Chicago offers many neighborhoods where living without a car is easy and enjoyable. These areas provide everything you need close by, with great public transport, shops, and parks within walking distance.

Living in Chicago without a car means less hassle and more exploring the city’s vibrant streets on foot or by bike.

Here’s a list of the top 10 neighborhoods in Chicago for a car-free lifestyle. To discover more about these car-free-friendly areas, read the full article.

source: Flickr

The Loop

Public Transport Options: CTA buses, Metra, “L” trains (Red, Blue, Brown, Orange, Purple, and Pink Lines)

The Loop, which is Chicago’s commercial hub, is an ideal neighborhood to live in without a car. Everything from grocery stores to the city’s most iconic sites, such as Millennium Park, the Art Institute, and the Theater District, are right at your doorstep in this downtown district. Public transport facilities are plentiful with multiple CTA buses, Metra, and “L” train lines servicing the area, making the entirety of Chicago easily accessible. You’ll also find Divvy bike stations and plenty of sidewalks for walking or jogging.

Lincoln Park

Public Transport Options: CTA buses, “L” trains (Red, Brown, and Purple Lines)

Lincoln Park is a highly walkable neighborhood with charming brick row houses, tree-lined streets, and easy access to the largest park in the city. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, Lincoln Park offers a mixture of top-rated restaurants, bars, and shopping outlets, all easily accessible without a car.

Lincoln Park Zoo and the Conservatory are delightful local attractions. If you need to commute, there are plenty of public transport options, including CTA buses and the “L”.

West Loop

Public Transport Options: Buses, “L” trains (Pink, Blue, and Green Line)

West Loop, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, boasts a robust food scene and a vibrant cultural life. You’ll find some of Chicago’s best restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and music venues here, most within walking distance.

It’s a bike-friendly neighborhood with numerous Divvy stations, and public transport includes bus routes and the “L” trains. West Loop’s central location also means it’s a short commute to downtown.

Hyde Park

Public Transport Options: Metra Electric Rail, Multiple bus routes

Situated on the South Side and home to the University of Chicago, Hyde Park is a dynamic and diverse neighborhood.

There’s a range of eateries, local bookstores, and the famous Museum of Science and Industry. The neighborhood is also endowed with significant green spaces such as Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance. Several bus lines and the Metra Electric line make getting around easy without a car.


Public Transport Options: CTA buses, “L” trains (Red and Brown Line)

Lakeview, located on the North Side of Chicago, is packed with nightlife, diverse eateries, unique shops, and concert venues. The neighborhood is also home to Wrigley Field, a must-visit for baseball fans.

It’s an active and walkable neighborhood loved by locals for its vibrant energy. A number of public transportation options, including the CTA buses and the “L” make it a great neighborhood to live in without a car.

Old Town

Public Transport Options: CTA buses, “L” trains (Brown and Red Line)

Old Town is a historic neighborhood filled with beautifully preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and a thriving art and theatre scene. It boasts some of the city’s best comedy clubs, like The Second City, and restaurants. Division Street Farmers Market is where residents can get their fresh produce.

The area’s high walkability score and access to “L” trains and CTA buses make it very convenient for residents without cars.

River North

Public Transport Options: CTA buses, “L” trains (Brown, Orange, Pink, and Purple Line)

River North is an urban, stylish neighborhood known for its art galleries, design studios, fine dining, and lively nightlife. It harbors some of Chicago’s iconic towering skyscrapers as well as historic architecture.

Being a densely populated area, everything is nearby, making daily life without a car entirely possible. Public transportation is robust, with multiple bus routes and train lines to choose from.


Public Transport Options: “L” trains (Red Line), multiple bus routes

Established by Swedish immigrants, Andersonville has retained its charming cultural identity with Swedish shops, museums, and restaurants dotting the locale. The neighborhood blossoms with locally owned boutiques, galleries, and a great food scene. High walkability and affluent public transportation options, including the nearby Red Line “L” and various bus routes, make Andersonville an ideal neighborhood to live in without a car.

Wicker Park

Public Transport Options: “L” trains (Blue Line), buses

Wicker Park buzzes with an eclectic vibe popular among artists and young professionals. It offers a robust mix of trendy boutiques, renowned restaurants, bustling bars, and vibrant live music venues.

The neighborhood is quite walkable, and the Blue Line runs directly through for an easier commute to other parts of the city, making it a splendid choice for car-free living.


Public Transport Options: “L” trains (Red Line), buses

Uptown, famous for its historic entertainment district filled with glamorous jazz clubs and theaters, is one of Chicago’s most multicultural neighborhoods. You’ll find a diverse range of housing, eateries, and shopping outlets.

The Red Line and surrounding bus routes offer reliable transport, while bike-sharing stations and pedestrian-friendly streets cater to non-motor transportation. Given these conveniences, you can comfortably reside in Uptown without a car.

Tips to Live Chicago Neighborhoods Without a Car

Living in Chicago without a car can be a breeze with the right approach. Here are some tips to help you navigate city life on foot, by bike, or public transit.

  1. Get Familiar with Public Transit: Chicago’s CTA offers extensive bus and train services. Use apps to check schedules and plan routes efficiently.
  2. Invest in a Bike: Biking is a fast and flexible way to get around. Chicago’s bike lanes and bike-sharing program make it cyclist-friendly.
  3. Walk More: Many neighborhoods are walkable. Enjoy the health benefits and discover local gems by exploring on foot.
  4. Use Rideshare Apps: For longer distances or late-night travel, rideshare apps can be a convenient option.
  5. Shop Locally: Choose neighborhoods with grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essentials within walking distance.
  6. Enjoy Local Parks and Recreation: Take advantage of nearby parks and recreational areas to relax and exercise without needing to travel far.
  7. Stay Connected: Join local community groups or online forums to learn about events and activities you can enjoy without a car.


What makes a Chicago neighborhood good for living without a car?

Neighborhoods with high walkability, robust public transit options, access to amenities like grocery stores, cafes, and parks, and bike-friendly streets are ideal for car-free living in Chicago.

How do I get around Chicago without a car?

Utilize Chicago’s extensive public transit system, including buses and the “L” trains. Biking and walking are also great options, supported by the city’s bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets. Rideshare services can fill in the gaps when needed.

Are there any challenges to living in Chicago without a car?

Depending on the neighborhood, you might find limitations in late-night public transit services or longer commutes to certain areas of the city. However, planning and utilizing rideshare apps can help mitigate these challenges.

Can I rely on public transit for all my transportation needs in Chicago?

Yes, many residents live comfortably in Chicago without a car by relying on public transit. The CTA provides comprehensive coverage across the city, making it feasible to commute, run errands, and explore different neighborhoods.