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.
Nobody knows Irving Park better than I do — I’m consistently a top selling agent in these zip codes.
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 as a tree-filled community gathering place with an excellent fieldhouse. 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.
A major boon for Irving Park residents is the Independence branch of the Chicago Public Library. It moved to its current location, 4024 N. Elston Avenue, in 2019 and is part of an innovative partnership between Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Housing Authority to co-locate housing with library services.
Read on for a deeper dive into what it’s like to live in Irving Park Chicago.
Entertainment and Eating
When I first started working in Irving Park, it wasn’t known for its dining and imbibing options. However, 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.” The neighborhood namesake brewery Old Irving Brewing is also popular. Arun’s Thai Restaurant 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.
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.
If you’d like to learn more about Irving Park, I’d recommend exploring the following resources:
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