active involvement in maintaining the neighborhood’s safety. Residents are known to engage with local law enforcement through the Neighborhood Watch Program, and the Buffalo Grove Police Department provides various community outreach programs to promote safety and crime prevention.
Annual events such as the Buffalo Grove Days festival and the Buffalo Grove Invitational Fine Arts Festival are a testament to the area’s cultural vibrancy and highlight the sense of security and community that the neighborhood offers. These gatherings draw crowds from around the region, underscoring the community’s safe reputation.
In Buffalo Grove, safety isn’t just about low crime rates — it’s about fostering a community where everyone feels secure, engaged and at home.
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9. Clarendon Hills
Taking a slight detour from the city’s bounds, let’s venture into the western suburbs to visit Clarendon Hills. With its low crime rate, family-friendly environment and suburban charm, Clarendon Hills is often ranked as one of the safest places in Illinois.
Clarendon Hills exudes an irresistible small-town charm. Its downtown area, characterized by independent businesses and charming boutiques, feels like a slice of Americana. The safety of the area allows businesses to thrive and residents to enjoy their surroundings freely.
The neighborhood is punctuated with beautiful parks and green spaces, such as Prospect Park, which offers a peaceful respite for residents. Families can spend their weekends in these parks, kids can play until sundown, and joggers can enjoy a late-evening run, all thanks to the area’s high safety standards.
Events like the annual Daisy Days Festival, a summer event filled with live music, food and entertainment, speak volumes about the community spirit and the sense of security within Clarendon Hills. The event is a family affair, emphasizing the area’s reputation as a safe, community-focused neighborhood.
Clarendon Hills also boasts some of the top schools in the state, like the renowned Hinsdale Central High School. With safety as a priority, students can focus on their education in a secure and supportive environment.
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10. La Grange Park
Next, we journey to La Grange Park, a suburb situated approximately 16 miles west of Chicago’s Loop. This small community punches above its weight when it comes to safety, community spirit and quality of life.
La Grange Park is a neighborhood that thrives on its community-centric approach. The area is primarily residential, with a mix of single-family homes and townhouses, and it offers a peaceful, secure atmosphere for residents.
One of La Grange Park’s standout features is its dedication to green spaces. The community is home to over 24 parks, several playgrounds and the Salt Creek Forest Preserve. These spaces provide recreational opportunities and contribute to the area’s safety and aesthetic appeal.
The local government and police department work hand-in-hand with residents to maintain a high level of safety through initiatives like the Citizen’s Police Academy and the Neighborhood Watch Program. These programs foster a strong sense of communal responsibility for safety, enhancing the overall security of the area.
La Grange Park also boasts excellent schools that are not only academically notable but also known for their safe learning environments. Schools such as Park Junior High School are integral to the community fabric, contributing to the neighborhood’s family-friendly reputation.
Community events are a big part of life in La Grange Park. From the annual Concert Under the Stars series to the La Grange Park Friends of the Library Summer Used Book Sale, these events foster a sense of togetherness and are a testament to the area’s safety and community spirit.
La Grange Park provides a respite from city life without sacrificing safety, accessibility or community. It is an ideal destination for anyone seeking a safe, friendly environment within reach of Chicago’s bustling city life.
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Chicago is a city of contrasts — a mosaic of neighborhoods, each with its distinct personality and charm. Whether it’s the artistic vitality of Rogers Park, the historic appeal of Printers Row or the suburban tranquility of Buffalo Grove, these neighborhoods stand out for their unique qualities and commitment to safety.
Safety isn’t a stand-alone factor; it intertwines with the neighborhood’s overall character — its residents, amenities, culture and spirit. Each of the neighborhoods highlighted here offers its distinct version of safety, whether through community policing efforts, low crime rates, family-friendly environments or active neighborhood watches.
Choosing a place to live is about more than just comparing crime rates. It’s about finding a community that feels like home. It’s about enjoying your surroundings and being able to walk the streets with a sense of security and belonging. In that respect, these 10 neighborhoods shine brightly as some of the safest havens in and around Chicago.
The neighborhoods in this list show that safety in a community is more than just statistics. It results from residents coming together, taking ownership of their neighborhood and working toward creating a safe, supportive environment for all. It’s proof that safe havens exist even in a big city like Chicago.
In the end, the heart of a neighborhood lies not in its buildings or streets but in its people. And the people of these neighborhoods have created spaces that offer a high quality of life and the peace of mind that comes with living in one of Chicago’s safest areas.
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