Sporting diverse cultures and attractions, Uptown is a historically significant northern neighborhood of Chicago. Rich in racial diversity, Uptown is the true embodiment of the melting pot, populated by immigrants from around the world. It’s a place in The Windy City with much to offer residents and tourists.
Within Uptown, there are beautiful residential places around Sheridan Park and Buena Park. A developing section including shops and restaurants is at the northern part of Uptown, sometimes called South Andersonville. There is also a Southeast Asian community that makes its home around Argyle Street.
The bigger question, however, is how safe is it? The answer is yes, in general, it’s considered a safe place to live and visit so long as you take the appropriate precautions. From taking a taxi, to other public transportation, dining, shopping, and taking part in entertainment activities, vigilance is the key to a successful trip to Uptown, Chicago.
As a potential tourist, you’d like to know what to expect, and what precautions to take. If you’re looking to settle down in Uptown, you want to know if it’s the right place for you. Here, we’ll examine all the aspects of Uptown, Chicago from visiting, to living, and even eating, and how safe these things are to do.
Table of Contents
- Our Take on Uptown Safety
- So, How Safe Is It Really?
- Safety Tips for Traveling to Uptown Chicago
- Is It Safe to Travel to Uptown, Chicago Alone?
- Is It Safe to Use Public Transportation?
- Is the Food Safe in Uptown?
- Is the Water Safe to Drink?
- Are Taxis Considered Safe?
- So, Do You Travel to Uptown, Chicago?
Our Take on Uptown Safety
The brief answer to this question is about as safe as the rest of Chicago. This needs a deeper discussion of the statistics of crime in the area. For every 100,000 people, the calculated rate of crime in Uptown is 7.25 daily.
A further breakdown of Uptown crime:
- 49–the average yearly crimes per 1,000 individuals
- 1,710–property crimes reported in 2018
- 1,162–violent crimes reported in 2018
Looking at the statistics, the agreement is that it’s not considered very safe. Various types of violent crimes take place on a daily basis, and it’s hard to overlook that information.
So, How Safe Is It Really?
Numbers might make Uptown, Chicago sounds like a scary place to live or visit. Even then, however, the numbers show Uptown’s crime is only 3% higher than the national average and 53% safer than other cities in Illinois. The truth is more complicated, however.
Sure, there are areas that might make a person uncomfortable walking around in at night, but those are localized. The Wilson Red Line area was reported as more prone to crime but has not deterred its use.
One thing to remember is that Chicago is divided into many different communities and two parts. The north section, in and around Uptown, being the safer section, and the southern more crime-ridden.
Uptown is an area full of stores, restaurants, and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Though this brings out some of the seedier types of individuals, it’s not a deal-breaker. Using some street smarts and common sense, there is no reason to stay away from Uptown.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Uptown Chicago
Though traveling to Uptown, Chicago is considered safe overall, it’s always prudent to read a few pointers.
- Limit Money – Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, instead opt for for using your card.
- Keep Belongings Close – Anything you carry should always stay close to you to prevent theft.
- Pay attention – Thieves are known for working in public transportation and high tourist areas. Remain vigilant about anything out of the ordinary.
- Don’t carry expensive objects – Leave your expensive jewelry and electronics at home or the hotel safe.
- Careful around ATMs – ATMs are another hotspot for thieves. Use the ones that are inside the bank or a mall, rather than outside ones.
- Stay in well-lit areas – Stay away from dark alleys and remain closer to other individuals.
- Don’t just follow a map – Whether it’s Google or Apple maps or something else, electronics don’t know their surroundings. Refrain from using shortcuts offered by maps instead of more populated areas. Take an Uber if you need a shortcut.
- Be aware of the homeless population – You’re bound to run into even a portion of the homeless population. Often residing around transit stations, they shouldn’t prove bothersome, but it’s best to stay on the lookout.
- Prepare for the weather – Weather in Chicago is sometimes unpredictable. Pack for any eventuality.
Is It Safe to Travel to Uptown, Chicago Alone?
Alone or in a group, it’s relatively safe to travel to Uptown, Chicago. The vibrant nightlife available in Uptown means that as long as you follow some safety tips, the trip will end safely.
Uptown provides its citizens with different public services and organizations, but it can attract questionable characters into the area. Stay vigilant and away from areas prone to those issues, whether you’re only visiting or relocating to the area.
Never drink more than you can handle and stay in establishments that have excellent reviews. Certain areas you don’t go into after dark, such as the beach or darker streets and alleys.
Don’t hesitate to ask around for local advice. If you’re staying at a hotel, the staff may have more information on the area than you might think, giving you a good glimpse into the city life.
Even if you’re traveling solo, there’s no time for boredom in Uptown, Chicago. With the available nightlife, shopping, a beach, and other entertainment such as honky-tonks and museums, you’ll be on the go.
Is It Safe to Use Public Transportation?
Public transportation is tricky no matter the city. Urban areas are more prone to problems in public transport and the same goes for Chicago. The subway system, however, is designed to lead you right into the heart of Uptown.
In general, it’s deemed safe to use public transportation from anywhere in Chicago or outside of it, into Uptown. Many people use the subway and buses to get around the city, which makes traveling during the day safer.
If you find yourself in need of public transportation at night, stay alert. Don’t allow yourself to get lulled into a sense of security and follow some commonsense rules such as staying in larger groups, well-lit areas, and keeping your belongings with you.
Remember that the nighttime schedule for public transportation will change in many cities, and the same goes for Uptown, Chicago. Keep an eye on the clock if you need it to get back to your hotel so you don’t miss the last ride. If that happens, don’t walk. Hire a cab or an Uber to take you back home safely.
Is the Food Safe in Uptown?
Uptown, Chicago is a diverse melting pot of different cultures. With this type of diversity comes great food choices. Visiting Uptown means taking advantage of all the great choices available. Restaurants range from Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, to French Vietnamese and many more.
Most of these options are located in one space: Argyle. Argyle Street between Sheridan and Broadway is known by many names such as Little Saigon or Little Chinatown, and sports amazing Asian diversity. Easily reached at the Argyle stop of the Red Line, it’s a must-stop for anyone on the hunt for a good eatery.
All of these options offer amazing and safe food for anyone wanting to eat out. If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is look through reviews of potential restaurants that interest you or ask the locals. Hotel personnel, as an example, are bound to have opinions on the best and most authentic places to eat in town.
Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Many might be put off by drinking water inside such a populated area. However, Uptown and Chicago as a whole has clean water provided straight from Lake Michigan.
Though the water is considered hard and may not always appeal to everyone’s taste, it’s generally good to drink. The exception might be small children, but with the amount of stores available in the area, there is no shortage of water bottles for purchase.
Are Taxis Considered Safe?
Taxis that serve inside of the city of Chicago, whether Uptown or in other areas, are monitored by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The agency ensures all licensed taxicabs are safe to use.
One thing to keep in mind is that the city of Chicago provides its own license to taxi companies. The licenses are displayed on the hoods of the cabs making them easier to spot for potential travelers. If you’ve flown into the city, or find yourself in need of taxi, make sure the one you choose that the appropriate license.
Of course, taxis can prove expensive, especially if you’re traveling without a rental car. If you’re strapped for cash, use an Uber or Lyft, as those options are just as viable and safe, and even more so than walking at night.
So, Do You Travel to Uptown, Chicago?
Safety shouldn’t be the main concern when choosing whether to go to Uptown, Chicago. As many urban cities go, safety is always a concern to some degree and travelers need to remain vigilant. But of all the neighborhoods of Chicago, it ranks as one of the safest.
Uptown, Chicago provides an amazing nightlife, daily entertainment, and even quiet places to live and explore. Keep in mind some of the prudent safety tips as you go through and explore a city full of possibilities.