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South Chicago

Rooted in industry and organized labor, the South Chicago neighborhood doesn't offer much in the way of nightlife or luxury shopping, but it has a large number of educational institutions that cater to families with young scholars of all ages and interests. From public schools to private academies, parents have plenty of nearby options for their children’s education. South Chicago also has a wide assortment of residential real estate, ranging from single-family detached homes to traditional brick bungalows. Many of the properties in this Chicago neighborhood offer private yards, front patios and garage parking. For a three-bedroom single-family home, house hunters can expect to pay around $130,000. But if you’re not afraid of a little dirty work, you can easily find a fixer-upper for well under $100,000. Multi-unit housing isn’t as common in the South Chicago neighborhood, but there’s still a good selection of one or two-bedroom condos and attached townhomes with prices in the $100,000 range.

In addition to numerous educational opportunities and an affordable housing market, South Chicago residents welcome the area’s multitude of recreational spots. Bessemer Park, named after Sir Henry Bessemer of the steel industry, offers extensive walking trails and a spray pool just for the little ones. No need for the adults to feel left out, though; there’s an outdoor pool here for “big kids,” too. Bessemer Park also hosts baseball, soccer and boxing classes for sports lovers of all ages. Not the athletic type? Take up one of the park’s fifty arts and crafts programs where you’ll never have to worry about breaking a sweat. It’s quite a challenge for any other South Chicago park to outdo Bessemer’s bevy of events and activities, but Russell Square Park and Ecersall Stadium Park still have a lot to offer South Chicago residents. Both grounds have walking and jogging paths, but Russel Square offers a public pool, while Eckersall’s stadium is home to many high school sports practices.

Spending a day at the park can work up a serious appetite. So head over to one of South Chicago’s Mexican restaurants like Pepes. This place has a full menu of quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas and a kids’ menu offering mini beef tacos or grilled cheese sandwiches. For something with a little more authentic flair, head to Cocula Restaurant, where you’ll find grilled shrimp, fajitas and the best complimentary chips and salsa in the neighborhood. And because no neighborhood in Chicago would be complete without a pizza joint, South Chicago has those, too. De Arcos Pizzeria, for one, has homemade calzones and cheap pies, but they’ve only got three tables, so be prepared for take-out! When De Arcos is packed, South Chicago locals head over to Pizza Capri. This joint has a pie for every ‘za enthusiast. Nosh on thin crust, or dough-lovin’ diners can indulge in a slice of traditional deep-dish.

South Chicago's shopping options are limited to a few big box stores and national chain merchandisers. The neighborhood has big-name retailers like Payless Shoe Store, Footlocker and City Sports, but a day of serious shopping warrants a trip downtown.