Nestled inside a rough triangular shape of land, Chatham
is near several parks and two major highways in addition to easy access to public transportation. This south-side Chicago
neighborhood has it all, including a wealth of amenities.
Many residents have chosen to call the neighborhood home since the early 1950s, and these residents stay for the educational opportunities and neighborly spirit. When you move to an apartment in Chatham, you'll understand what motivates the residents to stay put. The neighborhood vigorously supports local businesses and holds a reputation as an entrepreneurial haven, with locally-owned businesses lining the streets.
Schools in Chatham
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Though the list of tasty spots seems endless, Chatham residents don't need to look beyond the first few lines to pick out which places bring them the most pride. Yassa African Restaurant on 79th Street sends your taste buds into a frenzy of Senegalese cuisine. Chew on a marinated leg of lamb that's been broiled to perfection or pluck brochette chicken pieces off a kabob for an authentic taste of African flavors. Locals choose jollof rice to complete any main dish, and these courses can only be properly washed down by Yassa's legendary ginger juice.
Head to Dat Donut on Cottage Grove Avenue. This local gem bakes some of the world's best and biggest donuts, according to locals and the Cooking Channel. Start with an iconic Big Dat, hand cut and glazed to perfection. For an even sweeter treat, opt for the blueberry cake doughnut topped with vanilla icing. To make Dat's even better, the bakery stays open all day and night so you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a head-sized treat at any hour.
Licorice Lounge blends Chatham's nightlife with the best of the neighborhood's drinks. Located on 87th Street, this hideaway from the bustling neighborhood has a welcoming atmosphere filled with loud tunes spun by a DJ. Locals say to grab a cocktail first, especially if it's happy hour. This club and lounge is the perfect way to unwind after a long day, particularly when the club hosts an event, such as Soulful Sundays or House Music Thursdays. Down the road, Red Peppers Masquerade Lounge gives residents a bit more selection. This jazz club contains both a sports bar and music area with bars in each. Sip a beer here to enjoy the chill vibe, and order food until 1 a.m. Stick around to catch a deal, such as $1 tacos or.50 cent wings, to complete the experience and make a Monday feel like a Friday.
History & Culture
Originally known as a swampy stretch of land called "Mud Lake," Chatham was primarily used by hunters and farmers in the 1860s. European immigrants began settling in Chatham when the steel mill industry brought work to the Calumet River. As the population swelled from 10,000 to nearly 40,000 during the 1920s, real estate in Chatham boomed tremendously.
As the neighborhood grew, so did some very successful business ventures. Johnson Products Company, which became Ultra Sheen Hair Products, the Independence Bank of Chicago, and Seaway National Bank of Chicago all started in Chatham before rising to regional and national prominence. Residents continue to uphold the values that established Chatham as "the jewel of south-side Chicago."
The Vivian G. Harsh society helps preserve and spread the history of Chatham and its residents. The society holds events and lectures at the Chicago Public Library on universal topics, such as gender, race, and politics.
Though technically one mile outside of Chatham on Chicago Avenue, the ETA Creative Arts Foundation helps bring a blend of culture and art to its surrounding areas. The organization features original plays written by locals, performances, and live readings in locations around the city.
The majority of jazz music festivals and heritage events take place in nonresidential locations outside of the area, though many of Chatham's hosted events are tailored to families.
Residents get around in Chatham using several different means. Many accomplish errands on foot, especially around the intersection of 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, where more restaurants and businesses line the streets. This bears true for all major Cottage-Grove-Avenue intersections, allowing locals to reach about three restaurants or bars in just 5 minutes on foot.
Locals who prefer to cycle stick to 83rd Street, 76th Street, or Martin Luther King Drive. For chilly weather or nightfall, calling ahead for a taxi or driving tends to be a safer and more comfortable option. Schedule rides through Uber or Lyft and park at the Avalon-Chatham Parking Garage
on 81st Street for access to convenient transit. The Dan Ryan Expressway cuts right through the heart of Chatham, making ventures outside the neighborhood very accessible. The Chicago Skyway, or Interstate 90, sits less than five miles away and can be accessed by three exits. Public transportation does serve the area, with bus connections required from one of six routes, depending on your destination. The Red Line serves the area of Chatham at the 87th Street station and runs vertically along I-94.
Life in Chatham rolls in at an average cost of living nearly 11 percent lower than the Chicago average. Other facets of life, such as utilities, transportation and groceries, remain in line cost-wise with neighboring Chicago territories. The exception is Chatham's inexpensive real estate, which averages much less than Chicago in general. Topping the list of Chatham's pros, the housing market remains both stable and affordable. The 61 percent of residents who rent apartments in Chatham encounter competitive prices. Monthly rent payments average $850 a month, with a standard one-bedroom
apartment starting at $600 a month.
While you will find big-name retailers like Target and Walgreens in the neighborhood, locally-owned shops such as Fragrance Island are the place to go for hard-to-find favorites. Fashion-forward women can visit nearby Essential Elements on 87th Street for trendy apparel, shoes, and jewelry.
With full shopping bags, grab some fried shrimp from Haire's Gulf Shrimp, or stand in line for a bag of pecan caramel corn from Garrett Popcorn Shops before heading to Jewel-Osco for the rest of your groceries. Along 79th Street, specialty grocery stores dot the streets west of I-94.
The Seaway Bank and Trust hosts the community's weekly farmers' market during the summer. Located on 87th Street, this market features organic produce grown by Illinois farmers and various products by diverse vendors.
The largest community green space in Chatham is Tuley Park, located at the intersection of 90th Place and Eberhart Avenue. Spanning 20 acres of lush grass with a garden and Spanish-revival fieldhouse, the park serves as a favored location to walk, swim, or engage in seasonal sports. Families and children prefer this park for the playground and interactive water features, while athletes attend for various lighted courts. Events such as the Jazz City Concert commonly choose this location for the park's vast space and central location for most residents.
Nat King Cole Park, located on 85th Street, is a five-acre hub of family activities and sports tournaments. After moving to your Chatham apartment, this park may be your go-to location for summer programs and holiday events. A playground for children provides fun for hours, while bikers and joggers take to the paved sidewalks for exercise.
Because this park caters to the whole family, dogs on leashes are also permitted inside the area.