As the saying goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself." That could be Irving Park’s motto. The neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side has a long history of doing just that.
Residents started their own park district, amateur baseball team and struck a deal with the railroad to build a station there. The park district ultimately merged with the city; the Irving Park White Sox are no more; but the station still stands today.
The neighborhood’s rich history is evident in its parks, manicured neighborhoods and historic homes. Independence Park is one of the neighborhood’s first and one of the city’s finest. The park is home to parades, sports events and concerts.
There are beautifully restored homes and others waiting to be renovated to their previous grandeur. The majority are single-family homes, some converted to duplexes and apartments, providing plenty of options to fit different lifestyles and budgets.
Although the Kennedy Expressway cut directly through the heart of the neighborhood taking many homes and businesses with it, the neighborhood is undergoing a resurgence as it’s discovered by a new generation of Chicagoans.
An active historical society has preserved the neighborhood’s history and architecture, with some homes dating back as early as the 1870s, including old Victorian homes and classic Chicago-style two-flats. The Villa District, a pocket of the neighborhood, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Several restaurants reflect the neighborhood’s European roots with everything from German, Italian and Irish to trendy barbeque. There are a handful of theaters and live music lounges but make no mistake, the neighborhood is not a happening scene, it’s home.
High School students attend highly rated Taft High School, Roosevelt High School or Schurz High School.
The Irving Park Blue Line and the Metra Union Pacific/Northwest Line have stops here. A number of CTA buses also serve the area and the Kennedy Expressway parallels the Metra station.