Uptown has become one of the densest and most ethnically diverse residential areas of Chicago. It is a laid-back residential area on Chicago’s Far North Side. North Broadway is known for its trendy cafes, jazz lounges and bars. Other nightlife and entertainment venues include the Uptown Theatre, the Riviera Theatre, and the venerable Aragon Ballroom, which opened in 1926.
Buena Park, Sheridan Park, Argyle Street, and Margate Park.
To compete with the Loop and Woodlawn, the Central Uptown Chicago Association promoted the area’s shopping and recreational opportunities with images of New York City; the main thoroughfare became “Broadway” and the area, “Uptown.”
After the Urban Community Conservation Act of 1953 became Illinois law, Chicago established the Community Conservation Board, empowered to recognize tracts of 40 acres or more as conservation areas. Officially designated conservation areas, including Hyde Park and Uptown, were eligible to receive improvement funds and city planning services. Although conservation was theoretically distinct from urban renewal, in practice the two often blurred.
The Aragon Ballroom (1106 West Lawrence Avenue) opened its doors in July 1926 and quickly became a center of dance-hall culture in Chicago. Designed by Huszagh & Hill, the interior lavishly recreates a Mediterranean plaza, its arcades surrounding a huge dance floor suspended on a system of springs, cork, and felt.
Located in Uptown, alongside the “L,” it drew dancers from across Chicago and the suburbs. In 1927, WGN began live broadcasts from the ballroom, spreading its fame nationwide. Tens of thousands came to the Aragon every week.
After the decline of social dancing in the 1960s, the Aragon survived by hosting rock concerts and other public events. With the recent popularity of salsa and swing, however, the Aragon is again becoming a destination for dancers.
The historical, cultural, and commercial center of Uptown is Broadway, with Uptown Square at the center. In 1900, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad constructed its terminal at Wilson and Broadway (now part of the CTA Red Line). Uptown became a summer resort town for downtown dwellers and derived its name from the Uptown Store, which was the commercial center for the community.