University Village and
Little Italy, Chicago, IL
As the birthplace of the Chicago blues (on Maxwell Street) as
as the Chicago hotdog, the area between the Dan Ryan Expressway and
Ashland Avenue known as University Village is not short of cultural
institutions. For starters, there's the institution of higher learning
after which the neighborhood has been named. In the last few years the
university has attracted a variety of little shops and restaurants to
the strip along Halsted, which has been totally rebuilt. But in
addition to the residential and retail properties catering to numerous
University of Illinois (UIC) students and faculty,the Village is also
close to Chicago's piece of the boot: the signs and smells along Taylor
Street betray the fact that one is in Little Italy,that haven of
slow-cooked risotto and chicken vesuvio. Tree-lined streets,
Blackstone, and brick walkups pair an Old World feel with frantic new
development. Like the Near West in general, University Village is ripe
with new construction and renovations, but three parks (as well as the
UIC campus itself) add some green to the equation.
Village is one of Chicago's newest developed
neighborhoods located on the Near West Side 2.5 miles southwest of the
Loop and its boundaries are: Roosevelt Road to the north, the Dan Ryan
Expressway to the east, 16th Street to the south and Racine Avenue to
the west. With the proximity to the UIC campus, Rush Hospital, Taylor
Street, Pilsen and the Loop, University Village has become a great
place to live. It is conveniently located within 5 minutes of each of
the major highways and only 10 minutes from downtown Chicago and The
Illinois Medical District.
University Village is full of multi-cultural, family-owned
restaurants and shops. Additionally, many chic new wine bars,
restaurants and boutiques have sprung up all over. The nearby Maxwell Street market
now has a more permanent home with an indoor/outdoor market.
the housing options in the area are part of what we call the University
which consists of a mix of walk up condos, townhomes, single family
homes, and new construction and converted mid-rise lofts. Be sure to
check out the link above for more detailed information.
The University Commons
development and University Station were created from the South Water
Market, historically known as the distribution point for Chicago's
produce and agriculture market. The Roosevelt Square development was
created over the now demolished Chicago Housing Authority public
It is said that University Village is where the birth of the
Blues occurred. Blues musicians played on Maxwell Street. Back then,
Maxwell Street was a famous outdoor market where you could buy anything
from fresh produce, household cleaners and even used furniture. In the
1990s, the market was relocated to nearby Canal Street between Taylor
and 16th streets to make way for massive campus of the University of
Illinois at Chicago to. Street vendors continue the tradition, setting
up for business at sunrise every Sunday. Also born in University
Village's Maxwell Street is the Chicago style hot dog. Jim's Hot Dog
Stand is famous for the Maxwell Street Polish. To this day,for under
$2.00 you can still get a huge sandwich and a soda.
As its name might suggest, Little Italy
has a rich immigrant history as well. Many ethnicities have always
resided on the stretch of streets along Taylor Street, but the strong
Italian influence gave this area its namesake.
to do in University Village and Little Italy
College sports and drama abound in this collegiate Chicago
neighborhood. For starters, there are a variety of performances put on
at theUIC Theatre.
On any given
night you might find jazz vocals or a chamber choir, Theater
productions run the gamut, from Shakespeare to Chekhov to edgier plays
that allow the actors to explore "new theater." At the UIC Pavilion you
will find the men's soccer team - UIC
You will also hear baseball bats cracking and swimmers
splashing at Sheridan Park, which hosts a three-story field house.
The UIC Outdoor
is always buzzing with activity. There's a sand pit for volleyball and
the tennis courts rarely have await time. You can also jog the
perimeter for a mile-run. The open space is often used for campus
events and corporate picnics.
takes up a massive 6 acres and you can often find dogs and joggers
running around in the shaded landscape.
was named for
Jane Addams and provides a number of activities for residents of the
neighboring Abbott Homes public housing project as well as students
from Medill Elementary which is nearby. The indoor swimming pool offers
year-round opportunities for swimming and splashing. In the summer
months the park is equipped to offer baseball, softball, soccer and
Street's Festa Italiana
happens every second weekend of August. Taylor Street is blocked off
between Ashland and Loomis so folks can enjoy Italian food and
traditions. In addition, the festival also has live music and crafts
In June, a parade of history buffs start at UIC and progress
University Village and Little Italy, with a guide who highlights
historic points in the neighborhood.
On the first Saturday in October, the Joint Civic Committee of
Americans sponsors Chicago's Columbus Day Parade. The parade kicks off
at Balbo and Columbus Drive, then marches back through University
Village and ends on Taylor Street.
There is no shortage of bicycle racks along Halsted, Taylor
Harrison so many residents ride their bikes to get from Point A to
The main line used by University Village and Little Italy
is the CTA Blue Line, which runs between O'Hare International Airport
from the Loop. The Blue Line stops at the UIC Halsted stop. CTA buses
rerunning on every few blocks and public transportation is very
to smile, eat, shop, dance, laugh and more.
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