Art, history, and culture characterize Bucktown, which is bordered on the east by the Chicago River, to the west by Western Avenue, on the north by Fullerton Avenue, and on the south by North Avenue. Often spoken about in the same breath as its overlapping neighbor Wicker Park, Bucktown features much of its same distinct shopping options, from vintage shops to designer boutiques. It also offers a slice of architectural history owing to its range of historic churches. Families will be pleased to know that the neighborhood also boasts a large number of schools, including Montessori and international options, and that the neighborhood is also very walkable. With art festivals, music clubs, and galleries rounding out the mix, Bucktown holds its own as a cultured community on Chicago's north side.
Bucktown's history is all about its name. Dating back to the early 1800s Bucktown was originally populated by Polish settlers — a common sight when strolling the neighborhood's once-grassy fields would have been families' grazing goats, or bucks. Raising the animals is how many of the original Bucktown inhabitants made their living, so it's no wonder the name stuck! Still, progress has a way of rolling on, and as Bucktown was officially annexed into Chicago in the mid-1800s it wasn't too long before the area grew from marshlands and forests into the developed community the city knows and loves today.
Bucktown's early populations included the Polish community and a wave of German and Jewish immigrants by the early 1900s. Today it's largely a blend of young professionals and middle-class families making the most of Bucktown's wealth of school options, easy access to public transit, prime location, and affordable housing.
St. Mary of the Angels and St. Hedwig church both call Bucktown home. With their arched dome ceilings, gold filigree, and continuing weekly mass and services , these ornate Polish cathedrals offer up a sense of heavenly splendor for visitors and parishioners. On a slightly more modern spectrum, the community's ongoing festivals, such as Bucktown Arts Fest in August and Round the Coyote art festival in September, continue to draw crowds of 30,000 and more yearly. Bucktown is also home to nine parks, including Churchill Field Playhouse Park, a favorite haunt for dog-owners and families.
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