Chicago Beyond the Loop - An Original Neighborhood Landmarks Tour + Map

Being in the custom picture frame business, you get to see a lot of artwork. Some of it you see over and over....and over. A frequent framer piece has always been the Chicago Neighborhoods Map. After looking at it so many times, we began to imagine how we would change it. And so we have!
We found local architectural illustrator Phil Thompson of Cape Horn Illustration and gave him our wish list. Phil took pencil to paper and created our vision of a Chicago landscape past and present. 

Our map is drawn from an aerial angle looking west because we've often admired our beautiful city while on approach in an airplane. Phil's work is inspired by Chicago's rich architectural history. Based on a list published by the City of Chicago, neighborhoods are labeled by their most prominent architectural landmark.
Read more about each neighborhood and the architectural features below. Maps are available framed and unframed in our stores and also online.

Albany Park – Kimball El Station
This “open plan” terminal was deemed “the newest thing in Chicago transportation” when the remodeling was unveiled in 1976. It was the first station to include ramp access, a heated waiting area and public art installation. The controversially shaped sculptural pillars titled “Hope and Renewal” added in 2006 were designed by a local artist to celebrate the cultural diversity of the neighborhood.

Andersonville – Swedish Water Tower
Erected in 1927, the 20,000 gallon tank was painted in the colors of the Swedish flag in the 1990s to honor the area’s founding Swedish immigrants. Despite attempts at restoration, the tank had to be removed in 2014 after winter weather damage. The neighborhood is raising funds to construct a replica.

Beverly – The Irish Castle
Chicago’s only castle was built in 1886 as directed by real estate developer Robert Givens to resemble ancestral estates from his native Ireland.  It has been home to several great Chicago families as well as a girls’ college. It became home to the Beverly Unitarian Church in 1942. There are several accounts of the castle being haunted by a former pupil of the girl’s college who died in the 1930s of influenza.

Boystown – Rainbow Pillars
Installed in 1998, 23 foot high rainbow art pillars define an area in Lakeview bordered by Broadway, Halsted and Belmont. Chicago’s Boystown was the first officially recognized gay neighborhood in the United States. It is a vibrant, prosperous, and proud community that offers some of the city’s best shopping, entertainment, dining and nightlife and is host to thousands of tourists during the annual Chicago Pride Fest and Parade.

Bridgeport – U.S. Cellular Field
After 81 years in the original Comiskey Park, a new modern ballpark with the same name became home to the White Sox in 1991. At the inaugural game, the White Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers 16 – 0.

Chinatown – Gate at Wentworth Ave
Framing the unofficial entrance to Chicago’s Chinatown, the second largest Chinatown in the U.S., these two story bronze gates completed in 1993 depict the four greatest Chinese inventions. Home to numerous Chinese restaurants, gift shops, grocery stores and services catering to those interested in Chinese culture, Chinatown is a community hub for Chinese people in Chicago as well as tourists and locals alike.

Edgewater – Edgewater Beach Apartments
Located in the far north area of Chicago since their construction in 1928, these “sunset pink” apartments have hosted many famous guests including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1994, these apartments are hard to miss by passers-by cruising down Lake Shore Drive.

Greektown – Ancient-style Pavilion
Introducing the first gyros to the United States in 1968, Chicago’s Greektown maintains the history, community and language of the first Greeks to arrive in Chicago in the 1840s. As well as the Taste of Greece summer festival and the Greek Independence Day parade, Greektown displays a number of traditional Greek temples and pavilions to provide a sample of Greek heritage outside of Athens.

Humboldt Park –
Gateway to Paseo Boricua
Serving as a gateway to Chicago’s “little Puerto Rico,” this fifty-nine-foot tall steel Puerto Rican flag is a dedication to Puerto Rican pride within the Humboldt Park community. The street below includes a walk of fame with the names of many outstanding Puerto Ricans and buildings of Spanish Colonial architecture inspired by that of old San Juan.

Hyde Park – University Gate
This beautiful wrought-iron gate welcomes students and visitors of the University of Chicago to the gardens of Hull Court, designed by the University’s botany department and located just across from the Botany Pond.

Irving Park – Villa Historical District
A recognized Historic Place since 1979, the Villa District bookends the northwest area of Chicago’s Polish Corridor. With architecture over 100 years old and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, the area showcases uniquely crafted homes on picturesque boulevard style streets.

Jefferson Park –
Copernicus Cultural Center
Beginning as the first movie theater in Chicago, the Cultural Center has expanded tremendously since its initial foundation in 1979. Since then, the Center has become a hub of Polish culture, hosting the largest Polish Festival in the country and serving Chicago residents at large with numerous exhibits, fairs and classes.

Kenwood – Powhatan Apartment Building
A Chicago Landmark since 1993, this luxury high-rise on Chicago’s South side was designed by architects Robert De Golyer and Charles L. Morgan and features Art Deco detailing based on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lakeview – Kwagulth Totem Pole
Donated to the city of Chicago by James L. Kraft, founder of Kraft Foods Inc, the original totem pole was believed to have been carved by the Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands. More than fifty years later, Chicago’s Field Museum discovered that the totem pole was in fact carved by the Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island and was then donated to the University of British Columbia, but not before Kraft commissioned a replica of the totem pole that now permanently resides in its historic location in Lakeview. 

Lincoln Park – Conservatory
Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, the Conservatory showcases numerous exotic plants, tropical palms and ancient ferns. Celebrating its 120th birthday this year, this home to the Chicago annual flower show is frequently described as a “paradise under glass.”

Lincoln Square – Giddings Plaza Fountain
This magnificent fountain serves as the centerpiece to the Lincoln Square plaza, a community staple hosting community programming such as free summer concerts festivals, garden walks and numerous hotels, banks and retail stores.

Little Village – 26th Street Arch
Currently under construction, this community landmark represents the entrance to Chicago’s “other magnificent mile.” The two-mile neighborhood provides an authentic taste of Mexico in the Midwest. Filled with traditional grocery stores, bakeries, and storefronts, Little Village is an authentic slice of home for the Mexican-American community.

Logan Square – IL Centennial Monument
Built in 1918 by Henry Bacon, known for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, this 70 foot marble column commemorates the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood. Surrounding the base of the monument are reliefs designed by Evelyn Beatrice Longman depicting figures showing the evolution of the state during its first century.

The Loop – El
The center of Chicago’s famed public transportation, the elevated railroad, commonly known as “the El,” serves over 75,000 commuters and visitors daily. The hub of this transportation network is “the Loop”, where the main train lines loop around a rectangle formed by the unofficial boundaries of Chicago’s downtown area.

Magnificent Mile – Water Tower
Located in the shopping district of downtown Chicago, the Chicago Water Tower has served as an Office of Tourism art gallery after being the sole public building to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The tower has become a symbol of old Chicago and the city’s magnificent recovery.

Marquette Park – Darius and Girenas Memorial
This Art Deco style monument honors two Lithuanian-American, Stephen Darius and Stanley Giernas, pilots who died during an attempt to fly from New York to Lithuania in 1933. The Lithuanian consul in Chicago commissioned the monument in 1935 and the unveiling was attended by over 40,000 people.

North Center – Irving & Lincoln Post
Named because it happened to be in the approximate center of the city’s North Side, local printer Henry Moberg gave the area its name in 1921. North Center has been home to Chicago’s oldest radio station, possibly the city’s longest row of car dealerships, Americas first movie capital, and probably our town’s first anti-pollution crusade. The North center post at Irving and Lincoln was erected by the North Center Chamber of Commerce.

Old Town – Gate to Wells Street
These ornate gates designate the area of Chicago known as Old Town, a historic neighborhood home to many National Historic Landmarks and Chicago staples such as The Second City and the Old Town School of Folk Music. The area has served as home to numerous early Native American residents, German and Puerto Rican immigrants, and most recently a community of affluent “hipsters.”

Pilsen – 18th Street
Constituting the heart of one of Chicago’s most authentic Mexican communities, 18th street plays host to numerous Mexican bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores, described as “unconsciously authentic.”

Portage Park – Portage Park Theater
Opened in 1920, and thus one of the oldest movie houses in Chicago, this megaphone-shaped auditorium is home to the Silent Film Society of Chicago and the Northwest Chicago Film Society. The 1300 seat theater shows both silent and classic motion pictures as well as hosting live events.

Pullman – Pullman Admin Building
Located in the historic Pullman community area, the stunning Pullman Company Administration Building has been featured
in several major motion pictures, as well as was the inspiration for the buildings at the North Pole in the animated movie, The Polar Express.

River North – Marina Towers
Occupying nearly an entire city block, the Marina Towers, otherwise known as Marina City, are a mixed residential and commercial building complex on the north bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. The corncob shaped buildings house Chicago’s House of Blues and have been the inspiration for numerous pop culture mediums, including the album cover of Chicago band Wilco’s 2002 album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Rogers Park – Murals
The “Mile of Murals,” located in far North Chicago neighborhood Rogers Park is a community-based public art initiative intended to nurture, promote and celebrate the arts-centered identity of the community. The murals, hoping to one day span an entire mile; represent the culture and passions of the unique community that comprises Rogers Park. 

Roscoe Village – Roscoe Bridge Sign
This busy bridge provides passage to Chicago’s Roscoe Village, a community known by the historic Roscoe Street. Populated by numerous business and residents, Roscoe Street is lined with Old World architecture and is known for its delightful summer festivals.

South Chicago – Old Union State Bank
The South Chicago neighborhood stands in the shadow of industry when smoke billowing U.S. Steel mills dominated the skyline. The area flourished until the 1920s, when banks like the restored Union State Bank (92nd and Baltimore) failed. Union State is notable for its cast-iron façade. 
The commercial district ran from 83rd to 92nd streets and included the Calumet National Bank (1909), People’s Gas Store (1925) in terra cotta, and the Commercial Theater.

South Loop – Field Museum
Founded in 1893, Chicago’s Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Attracting over 2 million visitors annually, the museum prides itself on its educational and scientific programs, its many traveling shows as well as its world renowned research facilities.

South Shore – South Shore Cultural Center
Established in 1905, this 65-acre park has a history of cultural preservation and community programming. The Chicago Landmark features a solarium, multiple restaurants, the Washburne Culinary Institute as well as the Paul Robeson Theater. Outside, the Center offers a nature sanctuary, a butterfly garden, as well as a golf course and beach.

Streeterville – Navy Pier
Preparing for its upcoming 100 year anniversary, Navy Pier has a history of comprised of hosting the World’s Fair, being home to the University of Illinois at Chicago and being utilized as training center for the US Navy. Currently Navy Pier, houses the Chicago Children’s Museum, an IMAX theater and the magnificent Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, thus maintaining its reputation as Chicago’s number one tourist attraction.

Uptown – Theater District
Chicago’s premier entertainment destination, Uptown’s Theater District houses various music venues, as well as restaurants and shops. Including the Aragon Ballroom, the Riviera Theater and the Arcadia Ballroom, this community continues to be a destination for tourists and locals alike. 

West Ridge – Classic Chicago Bungalows
Originating in 1930s Chicago, the West Ridge Bungalows were built for working-class areas and were a staple of what became known as the “bungalow belt.” Recently, an effort to maintain the historic bungalows has emerged with fears of increasingly gentrified neighborhoods in Chicago. 

Wicker Park – The Flatiron
Established in the 1980s in the already century old building, the Flat Iron Building has become an art colony and bar featuring visual artists and musicians of all disciplines. Located at the epicenter of Wicker Park, it has become a hub within this hip and vibrant neighborhood. 

Wrigleyville – Wrigley Field
The home of the Chicago Cubs and named after chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., the iconic park remains the oldest National League ballpark. Its legacy has expanded, transforming the surrounding neighborhood into what is now called Wrigleyville, a neighborhood thriving with bars, restaurants and residential areas.

Maps are available framed and unframed in our stores and also online.