Chicago, Illinois is home to the very first officially recognized gay village in the United States. Situated in the progressive and older neighborhood of Lakeview, Boystown is well recognized as one of the largest residential, business and support centers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the United States.
Lakeview or Lake View, as it is sometimes spelled, is just one of 77 neighborhoods in Chicago with the east part of it being mostly gay (including Boystown) and the western part being devoted to Wrigley Field which is the home of the Chicago Cubs. The western part of the Lakeview neighborhood, known as New Town, is quite run down but Wrigleyville, home of the stadium, is more upscale with new lofts, condos and many renovations.
The informal boundaries of Chicago’s official Boystown “gayborhood” are Irving Park Road to the north, Broadway to the east, Wellington Avenue to the south and Sheffield Avenue to the west. Boystown is also home to the Center on Halsted, which is the LGBT community center.
North Halsted Street is considered to be the main street in the area and it is lined with large Art Deco rainbow colored pylons. Just about every business on the street boasts the rainbow Pride flag as well. Many gay pride events take place along this street including the very popular annual parade.
The architecture in the area is old and beautiful, having escaped the ravages of the Great Chicago Fire. Many condos and artist spaces are situated in renovated greystone and brownstone walk-ups. There are also beautiful homes and duplexes with mature trees on smaller lots in the general area of East Lakeview. The main streets of the Boystown area include Halsted, Belmont, Broadway, Clark, Sheffield, Montrose, Diversity and Sheridan.
Boystown is one of those areas in Chicago that seems to never ever close with gay and lesbian bars staying open until five am. The streets are lined with wonderful gay-owned and operated businesses including antique shops, galleries, clothing stores, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, gyms, spas, clothing stores and pet stores.
As is true of many big cities, living in the gayborhood can be pricey. The median sales price for homes in Lakeview for May to July, 2013 was $405,000. One of the reasons it is so high is that there are many larger, historical mansions in the area. Living in Lakeview is 54% higher in property costs then buying elsewhere in Chicago. The average price per square foot for homes in Lakeview was $297.
If you are planning to reside here it is best to consult with a resident Chicago gay realtor who can help you find an affordable option whether you decided to live in Lakeview or some other part of the city. For more information about Boystown and Lakeview you can also go to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce site at http://www.lakeviewchamber.com/.