A Chicagoan’s Guide to London Neighborhoods

The City of London is on the River Thames and has plenty of historic architecture
The City of London is on the River Thames and has plenty of historic architecture | © Jim Trodel / Flickr
Jamie Miller

London and Chicago are incredibly different cities, but when visiting a new place for the first time, it can be helpful to have a point of reference. If you’re traveling to London from Chicago—or vice versa—here are a few amazing neighborhoods that have wonderful similarities and fascinating differences that you’re sure to appreciate.

Gold Coast, Chicago & Knightsbridge, London

Gold Coast and Knightsbridge are shoppers’ paradises, with designer names adorning the glitzy storefronts that line the streets of each. Gold Coast is home to the Bloomingdale’s home store, which is set in the historic Medinah Temple building. The neighborhood is also adjacent to the famous Magnificent Mile, which has most any shop and department store you could hope for. Knightsbridge has the internationally acclaimed Harrods luxury department store, host to nearly every high-end designer in some form or fashion, as well as Shoe Heaven, which sits on the top floor and is truly a mecca for footwear fanatics. Additionally, tourists will revel in the restaurant selection and swanky hotels that abound in both neighborhoods.

Kensington, London

Logan Square, Chicago & Brixton, London

The Bloomingdale Trail provides much-needed green space in an urban area

Lincoln Park, Chicago & Chelsea and South Kensington, London

Lincoln Park, Chelsea, and South Kensington are just outside of the hustle of the city but are easily accessible and have plenty of city amenities, including bus and “L”/Tube stops. The King’s Road in Chelsea is lined with many upscale boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops, similar to Lincoln Park’s Armitage Avenue. Both are rife with cultural opportunities, including the Chicago History Museum and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. DePaul University’s main campus is in Lincoln Park, and South Kensington has Imperial College London, institutions of higher education set in urban landscapes. Visitors will also find Kensington Palace in Hyde Park in South Kensington—sorry, there just isn’t a Chicago equivalent for that.

There are few, if any, American equivalents to Kensington Palace in South Kensington

The Loop, Chicago & the City of London

Renowned centers of finance and known for stunning architecture, The Loop and the City of London have many similarities. Each is home to or near the tallest structures in the cities, the Willis Tower and The Shard, respectively. The working crowd can have a stroll by the River Thames on their lunch break in London or take a breather by Lake Michigan in Chicago. Shops and other businesses tend to shut or have shorter hours on the weekend, as neither area is primarily residential. However, London’s Borough Market, located in Southwark but near the City of London, is open Monday through Saturday, and visitors will find endless food stalls with bites from around the world. The only Loop equivalent might be the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, but this event occurs for just a few days once a year.

The City of London is on the River Thames and has plenty of historic architecture

River North, Chicago & Mayfair, London

Buzzing with activity and filled with trendy restaurants and upscale bars, as well as sought-after homes and apartments/flats, River North and Mayfair are very similar and very different. Each area is where you’re most likely to find the posh younger set at a decadent dinner before hopping from champagne lounge to whiskey bar to a Chicago club or a London private members’ club. Although River North is a bit busier than Mayfair, and venues tend to stay open later, Mayfair boarders Soho, which better accommodates the night owls. Soho also offers Oxford Circus, reminiscent of the Magnificent Mile, which lies between River North and Gold Coast.

Trendy restaurants, clubs, and bars abound in Chicago’s River North neighborhood
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article