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Your Chicago: Wicker Park

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Wicker Park sits at the intersection of Damen and North avenues. (CBS)

Wicker Park sits at the intersection of Damen and North avenues. (CBS)

Kate Sullivan Kate Sullivan
Kate Sullivan is co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago News at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Forbes magazine just named Wicker Park one of the top 10 hippest neighborhoods in the country.

Kristin Unger doesn’t consider herself a hipster, but she is young trendy and socially conscious.

And she adores Wicker Park, a historic district at the center of the confusing intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen.

It’s crawling with skinny-panted fashionistas, young families, and those who thrive on the vibe of a neighborhood full of artists, musicians and locally owned everything, especially restaurants.

“I think there’s just such a great range,” Unger says. “If you have $5 to spend on dinner, you can grab a couple tacos from Big Star, or there’s a great falafel shop called Sultan’s that’s right around the corner. If you have $50 to spend on dinner, there are some really great upscale places.”

In addition to all the bars, shops and restaurants, one of the most attractive things for so many people is the central location and its accessibility to public transportation.

At Myopic Books, there are 70,000 books in a place as eclectic and yet as practical as Wicker Park itself.

“There’s a lot of students who live in the neighborhood, and students are always looking for cheap books,” manager JR Nelson says.

Nelson has seen the neighborhood evolve over the past 20 years, from a largely working class Hispanic neighborhood to an upscale and trendy one.

Back in the early 1900s, many wealthy beer barons built classic Victorian mansions. Many still line Pierce Street and border the actual Wicker Park.

“There really is a great sense of community and of neighborhood,” Unger says. “You see people you recognize even if you’ve maybe never met them before, and that’s one of my favorite things about being in the area.”

Wicker Park is home now to a farmers markets and a communal gardening center. For more information about the neighborhood’s offerings, click here.

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