The name has nothing to do with woven baskets but instead comes from the neighborhood's founding fathers, Joel and Charles Wicker. In 1870, the Wicker brothers bought eighty acres of land in the center of what is now the Wicker Park neighborhood. The Wicker's donated four acres to the development of a park, (the triangular-shaped Wicker Park) and began developing the rest. Their efforts were recognized as middle and upper class families migrated to the neighborhood, especially after the Great Chicago Fire devastated downtown and pushed residents outward from Chicago’s center. The influx of new populations to the area hasn't stopped since. With a gentrification process that began in the late 1980s, Wicker Park has managed to maintain some of its bohemian charm with vintage and resale shops, record stores and live music venues coexisting with an influx of chain stores, banks and high-end boutiques.
Nightlife in Wicker Park has long been a key attraction to the neighborhood. While the character of the community has gradually transitioned from a mecca for the hip and edgy to a party destination for weekend warriors, Friday and Saturday nights at the corner of Milwaukee, North and Damen is still a spectacle of urban entertainment. This is due in part to Wicker Park's reputation as a hot destination for live music, with both local and touring bands making stops at venues like Subterranean and Double Door or catching a DJ spin at The Note. If it's just the bar scene you want to enjoy, there are also plenty of places for that. Rodan, while also a restaurant, is a haven for twenty-somethings to see and be seen; and an evening hanging out in the patio at Nick's Beergarden is a great way to enjoy Chicago’s warm weather months. Wicker Park's southern border of Division Street has lately become a rival to the action of Milwaukee, North and Damen with several great new restaurants and bars opening on the stretch from Ashland to Western Avenue. You can sample fine handmade truffles at the retail space of Coco Rouge, a supplier of chocolate goodies to many of Chicago’s finer dining establishments. Phyllis' Musical Inn is another neighborhood institution that has turned into the go-to place to get a cheap beer and watch live bands.
Wicker Park has also provided a home to many Chicago artists over the years and the annual Around the Coyote art festival is a popular walking tour of the neighborhood's galleries. Wicker Park Summer Fest is a weekend of sun (hopefully), music, shopping and beer. With a few blocks of Damen Avenue closed to traffic, the stage is set for local and touring bands to entertain the throngs of fair-goers as they visit arts and crafts booths and sample the local cuisine.
Real estate in Wicker Park has risen along with the median income level of its residents and the resulting shift has transformed this Chicago neighborhood from a bohemian paradise to a more upwardly mobile and family friendly environment. Wicker Park features a plethora of beautiful brick Victorian mansions, but new development and construction have led to an increase in new condominiums. Like in most Chicago neighborhoods, off the bustling commercial intersections lay crisscrossing side streets of quiet, tree-lined solitude. An ideal residential haven.
The CTA Blue Line stop at Damen, North and Milwaukee drops you off at the center of the action in Wicker Park. Several major CTA bus arteries intersect the neighborhood: North, Division, Western and Ashland, with Damen cutting directly through the middle. Wicker Park's eastern border, the Kennedy Expressway is a transportation bonus.Chicago neighborhood and real estate information