The North Side neighborhood of Uptown was once considered an entertainment hub for Chicago music-lovers and partiers. Old standbys such as the Aragon Ballroom, Green Mill Jazz Club and Riviera Theatre drew big crowds back in the day. They were the city’s hot dance halls and infamous speakeasies, known to host the likes of Al Capone. Today, the historic halls are still around—reinvented with a slightly different twist to entice modern patrons—yet bestowing entertainment value just as grand as its former Golden Years. The Aragon has been transformed into a several-thousand-seat auditorium that bills top Latino bands and other well-known artists. The Riviera is now one of Chicago’s premier music venues. It books popular groups from around the world, often to sellout audiences. The Green Mill’s reputation has spread nationwide as the city’s legendary jazz destination. Restored to its original prohibition-era splendor, the Green Mill continues to be the go-to for great jazz in Chicago.
“Little Vietnam” is located in Uptown along Argyle Street, on the neighborhood’s northern end. This few-block strip is packed with a concentration of Asian restaurants, grocery stores and shops. In addition to several Vietnamese eateries, Argyle Street has great Thai, Chinese and Laotian dining options. With a Red Line train station at Argyle and Broadway, Little Vietnam is a convenient stop that attracts people from all over the city who are looking for the most authentic Vietnamese food in Chicago.
During the mid-20th Century, Uptown went through a period of flux where much of its middle class population moved out to the suburbs. The larger homes were converted into multi-unit apartments and less affluent families took up residence in the inexpensive housing. City programs and urban renewal groups organized to revitalize Uptown, working to provide employment opportunities and foster community pride. Things started to turn around for the neighborhood as new residents relocated to the area, including large numbers of Asians, Latinos and African Americans.
For years Uptown has been considered one of Chicago’s more demographically diverse communities. But, the spread of gentrification in the early 2000s started to change the neighborhood’s ethnic composition once again. The popularity of neighboring Lakeview to the south and Edgewater to north has spilled over into Uptown, prompting a significant increase in condo prices. The rising real estate values seem to have gone hand-in-hand with a surge in Caucasian residents (about 10% higher than before 2000). There is also a noticeable decline in the African American population in Uptown and its sub-neighborhoods (Buena Park, Margate Park and Sheridan Park).
As mentioned above, the Red Line mass transit train runs through Uptown. It has three stops: Argyle, Lawrence and Wilson.