While actual territorial limits and colloquial names are not definite depending on local sources and usage, Lake View is unofficially divided into smaller neighborhood enclaves: Lakeview East, West Lakeview and Wrigleyville. Lakeview East (more commonly just Lakeview) forms the area popularly known as Boystown. It holds the distinction of comprising the first gay village to be officially recognized as such by a civic body in the United States. New Town is a formerly-used community name designating the area centered at the intersection of North Clark Street and West Diversey Parkway. The Northalsted Merchants Association is centered on the North Halsted Street strip between West Belmont Avenue and West Grace Street and is the dominant merchants association in Lake View.
Lake View is most recognized nationwide as home to Wrigley Field and its Chicago Cubs. Neighboring the field is one of the most famous gay villages in North America. Held on the last Sunday of each June, the Chicago Pride Parade, one of the largest gay pride parades in the nation, takes place in Lake View. The community area has also been host to several other major events: In 2006 it played host to an international sports and cultural festival, Gay Games VII, with its closing ceremonies held at Wrigley Field and headlined by Cyndi Lauper.
The early settlement continued to grow, especially because of increased immigration of farming families from Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden. Lake View experienced a population boom as Chicago suffered a deadly and devastating cholera outbreak. The Hotel Lake View served as refuge for many Chicagoans but became filled to capacity. Homestead lands were sold and housing was built. Access to the new community was provided by a wooden plank road connected to present-day West Fullerton Parkway, which was called Lake View Plank Road and is the present-day North Broadway. With infrastructure and growing population, residents realized it was time to organize formal governance to provide essential public services.
Also according to the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, Lake View became an incorporated Illinois civil township with a charter granted by the Illinois General Assembly, independent of neighboring Chicago. Lake View's first township election was held in 1857. The main building was Town Hall on the intersection of present-day West Addison and North Halsted streets. A building still bearing that name stands today as the headquarters of the Chicago Police Department's 23rd District. Lake View Township includes land east of North Western Avenue, between West Devon Avenue and West Diversey Parkway, generally encompassing the community areas of Edgewater, Uptown, and Lake View.
During the Civil War, the present-day bustling intersection of North Broadway, North Clark Street and West Diversey Parkway was home to Camp Fry. When the camp opened in May 1864, it served as a training facility for the volunteer 132nd and 134th Illinois Infantry regiments. Shortly after their deployment to Columbus, Kentucky, the camp was converted to a prison for Confederate soldiers, where conditions were markedly different from those of many other prisoner-of-war camps. The few residents of the area known as Lake View Township often complained of rebel sing-alongs held in the camp from time to time.
Lake View's early industry was farming, especially crops of celery, and at the time it was considered a celery-growing capital. From 1870 to 1887 the population of the township grew from 2,000 citizens to 45,000. As a result, there was growing need of more public-service access, and Lake View was absorbed into Chicago in 1889 as a way of meeting those demands. In 1889, a real estate boom became a major economic stimulant. According to the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, over forty percent of the neighborhood's present-day buildings were constructed during that time.
Philip Sheridan features prominently on the corner of West Belmont Avenue and North Lake Shore Drive, memorialized as a towering statue depicting Sheridan on horseback. The U.S. Army general is the namesake of North Sheridan Road. In 1871 he brought troops to Chicago in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire and was authorized by Mayor Joseph Medill to take control of the city under martial law. He was later made commanding general of the U.S. Army by President Chester A. Arthur.
Cook County government representation of Lake View rests in the hands of Mike Quigley, elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners from the county's 10th District. Lake View residents are represented in the Illinois Senate by John Cullerton of the state's 6th District. The residents also elect members of the Illinois House of Representatives: John Fritchey of the 11th District, Sara Feigenholtz of the 12th District and Greg Harris of the 34th District. Harris is noted as currently the only openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly.
Lake View is represented in the United States Congress by a former senior Clinton White House advisor and investment banker, Rahm Emanuel, elected from the 5th Congressional District, and by a former consumer rights advocate, Jan Schakowsky, elected from the 9th Congressional District.
Another community group, the Lakeview Action Coalition, is composed of more than 33 institutional members. They include banks, merchants and religious congregations of various denominations.
Several schools, including Lake View High School and Nettelhorst School, served the original Lake View Township.
Zoned K-8 schools in Lake View include:
Magnet K-8 schools include:
Zoned high schools in Lake View include:
Chicago Sudbury School, which formerly operated in Lake View, closed.
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Saint Joseph Hospital of Resurrection Health Care serve residents throughout Chicago and its suburbs.
The Howard Brown Health Center, with several branch locations throughout Lake View, provides health services for the gay and lesbian community as well as for the poor. It offers specialized assistance in HIV, AIDS, domestic violence, therapy and various youth services such as the Broadway Youth Center and the PATH Program for HIV+ Youth.
Center on Halsted, formerly Horizons Community Services, is also a major source of comprehensive social services for the gay and lesbian community. The Illinois Department of Public Health contracts the services of Center on Halsted for a telephone hotline for HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The Chicago Transit Authority also operates numerous bus routes in Lake View, the busiest being those running along North Lake Shore Drive with express services to downtown Chicago, including the Loop, via North Michigan Avenue and its Magnificent Mile. Bus routes entering and leaving Lake View include those designated as 8 Halsted, 9 Ashland, 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 77 Belmont, 134 Stockton–LaSalle Express, 135 Clarendon–Michigan Express, 136 Sheridan–LaSalle Express, 143 Stockton–Michigan Express, 144 Marine–Michigan Express, 145 Wilson–Michigan Express, 146 Inner Drive Express, 147 Outer Drive Express, 148 Clarendon–Michigan Express, 151 Sheridan, 152 Addison, 154 Wrigley Field Express and 156 LaSalle.
Private entities also offer many transportation services. I-GO and Zipcar have several locations in Lake View. Private companies offer trolley and bus services to certain destinations in the city from Lake View. Taxi and limousine services are plentiful in the Lake View area, as well as non-traditional modes of transportation. Bicycle rickshaws can be found especially near Wrigley Field. Bike paths are also available on some major streets. For those who prefer to walk or run, manicured walking and running paths are found throughout the community area, with a special path designed for Chicago Marathon training along the lakefront.
The Chicago Marathon training path curves around the Belmont Harbor marina, belonging to the Chicago Park District and managed by contracted companies. There are ten transient slips, several stalls, and finger dock, star dock, and other mooring facilities where boats and yachts can be kept. It is the home of the Belmont Yacht Club.
Lakeview East, especially along the Lake Shore Drive and Broadway corridors, consists of upscale condominiums and higher-rent mid-rise apartments and lofts. Small businesses, boutiques, restaurants and community institutions are found along North Broadway and North Halsted Street.
Gentrification, diversification and population shift have changed Lake View, with many businesses expanding northward of West Belmont Avenue. Larger businesses such as Borders, Whole Foods and World Market are moving into the neighborhood, and enclosed shopping centers such as Century Shopping Centre have been created. Another shopping center has included such tenants as Linens 'n Things, Marshalls and Designer Shoe Warehouse.
Historic churches remain preserved as integral parts of the community, such as Lake View Presbyterian Church and Saint Peter's Episcopal Church. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is the residence of an episcopal vicar and auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. It is also the mother church of the local vicariate and the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, controversially created by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, which is one of the largest of the few gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholic welcoming congregations created and authorized by a diocese in the United States.
Two residential neighborhood organizations are included in the Lakeview East area. Belmont Harbor Neighbors comprises the area bounded by West Belmont Avenue, North Halsted Street, West Addison Street, and Lake Michigan. South East Lake View Neighbors encompasses the area bounded by West Diversey Parkway, North Halsted Street, West Belmont Avenue, and Lake Michigan.
While the bars and restaurants in Lakeview East (especially along North Halsted Street) usually feature gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture, Wrigleyville bars and restaurants (particularly on North Clark Street) feature the sports culture with sports-oriented themes, and some mix the LBGT and sports themes. Sluggers, Hi-Tops (closed in 2006), Cubby Bear and Barleycorn bars host the Cubs crowds near the Wrigley Field intersection of North Clark Street and West Addison Street. Las Mañanitas, a gay Mexican restaurant, is located on North Clark Street just two blocks away from the stadium. This area has been a staging ground for a number of Hollywood movies. In addition, the area's Irish American roots are evident with Irish pub themes. While the specialty drink in trendy Lakeview East bars might be a custom-made cocktail, beer by the pitcher is much more heavily advertised in Wrigleyville establishments.
Facing inland on a tract of Lincoln Park land overlooking the intersection of North Lake Shore Drive and West Addison Street is a totem pole of Kwanusila, the Thunderbird of the Kwagu'ł Amerindian tribe. A plaque below the totem pole reads:
Kwanusila the Thunderbird, is an authentic Kwagu'ł totem pole, carved in Red Cedar by Tony Hunt of Fort Rupert, British Columbia. The crests carved upon the totem pole represent Kwanusila the Thunderbird, a whale with a man on its back, and a sea monster. Many people do not realize that totem poles were only regionally used by Amerindians along the coastal areas of British Columbia. Kwanusila is an exact replica of the original Kraft Lincoln Park totem pole, which was donated to the City of Chicago by James L. Kraft on June 20, 1929, and which stood on the spot until October 9, 1985. It was discovered some years before the pole was moved, that a pole of this type did not exist in the types at the Provincial British Columbia Museum located in Victoria, B.C., Canada. Arrangements were made for a duplicate of the Chicago original to be made by the same Amerindian tribe that made the original. A request was made and approved by the Chicago Park District for the original totem pole which existed here to be presented back to British Columbia. Kwanusila is dedicated to the school children of Chicago, and was presented to the City of Chicago by Kraft, Inc. on May 21, 1986.The totem pole is highlighted on Chicago city maps as a place of interest, visited by residents and tourists alike.
Every November, the Central Lake View Merchants Associaition (CLMA) hosts "How Lake View Looks", Lake View's premier runway fashion show. Featuring Lake View merchants showing off their most fabulous fashions, hairstyles, and latest make-up trends. The show is designed to celebrate how businesses and residents bring the wonderful eclectic styles of Lake View to life. The "How Lake View Looks" Runway Fashion Show is an annual CLMA event, held at the world famous Cubby Bear (1059 W. Addison).
Lake View hosts many art events. Each spring, the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce supports gallery tour groups, taking participants through several area art galleries. September brings visitors to the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts on North Broadway between West Belmont Avenue and West Roscoe Street. More than 150 juried artists exhibit their works along with live entertainment, fine food and a variety of performers.
Paramount among Lake View's events, drawing the largest crowds, is the annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade held on the last Sunday of each June along North Broadway, North Halsted Street, and West Diversey Parkway. In addition, for one weekend each August, the North Halsted Street corridor is closed off to automobile traffic for Northalsted Market Days, a popular street fair featuring nationally prominent bands and other entertainment. Food and merchandise booths line the temporary pedestrian thoroughfare.
Lake View hosts a solemn vigil and march each October, gathering at the intersection of West Roscoe and North Halsted streets, in honor of gay martyr Matthew Shepard. Each year at the Matthew Shepard March Against Anti-Gay Hate, participants focus on several activist themes. In the past, they have marched against hate crimes and anti-gay social policy or have offered support for gay youth. As the event reflects its socially liberal agendas, political organizations such as the Green Party and Democratic Party have shown an increased presence. Socially liberal Republicans also participate to a smaller degree.
Small but popular Lake View events take place throughout the year. Each July, the Lakeview Garden Walk takes visitors on trolley tours and walks throughout the neighborhood to over eighty garden exhibits. Each exhibit is prepared and presented by individual residents of Lake View. Once an event that focused on West Lakeview gardens, the exhibits now span the entire Lake View area. Families with children are drawn to Nettelhorst Elementary School on Easter weekend for an egg hunt and visit with the Easter bunny. They return on Halloween weekend for a costume parade and story-telling.