In this series of blog posts, we provide a summary of the neighborhoods where we’re currently listing and developing homes. In this post, I’ll be focusing on living in Garfield Park Chicago.
Sometimes divided into East and West Garfield Park, this neighborhood is on Chicago’s West Side, between 4 and 5 miles due west of the Loop. This proximity one of the area’s major benefits.
Garfield Park is situated around massive 173-acre Garfield Park proper, which sits at its center and takes up 20% of the community’s land area. Garfield Park is adjacent to a stunning conservatory as well as a historic field house with a grand ballroom, outdoor swimming pools and athletic fields, a fishing lagoon, outdoor floral gardens, and recently renovated playgrounds.
Read on to see why it’s always a beautiful day to be living in Garfield Park Chicago.
Entertainment and Eating
The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the city’s most special places, and its a major boon to this neighborhood. In addition to being a welcome, lush reprieve from our harsh winters, the conservatory also offers 12 acres of outdoor gardens as well as classes, live performances, and other events.
Garfield Park isn’t particularly well-known for its culinary scene, though there are eateries sprinkled throughout the area serving BBQ, classic American breakfast, burgers and hot dogs, and Asian cuisine. That said, things are ramping up with the addition of The Hatchery, a food and beverage incubator with beautiful facilities that opened in 2016.
The local branch of the Chicago Public Library system, Legler Regional, is undergoing renovations at the time of this writing.
Supporters of the arts will be interested in the handful of galleries along W Carroll Ave, on the north end of East Garfield Park.
Not quite in Garfield Park, but not far east on Madison Street, is one of the city’s biggest venues: The United Center. Not only home to Bulls and Blackhawks games, the arena also hosts huge musical acts including, in 2020, Elton John, Billie Eilish, James Taylor, and Janet Jackson.
A typical commute to the Loop from Garfield Park using public transportation takes about 25 minutes, door to door, depending on when you get out the door. To get to O’Hare Airport via public transportation takes just over an hour. By car, a typical drive to the Loop without traffic takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and a trip to O’Hare takes about 25 to 30 minutes, again without traffic.
Walkscore.com splits out West Garfield Park and East Garfield Park as separate neighborhoods. It considers both very walkable, which means most errands can be accomplished on foot. Both areas have excellent transit, though East Garfield Park is considered quite a bit more bikeable than West.
Zillow splits up Garfield Park into three areas, listed from most affordable to most expensive based on median home value: West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, and Fifth City. Home values in both East Garfield Park and Fifth City are expected to increase over the next year — in Fifth City, by nearly 10%.
A Bit of History
The Garfield Park community was built up around the park. Created by the West Side Board in 1869 as Central Park, and renamed for assassinated president Garfield in 1881, it was one of three major park projects at the time.
The neighborhood experienced a brief prosperity after the first World War due to the success of the Madison-Crawford shopping district. At the time, it was one of the busiest shopping districts outside of the Loop, bringing with it more development, including beautiful movie houses. Unfortunately, the affects of the Depression and World War II brought many boarders to the area, causing large homes to be converted into smaller units and, ultimately, deteriorate.
Historic home at 3234 W Washington Boulevard in Garfield Park. Built in 1901, this home was designed by George W. Maher. It’s on the National Register and is a Chicago Landmark. Photo cropped from the original, taken in 2010 by Eric Allix Rogers [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via Flickr.
The middle of the 20th century was a hard time for the neighborhood with racial unrest, white flight, and rioting.
The beautiful park and conservatory have stood strong through this all, and some blocks have been rehabbed with care.
Overall, Garfield Park has had a history of up-and-downs, but many believe it is on its way up again.
If you’d like to learn more about living in Garfield Park Chicago, I recommend exploring the following resources:
- Garfield Park Community Council
- “West Garfield Park, past and present” from WBEZ Chicago
- Encyclopedia of Chicago’s East Garfield Park entry
- Encyclopedia of Chicago’s West Garfield Park entry
Interested in living in Garfield Park Chicago? I don’t have any active listings in the neighborhood as of this writing, but I’ve worked in the area in the past. Please feel free to contact me for more information on buying — or selling — a home in Garfield Park.