Living it up in Logan Square

Jo Cook, Staff writer

Still looking for an affordable apartment for the new school year? Has the convenience of your current neighborhood been affected by the Brown Line renovation?

While many Northeastern students prefer to stay in the area that surrounds the main campus, bargain seekers dependent upon public transportation should consider neighborhoods closer to El Centro, such as Logan Square.

Home to three Blue Line ‘L’ stops and located among several all-night bus lines, Logan Square has plenty to offer for first-time renters and growing families alike. It sports a wide variety of rentals from dirt-cheap garden units to surprisingly affordable units in historic mansions along the boulevards.

The ethnic diversity of this once-Polish neighborhood is immediately noticeable, with a heavily Latin American influence that shows few signs of being eliminated despite recent eyesore condominium development.

The old-school supermercados still dominate the Logan Square grocery market and promise low-cost produce from small, family-owned storefronts. Bargain hunters can also appreciate the many thrift stores and dirt-cheap Latino five and dimes.

Dive bars and late-night greasy spoons are generally within a stone’s throw from anywhere within the neighborhood, and college hipsters can be seen at most hours walking or riding their bikes in search of burritos to soak up the beer in their stomachs. Favorite local haunts include the Helen’s Two-Way Lounge, Bob Inn, Lula Café, and countless discotheques with dancing and karaoke for young and old alike. After hours, Dos Amigos and Lazo’s serve up chilaquiles that make Sunday mornings more bearable.

The numerous parks in the neighborhood host family events and heritage festivals throughout the year, and the public pool at Oakley and Lyndale is free throughout the summer.

For those who insist upon familiar corporate convenience, there are a number of gas stations, two Walgreens, a Dominic’s, Starbucks and a handful of chain restaurants.

If those in favor of neighborhood preservation have their way, the local businesses will continue to outnumber the chains for the foreseeable future.

Those seeking affordable housing in a safe neighborhood should seek out a space here before the prices increase, as the many perks point to an increase in property values that show no sign of halting in the near future.

Logan Square is frequently referred to as an “up-and-coming neighborhood,” but forget the future – this area already has plenty to offer.