Roscoe Village / North Center / St. Ben's
North Center neighborhood located on the North Side of Chicago, only five miles from the Loop, is a vibrant family-based community near the lakefront with a mix of well-kept residential homes, eclectic restaurants, bars, shopping, entertainment, and businesses. If you’re looking for vintage homes with some charm, like grand Victorian houses with wrap-around porches on quiet tree-lined streets, or modern condominiums at affordable prices, then North Center community is the right place for you. North Center neighborhood has great public transportation with three CTA Brown Line stops and buses on every major street; it’s an easy commute to downtown and Lake Michigan.
The North Center neighborhood includes three relaxing city parks - including an indoor ice arena, a nearby library, several public and private schools, and a Northcenter Town Square. The Northcenter Chamber of Commerce hosts many free family and community events throughout the year. On Saturdays from June to October, Northcenter Town Square is also home to one of only three City of Chicago sponsored Farmer’s Markets.
North Center is approximately 5 miles north of downtown Chicago and 2 miles west of the lakefront.
North Center is located in Chicago’s North Side, surrounded by Montrose Avenue, Ravenswood, and the Chicago River. The intersection of Lincoln, Irving Park, and Damen is the heart of the North Center neighborhood.
Parts of North Center may also be considered Lincoln Square or Ravenswood. The bordering neighborhoods are Lakeview, St. Ben’s, Roscoe Village, Irving Park, and Wrigleyville.
During the 1870s, North Center was once known as “Bricktown” and was only accessible by the Chicago River and by land via the Little Fork Road (now known as Lincoln Avenue). The “Bricktown” community earned its nickname due to the numerous clay pits and brickyards along the riverfront area. It was the clay from the Chicago River that created a vital industry. Clay was farmed from the river banks to produce millions of bricks that rebuilt the city after the Great Fire of 1871. The brick industry provided work for skilled and unskilled laborers, who moved into the North Center community to avoid the cost of transportation to their jobs. North Center became home to many working-class European immigrants such as the Germans, Swedes, Poles, Italians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Serbs, and Croatians.
After the reconstruction of the city and the residential expansion in North Center, the clay pits were eventually shut down and switched with landfills. After a while the landfills were replaced with riverside businesses, housing, and the neighborhood's Revere Park.
Today, North Center is still a vibrant family-based community with a diverse culture. The neighborhood continues to expand with new development but still preserves its historical architectural charm. The Northcenter Chamber of Commerce hosts many free family and community events throughout the year. Most blocks within the neighborhood host their own community-based block parties each summer, complete with music, food, drinks, and entertainment
North Center offers home-buyers a diverse selection of housing options from older architecture properties to condos, to lofts, and townhomes. The tree-lined residential and commercial streets provide North Center neighborhood with a relaxing and friendly vibe. A place you can call home. There’s a little something for everyone, from Victorian-style homes on the east-end to modern riverfront property on the west-end. The price of real estate in North Center is less than in other North Side communities that are closer to the lake or downtown. However, depending on the property, amenities, and location the prices do range quite a bit. A three or four bedroom single-family house can range from the mid $300,000s to $1.5 million. And if you’re looking for a condominium, a one-bedroom can start around $190,000 and reach into the mid $200,000s, while two-bedroom units (including both vintage and loft-style spaces) can cost up to $525,000, although the average sales price is around $325,000. The North Center real estate median sale price is $402,500.
Getting around or in and out of the North Center neighborhood is easy. Everything you need is within walking distance or a quick bike ride. If you need to drive that’s easy too! During the day the street traffic doesn’t get very congested, making your errands quick and easy around the North Center neighborhood. The only time it gets busy, as expected, is during the morning and evening rush hours, and be prepared for slow-downs that occur at the Western/Addison and Western/Irving Park Intersections. If you need to head out to the suburbs or pick-up a friend at O’Hare Airport, ramps to the Kennedy Expressway are just a couple of miles west.
Hosting a dinner a party or inviting friends over to see the Bears game? No worries, permit parking zones are few and far between in North Center, so both residents and visitors should have no problems finding a parking spot in the neighborhood.
Public transportation is easily available for North Center residents. CTA bus routes offer a handful of lines running through the neighborhood. The #49 and #50 bus head north/south…one along Western Avenue and the other on Damen Avenue. Routes for east/west you’ll need to jump on the #80 Irving Park, the #78 Montrose, or the #152 Addison. The Lincoln Avenue bus (#11) will take you to downtown. The CTA Brown Line elevated train (known to Chicagoans as the "El") stops at Addison Street, Irving Park Road, and Montrose Avenue transporting North Center residents to destinations throughout the city.
There are numerous public and private schools, as well as pre-schools, located in the North Center neighborhood. Both Lake View High School and Amundsen High School serve the majority households in the Chicago-North Center community, and there are also selective enrollment schools all over the city open to North Center residents.
Audubon Elementary School
A.G. Bell Elementary School
Concordia Place Preschool
Coonley Elementary School
North Park Elementary School
Pilgrim Lutheran School
Ravenswood Elementary School
St. Benedict Elementary School
Martyrs’ 3855 N Lincoln Ave, 773-404-9494. North Center resident-owned live music venue featuring up and coming artists, as well as the critically acclaimed. Enjoy the great food, plenty of beers, and having a rocking good time! Don’t forget to check out the original artwork created by local artists honoring their favorite dead musicians.
American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron, 773-409-4125. The Chicago Tribune describes this 134-seat theater's productions as, "What you'd see at America's leading progressive theaters." Tucked into the residential folds of North Center, the intimate stage at ATC allows patrons to get up close and personal with the characters.
Chicago Underground Comedy 2100 W Belmont Ave, 312-719-5476. What’s alternative comedy? It’s comedy that’s smarter and more inventive than its mainstream counterpart says Chicago Underground Comedy. Their comedians are smart, witty, creative, and politically opinionated. Each week, the club features five new comedians who are willing to push the envelope of the traditional conventions of stand-up.
Beat Kitchen 2100 W Belmont Ave, 773-281-4444. It’s a bar/restaurant area in the front with a live music room in the back. The bar features a variety of domestic and imported beer, plus don’t miss the daily specials. The Beat Kitchen’s music room hosts original local, regional, and national touring acts, and it competes as one of the best underground venues in the city.
Half Acre Beer Company, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-248-4038. Saturday beer tours for $10 include a pint of beer and samples while you see how locally brewed Daisy Cutter, Gossamer, and Over Ale is made. Store open daily, except Monday, where you can buy growlers, kegs, and cans of the Chicago-made beers.
Katerina's -1920 W. Irving Park Road, 773-348-7592. Part club, part cafe, Katerina's combines music, film, and art. Most nights rave live music, with a focus on jazz, funk, blues, Latin, Greek, and Classical. Occasionally they screen movies and hold exhibits. The intimate setting, great food, and top-notch drink menu all add to Katerina's mystique.
Café 28 is a family-owned restaurant serving traditional Cuban and Mexican style cuisine with an eclectic Latin twist. Stop by for dinner, lunch or weekend brunch, and indulge yourself with one of their "famoso" mojitos cocktails along with some green tamales appetizers. Check out the 5 fork ratings they received from WTTW’s Check Please!
Sola, 3868 N. Linocoln Ave., 773-327-3868. When it first opened in 2006, Chicago Magazine touted Sola as best new restaurant for it's trendiness and Hawaain-inspired food selection. Today it's popularity flourishes with its locally-grown food choices, extensive wine list, impeccable service, and intimate setting. Dine al fresco late spring - early fall or sit inside next to the warm fireplace during the winter months, where you can enjoy one of Sola's custom-created cocktails.
O'Donovan's, 2100 W. Irving park Road, 773-478-2100. One of Chicago's oldest bars, this neighborhood Irish bar and pub boast a family-friendly sports environment with a lively outdoor patio and free parking. It's Sunday brunches from 10am-2pm are revered by locals and bordering neighbors alike.
Ribfest - Looking for fun, music, and 65,000 pounds of barbecue ribs? Then head out to North Center’s annual Ribfest Chicago! Located at the intersection of Lincoln and Irving Park, Ribfest is a three-day BBQ festival event with live music, vendors, and tons of ribs. Come and sample some of the best ribs from Chicagoland’s restaurants BBQ masters. And if you’re up for the challenge enter the “rib-eating” contest! A suggested $5 donation at the gate benefits community groups, schools and programs.
Northcenter Sidewalk Sale – Shop until you drop at the summer annual Northcenter Sidewalk Sale sponsored by the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce. Spend fun day shopping along Lincoln Avenue between Addison and Montrose. Take advantage of the special deals from the diverse mix North Center merchants! Plus, enjoy some fun family activities like face painting, balloons, and refreshments.