[Featured photo: The Music Box Theatre, one of Chicago’s most beautiful classic movie palaces, provides a landmark community meeting place on Southport Avenue.]
After many years existing unnoticed as a sleepy section of West Lakeview, Southport Corridor really started to come into its own in the 90s. Since then, the Southport neighborhood has blossomed into one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago, with Southport Avenue becoming one of the premier shopping and dining destinations in the city.
With tree-lined streets filled with single-family homes and small condo and apartment buildings, great schools, and easy access to the Loop, it’s easy to understand why Southport Corridor took off as it did. For buyers looking for an established neighborhood with a lot of amenities, Southport Corridor is a great (if pricey) choice.
Southport Avenue understandably forms the heart of the Southport Corridor, with Irving Park to the north, Belmont to the south, Ravenswood to the west, Clark to the east. Lined with trendy shops, both local and national, a wide variety of restaurants, and a classic and beautiful movie theater in the Music Box, Southport neighborhood residents have everything they need close to home. But when they want to venture out, they’re a quick walk to Wrigley Field and all of the Wrigleyville bars and restaurants, and the lake is less than a mile to the east, which somewhat compensates for the immediate neighborhood’s relative lack of park space.
The tree-lined streets of Southport Corridor are primarily low-rise, filled with single-family homes, small condo and apartment buildings, and luxury townhouse developments. Vintage and modern often exist side-by-side, but the overall look in the Southport neighborhood tends to favor more traditional styles, with relatively affordable (compared to brick) frame homes predominating.
Southport Grocery and Cafe: Both a fantastic breakfast and lunch restaurant and a gourmet grocery store, Southport Grocery and Café is the kind of staple envied by other neighborhoods.
Sal’s Trattoria: Located on the south end of the neighborhood, Sal’s offers traditional hearty Italian fare in a casual, homey setting. Definitely try the Spaghetti and Meatballs and the Rigatoni Bolognese!
Café Tola: While there might be fancier spots to pick up empanadas, Southport residents turn to Café Tola for what many call the best empanadas in the city. Featuring creative options like Buffalo Chicken empanadas along with the standards, this tiny storefront also serves great coffee drinks. Try your luck with the Empanada Roulette and let the barista surprise you!
Crosby’s Kitchen: A popular, family-friendly eatery serving lunch and dinner during the week and adding brunch on the weekends, Crosby’s offers twists on American comfort food with a Southern flair. Try the Iron Skillet Corn Bread!
Ella Elli: This chic wine bar is a perfect date spot, offering Italian and Middle Eastern small plates and expertly crafted cocktails, along with a well-curated wine and beer selection.
M2 Boutique: Located among many national brands, this locally owned boutique offers a constantly changing array of accessories, housewares, baby stuff, candles and other surprises. Whether you’re buying for yourself or finding that perfect unique gift, M2 has you covered.
Aura Candle Bar: Go on a “guided scent journey” and create your own olfactory destiny at this interactive candle-making lab. With more than 100 high-quality scents to choose from, you can create your own signature blend for your hand-poured soy wax candle.
Amazon Books: If next-day delivery is a day too long, Amazon Books enables immediate gratification when you just want to browse and buy. While it may not be a quaint locally owned bookshop, it’s still a great place to check out the latest best-sellers.
Southport residents are well-represented by the Southport Neighbors Association, working to maintain the character of the neighborhood and bring neighbors together through preservation, beautification, and community-building events. Southport neighborhood businesses come together under the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce umbrella, working to ensure that the Southport business corridor remains a vibrant and eclectic shopping and dining destination.
Southport Corridor is an easy place to commute from, with the Southport CYA Brown Line station conveniently located on the main strip. While the Brown Line may not be the speediest of the CTA lines, it’s easy to transfer to the swifter Red Line at Belmont or enjoy the view from the fully elevated Brown Line. For car commuters, the main highways are a few miles to the west, while Lakeshore Drive is about a mile to the east.
For those who can afford it, Southport Corridor is in many ways the ideal neighborhood. Southport Avenue provides extensive shopping, dining, and entertainment options, transportation is easy, and it’s a quick walk to the lake. The tree-lined streets and gorgeous vintage housing stock add to the neighborhood’s appeal. If you want to learn more about the Southport neighborhood, be sure to Ask Nagel – we know the Southport Corridor!