In Avondale, you'll find yourself at home amongst beautiful new and vintage houses, green space, convenient transportation, and plenty of opportunities for recreation and fun. Community members welcome Avondale's parks as an extension of their own backyard playgrounds. Group gardening efforts, kids' camps, summertime movies in the park, and tons of other after school (or work) programs invite residents to gather together, learn new skills and stay active. The neighborhood's rich restaurant scene is also something to talk about with delicious Mexican food cafés, tasty pizza joints, quick-bite hot dog stands and popular coffee and doughnut shops. National brand name clothing stores and handy mega markets are also close by, establishing a prime location for everything you need within minutes of your front door.
Location: Seven miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Irving Park, Roscoe Village, Logan Square, West Lakeview, Kilbourn Park
Boundaries: Addison Street to the north, Western Avenue to the east, Belmont Avenue to the south and Pulaski Road to the west.
Then and Now
Chicago's Avondale neighborhood has always been a tight-knit community, from its farm days to the urban residential site it is today. In the early nineteenth century, Avondale was all prairie land, set along an Indian trail that laid to the west of the Soo Line Railroad (originally called the Chicago/Milwaukee/St. Paul Pacific) near the Chicago River. The Indian trail was straightened out and planked in 1848 to make it the direct diagonal of Milwaukee Avenue where Avondale began to develop.
Unfortunately, the train tracks near Milwaukee Avenue had trouble keeping up with the frequent and weighty loads. The tracks were poorly made and became warped from the sun and overused, and once tollgates were added requiring people to pay for uncomfortable train rides, riders became furious. After the Chicago/Milwaukee/St. Paul tracks were extended to Milwaukee in 1870 and more stops were added, more farmers came in, including about twenty African American families, making Avondale an early ethnically diverse community. After the 1920s, Avondale welcomed many foreign-born residents, including Poles, Swedes, Germans and Austrians.
Avondale officially became a part of Chicago when the city annexed it in 1889. After that, the city put in hard-surface roads which helped recognize the town as an up-and-coming industrial and business district. Many European immigrants came to Avondale to work in the newly built factories. The electrification of transportation and the extension of the railroad also helped folks commute to jobs in the area and into the city.
After World War II, the popular Riverview Amusement Park opened up in Avondale with its parachute-drop rides and its storied rollercoaster called 'The Bobs' drawing crowds of visitors to the neighborhood for weekend fun. Riverview Park has since been shut down, but the active and enjoyable elements that once made Chicago's Avondale neighborhood a destination spot still exist.
Avondale has worked hard over the years to develop and maintain the neighborhood's treasured park space. Former vacant parking lots and other damaged or abandoned sites have been lovingly transformed into open green recreation areas and public parks buzzing with activity.
Avondale Park (3516 W. School St., (773) 478-1410) is a nicely-landscaped five-acre green space that provides residents with a bunch of options for exercise, leisure and learning. Both adults and children can join classes offered at the park with choices like art, cheerleading, gymnastics, tumbling and swim camps. This north side neighborhood park is one of the many city parks that are involved in the 'Community Gardens in the Parks' program. The program allows city folks with a green thumb a chance to garden in their own neighborhood. While planting flowers, growing vegetables - and yes, there's always weeding to do - community members can socialize and get to know their neighbors. And after being crouched over in the garden all day, stretch the legs with a walk around the park path.
Named after the German-American family that originally owned the land, Brands Park (3259 N Elston Ave, (773) 478-2414) is now complete with all the facilities of a regular park and then some. Shoot some hoops, toss a horse shoe, or play some one-on-one or doubles in a game of tennis. A large fieldhouse is home to a wide selection of programs for the young ones, teens and adults. Sign up for the Cubs Care Rookie camp, play a little dodge ball, or even discover your inner craftsman and register for wood crafting lessons. Like in Avondale Park, you can help out with gardening in the spring through the 'Community Gardens in the Park' program. The Chicago Park District also runs 'Movies in the Park' in the summer months at Brands Park, where they showcase several family favorites on a large screen for all park patrons to view.
Avondale Real Estate
Today Avondale has a vibrant and diverse real estate composition boosting century-old frame houses, quaint brick bungalows, two-flat walkups, vintage multi-unit courtyard buildings and modern condominiums. While the streets are densely packed with housing, Avondale still maintains a sense of serene, natural beauty and spacious living.
We like how the neighborhood blends a mixture of new construction with antiquated architectural styles. State-of-the-art converted lofts and new-model townhomes provide a fresh, clean look while traditional two-story homes with white-painted front pillars and balconies pull us back to a time and place when life was uncomplicated and peaceful.
Check out our Avondale home sales statistics here to get an idea of the real estate market trends in this neighborhood.
What's on the Menu?
Whether you're in the mood for American, Mexican or Italian cuisine, or just out to satisfy your sweet tooth with a sugary dessert, Avondale has a delightful array of exceptional restaurants and charming eateries on which to unleash your appetite.
When your stomach is growling uncontrollably and you've only just sat down to look at the menu, don't you want to kiss the waiter that sets down a basket of salty, crunchy, multi-layer tortilla chips with a side of spicy salsa? We know the feeling, and so does the staff at Taqueria Traspasada (3144 N California Ave, (773) 539-4533), who are ready with fresh-made chips, their beloved black salsa and complimentary chicken noodle soup the minute your bum hits the chair. Taqueria Traspasada menu touches on all the traditional tasty Mexican dishes. Have a sizzling steak or chicken fajita served in a skillet of onions, red and green bell peppers, and spices. The prices are quite affordable and make sure you bring some quarters for the Ms. Pac Man arcade console in the corner.
Just around the block from Brands Park, you'll find what we think to be the best place in town to get a classic Chicago hot dog. Hot Doug's (3324 N California Ave, (773) 279-9550) is more than just a run-of-the-mill hot dog stand. Here you can take a bite out of a juicy assortment of hot dogs and sausages, all under original names like 'The Dog', which is the original Chicago hot dog or a hot Andoille sausage, 'The Salma Hayek.' Select one of these creatively delicious dogs with fresh-cut French fries and a soda - all for under ten dollars.
Started in 2005, Kuma's Corner (2900 W Belmont Ave, (773) 604-8769) has quickly become a top burger restaurant not just for Avondale residents, but for the city and surrounding solar systems. Bring your appetite for the famous Kuma Burger featuring bacon, sharp cheddar, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and onion. With burgers names like Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and Slayer, it's no big secret that Kuma's is a heavy metal inspired eatery. After taking a bite of any of their signature burgers, you'll quickly realize you don't need to be a head banger to appreciate Kuma's Black Sabbath Burger. The drink menu featuring a rotating selection of craft beers and small label whiskeys is a true stairway to heaven even it ends up with you fading to black (we've been waiting so long to incorporate heavy metal song titles and delicious eateries, thanks Kuma's!).
Chicago favorite Giordano's (2855 N Milwaukee Rd, (773) 862-4200) is, not surprisingly, a popular spot among pizza-loving residents and critics alike. Proclaimed "Chicago's Best Pizza" by the likes of NBC, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Home & Garden Magazine and many others, Giordano's is considered the Holy Grail of stuffed pies. Serving hot pan and deep-dish pies, the smells of garlic and seasoning are so strong they're sure to clear sinuses around the room. Atop many patrons' list of favorites is Giordano's ultimate tasty thin crust pizza, served with or without a mound of toppings, depending on your personal preferences. Pile it on with all the usual numbers like pepperoni, green peppers and onions or add some spinach for a little something special. Giordano's also serves up many traditional Italian dishes like your chicken parmesan and mouthwatering four-cheese ravioli. The environment here is family friendly with cozy booths that can fit the whole crew. This Avondale mainstay restaurant has been hand-making scrumptious dishes for almost forty years, and is a classic example of a great Chicago eatery that you won't want to miss.
Best Shopping Stops
No need to wait until payday to go shopping in Avondale, the neighborhood is chockfull of some of our favorite upscale bargain stores, with a few independent boutiques thrown into the mix.
Barnes and Noble Booksellers has nothing on Avondale's Kazi Publications Bookstore (3023 W. Belmont Ave., (773) 539-2793). Specializing in Islamic and Muslim reading for both Muslims and non-Muslims, this store was the first Islamic bookstore in America to sell both in-house and online. Based in Chicago, Kazi Publications offers literature for all ages, books on tape, videos and other engaging periodicals about everything from art to environmental issues.
If you're a lady who needs to update her wardrobe, Discovery Clothing Co. (3348 W Belmont Ave, (773) 463-3700) is a one-stop shop. Up-to-date with the latest brand name apparel, this Chicago-based discount clothing store sells stylish business suits and skirts for work, club wear for nights out, and even tanks and stretch pants perfect for your workout. Prices are always affordable while the trends stay current and colorful. Having trouble finding fashionable clothing in your size? Avenue (2921 W Addison St., (773) 509-1280) can fix that. Avenue's styles dress it up and keep it casual for full-figured women with a regular stock of sizes 14-32. Whether you're a career girl or keep it active, you'll find an amazing collection of skirts and pantsuits, along with flowing casual wear.
Yet another shopping hotspot with great prices in Avondale is Dots Fashion (3328 N Western Ave, (773) 525-0407). Mix and match the trends at Dots with fashionable patterns ranging from colorful exotic prints to earth tones and paisleys. Sundresses and tube tops come in many colors, so during the summer when it's 90 degrees out and all you want to wear is something easy and breezy, Dots has you covered. Speaking of your warm weather wardrobe, shorts in stock come real short or knee-length in cotton, denim, and twill, so no matter what your personal style, you'll find that perfect pair to suit your look. New designs at Dots vary with bi-weekly deliveries but prices remain low every day of the week. Career wear and casual, day and eveningwear, spring or fall, Dots definitely has it all!
Night on the Town
Once you've hit the stores and had a nice meal at one of the restaurants in Avondale, end your day at one of the many appealing neighborhood pubs.
A true Irish pub, Chief O'Neill's (3471 N Elston Ave, 773-473-5263) is not only a superb place to do your St. Patrick's Day celebrating, it's great for sitting out in the beer garden during the summer, clinking mugs of chilled beer and chatting it up with friends. Make your Bloody Mary just the way you like it at O'Neill's Bloody Mary bar. Add in anything from your basic celery and pickle juice to jumbo shrimp and extra spices, but don't go too wild with the spice, you're the one that has to drink it! The cuisine here is way more than your average bar food. O'Neill's serves up some of the best cheddar soup and pumpkin bread pudding in Chicago.
One of the best lounges in Avondale to kick back, enjoy a drink and listen to a wide variety of great music is The Orbit Room (2959 N California Ave, (773) 588-8540). Featuring a beer garden with a tiki theme and a laid back vibe, The Orbit Room is perfect for large get together's with friends or a quick drink after work. Relax with one of their many delicious tiki concoctions like the Big Kahuna, Shark Bite or the Sneaky Tiki while enjoying fan favorite mac n' cheese or the loca nachos featuring refried and black beans, shredded pepper jack cheese and pico de gallo.
For a down to earth experience make your way down Albany Ave to the almost hidden SmallBar (2956 N Albany Ave, (773) 509-9888). Opened in 2002, SmallBar has quickly become one of the city's original craft beer pioneers with a selection that rivals just about anybody within a few hundred mile radius. Hard to find but well worth the search, SmallBar is not exactly small but can get crowded due to its great drink list and pub food choices that are well above the norm. Be sure to get your hands on the fried cheese curds, pulled pork nachos and the delicious backyard BBQ burger. Also, dogs are welcome in the outdoor patio.
Avondale brings us small, original theater venues where you can get and eye and earful of the local culture and great works of art.
The Prop Thtr (3502 N Elston Ave, (773) 539-7838), is one of the most attractive theatres to go to in Chicago because of all the talented actors that collaborate on new and old works, from the classic plays of Samuel Beckett to new plays like 'The Jesus Fields' or adapted plays from Salinger and Dostoyevsky. However, the Prop Thtr is really known for its promotion of new playwrights and actors. A place for budding artists to put on their work, the Prop Thtr also is a pay-the-ticket-price or pay-what-you-can theater, all the more reason to see what these area artists have to show.
Located in the same building, the Factory Theater (3502 N Elston Ave, (773) 305-5775) is another unique spot to catch young and up-and-coming writers and actors performing original works with a strong Chicago influence. Looking for offbeat comedy? You've come to the right place. With shows like "White Trash Wedding and a Funeral", "The League Of Awesome" and "Siskel and Ebert Save Chicago" having graced the stage, you're guaranteed a night full of something completely different and irreverent at this Avondale hotspot.
Mark Your Calendar
Every year in Chicago, especially when the snow clears, outdoor activities are a must.
One of the newer activities in Avondale Park (3516 W. School St., (773) 478-1410) is Bike the Ward in early June. From the Bike Chicago foundation, Bike the Ward will get you spinning around Avondale, exercising, sightseeing, meeting new friends and taking in all Chicago's Avondale neighborhood has to offer. On a side note, Bike Chicago has bike locations at Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Riverwalk, North Avenue Beach, and Foster Beach. So get your bike out, oil your gears and join the other resident cyclists for this fun and active neighborhood event.
One of the best things about Chicago is not only that there so many places to go and things to see, but that you can get there in practically no time by car, bus, train, bike, or foot.
A whole fleet of buses service the Avondale neighborhood, giving city travelers plenty of options for transportation that include quick and convenient routes to just about anywhere you'd want to go. The #52 Kedzie/California bus, which runs from Roscoe to 63rd Place, also intersects with the Blue Line subway train if you need to take your trip in another direction. The Blue Line goes from O'Hare International Airport down through Avondale neighborhood with stops at Addison Street, Belmont Avenue and Logan Square, on through the Chicago Loop, and then all the way up to Forest Park suburb.
If you'd like to bypass public transportation and drive to your destination by car, be sure your vehicle is registered and you have your city sticker posted in the window. You can find out how to purchase a sticker and how to help get your guests a parking pass by contacting City Hall (121 N LaSalle Room #107, (312) 744-6861) or the local Chicago Department of Revenue Substation (2550 W Addison St, (773) 744-7275).
Chicago's commuter train line is called the Metra Rail and it can take you both into and out of the city. The closest line is the Milwaukee District North Line that makes stops nearby Avondale, at Gray Land and Healy Streets. Fares vary depending on what day and time your travel. The train is handicap accessible and you can bring your bike on the train during non-rush hour times if needed.
School's in Session
Avondale schools cover all the bases when it comes to providing the community with education from preschool all the way to advanced academic degrees. In addition to the following list, to find more info on these schools and others in the surrounding area or throughout the city, check out our Chicago Guide Schools page.
- Devry Institute of Technology - 3300 N Campbell Ave - (773) 697-2216
- Lane Tech College Prep - 2501 W Addison St - (773) 534-5400
- Linne Elementary School - 3221 N Sacramento Ave - (773) 534-5262
- Concordia Place - 3300 N Whipple St - (773) 463-1600
- Longandale Middle School - 3212 W George St - (773) 534-5350
- Reilly Elementary School - 3650 W School St - (773) 5250
- Caril Von Linne Elementary School - 3221 N Sacramentro Ave - (773) 534-5262
- Brentano Math and Science Academy 0 2723 N Fairfield Ave - (773) 534-4100
- Monroe Elementary School - 3651 W Schubert Ave - (773) 534-4155
- Avondale Elementary School - 2945 N Sawyer Ave - (773) 534-5244
You'll have fun discovering the treasures of Avondale on your own, but we've compiled a basic list to give you a heads up on everything this north side Chicago neighborhood has to offer, from where to work out to where you can get your groceries.
- Dappers East - 2901 W Addison St - (773) 509-9100
- Honey Butter Fried Chicken - 3361 N Elston Ave - (773) 478-4000
- Square Bar & Grill - 2849 W Belmont Ave - (773) 267-0123
- Sunshine Restaurant - 3523 N Kedzie Ave - (773) 267-1578
- Buffet Castle - 3326 W Belmont Ave - (773) 267-6688
- Dragon Lady Lounge - 3188 N Elston Ave - (773) 267-1970
- Friendship Chinese Restaurant - 2830 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 227-0970
- Great Dragon - 3326 W Belmont Ave - (773) 685-4777
- Dunkin Donuts - 3214 N Kimball Ave - (773) 478-2828
- La Farine Bakery - 2909 N Milwaukee Ave - (872) 829-2002
- Starbucks - 2939 W Addison St - (773) 604-7680
- Endy's Deli - 3055 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 486- 8160
- Kurowski's Sausage Shop - 2976 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 645-1692
- S&S Deli - 3290 N Elston Ave - (773) 267-4315
- Al's Beef - 2804 N Western Ave - (773) 486-2333
- Hot Doug's - 3324 N California Ave - (773) 279-9550
- Mr. Pollo - 3000 W Belmont Ave - (773) 509-1208
- Outdoor Grill - 3265 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 202-9980
- Burrito House - 3145 W Addison St - (773) 279-9111
- Carniceria La Zacatecana - 3024 N California Ave - (773) 279-8260
- La Cocina - 2901 N Kedzie Ave - (773) 588-5799
- Taqueria Traspasada - 3144 N California - (773) 539-4533
Night on the Town
- Chief O'Neill's - 3471 N Elston Ave - (773) 473-5263
- Kuma's Corner - 2900 W Belmont Ave - (773) 604-8769
- Late Bar - 3534 W Belmont Ave - (773) 267-5283
- The Orbit Room - 2959 N California Ave - (773) 588-8540
- SmallBar - 2956 N Albany Ave - (773) 509-9888
- Di Vita's Restaurant - 3753 W Belmont Ave - (773) 583-6163
- Giordano's - 2855 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 862-4200
- Carniceria Guanajuato - 3140 N California Ave - (773) 267-7739
- Chicago Food Corp - 3333 N Kimball Ave - (773) 478-5566
- Jewel Osco - 3570 N Elston St - (773) 583-9858
- Jewel Osco - 3400 N Western Ave - (773) 327-2723
- Spinney's Food Mart - 2924 W Belmont Ave - (773) 478-8032
- Wally's International Market - 3256 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 736-1212
- Crossfit ForeFront - 2710 W Belmont Ave - (312) 315-0199
- Planet Fitness - 3120 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 685-4140
- XSport Fitness - 3239 W Belmont Ave - (773) 509-9900
- Avondale Park - 3516 W School St - (773) 478-1410
- Brands Park - 3259 N Elston Ave - (773) 478-1281
- Clark Park - 3400 N Rockwell - (312) 742- 7594
- Elston Playlot Park - 3451 N Troy St - (773) 478-2414
- Grape Playlot Park - 2850 W Avondale Ave - (773) 478-2414
- Sacramento Playlot Park - 3520 N Sacramento Ave - (773) 478-1414
- CVS Pharmacy - 3411 W Addison St - (773) 279-8005
- CVS Pharmacy - 3311 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 685-5259
- Osco Drug - 3572 N Elston St - (773) 583-9858
- Walgreens - 3424 W Belmont Ave - (773) 267-2328
- Avenue - 3326 N Western Ave - (773) 296-9387
- Discovery Clothing Co. - 3348 W Belmont Ave - (773) 463-3700
- Dots Fashion - 3328 N Western Ave - (773) 525-0407
- Foot Locker - 2917 W Addison St - (773) 478-1872
- Home Depot - 3500 N Kimball Ave - (773) 463-6306
- Kmart - 3443 W Addison St - (773) 478-1334
- Lily's Bridal & Gifts - 3246 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 685-8494
- Payless Shoe Store - 2909 W Addison St - (773) 588-0539 or 3332 N Western Ave - (773) 404-9834
- Kazi Publication Bookstore - 3031 W Belmont Ave - (773) 539-2793
- Target -2949 W Addison St - (773) 604-7680
- Toys R Us - 3330 N Western Ave - (773) 525-1690
- Factory Theater - 3502 N Elston Ave - (773) 305-5775
- The Prop Thtr - 3502 N Elston Ave - (773) 539-7838
- Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
- Metra Rail - (312) 322-6777
- Bike Chicago- Corporate Office - (773) 404-2500
Sometimes it makes more sense to view the city of Chicago as a bunch of separate neighborhoods-especially when it comes to real estate. Whether you are in the market for a loft, condo, townhome, or house, it is just as important to inspect the surrounding area as it is to inspect the home's foundation. Avondale is just one Chicago community with an abundance of residential properties, and a life all its own. From where you send your kids to school to where you dine at night, the information we provide is an essential piece of the puzzle when you're trying to decide whether or not to buy that beautiful loft or adorable house in Avondale.