Two-flat brick buildings like those pictured above are common in the North Center neighborhood
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 North Center, a large neighborhood on the city’s north side. North Center is one of the city’s 77 community areas and, according to some maps, encompasses other neighborhoods (including nearly all of Roscoe Village, which has its own neighborhood guide, and the smaller neighborhood of St. Ben’s, which surrounds St. Benedict, a parish that dates back to 1902).
St. Benedict Parish on Irving Park Road
Known for its tree-lined streets, large parks, and diverse independently owned businesses, North Center is a great community for putting down roots.
Read on to see why it’s always a beautiful day in North Center.
Entertainment and Eating
The unofficial center of the neighborhood is the six-way intersection of Irving Park Road, Lincoln, and Damen. Branching out from there, you’ll find all sorts of options for entertainment and dining, from a bowling alley to a British soccer (a.k.a. football) bar to a sushi cafe to, of course, a couple of neighborhood breweries (namely Begyle and Dovetail). For the artistically inclined, there’s a drama school, a rentable theatre space, a live music venue, and much more.
And that’s just what’s near the above-mentioned intersection.
Grace & Leavitt Tavern, aka G&L
Head a bit deeper into the neighborhood for more gems, like Grace & Leavitt “G&L” Tavern, a laid-back firefighter themed bar with great cocktails and a large craft beer list. Or the Bad Apple, a beloved beer and burger bar with a game room. Or Taqueria El Asadero, a no-frills, cash-only Mexican restaurant. Or even another brewery, one of the city’s most well known: Half Acre.
The community gathers at Northcenter Town Square for their weekly Farmer’s Market, on Saturdays from June to October. The Northcenter Chamber of Commerce (a fantastic community resource) puts on events throughout the year, the biggest of which is RibFest, an annual three-day festival. And there’s also the family-friendly BenFest, another annual three-day event.
A typical commute to The Loop by rail from North Center is about 45 minutes, door to door. To O’Hare Airport, it’s the same. By car, a typical drive to The Loop without traffic would take about 20 minutes, and a trip to O’Hare would be about the same, sans traffic.
Walkscore.com gives North Center a walk score of 88, meaning it’s “very walkable.” The most walkable part of the neighborhood is on the east and northeast side—anything within easy walking distance of either Lincoln or Damen Avenues. The neighborhood’s public transportation is considered good, and it’s very bikeable.
According to Zillow, home values in North Center actually declined a bit over the past year, though they are projected to increase by 1.4% in the next year. It is one of the pricier neighborhoods in the area; the only nearby neighborhood with a higher median home value is Ravenswood Manor, to the northwest (on the opposite side of Horner Park).
A Bit of History
Classic North Center residential homes and architecture
North Center’s history and architecture is largely influenced by the early European immigrants who first populated the community. Homes and buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries display these cultural roots. In the St. Ben’s neighborhood, modern newer construction condos and lofts blend with classic Victorian homes.
If you’d like to learn more about North Center, I recommend exploring the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce’s website.
If you’re interested in living in North Center, check out 2025 W Waveland, an impressive custom-built single family home (that’s currently under contract).
Please contact me directly for more information on buying a home and living in North Center.