Boystown is the name of a neighborhood within Chicago, Illinois. Situated within the neighborhood of Lakeview, it was the first officially recognized gay village in the United States, as well as the cultural center of one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities in the nation. Boystown has grown into a cultural center for the LGBT residents and drag queens living within the Chicago metropolitan area.
The district's informal boundaries are Irving Park Road on the north, Broadway on the east, Wellington Avenue on the south, and Sheffield Avenue on the west. Some gay businesses spill outside these borders. Boystown lies just south of the Wrigleyville district, another popular district within the Lakeview neighborhood. Boystown has carved a niche all its own within the urban fabric of Chicago. The Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center, is also located in this area.
Boystown is known for its colorful, lively nightlife and inviting atmosphere. Bars close at either 2am or 4am on weekdays and Sundays (depending on the bar), and many are open until 5am Saturday night/Sunday morning. Boystown also includes some of Chicago's Off-Loop Theater, specialty restaurants, greystone and brownstone walk-up buildings and other historic architecture, trendy fashion outlets, wine boutiques, chain stores, and independent shops. Many of these stores and businesses line the streets of Halsted, Belmont, Broadway, Clark, and Sheffield. The city's annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade begins at the intersection of Montrose and Broadway, runs south along Broadway then Halsted to Belmont, turns east on Belmont to Broadway again, then south to Diversey, and then east to Sheridan Road. The route was altered in 2012 due to overcrowding.