In this series of blog posts, we’re providing a summary of the neighborhoods where we’re currently listing and developing homes.
Irving Park is a diverse neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, full of historical homes and tight-knit communities. It’s a neighborhood of neighborhoods, with some considering neighborhoods like The Villa and Old Irving Park to be part of Irving Park as a whole.
For our purposes, we’ll consider Irving Park to have the following boundaries: Bounded by the north branch of the Chicago River on the east and Pulaski and the Kennedy Expressway on the west. Stretching down to Addison on the south, until it hits the Kennedy Expressway, when the neighborhood boundary heads to the NW. The north boundary is Irving Park Road, though it stretches a bit further north of Irving Park Road, extending up the NE boundary of Elston before ending where Elston meets Pulaksi.
Irving Park’s main green space is Independence Park, known for being a tree-filled community gathering place with an excellent fieldhouse — and a beer festival every fall. The huge Horner Park is just outside of the neighborhood’s boundaries, on the northeast side, but is within easy walking distance for many residents.
And Athletic Field Park, near the Addison stop on the blue line, has its own ceramics building.
While the neighborhood doesn’t currently have its own branch of the Chicago Public Library, it looks like one may be coming soon.
Read on to see why it’s always a beautiful day in Irving Park.
Entertainment and Eating
Irving Park didn’t used to be known for its dining and imbibing options, but there are some excellent newer additions to the neighborhood that make going out to eat a treat. Eris Brewery & Cider House is a women-owned and -operated hybrid brewpub and cidery housed in a former Masonic temple. Named for the Greek goddess of mayhem who notoriously “threw the golden apple of discord into a party she wasn’t invited to,” their menu offers options for “meat lovers, vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and those who observe gluten free diets.” Independence Tap, kitty-corner from its namesake park, is a great neighborhood spot with an impressive beer menu. Arun’s Thai Restaurant (pictured above) offers creative, upscale Thai food with a fixed-price menu that changes daily. There is a Golden Nugget location on Irving Park — Golden Nugget is a local chain of 24/7 retro diners with a full menu but known for its breakfast. Next, Cafe Beograd is a cool, authentic space serving Serbian and Balkan cuisine, with a great selection of desserts, coffees, and imported alcohol. Other popular Irving Park hangouts include Leader Bar and, one of my team’s favorites, Smoque BBQ (pictured below).
And I can’t forget about the neighborhood’s independent theater, Windy City Playhouse, which opened in 2015.
A typical commute to The Loop by rail from Irving Park is about 35 minutes, door to door. To O’Hare Airport, it’s just under 30 minutes. By car, a typical drive to The Loop without traffic would take about 20 minutes, and a trip to O’Hare is 15 to 20 minutes, sans traffic.
Walkscore.com gives Irving Park a walk score of 85, a “very walkable” rating that means most errands can be accomplished on foot. It’s also very bikeable, meaning that biking is convenient for most trips, and public transportation options are good. The neighborhood’s two Metra stations, Irving Park and Addison, are along the Kennedy Expressway, meaning the walking portion of train commutes are shorter for those living on the west side of Irving Park.
According to Zillow, home values in Irving Park have gone up 2.5% in the past year and are projected to go up 1.5% in the next. The median home value in this neighborhood is a bit pricier than Avondale to the south and is about 28% less than North Center to the east.
A Bit of History
As drawn from the GIPNA website:
The Irving Park area was first developed in 1869, when a train station was built. There were 60 homes in the area by 1875, and Chicago annexed the Irving Park community in 1889. German and Scandinavian immigrants were among Irving Park’s first residents, and they were joined by Polish, Russian, Italian, and Irish families over the years.
Another interesting note: the Irving Park neighborhood was named after famed author Washington Irving. Head to the Irving Park Historical Society Facebook page for more interesting historical tidbits about this neighborhood.
If you’d like to learn more about Irving Park, I’d recommend exploring the following resources:
- The Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Assocation (GIPNA)
- Independence Park Advisory Council
- ‘Irving Park: So much more than meets the eye’ in The Chicago Tribune. This article from 2009 is a bit outdated in some respects, but it’s a worthwhile read for its explanations of the types of communities and homes within Irving Park. I enjoy the descriptions of the different styles of homes throughout the neighborhood, as well as the quotes from area residents.
- Irving Park East Neighborhood Association (IPENA)
- TRIP – The Residents of Irving Park (on Facebook)
- Getting to Know Chicago’s Smallest Neighborhood: The Villa (Curbed Chicago)
- The Villa Improvement League’s informational website on The Villa Historic District
If you’d like to live in the Irving Park area, check out the following homes:
Please contact me directly for more information on buying a home and living in Irving Park.