The Near West Side, one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, is on the West Side, west of the Chicago River and adjacent to the Loop. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started on the Near West Side. Waves of immigration shaped the history of the Near West Side of Chicago, including the founding of Hull House, a prominent settlement house. In the 19th century railroads became prominent features. In the mid-20th century, the area saw the development of freeways centered in the Jane Byrne Interchange.
The area is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago-Kent College of Law, and City Colleges' Malcolm X College. Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the United Center arena, and the Illinois Medical District are located in the community area.