Forest Glen is a small, peaceful community of a few hundred residences, of which almost all are single-family homes, in close proximity to forest preserves and the North Branch of the Chicago River. Parents bring their tots to the Forest Glen Playlot, tucked in among the brick bungalows, quaint cottages, English Tudors and mid-century ranches that occupy the neighborhood blocks. A handful of restaurants provide residents with all the essentials: pizza, Chinese takeout, and a 24-hour diner. Forest Glen's local watering hole packs a punch with pool, darts, jukebox, cheap drinks and live entertainment on certain nights.
Forest Glen Facts
Location: About 13 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: South Edgebrook, Sauganash, Jefferson Park, North Mayfair, Edgebrook Woods
Boundaries: Bryn Mawr Avenue to the north, Cicero Avenue to the east, Foster Avenue to the south, and Laramie Avenue and the Edgebrook Woods to the west
Then and Now
Back in the 1700s, Native American wigwams dotted the land now known as Forest Glen. The inhabitants took full advantage of the area’s valuable natural resources, including its lush forests and the Chicago River. In fact, as late as the 1920s, some Native Americans still returned to the area to pay tribute to their ancestors who were buried along the river’s banks so long ago.
Later, in 1828, the United States gave the land that includes modern-day Forest Glen to Billy Caldwell, in thanks for his work as a mediator between the U.S. government and the Native American groups. Caldwell was of mixed Irish and Native American blood, hence his Native American name, Sauganash ("the Englishman"). Eventually, Caldwell moved west to Iowa, and the land was back in the U.S. government’s hands.
In 1866 the Forest Glen parcel was awarded to Captain Hazelton as his Civil War settlement. Hazelton built a home and barn near present-day Lawler Avenue and started a cherry orchard to supply the sweet fruit to Chicago’s markets. But the ambitious Hazelton didn’t stop there. He built the first grocery store in the area, and eventually subdivided ten acres of his land to encourage more development (near present-day Elston and Forest Glen avenues) by planting trees in orderly rows with a little help from his neighbors. Hazelton called the community Forest Glen.
Although he was a colorful character, Hazelton was also an austere religious man. He organized a Swedish Methodist Church in the 1870s, which remained the oldest in Illinois until it was demolished a little over a century later. He banned smoking, drinking, and other debauchery in Forest Glen, personally interviewing families before accepting them into the community. Needless to say, development of the area was sluggish, although a new railroad stop in the 1880s brought more people to the area.
In the 1940s Forest Glen experienced a building boom, and its desirable new homes and almost-suburban location attracted the well-to-do. Decades later, in the 1990s, many original owners still occupied their homes—a testament to the community’s stability. Not much has changed to this day; Forest Glen’s well-kept homes, natural beauty, and enduring sense of community make it one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Chicago.
One of the perks of living in Forest Glen is that you can enjoy the great outdoors without traveling more than a few minutes from your home. And we mean a few minutes walking, not driving.
You can experience both the forest and the glen at Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Forest Glen Woods. This breathtaking nature preserve near Forest Glen and Catalpa avenues houses a picnic grove that can accommodate groups of up to 300 nature lovers. The grove has picnic tables under a roofed shelter, restrooms, and a convenient parking lot off Forest Glen Avenue. The serene beauty of the woods and the open grassy areas—coupled with its prime location, just a few miles from the heart of the city—make Forest Glen Woods an extremely popular site for family, club, and company picnics.
Athletes are also attracted to this wooded setting. Each fall, the Friends of the Parks hosts the Fall Frolic, a fantastic 30-mile bike ride that starts at neighboring Caldwell Woods and meanders through Forest Glen Woods and other preserves to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, Illinois—and then back to Caldwell Woods. If you like to go fast, but on foot as opposed to on wheels, you’re in luck! Chicago running clubs, like the Hash House Harriers, hold noncompetitive social runs through the woods’ pleasant terrain.
The Forest Glen Playlot Park (5069 W. Berwyn Ave, 312-742-7853) traces its beginnings to 1933, when the Forest Glen Park District bought an odd-shaped parcel of land and immediately turned it into a playground for neighborhood children. Now operated by the Chicago Park District, this one-third-acre park was completely rehabbed in 1990. Today the swings and other playground favorites still look like new. Park-going tots get two-for-one thrills here: they can ride the swings and at the same time watch the choo-choos rush through the Forest Glen Metra station right across the street. Adults waiting for the train enjoy drinking their coffee, reading the paper, or just sitting and relaxing on one of the park’s benches.
Forest Glen Real Estate
There are a few multi-unit living options in Forest Glen, but single-family homes dominate the small neighborhood. As you walk through this northwest side tree-lined community, you’ll notice a variety of housing styles, including quaint cottages, brick bungalows, ranch houses, English Tudors, Georgians, and even some row houses—all with immaculate landscaping and the greenist grass. Side drives and attached garages are also common in this neck of the woods. Many of Forest Glen’s side streets dead-end right into the forest preserves, giving residents an incredible second backyard.
The average sales price for a three-bedroom single-family home in Forest Glen neighborhood is around $430,000, and the price for a four- or five-bedroom house ranges between $350,000 and $700,000.
What’s on the Menu?
What few restaurants Forest Glen has within its neighborhood boundaries offer several different types of pure comfort food. Something to soothe the soul and satisfy the stomach.
The neighborhood’s namesake Forest Glen Restaurant (5200 N Elston Ave, 773-286-2028) is a homey triangular-shaped eatery at the corner of Foster and Elston avenues. Open 24 hours, you can get anything at this diner-like spot: breakfast, a late-night snack, a satisfying sandwich for lunch, and a hearty dinner that won’t break the bank. Customers range from families to blue-collar workers to more interesting characters during the late-night hours. The booths next to the windows are a great place to eat and be entertained by the passing people and traffic—hey, we’re easily amused, okay?
A few blocks away on Elston, Hunan Spring (5279 N Elston Ave, 773-202-8889) serves ultra-fresh Hunan, Szechuan, and Cantonese cuisine. If you have a food allergy or just don’t like broccoli, don’t fret: Hunan Spring is more than happy to customize your order. Bargain-priced lunch specials are served from 11 am to 3 pm Monday through Saturday and include more than twenty different dishes, like pepper steak, shrimp with garlic sauce, and orange chicken. With each lunch entree, you get a choice of an egg roll or soup (wonton, egg drop, or hot and sour), plus a choice of white rice or fried rice (roast pork, chicken, vegetable, or shrimp). For those of you watching your calorie and/or fat intake, the restaurant obliges with steamed dishes like the guilt-free steamed bean curd with mushrooms and broccoli. We could go on and on—the full menu has more than 130 items! There are a few tables in Hunan’s tiny space, but most patrons prefer to order their food for carryout or delivery.
The best thin crust pizza in Chicago? We’ve heard that claim before, but many Forest Glen neighbors swear that Mr. V’s Pizza (5285 N Elston Ave, 773-736-9434) is it. They rave about its floury, cracker-thin crust, mildly tangy tomato/oregano sauce, superior blend of cheeses, and just the right amount of top-quality toppings. Mr. V’s made-from-scratch Italian beef sandwich is another fave with the locals. But don’t just take their word for it—try these and Mr. V’s other offerings and judge for yourself. Like its Hunan Spring neighbor, Mr. V’s has a few tables for folks who like to eat in, but the majority of its business is delivery or takeout.
Night on the Town
You might do a doubletake the first time you see Rabbit’s (4945 W Foster Ave, 773-736-5766). After all, you don’t often see a building sporting a painting of a cute bunny rabbit—holding a big stein of beer, and another of a bunny proudly serving a tray full of drinks. Rabbit’s is the only drinking establishment within Forest Glen’s boundaries, the lack of such places perhaps a result of the community’s teetotalist past. A welcoming neighborhood watering hole, Rabbit’s has a jukebox, a pool table, dartboards, burgers and other classic bar fare. You don’t need a full wallet to eat and drink here; prices are more than reasonable, and the friendly regulars might even buy you a drink or two. On most Saturdays, Rabbit’s has live entertainment, including a crowd-pleasing Elvis impersonator who belts out the King’s hits in sequined Las Vegas-era Elvis outfits. Rabbit’s is truly a fun, comfortable place to wind down from a hectic week.
Mark Your Calendar
Don’t miss the annual Forest Glen Community Garage Sale (sponsored by the Forest Glen Community Club, 312-409-8618), usually held in June. It’s a bargain-hunters dream: more than 50 simultaneous garage sales in one neighborhood, offering a mind-boggling variety of treasures and trinkets. Residents also love this event, as it gives them a chance to mingle with their neighbors and friends.
Whether you need to get downtown, to other parts of the city, O’Hare International Airport, or the northern suburbs, Forest Glen has a commuting option for you.
For train riders, the Metra Milwaukee District North Line provides service from Fox Lake, Illinois, to Chicago’s Union Station just outside the Loop. Stops in between include Morton Grove, Glenview, Deerfield, and Gray’s Lake. The Forest Glen station (5301 N. LeClaire Avenue) has ample fee parking.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers regular bus service on Foster and Cicero avenues to other parts of the city. To get to O’Hare, just take the #92 Foster bus to the Jefferson Park terminal and catch the CTA’s Blue Line train, which stops right inside the airport. Drivers are also in luck: the Edens Expressway (I-94) runs adjacent to Forest Glen with an entrance ramp at Foster Avenue and exit ramp at Cicero Avenue.
Forest Glen is as residential as it gets. If you need something that isn’t available within its borders, you’ll find it just down the street in one of Forest Glen’s surrounding neighborhoods.
Chicago Transit Authority (888) 968-7282
Everything Closets - 5020 W Foster Ave - (773) 282-8082
Forest Glen Playlot Park - 5069 W. Berwyn Ave - (312) 742-7853
Forest Glen Community Garage Sale - (312) 409-8618
Rabbit’s - 4945 W Foster Ave - (773) 736-5766
Forest Glen Restaurant - 5200 N Elston Ave - (773) 286-2028
Hunan Spring - 5279 N Elston Ave - (773) 202-8889
Baskin-Robbins - 5050 N Cicero Ave - (773) 481-1488
Dunkin’ Donuts - 5050 N Cicero Ave - (773) 481-1488
Subway - 5050 N Cicero Ave - (773) 736-1171
Mr. V’s Pizza - 5285 N Elston Ave - (773) 736-9434
Forest Glen Community Club - (312) 409-8618
Forest Glen-Mayfair Kiwanis Club
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 Forest Glen 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 Forest Glen, 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 Forest Glen, all without ever having to go anywhere.