Chicago is a world-class city: groundbreaking architecture, Michelin-rated restaurants, 5-star shopping and The Wiener’s Circle! But, best of all, Chicago is a walking city. Here’s one of the The Windy City’s best treks: a one-hour (at 4 miles per hour, excluding cocktail stops) tour by foot past some of the most interesting homes in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Fuel-up for your archi-trek with a slice of cracker crust pizza from Amato’s Pizza at W. Willow Street and N. Sheffield Street. Forget what you’ve heard about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: it’s overrated. This stuff is the best.
922 W. WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK
Head east on W. Willow Street — not far — and check-out 922 on the opposite side of the street. This is one of my favorite properties in the neighborhood because it’s so unprepossessing at first glance, second glance, one-hundreth glance. Then, at some point, you realize that there’s an amazing space hiding behind that unassuming, industrial, street level front. This place is currently valued at $1,628,500 on Homes.com although it sold for $2,312,500 in 2006. It was under construction back then, and the workers allowed me to walk inside. The interior of the front section, which was built in 1910, had remained unchanged inside, down to the original signage of the company that occupied it. So unique and just un-ostentatiously fabulous.
737 W. WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK
Continue east on W. Willow two blocks. This two-year-old spacious addition to the area was formerly a German Lutheran Congregational School. The owners obviously possess an eclectic taste and sense of humor, as you’ll notice by the ghost lamps flanking the entryway and the massive door — with multiple peepholes for all ages and species — beneath it. I don’t know who owns this place, but I like them. They do their own thing, buck convention.
1727 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK
1727 Burling is directly across from 737. Some days I like this gothic place, some days I don’t, dependent upon my mood, kind of like how I waffle between agnostic and atheist depending upon whether or not I had my morning coffee. Today I like it, and appreciate how they incorporated the design of the building next door. However you feel about it, you’ve kinda gotta respect that they did something so completely gutsy and different.
709 W. WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK
Continue east on W. Willow Street to 709 W. Willow Street, the new kid on the block. For the longest time I thought the neon pink was Tyvek until I finally realized that, no, they were really committing to neon pink. I think it works here. I imagine as a sort of wink from the owners to say “yeah, we have a lot of money but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” Or I could be overthinking it.
1864 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK
Reverse your steps on Willow back to where it meets N. Burling Street and head north on N. Burling Street. 1864 will be on your left. It’s an interesting structure, slightly soulless, although I do applaud the rounded roofs. Yeah, I could live here just fine. Homes.com values it at $2,495,900.