Cover by Jennifer Chavez

While we managed to get through 2021 feeling more hopeful than the previous year, it would be disingenuous to say that things are back to normal or that they’re going to be. As we think about how far we’ve come, we notice the different ways that our communities are internalizing a new normality.

Neighborhood parks are more active than ever with organized activities; restaurants that survived the pandemic have mastered outdoor dining and making food to go; some mutual aid efforts are expanding or formalizing their services; there are more food vendors and farmers markets on the sidewalks; more art is going up on the walls; and workers in various industries are striking and organizing for what they know they’re worth.

In the annual Best of the South Side we invite South Side residents—community leaders, writers, youth, regular people—to help us craft the issue by telling us what they love about their neighborhoods. 

We invite you to immerse yourself in the responses you find here and to patronize local businesses, get inspired, and learn from one another. In no way is this an exhaustive list of everything that’s good in the South Side, or even of every neighborhood, but it may show you a side of things that you may not be used to seeing. #BoSS2021

To learn about getting involved in next year’s Best of the South Side, email

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Best of Archer Heights & West Elsdon

Best of Auburn Gresham & Chatham

Best of Avalon Park & Calumet Heights

Best of Back of the Yards

Best of Beverly

Best of Bridgeport

Best of Brighton Park

Best of Bronzeville

Best of Chicago Lawn & West Lawn

Best of Chinatown

Best of East Side & South Chicago

Best of Englewood

Best of Gage Park

Best of Garfield Ridge

Best of Hegewisch

Best of Hyde Park & Kenwood

Best of La Villita

Best of McKinley Park

Best of Morgan Park

Best of Mount Greenwood

Best of North Lawndale

Best of Pilsen

Best of Pullman & Roseland

Best of South Loop

Best of South Shore & Woodlawn

Best of Washington Park

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