Close enough to busy retail corridors for convenience, yet far enough to offer its residents peace and quiet, Ashburn is a friendly little neighborhood of sturdy brick homes and shady, tree-lined streets that features handy commuter train access to downtown Chicago. Centered about family life, nice houses, good schools, and beautiful public playlots, Ashburn is a semi-suburban setting that caters to the city dweller who appreciates a little space. A community recreation building and over 15 acres of open parkland provide the ideal spot for kids to play after class and for residents of all ages to participate in workshops and city league sports. Tennis, swimming, jogging, basketball - this Chicago neighborhood has it all.
Ashburn Real Estate
The houses in Ashburn are distinctly different from those in its sister community of Scottsdale to the west. While you’ll still see many of the ranch-style homes that characterize Scottsdale’s residential streets, far more vintage brick houses are found in Ashburn, on blocks shaded by older and larger trees. You’ll also spot a number of split-levels and Cape Cod-style houses which usually have their own garages and front and back yards. Over 90 percent of the dwellings here are single-family, and fewer than nine percent are rentals.
Real estate in Ashburn neighborhood varies widely in price. While you can find some one-story detached homes with two or three bedrooms for $110,000, there are others that cost as much as $340,000. Generally speaking though, you should be able to find a very nice property with plenty of yard space for between $130,000 and $170,000.
Location: About 14 miles southwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Wrightwood, Marquette Park, Scottsdale, Ford City, Westlawn
Boundaries: 75th Street to the north, Kedzie Avenue to the east, 85th Street to the south and Pulaski Road to the west
Then and Now
We’d love to say that Ashburn got its name from a beautiful grove of ash trees that flourished here until its tragic destruction during the Great Chicago Fire. However, since ash trees are not even native to the Midwest, we have to admit that the name has nothing to do with trees or tragedies. The fact is, Ashburn earned its moniker because it served as a dumping ground for Chicagoans’ furnace and fireplace ashes during the 1800s. Oh well, life can’t be all romance!
Even after it was annexed by Chicago in 1889, its lowly status, marked by scattered pyramids of soot and ash, kept the area sparsely populated for decades. In the mid-1890s struggling immigrants from Holland, Sweden and Ireland established a presence here, constructing a couple dozen homes, but it hardly represented a notable building boom.
By 1905 there were still fewer than 50 houses in Ashburn. The Chicago and Grand Trunk Railway laid down its tracks through the heart of the community but failed to inspire much related construction. In addition, Chicago’s first airport, the Ashburn Flying Field, kept 67 acres on the west side of Ashburn
(now the neighborhood of Scottsdale) from being developed for homes or businesses until the 1950s. It wasn’t until the post-WWII era that Ashburn’s exploding population, growing from 7,000 residents to around 40,000 in a single decade, finally forced a transformation of the Ashburn neighborhood into the respectable, stable neighborhood that it is today.
When Ashburn was finally developed into a residential area in the 1950s, most of the public park land ended up being created in the western portion of the community, now a separate neighborhood known as Scottsdale, perhaps due to the abundance of open space that had been left from the old Ashburn Flying Field. But Chicago loves its parks, so Ashburn is not without some public play spaces to call its own.
Encompassing 13 acres, plus an additional six acres of adjacent land belonging to Bogan High School, Bogan Park (3939 W 79th St, 773-284-6456) is the neighborhood’s largest outdoor recreation space. Named for William J. Bogan, the Chicago Public School District’s superintendent in the 1920s and ‘30s, the park was established in 1959. Today it’s popular for its basketball and tennis courts, baseball field, and the indoor swimming pool at Bogan H.S. Pretty much any weekend day this spot will be bustling with activity, and if you should so choose you can lace up those sneakers and head over for a little action yourself. There’s also a recreation building with three club rooms, an arts & crafts shop and music room to indulge the leisure pastimes of Ashburn’s more creative residents. Since we’re neither athletic nor artistic, we like to just give the legs a good stretch on the 0.38-mile walking path that encircles the park. We’ve often seen parents pushing their babies in those super-fancy strollers with bike-size tires and many a jogger plugged into their iPod zipping down this trail. Pick your pace and your tune
(if you happen to have an iPod, too) and join the ranks of outdoor exercisers along this short but sufficient footpath.
For youngsters more interested in old-fashioned fun stuff like slides, sandboxes, seesaws and monkey bars, there’s Lee Playlot Park (3700 W 87th St, 773-284-6456). While it was named in 1963 for John M. Lee, a Chicago ward committeeman and outspoken advocate for public parks, it’s really the Parkview Civic Association that you can thank for adding this charming little spot of greenery to the neighborhood. After a decade of profound population growth that saw more and more young couples buying and setting up their first homes here, the association wisely foresaw Ashburn’s destiny as a family-friendly community, and one that would soon sorely need a special place just for the kids. Lee Playlot Park occupies only a quarter of an acre along the neighborhood’s southern border, but that’s just enough since it is entirely oriented towards the little folk. It’s big enough for kids to run around and play to their hearts’ content, but small enough for mom and dad to keep a watchful eye on ‘em while they do it! Redesigned and upgraded in the early 1990s, the playlot’s a great place for children, and parents for that matter, to interact with their neighbors, get to know who’s who, make new friends and further build the Ashburn community.
What’s on the Menu?
Ashburn was primarily settled by Swedish, Dutch and Irish immigrants, so how did it end up with such good Italian food? Even the best Mexican place around here is called Paisano’s (8242 S Kedzie Ave, 773-434-4288). It’s a mystery, but it’s best to leave it be. Asking questions just takes time away from eating!
And eating is what you’ll be doing a lot of at Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria (8433 S Pulaski Rd, 773-735-2050). As the name would suggest, the specialty of the house is in fact pizza, and there’s no question their pie is terrific. But don’t sell Nick and Vito short, for they are quick to dish out robust, family-size servings of ribs, chicken, pasta, sausage and a killer lasagna as well. Villa Rosa Pizzeria (8230 S Kedzie Ave, 773-434-3140) is a nearby competitor that some local residents insist has the best thin crust and deep dish pizza in Ashburn, while others swear by Waldo Cooney’s Pizza (8541 S Pulaski Rd, 773-585-0965), one outpost of a local chain of pizzerias that has been serving thick and thin crust pies to south siders for over 25 years. Waldo’s sandwich menu is excellent too, and of course their pizza has a solid gold reputation, but what we can’t resist at Waldo’s is their fabulous calzone.
You won’t have to go to the islands to enjoy a taste of them in Ashburn. Just sail on over to Kedzie Avenue and drop anchor at the Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Vegetarian Restaurant (8216 S Kedzie Ave, 773-434-2408). In a carnivorous town like Chicago, good vegetarian cuisine is sometimes hard to find, so that makes this place doubly special. Sure, the jerk chicken is mighty fine, but don’t leave without trying the ackee soup, the yummy candied sweet potatoes and plantains or, one of our favorites, the aromatic coconut-vegetable stew. Of course, sometimes the exotic just won’t do. Maybe you have kids in tow who are hard to please, or perhaps you just need some comfort food. When that’s the case, grab yourself a booth at Karina’s Family Restaurant (8201 S Pulaski Rd, 773-585-5117), where everybody can find something to feast on. We have a thing for Karina’s patty melt, she does the grilled onions and toasted rye just right. This is the place to go for hearty breakfasts in Ashburn, too, as well as what may be the best cup of coffee in the neighborhood.
If you’re looking for a special treat after shopping or a movie, or if during the middle of the day you just want something sweet, then you can’t go wrong at Gertie’s Ice Cream/Lindy’s Chili (7600 S Pulaski Rd, 773-582-2510), because it’s actually two tasty little restaurants in one. Lindy’s Chili is an old Chicago standby, and they’ll spice it up to make it as hot as you can take it. And why not, since you can cool down your palate with some of the richest ice cream you’ll ever taste. Since 1901, they’ve been proudly scooping out their own homemade ice cream at Gertie’s, where the decor kept up with the times until around 1958 and then just settled in for good. Forget that diet and just slip into a velvet-lined booth to chow down on an old-fashioned banana split, complete with three kinds of ice cream, fresh strawberries, a sliced banana, pineapple chunks, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts, cookie crumbs, whipped cream and a cherry on top. The only thing old Gert forgot was the kitchen sink!
Best Shopping Stops
Since Ashburn is a highly residential area, you’ll find very little retail activity in the neighborhood. Perhaps that’s partly because there’s so much going on in adjacent communities, like the 150-plus stores at nearby Ford City Mall (7601 S Cicero Ave, 773-767-6400) and Scottsdale Shopping Center (7905 S Cicero Ave, 773-582-6677), not to mention the countless other businesses along Cicero Avenue to the west and Western Avenue to the east. So, in fact, there’s a host of shopping stops in the vicinity, if not in Ashburn proper.
Still, a few retailers have managed to carve out a niche for themselves in the neighborhood despite all the malls right close by. Gina’s Fashions (8310 S Kedzie Ave, 773-776-8843), for instance, is thriving thanks to its friendly staff and attractive selection of casual, business and evening wear for women. You won’t find accessories or shoes at Gina’s, but for the latter you can rely on Soul II Sole Shoes (8136 S Kedzie Ave, 773-918-1590), featuring stylish dress and athletic footwear for men, women and children.
Night on the Town
So you’ve probably got the picture by now: Ashburn isn’t exactly the part of town you’d aim for if an evening of barhopping is what you’ve got in mind. On the other hand, when folks around here are in the mood for a little libation in a social setting, it’s not as if there’s no place to go.
If you’re looking for a welcoming neighborhood sports bar to catch the latest White Sox action on the tube
(would that make it 'tube sox'?), one of the friendliest in these parts is Locascio’s Sports Bar (8010 S Kedzie Ave, 773-582-1839), offering nightly drink specials and tasty pub grub from the kitchen to munch on during the game. Or you may find that same game on TV at the Old Lamp Lighter (8214 S Kedzie Ave, 773-434-8820) down the street, but sports isn’t an obsession at this old-fashioned pub, where locals hang out to shoot some pool, play a few ‘60s tunes on the jukebox, or just sit and catch up on old times.
While Ashburn isn’t renowned for late night hotspots, it does happen to be home to one particular establishment that’s been drawing rockers to this part of town for years. We’re talking, of course, about Groucho’s Bar and Grill (8355 S Pulaski Rd, 773-767-4838), long a venue of note for up-and-coming bands on Chicago’s mainstream and alternative rock scene. The bar is open until 4 am, Sunday through Friday, and till 5 am on Saturdays, and the grill stays open late too, making Groucho’s a great place to spend a hard day’s night.
You can also enjoy a brew or two while exercising more than your wrist at the popular Bluebird Bowling Lanes (3900 W Columbus Ave, 773-582-2828). Set yourself up at one of Bluebird’s 28 lanes, help yourself to the full bar, enjoy some hot nachos or pizza by the slice, stay out of that gutter, and go for the spare. If you’d prefer an evening at the movies instead, you’ll surely find something to suit you among the 14 screens at the AMC Ford City 14 Theaters (7601 S Cicero Ave, 773-582-1839), a cinema megaplex in the Ford City Mall, just to the west of the Ashburn neighborhood boundary.
Street parking on the south side of Chicago is a breeze compared to the north side, but you’ll have a lot harder time finding a taxi out here. Most folks in Ashburn who rely on cabs will call a dispatcher to arrange a pick-up. Public transportation in the neighborhood is handled by buses, specifically the South Kedzie #52A and the South Pulaski #53A for north/south travel and the 79th Street and 87th Street routes for east/west travel.
You can ride to and from downtown in style thanks to the Ashburn stop on the Metra South West Service commuter line (83rd Street and Central Park Ave, 312-322-6777). This comfortable, dependable double-decker train runs between Chicago’s Union Station (Canal Street between Adams and Jackson Blvd, 312-322-4269) and Manhattan, not that Manhattan, but Manhattan, Illinois, a far southwest suburb. The Ashburn station features a shelter from the elements but no ticket agent, so you must purchase your ticket from the conductor during your 33-minute ride downtown. Parking for a reasonable fee is available near the Ashburn station. (For parking information, call 866-989-1199.) Weekly, monthly and '10-ride' tickets are offered by Metra at discounted rates, and some outbound trains feature a bar car where you can purchase refreshments and snacks on the way home after work. The Metra trains are a terrific travel alternative for commuters who work downtown and is a great way to relax or get some extra work done while avoiding expressway traffic headaches.
School’s in Session
Located at the neighborhood’s northwest corner, Richard J. Daley College (7500 S Pulaski Rd, 773-838-7500) is one of the City Colleges of Chicago, a highly-regarded body of institutions for general studies, career and technical programs, associate degree programs, industry training and continuing education. Daley College boasts a staff of over 80 full-time faculty members and nearly 4,500 students, with facilities that include a gymnasium and pool, instruction rooms and laboratories for accounting, biology, chemistry, computer programming, electronics, languages, mathematics and physics, and a 60,000-volume library.
Families find Ashburn has many public and private schools to choose from. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on these and other Chicago area schools on our Chicago Schools Guide.
Ashburn Community Elementary School – 8300 S St Louis Ave – (773) 535-7860
Ashburn Evangelical Lutheran School – 3345 W 83rd St – (773) 737-2620
Bogan High School 3939 W 79th St (773) 535-2180
Dawes Elementary School – 3810 W 81st Pl – (773) 535-2350>
Lionel Hampton Fine Arts & Performing School – 3434 W 77th St – (773) 535-4030
Owen Scholastic Academy – 8247 S Christiana Ave – (773) 535-9330
Richard J. Daley College – 7500 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 838-7500
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of where you can find the bare necessities and handy resources in Ashburn neighborhood, from bread and butter to Band-Aids and books.
Don’s Drive-In Restaurant – 7748 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 476-9392
Golden Fish & Chicken – 3356 W 79th St – (773) 434-4200
Karina’s Family Restaurant – 8201 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 585-5117
Starlite Restaurant – 8300 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 476-5255
Cake Walk – 8537 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 582-3402
Pan Baguette – 8325 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 582-5912
Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Vegetarian Restaurant – 8216 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 434-2408
Nina’s Italian Food & Drink – 3359 W 79th St – (773) 436-4433
Paisano’s Taqueria – 8242 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 434-4288
Groucho’s Bar and Grill – 8355 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 767-4838
Locascio Sports Bar – 8010 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 476-2600
Old Lamp Lighter – 8214 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 434-8820
Milano’s Pizza – 8130 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 776-4000
Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria – 8433 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 735-2050
Villa Rosa Pizzeria – 8230 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 434-3140
Waldo Cooney’s Pizza – 8541 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 585-0965
Holy Cross Hospital – 2701 W 68th St – (773) 884-9000
AMC Ford City 14 Theaters – 7601 S Cicero Ave – (773) 582-1839
Bluebird Bowling Lanes – 3900 W Columbus Ave – (773) 582-2828
City Food Mart – 3972 W Columbus Ave – (773) 585-6725
El Ranchito Food – 8327 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 735-4394
Bally Total Fitness – 3348 W 87th St – (773) 925-0400
Wrightwood Public Library – 8530 S Kedzie Ave – (312) 747-2696
Bogan Park – 3939 West 79th St – (312) 747-6025
Lee Playlot Park – (3700 W 87th St – 773-284-6456
US Post Office – 3639 W 79th St – (773) 767-1788
Walgreens – 3920 W 79th St – (773) 581-3572
Gina’s Fashions – 8310 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 776-8843
Handy Hardware – 8254 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 925-8899
Soul II Sole Shoes – 8136 S Kedzie Ave – (773) 918-1590
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Ashburn offers homeowners a wide range of residential properties. Ashburn homes include lofts, condos and townhomes, to name a few. In addition to Chicago real estate, you can get detailed neighborhood information from our comprehensive online Chicago neighborhoods guide. With features like dining, shopping, entertainment, and resources, we’ve done all the leg work already to make your home search that much easier. Now, when a listing in Ashburn catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without setting foot in the neighborhood. Like a Yellow Pages, Metromix and MLS database all rolled into one, this site is your ultimate Chicago neighborhoods visitors’ guidebook.