Old Town is as Chicago as it gets. It is a neighborhood like no other in a city renowned for its neighborhoods, a hearty stew of famed pop culture touchstones and charming vintage townhomes.
At once kinetic and close-knit, Old Town is a place that can throw parties hewing to either of those attributes — or both at the same time. Its plentiful community events range from sprawling festivals to intimate get-togethers.
Here are some of our favorites:
The Original Old Town Art Fair: Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2018, the Old Town Art Fair is considered one of the finest open-air art festivals in the country. Inhabiting the Old Town Triangle District one weekend each June, the Fair shows more than 250 artists, showcases 50 private gardens with a garden walk, and draws roughly 30,000 visitors over two days. Tickets are $10.
The Wells Street Art Festival: Sharing the same weekend as its predecessor, this relative upstart began 25 years after the Old Town Art Fair. With a 10 p.m. closing time (Old Town shots down at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday) and a location lined with bars and restaurants, Wells Street has more of a party atmosphere than Old Town. Featuring 225 artists, Wells Street charges a “suggested donation” of $7.
Old Town Theater Week: Bowing to rave reviews in April 2018, Theater Week was a production of the Old Town Merchants & Residents Association. It included weeklong deals at Old Town’s renowned performance spaces — including the iconic Second City Theater, stand-up standard bearer Zanies, and drama heavyweight A Red Orchid Theatre. There’s also BATSU! — which takes place in a lounge theater in Chicago’s oldest sushi bar, Kamehachi, and features four comedic “warriors” taking part in challenges while trying to avoid a variety of punishments.
One of the great pleasures of living in Old Town is its proximity to other great Chicago environs. Lincoln Park, both the neighborhood and the park, border Old Town (to the north and east, respectively) and are easily accessed for a bevy of activities, including:
- Taste of Lincoln Avenue: From a neighborhood fundraiser at its 1980s roots to a festival attracting upward of 50,000 people over two days, the Taste features 250 merchants, 30 musical acts and special tastings (wine, chocolate, etc.).
- ZooLights: From late November through the first week of January for the last quarter century, the Lincoln Park Zoo, open year-round, dresses up for the holidays. More than 2.5 million lights decorate the grounds and visitors can enjoy carolers, ice carvers and more. Admission is free.
- Chicago Sprints Regatta:The Lincoln Park Lagoon is the site of one of the largest rowing regattas in the Midwest.
- Lincoln Park Greek Fest: St. George Greek Orthodox Church is 95 years old. For half its existence, it has hosted a fest loaded with Greek street foods, specialty plates and sweets, traditional and modern Greek music, and more.
Old Town is both funky and family-friendly, diverse and dynamic, homie and hip. Whether it’s the range of community events or the legendary venues and haunts that draw you in, Mo2 Properties can find you a place to call home in Old Town. See our list of available rentals here.