Irving Park has a long and rich history and a community that strives to keep that history alive through preservation of their historic architecture. Old, large elm and ash trees line Irving Park’s shady streets and avenues populated by substantial mansions, ornate apartment buildings and quaint bungalows. Home to a friendly and neighborly nightlife and famous restaurants like Smoque BBQ, residents of Irving Park properties are treated to a comfortable, laid-back community, as well as comfort food. And with some of the largest parks on Chicago’s North Side, residents have plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities at parks that also offer educational courses and athletics classes for both the young and old.
Irving Park is located 7 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop and is well-known for its preservation of historic houses.
The Chicago River bounds this community to the east, Pulaski on the west, Addison Street on the south and Montrose Avenue on the north.
The community of Irving Park consists of Old Irving Park, Independence Park, West Walker, and California Park.
Neighborhoods surrounding Irving Park are Forest Glen and North Park to the north, North Center and Lakeview to the east, and Avondale to the south.
Irving Park began as a suburb before being annexed by Chicago in 1889.
During the 1970s, Irving Park fielded their own sandlot baseball team, the Irving Park White Sox, which won three park championships.
Population (2000) - Total 58,643
Density 18,146.3/sq mi
African American 1.91%
Hispanic/ Latino 43.3%
Median income $38,159
Irving Park began in 1843 when Major Noble purchased 160 acres of land in the region to start a farm. Major Noble’s house, located on the east side of the estate, doubled as the Buckthorn Tavern, which served travelers coming to and from Chicago along what is now known as Elston Avenenue.
By 1869, the success of the farm allowed Major Noble to retire and sell his land to New Yorkers Charles T. Race, John S. Brown, Adelbert E. Brown and John Wheeler. Soon thereafter, they also bought up an 80-acre tract of farmland from John Gray.
These New Yorkers initially intended to continue farming the land, but changed their minds after seeing the recent growth and success of suburban communities.
After the New Yorkers agreed to build a railroad station, the Chicago & Northwester Railroad agreed to run service to the area. The station is still there today, providing service to residents of Irving Park properties.
With the trains bringing people and businesses to Irving Park, the developers began running ads comparing itself to the popular suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park. These ads boasted of “shady streets, fine schools, churches and stores.”
The original name of this suburb was Irvington, as a tribute to the author Washington Irving; however, it was soon discovered that the name had already been taken by another town in Illinois, and so they settled on the name of Irving Park.
Once the land had been subdivided, developers built large mansions along Irving Park Boulevard between the years 1870 and 1874. Only two of these original mansions remain today: the Steven A. Race mansion at 3945 N Tripp Avenue and the Erastus Brown mansion at 3812 N Pulaski Road, which has gone through massive renovations since it was built.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 brought in a great deal of new residents who built more modest, yet architecturally sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing homes.
Irving Park was annexed by Chicago in 1889. This brought better public services to Irving Park, such as water piped in from Lake Michigan, a fire department and streetcar service.
Residents established their own park district in 1910 and developed eight local parks, the largest being Independence Park along W Irving Park Road between N Springfield Avenue and N Hamlin Avenue.
In 1933 the Irving Park park district merged with the Chicago Park District.
The Depression and WWII slowed development of the community, as well as the creation of the Northwest Expressway that cut directly through the middle of Irving Park, displacing residents and destroying houses.
The 1960s saw an influx of condominium developments. In 1984, the Irving Park Historical Society was founded to help preserve the neighborhood’s rich history and unique architecture.
Irving Park is a community with a long and rich history and the real estate reflects it. Large, old trees shade the streets lined with substantial mansions, as well as ornate, but modest single-family homes. Large apartment buildings with elegant wrought-iron fences, fountains and terra-cotta designs decorate this community as well.
Some Irving Park property managers include: Picola Services, Lichter Realty Inc, Group Fox Property Management, M&M Management, H.A. Schwab Inc, International Development, and Real Mortgage Corporation.
Single-family Irving Park homes for sale range in cost of $50,000 to over 2 million. Condos and townhouses cost between $30,000 and $700,000. Irving Park apartment rentals range in monthly rents of $800 for a 1 bedroom, $1050 for a 2 bedroom and $1500 for a 3 bedroom. Search for Irving Park Real Estate.
The Kennedy Expressway runs right through the heart of Irving Park, giving residents quick access to downtown and the greater Chicagoland area.
The community is also serviced by the Chicago CTA Blue Line with stops at Addison, Irving Park and Montrose.
The Addison Blue Line stop is located at 3622 W Addison St. CTA bus 152 connects at this station.
The Irving Park Blue Line stop is located at 4131 W Irving Park Rd. Connecting buses at this station are 53, 54A, 80, and the X98. Commuters can also connect to the Metra Union Pacific/Northwest line here.
The Montrose Blue Line stop is located at 4600 W Montrose Ave. CTA bus 78 connects here as does the Metra Milwaukee District/North line at Mayfair Station.
And Irving Park scores an 80 on the Walk Score scale, which classifies this region as “very walkable”.
The community of Irving Park offers resident families plenty of great education options, from top-notch elementary schools, to grade-A middle schools, to terrific private schools and advanced higher education technical schools.
Many Chicagoans may be unaware, but Irving Park has a nice little nightlife brewing of cozy neighborhood bars. These warm little taverns treat their patrons with friendly respect and offer affordable drinks as well as fun events like pig roasts, book swaps, and karaoke.
Every Chicago neighborhood has to have a favorite Irish Pub, and McNamara’s (4328 W Irving Park Rd, 773-725-1800) is Irving Park’s. Known as much for their corned beef as well as their soda bread, McNamara’s is a comfortable, intimate neighborhood bar featuring live Irish music on Saturdays and daily drink specials.
Lizard’s Liquid Lounge (3058 W Irving Park Rd, 773463-7599) sports an ancient mahogany and leaded glass bar stretching the length of the room, as well as Irving Park favorite, owner/ barkeep, Liz. With great drink specials weeklong, including $4 Margaritas on Thursday, Lizard’s Liquid Lounge keeps thirsty patrons coming back for more. Enhancing its neighborhood tavern feel, Lizard’s Liquid Lounge offers free Wi-fi and hosts great events like book swaps and Scrabble tournaments.
Sidekick’s (4424 W Montrose Ave, 773-545-6212) is an old-school, no frills Chicago bar with wood-paneled walls and karaoke seven nights a week. That’s right, Chicago has always loved to sing and Sidekick’s give them the opportunity 365 days a year, starting at 8 p.m. They also have a great menu, darts and more.
Club E (5415 W Irving Park Rd, 773-545-2224) is a trendy, upscale dance club featuring techno, hip-hop, salsa and more. Club E sports an actual vibrating dance floor (one of three in the country) and features guest DJs like DJ Erik K, DJ Spin, and DJ Markski.
One of Chicago’s best venues for live music, great food and great drinks is The Abbey (3420 W Grace St, 773-478-4408). The Abbey features smaller local acts as well as national acts playing everything from indie-rock to Irish favorites. Past acts have included Stan Ridgway, Animal City, and Project Pitchfork.
The Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N Knox Ave, 773-282-7035) has a terrific calendar of events presenting something for everyone to enjoy. The Irish American Heritage Center boast a 658-seat theater, library, museum, art gallery, an authentic Irish pub, dance practice studios, and banquet rooms for parties. Live Irish music, plays, dance, art shows and more take place at the Center throughout the year.
Chicago is full of intimate little playhouses, and Irving Park is no exception. La Costa Theatre (3931 N Elston Ave, 773-273-6294) has great acoustics, comfortable seating, and engaging productions. Past productions have included Macbeth, Little Shop of Horrors, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Irving Park is also a wonderful place to shop. The neighborhood has many funky and quirky second-hand stores, interesting hobby shops, antiques dealers, boutiques and unique places to frequent.
Second-hand clothes stores often offer a great variety of finds, and so does Unique Thrift Store (3748 N Elston Ave, 773-279-0850), a favorite of Irving Park. Unique Thrift Store already has great prices that can only be beat by their own Half-Off Mondays.
The Brew & Grow (3625 N Kedzie Ave, 773-463-7430) is definitely for the hobbyist, casual or serious gardener, and, of course, the lover of homemade beers. The Brew & Grow has all the hops, malts, yeasts, spices, additives and equipment to start making your own signature brew at home.
The Lincoln Antique Mall (3115 W Irving Park Rd, 773-604-4700) is jam-packed with trinkets, memorabilia, mementos of a bygone era, jewelry, and all things “antique”. The Lincoln Antique Mall is known for its courteous, unobtrusive staff, great prices and selection.
The community of Irving Park offers a virtual cornucopia of restaurant choices, making it one of Chicago’s premier dining destinations. Home to one of the most popular BBQ joints in the city, Smoque, as well as offering everything from German to Japanese to Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines, residents of Irving Park houses are never at a loss for great dining experiences.
Smoque BBQ (3800 N Pulaski Rd, 773-545-7427) is a dining destination for all of Chicagoland. Smoque BBQ satisfies the casual diner as well as the obsessed foodie. Focusing on the harmonization of flavors, Smoque serves up delicate, fall-off-the bone ribs, succulent brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, Texas sausage, chicken, and good, old-fashioned sides like cornbread, BBQ beans and more.
Sabatino’s Restaurant & Lounge (4441 W Irving Park Rd, 773-283-8331) is a genuine, authentic Italian dining experience. Sabatino’s is like stepping back into time when restaurateurs strove to cater to, entertain, and make their guests’ meal a real experience. Diners are served complimentary pizza bread, are greeted by hosts Enzo, Angelo and Steven Pagni, and, sometimes, a little Italian serenading.
For Asian cuisine with modern influence and creativity, residents frequent Hot Woks Cool Sushi (3930 N Pulaski Rd, 773-282-1818). Hot Woks Cool Sushi is known for their Crab Rangoon, the Fukudome Roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, cream cheese, scallion, coated with tempura crumb), and the Obama-nami Roll (deep-fried salmon, Unagi, avocado, and cream cheese).
Afghan Kabob (4040 W Montrose Ave, 773-427-5041) is a cozy neighborhood restaurant serving up traditional Afghani dishes. A family-run restaurant, Afghan Kabob is known for its friendly service and customer attention. The Bulanee Kadu (turnovers filled with sautéed butternut squash, exotic herbs and special seasoning) and the Mantu Plate (steamed dumplings filled with ground beef, onions, exotic herbs and drizzled in meat sauce and homemade garlic yogurt sauce) are only a couple wonderful reasons residents of Irving Park love this place.
Mirabell Restaurant & Lounge (3454 W Addison St, 773-463-1962) is run by Chef Werner Heil. Mirabell is known for quality, traditional German dishes, each meeting Chef Heil’s standards before being served to guests. Mirabelli serves hearty, robust cuisine like beef Goulash, Kassler Ribs, Ox Tails, Sauerbraten, and Kalbsgeschnetzeltes.
Ribfest Chicago is a great way to “pig” out during the summer months. Ribfest Chicago is three outrageous days of ribs, food and fun. Take a turn at the videogame trailer and tryout the latest, cutting edge games; listen to some live music; watch a Major League Eating competition; and, of course, enjoy a whole ton of ribs, if you’d like.
The Yelp Summerfest takes place at the Irish American Heritage Center each summer and delights fellow Chicago Yelpers as well as residents of Irving Park homes. This event is free and features a great selection of beers and libations, including Firefly Sweat Tea Vodka cocktails. The Yelp Summerfest also boasts a dunk tank, a photo booth, live music, DJs, burlesque, great food and more.
Horner Park (2741 W Montrose Ave) is one of the North Side’s largest parks at 55 acres. It has nine softball fields, three senior baseball diamonds, two football/soccer fields, four outdoor basketball courts, five tennis courts, a playground, and 13 picnic areas with plenty of open green space for lounging.
Mayfair Park (4550 W Sunnyside Ave) offers lots of amenities, from a spray pool to basketball courts and clubhouses, as well as great programs for all ages. Just a few classes offered are tap and ballet dances for the kids and Step Aerobic for the adults.
Kilbourn Park (3501 N Kilbourn Ave) is home to a Nike Grind Field Turf soccer field. Kilbourn is also site to the Chicago Park District’s only teaching organic greenhouse. Kids can dig in with hands-on activities and learn about nature and their environment. The organic greenhouse also boasts the first-ever public fruit tree orchard to be planted in a major metropolitan area.