chicago_streets_nightChicago has one of the world’s simplest street patterns and numbering systems. Chicago’s streets follow a very well-designed grid system. In 1901, building superintendent Edward P. Brennan first addressed the then confused state of Chicago streets and alleyways. He suggested that Chicago be ordered within a large grid with a uniform street numbering system, and he proposed State and Madison Streets as the city’s primary North-South and East-West axes. In 1908, the “Brennan” system was officially adopted by the city council and became the basis of modern Chicago’s street naming system. Addresses are numbered outward from the zero point at North-South running State Street and East- West running Madison Street. Street numbers begin at 1 at the zero point and increase numerically, outward to the Chicago city limits.

The city of Chicago is divided into 1 mile sections which almost always contain exactly 8 blocks within that mile. Each average block is assigned a new series of numbers increasing by 100s. Each 800 in numbers is 1 mile. North-South blocks within and just south of greater Loop area are an exception to the 800-to-a-mile rule: Madison (0 N/S) to Roosevelt (1200 South) is one mile, as are Roosevelt to Cermak (2200 South) and Cermak to 31st Street (3100 South). The normal 800 rule picks up again South of 31st Street so that Pershing Road (3900 South) is one mile South of 31st.

The blocks are commonly counted out by hundreds, and Chicagoans almost always give directions by saying things like “about 3200 North on Ashland” or “around 1600 West on Belmont” or “about 3200 North, 1600 West.” All of these describe locations near the intersection of Ashland Avenue (1600 West) and Belmont Street (3200 North).

Most of the East-West streets South of Madison are simply numbered. The house numbering is aligned with the street numbering. For example, 95th Street is exactly 9500 South. Half-block East-West streets in this area are numbered and called Places. For example, 95th Place lies just South of 95th Street, and just North of 96th Street.

Every four blocks is a major secondary street. For example, Division Street (1200 N) is considered secondary to both Chicago Avenue (800 North) and North Avenue (1600 North), but is still a major throughway. However, this is not always the case, especially on the city’s Far North Side: Peterson Avenue (6000 North) is a more heavily trafficked street than Bryn Mawr Avenue (5600 North), which is exactly at the 7-mile marker.

Even-numbered addresses are found on the North and West sides of a street. Odd numbers are found on the South and East sides. Diagonals, no matter at what angle it runs, are numbered as if they were north-south or east-west streets.

The Northernmost boundary street in Chicago is Juneway Terrace, just North of Howard Street. The Southernmost boundary is 138th Street. The Eastern boundary of Chicago is Avenue A, and the the city extends West in the portion of O’Hare Airport that lies in DuPage County, just East of Elmhurst/York Road.

Chicago Street Names

chicago_street_sign_southWhile all North-South streets within city limits are named, not numbered. On Chicago’s south side, the East-West streets are numbered. Smaller North-South streets in some areas are named in groups starting with the same letter. When traveling westward on a Chicago road, starting just past Pulaski Road (4000 West), there is a mile-long stretch of streets which have names starting with the letter K, and this area is often referred to as K-town. These streets are found approximately in the 11th mile West of the Indiana state line, and so begin with the 11th letter of the alphabet. A mile later, just past Cicero (4800 W), the starting letter changes to L, and mile by mile the letters progress up to P. The areas that might otherwise be the A through J groups are the older parts of the city where street names were already well established before this system was developed (although, in some small areas, the streets seem to have been given names intended to conform to the system), and the Q group (8800 to 9600 West) would fall West of the city, as the only land in Chicago West of 8800 West is O’Hare Airport, an undeveloped forest preserve, and a small strip of land, containing only Foster Avenue, connecting O’Hare to the the city.

Of the more than a thousand streets within Chicago’s city limits today, the greatest number—more than 170—bear the names of Chicago real estate developers. English towns and Chicago’s former mayors and aldermen have provided the next most popular sources of Chicago street names.

Chicago Street Grid Coordinates

View All Chicago Streets by First Letter

Major East-West Streets

  • Grid Coordinates
  • 9600 North
  • 8800 North
  • 8000 North
  • 7200 North
  • 6400 North
  • 5600 North
  • 4800 North
  • 4000 North
  • 3200 North
  • 2400 North
  • 1600 North
  • 800 North
  • 0 North/South
  • 1200 South
  • 2200 South
  • 3100 South
  • 3900 South
  • 4700 South
  • 5500 South
  • 6300 South
  • 7100 South
  • 7900 South
  • 8700 South
  • 9500 South
  • 10300 South
  • 11100 South
  • 11900 South
  • 12700 South
  • Street Name
  • Golf Rd.
  • Dempster St.
  • Oakton St.
  • Touhy Ave.
  • Devon Ave.
  • Bryn Mawr Ave.
  • Lawrence Ave.
  • Irving Park Rd.
  • Belmont Ave.
  • Fullerton Ave.
  • North Ave.
  • Chicago Ave.
  • Madison St.
  • Roosevelt Rd.
  • Cermak Rd.
  • 31st St.
  • Pershing Rd.
  • 47th St.
  • 55th St.
  • 63rd St.
  • 71st St.
  • 79th St.
  • 87th St.
  • 95th St.
  • 103rd St.
  • 111th St
  • 119th St
  • 127th St

Major North-South Streets

  • Grid Coordinates
  • 8800 West
  • 80800 West
  • 7200 West
  • 6400 West
  • 5600 West
  • 4800 West
  • 4000 West
  • 3200 West
  • 2400 West
  • 1600 West
  • 800 West
  • 0 East/West
  • 800 East
  • 1600 East
  • 2400 East
  • 3200 East
  • 1000 East
  • Street Name
  • East River Rd.
  • Pacific Ave.
  • Harlem Ave.
  • Narragansett Ave.
  • Central Ave.
  • Cicero Ave.
  • Pulaski Rd.
  • Kedzie Ave.
  • Western Ave.
  • Ashland Ave.
  • Halsted St.
  • State St.
  • Cottage Grove
  • Stony Island Ave.
  • Yates Ave.
  • Brandon Ave.
  • Avenue C