We didn’t plan to stay in Chicago for 10 years—We expected to live there for the rest of our lives. When we moved to the one bedroom apartment directly across from St. Mary’s of the Angels Church on Wood Street and Hermitage, in Bucktown, we knew that we had found “our ‘hood.’” We loved every aspect of living in this diverse and urban area. But there was one aspect that we never considered: What were we going to do when we decided to have children? Would we be able to raise a family in this area?
When you are in your mid-twenties, you don’t really think about where you are going to live when you have kids. Just knowing where the closest Starbucks and sushi-joints are enough to convince you to move to a neighborhood. Adam and I never thought about the quality of the local public schools or the location of the closest playground. We didn’t even think about transportation options or kid-centric entertainment options? Enter Lulu.
Lulu, our daughter, changed everything for us. Loud buses and ambulances passing by on North Avenue never bothered us in the past. Now, the slightest noise, honk or siren would wake our little bundle of joy and guess what? When she was up; so were we.
All of the sudden getting to the closest playground was a really big deal. We had to cross two of the busiest and treacherous streets in Chicago (Ashland and North Avenue). Our urban nirvana became more like a living hell.
After spying two prostitutes “checking their voicemail” under our fire escape one Saturday morning, Adam and I started to discuss our options. Neither one of us wanted to leave Bucktown. But when Lulu and I were almost clipped by a taxi scurrying to get through a changing light on North Avenue, we decided that as much as we loved living in Chicago, we needed to move someplace safer, saner and family focused. Unfortunately, that meant leaving the city.
That was eight years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss living in Chicago. After all, I am a Windy City Momma, aren’t I?
For those of you urban dwellers facing a similar dilemma, all is not lost. I found a great resource. The Apartment Guys have a fantastic graphic on their site that serves as a guide for Chicago residents to identify the most family friendly neighborhoods. They include such factors as transportation options, parks and recreation, safety, schooling and entertainment options. Here’s the link:
So, did they hit the bullseye with their selections, or have the Apartment Guys missed the mark? What Chicago neighborhood gets your vote as the most family-friendly?
Disclosure: The Apartment Guys sponsored and compensated me for this post. The opinions expressed in the post are entirely A Windy City Momma’s and were not influenced by the sponsor.