Steeped in a rich tradition of ethnic diversity, Albany Park is a northwest side bastion of unique grocery stores, restaurants and shopping, all nestled within a multicultural community. Residents from Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern and former Yugoslavian descent bring their influences to one of Chicago's liveliest neighborhoods. In fact, Albany Park holds one of the highest ratios of foreign-born residents in the city, which is reflected in the local fare and youth theater projects. Area teenagers and young adults band together to form a multicultural, ensemble group that embraces today's issues and shares the stories of modern-day immigrants and working-class Chicagoans. Enjoy the international tastes of this diverse neighborhood year round, but when August arrives, get ready to join the fun at the annual Albany Park Summer Fest.
Albany Park Facts
Location: 8 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Irving Park, Ravenswood, Ravenswood Manor, North Mayfair, Mayfair
Boundaries: North Branch of Chicago River to the east, Foster Avenue to the north, Pulaski to the west and Montrose Avenue to the south.
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap to search specific streets and areas for crime incidents
Then and Now
Way back in 1868, Albany Park welcomed its first settler - a land speculator named Richard Rusk who bought 10 acres in the undeveloped region northwest of Chicago and converted it into a brickyard on the banks of the river. By the 1870s and 80s, Chicago's population was booming, and residents started settling further outside the central city, moving into the territory near Rusk's brickyard. Chicago annexed the entire area in 1889-the land that would become Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood.
Less than five years later, a quartet of high-powered real estate investors purchased more than 600 acres of former farmland for residential development. One of the investors included streetcar mogul DeLancy Louderback, who was also an Albany, N.Y native. He lobbied to name the development after his hometown, and worked with his partners to bring transportation lines to the vicinity, a crucial move in its residential and commercial expansion. Centrally located Lawrence Avenue saw its first electric streetcars in 1896, and another streetcar that ran north along Kedzie Avenue to meet Lawrence Avenue was finished in 1913. But it was the extension of the Ravenswood elevated track (now the Brown Line) to Lawrence and Kimball avenues in 1907 that made the most significant impact on the development of Albany Park and its transportation abilities. The completion of the Ravenswood 'El' sparked a rapid growth in construction, most of which was close to the train station at the intersection of Lawrence and Kimball avenues. Between 1910 and 1920, the neighborhood saw its population more than triple, from 7,000 inhabitants to more than 26,000. A decade later, Albany Park's population more than doubled again, to more than 55,000 people.
When it was still farmland, the area was largely populated by working class Germans and Swedes. But after 1912, a sizeable number of Russian Jews who were fleeing the overcrowded neighborhoods of the city's near west side, moved to Albany Park in search of more space to plant roots and raise their families. The neighborhood remained predominantly Jewish until after World War II, when many Jewish families moved out of the city to the North Shore suburbs.
Suburban flight led to a period of social and economic decline in Albany Park until 1978, when several neighborhood associations sought to improve the area's appearance and eliminate the vacated storefronts. For the next two decades, low interest loan programs and streetscape beautification initiatives increased neighborhood property values. Suddenly, a new wave of immigrants from Mexico and Asia moved in, bringing a new cultural vitality to Albany Park neighborhood. By the year 1990, this northwest Chicago community was home to the city's largest number of immigrants from the Philippines, Guatemala and Korea. Today the area maintains its niche as a launch pad for recently arrived immigrant groups and cultures from around the world.
Albany Park's ethnic vibrancy carries over into its park system, which includes a slew of play places and cultural learning centers that make for lazy summer days spent outdoors. You ready to dive in? Eugene Field Park (5100 N Ridgeway Ave, 773-478-9744) complete with its own Chicago Park District Cultural Center, is a 12-acre recreational hub for the area, offering a number of community programs that range from theater and arts to recreation and sports. Officially designated a CPD Cultural Center in 2001, the building has since served as home base for the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP). Since its inception in 1997, the ensemble of local teenage players creates original theater from real life stories and experiences in their own community.
A brilliant 45-foot by 10-foot clay and ceramic mosaic lights up the exterior of the Eugene Field house, depicting scenes from poems by late children's poet, Eugene Field. Once inside, park patrons have access to numerous athletic programs. The Chicago River snakes through the bulk of the park, providing a serene landscape for visitors. The park also features an outdoor basketball court, a grass-covered football/soccer field, four tennis courts, a playground, an outdoor and indoor pool, a ceramics studio, and much more.
Additionally, Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood includes several smaller parks, such as Jensen Park (4650 N Lawndale Ave, 312-742-7054) and Ronan Park (3000 W Argyle St), a recreational space that joins the Chicago River with a historic pumping station. In the 1990s, Ronan Park benefited from a rehabilitation project that not only added acreage to its land, but created a new bike path and larger recreational corridor along the river. For moms and tots, there are a few, smaller playlot options in the area, including Buckeye Playlot (4900 N Troy St, 312-742-7591) and Kiwanis Park (3315 W Carmen Ave).
Albany Park Real Estate
Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood boasts diversity from both the cultural and real estate standpoint. Housing options vary from brick multi-unit courtyard buildings near the Kimball and Lawrence 'El' (elevated train) hub to elegant two- and three-flats on the outskirts of the neighborhood. The western streets of the neighborhood are dotted with sturdy brick bungalows that evoke a rare brand of vintage charm.
Check out our Albany Park home sales statistics [here] to get an idea of the real estate market trends in this neighborhood.
What's on the Menu?
Chicago's Albany Park maintains one of the highest ratios of foreign-born residents in Chicago-and its diverse cultural makeup certainly comes to play on its local menus. While the majority of the area's foreign-born residents are from Latin America (mainly Mexico and Guatemala), a substantial number hail from Korea, the Philippines, former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. Fortunately for Albany Park neighborhood residents, everyone gets to feast on the ethnic offerings at restaurants that spice up the local streets.
On the Middle Eastern tip, great ethnic food hideaways such as Noon-O-Kabab (4661 N Kedzie Ave, 773-279-8899) give good face to Persian cuisine, boasting its ever-popular dill rice. Middle Eastern platters such as lamb shank and kebabs all make an appearance here. The lines can get a little hairy, so be prepared to wait.
We've scoped out a few hidden gems on the BYOB front that also indulge our cravings for Middle Eastern fare in Albany Park, one restaurant in particular: Semiramis (4639-41 N Kedzie Ave, 773-279-8900). This quaint dining nook features a roster of Lebanese favorites, including shawarma (a Middle Eastern-style sandwich), daj meshwi (marinated rotisserie chicken), and fattoush (a salad of chopped veggies, mint and lemon), to name a few. This eatery continues to be one of Albany Park's best-kept dining secrets.
You'll unearth a culinary treasure at Chicago Kalbi restaurant (3752 W Lawrence Ave, 773-604-8183), which serves up authentic, cook-it-yourself yakiniku (the Japanese version of Korean barbecue). Grill up short ribs tabletop and then wrap up the spicy meat in lettuce leaves and enjoy a flaming slice of heaven.
Check out the Great Sea Chinese Restaurant (3254 W. Lawrence Avenue 773-478-9129) which has been serving dishes both simple and complex. Craving sauteed shark's fin with three sea delicacies? Stop on by. Even if you don't live in Chicago's Albany Park, Great Sea's chicken wings are worth the trip, and the elegant interior, belied by the understated exterior, will make your trip even more of a treat.
As a family establishment, Ban Po Jung (3450 W Foster Ave, 773-583-5209) offers generous portions of its beef noodle soup and fried fish. Albany Park also boasts a decent-sized corridor of Thai restaurants along Kedzie Avenue. The likes of Arun's Thai Restaurant (4156 N Kedzie Ave, 773-539-1909) spice up the street with steaming noodle dishes and exotic soups.
Best Shopping Stops
Albany Park's shopping district is certainly no Magnificent Mile, but the neighborhood boasts a few retail treasures, for those willing to hunt.
When it comes to shopping, Albany Park is more about grocery goods than high-end trends. The neighborhood's diverse cultural flair shines through in its offerings of seasonal produce and fresh meats at local markets including Al-Khyam Grocery and Meat (4738 N Kedzie Ave, 773-583-3077).
Find other fresh culinary delights with ethnic inspirations at Andy's Fruit Ranch (4725 N Kedzie Ave, 773-583-2322) where inexpensive meats and cheeses cram the shelves offering Albany Parkers an array of flavor-packed proteins. Take home a bottle of imported wine and browse through Andy's collection of European chocolates. No fruit or veggie is too exotic for his worldly market! Keeping with its eclectic mix, Andy's also maintains a well-stocked selection of Mexican grocery items.
Night on the Town
Once night falls, settle into the relaxed vibe of Albany Park's laid back nightlife. No worries about dressing up - those who cocktail in Albany Park are surrounded by a couple of places that welcome you to dress down and hang-out with a casual crowd of neighborhood locals and chilled-out Chicagoans.
We like to start out at Montrose Saloon (2933 W Montrose Ave, 773-463-7663) taking in the carefree clatter of cocktails and good friends. In summer, patrons spend lazy afternoons on the patio sipping frosty beers and playing a round of horseshoes. On the more exotic tip, The Pharaohs Hookah Cafe (3949 W Lawrence Ave, 773-946-6565) provides Albany Park residents with the aroma of Middle Eastern influences, boasting one of the city's best hookah bars since 1986. The weekends lend to a relaxed atmosphere with music and live dancing, however the tabletops remain BYOB.
One of Albany Park's most coveted community groups is the Albany Park Theater Project, a multicultural ensemble of teenagers who create original theater based on real life stories stemming from the area's significant immigrant population. Albany Park Theatre Project is resident at the Eugene Field Cultural Center (5100 N Ridgeway Ave, 773-478-9744). This isn't Broadway, but the one-of-a-kind shows put on by this talented troupe of young actors is a cultural treasure, special to this northwest side Chicago neighborhood.
Mark Your Calendar
Summer is the season for Chicago festivals, and Albany Park has its own unique celebrations that showcase the neighborhood's multicultural swagger.
August in Albany Park is a fun time of year. Festival-goers can enjoy their barbecue and beer in the sun at the annual Albany Park Summer Fest (3542 West Sunnyside Avenue). Held in August, Albany Park's one-day outdoor affair ensures residents get their fill of summer fun and friends, rain or shine.
Staying true to its historic roots, the hub of Albany Park's public transportation is still found at the crux of Lawrence and Kimball avenues, at the end (or beginning, depending how you look at it) of the Brown Line elevated 'El' train route. Originally constructed in 1907 as the 'Ravenswood Line', the Brown Line is the most historic of all the CTA trains and still functions-fairly reliably-transporting millions of Chicagoans throughout the city. Stops in Albany Park include Kimball, Kedzie and Francisco all serving the southeast corner of the neighborhood. To get downtown, the Brown Line conveniently takes passengers to the Loop in about 30 to 35 minutes.
For those traveling by bus, the #92 Foster Avenue bus, #82 Central Park/31st bus and #93 California Avenue bus all route public transportation riders to surrounding destinations in Albany Park.
If you've got your own car, street parking in Albany Park is also relatively convenient, although some areas require permits, so check carefully. There are no noisy expressways within the boundaries of Albany Park neighborhood, which is a bonus in our book, especially when the entrance to I-90/94 is less than a mile west, providing quick and easy access for getting downtown or heading out to the suburbs.
Bicyclists can take advantage of the marked lane on Lawrence Avenue and the many bike friendly roads that include Kedzie, Kimball, Central Park, and more. There are also bike trails along the Chicago River, for riders looking for a more scenic route.
School's in Session
Albany Park's multicultural character carries over into its neighborhood schools. Albany Park Multicultural Academy is the neighborhood's middle school, housing 7th and 8th grades while there are a handful of elementary schools to choose from that all offer a small classroom and intimate atmosphere. The one high school in the neighborhood, the Theodore Roosevelt High School, houses almost 1,500 students. In addition to the following list of educational facilities in Albany Park neighborhood, visit our Chicago Schools Guide for more information on Chicago area schools.
Palmer Elementary School: 5051 N Kenneth Avenue, (773) 534-3704
Alessandro Volta Elementary School: 4950 N Avers Avenue, (773) 534-5080
Hibbard Elementary School: 3244 W Ainslie Street, (773) 534-5191
Albany Park Multicultural Academy: 4929 N Sawyer Avenue, (773) 534-5108
North River Elementary School: 4416 N Troy Street, (773) 534-0590
Roosevelt High School: 3436 W Wilson Avenue, (773) 534-5000
Haugan Elementary School, 4540 N Hamlin Avenue, (773) 534-5040
From shopping to stamps, we compiled a list of places in Albany Park neighborhood that cover all your basic, everyday needs. The following is just a taste of what Albany Park has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
Noodles Party - 4205 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 205-0505
Peking Mandarin - 3459 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-5338
VIP Restaurant - 3254 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 588-2727
Great Sea Chinese Restaurant - 3254 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-9129
Lawrence Fish Market - 3914 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-9129
Chicago Kalbi Restaurant - 3752 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 604-8183
Hiromi's Oriental Restaurant - 3609 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-6764
Wok Cuisine - 4554 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 588-8883
Ssyal Ginseng House - 4201 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 427-5296
Chen's Garden - 4445 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 267-3388
Thai Valley - 4600 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 588-2020
Cafe Orient 33 - 4829 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 509-6538
Seo Hae Restaurant - 3534 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-2444
Al-Khyam Bakery - 4746 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-3077
Markellos Baking Co - 3520 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-9344
New York Bakery - 3455 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-9344
Dokil Bakery - 3844 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-3551
Tannourine Bakery - 4806 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-2253
Salgados Bakery - 4710 N Kimball Ave. - (773) 267-2917
Nazareth Sweets - 4638 North Kedzie Ave. - (773) 463-2457
Durango Bakery - 3554 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-5171
Taximaroa Bakery - 3954 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-0860
Feyrous Pastries - 4510 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 478-4230
La Baguette Bakery - 4741 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-0952
Panaderia Pasteleria Bakery - 3954 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-0860
The Sweet Spot - 4806 N Christiana Ave. - (773_ 267-4800
McGill's Bar & Grill - 4553 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 478-6096
Leader Bar - 3000 W Irving Park - (773) 478-2337
Alibaba Hookah Bar - 4046 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 202-1992
Modelo Club House Restaurant - 3548 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-6072
Hot Dog Station - 4742 N Kimball Ave. - (773) 588-2580
Sunnyday Tap - 4953 N Elston Ave. - (773) 725-5080
First Slice - 4664 N Manor Ave. - (773) 267-0169
West River Cafe - 4400 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 866-2133
Sarpino's Pizzeria - 4830 N Pulaski Ave. - (773) 205-1111
La Mama's Pizza - 4839 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 588-0400
El Velero de Nayarit - 3300 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 539-5797
Murph's Place - 3930 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 463-0060
George's Grill Kebab - 3216 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-1800
Yummy Buffet - 3925 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-3388
Huddle House Grill - 4748 N Kimball Ave. - (773) 588-5363
Robz Restaurant - 3119 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 463-5363
Bar Albany - 3106 W Eastwood Ave. - (914) 645-0065
Montrose Saloon - 2933 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 463-7663
The Pharaoh's Cafe - 3949 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-8400
Brothers Coffee Shop - 4720 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 588-1553
Starbucks - 4830 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 282-9503
Dunkin' Donuts - 4045 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 427-9777
Golden Crust Pizzeria - 4620 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 539-5860
Angelo's Pizza & Mi Rancho - 3026 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 539-0111
Vini's Pizza - 4009 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 282-1242
Marie's Pizza & Liquors - 4127 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 725-1812
Latin American Cuisine
Taqueria Los Mogotes - 4959 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 463-5612
Ay Ay Picante Peruvian Cuisine - 4569 N Elston Ave. - (773) 427-4239
La Casa De Roy Moy - 4410 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 267-5619
Pollo Campero - 4830 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 282-1966
Taco Chino - 4712 N Kimball Ave. - (773) 866-1530
Taqueria El Primo - 3500 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 942-6623
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Noon O Kabab - 4661 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 279-9309
Semiramis - 4639 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 279-8900
Arabesk Palace Restaurant and Cafe - 3737 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-5354
Salam - 4636 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-0776
Ur Cafe - 3222 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-3222
Al-Khaymeih - 4748 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-0999
Swedish Covenant Hospital - 5145 N California Ave. - (773) 878-8200
Gypsy Jazz Chicago - 4516 N Troy St. - (607) 592-4530
Halcyon Theatre - 3334 W Wilson Ave. - (773) 413-0453
Albany Park Summer Fest - 3400 W Leland Ave. - (773) 604-8489
Andy's Fruit Ranch - 4733 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-2322
Al-Khyam Bakery & Grocery - 4738 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-3077
Mayfair Market - 4728 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 685-3900
Joe's Food & Liquors - 3626 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-1078
Sahar Meat International Supermarket - 4508 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 583-7772
Chicago Produce - 3500 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-4325
Kapatid Oriental Store - 3538 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 267-1426
Cleopatra Meat & Grocery - 4603 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 539-0080
Aldi Foods - 5001 N Pulaski Rd
Supermercado Lindo Michoacan - 3142 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 279-8834
BodyWorxs Chicago - 4650 N Kedzie Ave. - (888) 630-2639
XSport Fitness - 4677 N Elston Ave. - (773) 202-9800
Chicago Public Library - 4400 W Lawrence Ave. - (312) 744-1254
Gompers Park - 4222 W Foster Ave. - (773) 685-3270
Eugene Field Park - 5100 N Ridgeway Ave. - (773) 478-9744
Horner Park - 2741 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 478-3499
Ravenswood Manor Park - 4626 N Manor Ave
Modern Gifts & Pharmacy - 3432 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-6055
CVS Pharmacy - 4540 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 283-5777
Walgreens - 4010 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 286-0309
Parks Pharmacy - 3236 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-3939
US Post Office - 4749 N Bernard St. - (773) 583-9530
Albany Office Supply - 3419 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 267-6000
Universal Gift Store - 3600 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-6074
Crafty Beaver Home Centers - 3850 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 478-5510
Village Discount Outlet - 3301 W Lawrence Ave. - (708) 338-4772
Chicago Gadgets Store - 4611 N Kedzie Ave. - (773) 463-9999
Woofer Electronics Distributors - 4970 N Elston Ave. - (773) 283-8286
Mosaicos - 4948 N Pulanski Rd - (773) 777-8453
Payless Shoes - 3401 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 267-5239
House of Wedding - 3451 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 463-2001
European Connection Furniture - 3102 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 478-0042
Modern Home Furnishings - 3030 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 908-0321
Mary's Flowers and Gifts - 3318 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 509-1683
Kmart - 5033 N Elston Ave. - (773) 685-1121
Gamestop - 2754 W Montrose Ave. - (773) 539-3625
D'oro Jewelry Shop - 3405 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 267-4646
Armory Chicago - 3450 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 463-6558
Kim's International Music - 4200 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 725-7700
135 Outlet - 3540 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 583-4858
Rave Sports - 3346 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 588-7176
New York Shoes Imports Inc - 3310 W Lawrence Ave. - (773) 539-5242
Chicago Transit Authority- (888) 968-7282
Our neighborhoods guide is meant to give potential homebuyers a general overview of what every Chicago neighborhood has to offer and what makes it unique from the rest, and believe us, no two neighborhoods are the same! Searching for a new home isn't just about finding that prefect condo or house, making sure the setting fits your style and needs is just as important. And whether Chicago's Albany Park is your ideal locale to settle down, or you've found the scene here just isn't your cup of tea, we're here to help you find the right place to make sure your home purchase a is total success. From the type of restaurants to the outdoor venues to the local schools, every detail is an essential factor in what makes a property of dream home.
By utilizing our comprehensive accounts of each community, such as this one for Albany Park, we hope to provide a detailed picture of not only the residential real estate available in the area, but also the additional features of the neighborhood. A quick glance and you'll know exactly what shopping, dining, entertainment and resources are in Albany Park, all without ever having to go anywhere.Albany Park Community Center
Albany Park Chamber of Commerce