Trendy restaurants and independent shops mingle with classic neighborhood spots and unique artists' galleries in one of Chicago's most established and eclectic west side neighborhoods. Bucktown is a mecca of popular dining establishments that attract people from all over the city to enjoy a nice dinner out, or just grab a bite before heading off to catch a live music show. The menu choices in Bucktown are endless, covering all the culinary cravings, and the nightlife here is just as satisfying with block after block of hip lounges, packed pubs and casual bars that all host live bands and DJs to keep the party going until close. On top of being one of Chicago's most sought-after weekend hangouts, the neighborhood is also home to a thriving art and theater scene. Poetry readings and one-man comedy acts share the stage with traveling musicians and local painters.
Bucktown's history is uniquely tied to how the Chicago neighborhood got its name. Established in the early 1800s by Polish immigrants seeking refuge from a war-ravaged country, Bucktown's name is believed to have originated from the large number of goats many of its early Polish settlers raised in their own backyards (the male goat is a buck). The Polish weren't the only group assembling in these former marshlands though; Germans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans also settled here later that same century. By the 1840s, Bucktown had grown large enough to have its own post office and hotel.
In 1910 Bucktown, still largely populated with Polish-speaking immigrants, was referred to as Little Poland or Polish Downtown despite the wide range of cultures represented there. However half a century later, the community experienced another wave of immigration, this time bringing a large number of Latinos into the region and creating an even more ethnically diverse neighborhood, which put to bed the Polish monikers.
Fast forward to the 1990s. A growing group of artists emerged in Bucktown and the community's identity followed suit. Real estate developers started converting old buildings into loft spaces and constructing new low-rise condominiums, leading to widespread gentrification and an increasing population of young working singles.
With a renewed interest in residential property came a rebirth in businesses as stylish stores, restaurants and bars popped up along Bucktown's urban blocks. Its reincarnation as a hip, trendy and artistic neighborhood continues to this day and remains one of Chicago's most fashionable places to live.
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