The neighborhood of North Park is regarded as a quiet, stable, middle income area known for its educational and civic institutions, but it started out as a wooded prairie. You can still get a feel for this in the many public spaces the neighborhood has to offer.
The neighborhood began take on the residential feel it has today when a wave of residential development took place from 1910-1930, and then again in the postwar period, reaching its peak in population in 1960. In recent years, Korean, Filipino and Hispanic people have settled in the community.
The neighborhood is generally bounded by the Chicago River - and Foster Ave (5200 N) west of its intersection with the river - north to Devon Ave (6400 N), and the North Channel of the Chicago River west to RR tracks. It includes Gompers Park, which is south of Foster, and an irregularlly shaped industrial area west of the RR tracks between Bryn Mawr (5600 N) and Peterson (6000 N).
Public Amenities, Services, Civic Organizations
With only about half of North Park made up of its residential streets, there is definitely no lack of open space. Legion Park surrounds the North Shore channel and runs the entire length of the eastern edge of the neighborhood. Peterson Park and its heavily wooded acreage, and field house offers all of the amenities you’d expect from one of Chicago Park District’s finest properties.
Adjacent to the Park is the North Park Village Nature Center with its trails through the woods, wetlands and prairie. The Center offers educational programs for children and adults.
There are no less than five cemeteries in the area, Bohemian National being the most famous.
North Park’s residential blocks are comprised mostly of modest single family homes (most ranging from the $200s -$600s) and small to mid-size apartment buildings from two-flats to courtyards. There are many very fine examples of smaller brick homes such as Tudors and bungalows, as well as a smattering of frame houses in the neighborhood, most built between the 1910s and 1940s. There are also a few condominium and townhome developments, notably The Conservancy at North Park Village which sits in the woods adjacent to the Nature Center.
Metra's Milwaukee North District Line Forest Glen stop is west of the neighborhood and takes commuters to downtown Chicago in under 25 minutes. The neighborhood also has easy access to the Edens Expressway (I-94), and is a short drive from O’Hare International Airport. CTA bus lines run on Foster Avenue, Peterson Avenue, Pulaski Road, and Kimball Avenue.
Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
Local BBQ-lovers and the Chicago media rave about the affordable hickory-smoked treats and friendly service at Smokey Bears BBQ House at 3312-14 W. Foster. For fast food, Charocoal Delights at 3139 W. Foster is an excellent fast food alternative to a chain restaurant. Hoanh Long is a superb Vietnamese restaurant at 6144 N Lincoln Avenue.
Pure Café at 6251 N McCormick Blvd is a coffee joint by day, lively club by night with an interesting European-inspired menu. The Hollywood Lounge at 3303 W. Bryn Mawr is a neighborhood bar with a good beer selection frequented in large part by students from Nearby Northeastern and North Park Universities.
North Park residents enjoy a wide range of choices regarding their children’s education, both public and private. Chicago Public School’s Northside College Prep is a selective-enrollment High School known for its test scores as well as its spectacular new campus resting against Legion Park. Friedrich W von Steuben Metropolitan Science HS is a CPS public Magnet High School located in North Park, but accepting students citywide. Mary Gage Peterson school is a CPS elementary school in the neighborhood. Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university with an enrollment of about 12,000 that has been an affordable choice for area residents for decades.