Welcome to Lincoln Square
Old-world European vibes in a cozy Chicago enclave.
Lincoln Square’s irresistible charm comes from its mix of old-world German influence and modern city sophistication. This friendly community offers a small-town feel with cosmopolitan conveniences, making it an ideal choice for putting down roots. That’s just what German brothers Lyman and Joseph Budlong did in 1857. Newly arrived German Americans had begun farming the region in the 1840s, and the Budlong brothers branched out to commercial pickling, greenhouses, and flower fields. In 1925, the neighborhood was officially named in honor of Abraham Lincoln.
Now the site of lush parks and harvest events like Apple Fest, Lincoln Square retains that small-town family feel and bucolic scenery. Design buffs may recognize the work of influential architect Louis Sullivan, also called the "father of skyscrapers.” Sullivan was also a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and his neighborhood buildings are still highly coveted.
What to Love
• European village ambiance
• Big city sophistication
• Friendly, close-knit community
People and Lifestyle
The pleasant, residential community of Lincoln Square is home to working families, professionals, and creative types seeking reasonable housing and a friendly neighborhood. Small businesses thrive in this supportive enclave, and new residents are welcomed warmly.
Dining, Entertainment, and Shopping
Known for its strong German roots, Lincoln Square proudly displays that European influence in locally-owned shops like Merz Apothecary. Opened in 1875 by Chicago pharmacist Peter Merz, this cozy neighborhood favorite offers homeopathic remedies, upscale toiletries, a huge selection of European brands, and niche spa products. European vibes are also apparent at Gene's Sausage Shop and Delicatessen, a traditional European market offering 40 types of smoked sausages, fresh meats, prepared foods, and imported specialties
Act like a kid again at Timeless Toys, a vintage-style store packed with retro wooden toys, puppets, outdoor games, books, dolls, scooters, and more. If kitchen gadgets are your idea of playthings, get cooking over at The Chopping Block, a premier school for home cooks that offers professional culinary school-style instruction, wine, and cocktail classes, and private cooking parties. Pick up professional-quality cookware and kitchen tools, as well as an array of gourmet ingredients, wines, and craft spirits in the retail shop.
Things to Do
Honor the arrival of spring the German way with Maifest. Still celebrated throughout Germany with the maypole, Lincoln Square’s version of the festival offers a variety of German and American food and beer, live music, maypole dancing, and other traditional German celebrations.
Whether you visit the Davis Theater for a film screening, special event, or movie on the lawn celebration, this elegant Art Deco theater is a must-visit. The longest continually operating theater in Chicago, this historic spot was built in 1918 and originally showed silent films. You can even grab a cocktail or dinner at the in-house bar and restaurant.
Celebrate the sounds of the globe at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Founded in 1957, this is the nation’s largest independent community arts school and offers hundreds of classes and workshops in music, dance, theater, and art, not to mention over 160 concerts and performances.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Welles Park, the heart of Lincoln Square’s recreation life. This 15-acre gathering place welcomes musicians and workout buffs and boasts an indoor pool, fitness center, outdoor lounge areas, and a wrought-iron, European-style gazebo, often used for outdoor concerts, storytelling, and other performances.
Family-friendly Lincoln Square offers several top tier educational opportunities, including: