Nestled between the city and the lovely suburb of Oak Park, Galewood is an ideal community for families, young couples, and people from all walks of life. If you are looking for the perfect marriage of suburb and city, you'll feel right at home on the beautiful tree-lined streets of this picturesque neighborhood. Well-maintained homes, many from the 1920s and 1930s, give Galewood a noticeably old-fashioned appeal that carries over from generation to generation. An international parade of dining options span from hearty, deep-dish pizza to Cuban seafood specialties. To kick back in the evenings and weekends, Galewooders pop over to the local sports bar and grill to meet up with friends, watch the game and catch a nightcap.
Location: Approximately 10 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Monteclare, Belmont Central, North Austin, Elmwood Park, Oak Park
Boundaries: Metra Milwaukee West District Line Railroad tracks to the north, Austin Avenue to the east, North Avenue to the south and Harlem Avenue to the west.
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap for crime stats on specific Chicago neighborhood, intersection, address or police beat.
Then and Now
Like Monteclare, its neighbor to the north, Galewood is a paradoxical suburb within a city. The picturesque streets of this Chicago neighborhood owe their existence to a lively history of prescient homesteading, booming industry, and the ingenuity of early settlers.
When Abram and Sarah Gale relocated to the Midwest from New York, they brought with them a strong work ethic, keen business sense, and a grand piano. The year was 1835, and the city of Chicago was just beginning to grow skyward from the lakeside lot populated by Native American tribes. Legend has it that Sarah’s was the first piano ever played in Chicago and when her hands danced over the keys, the audience of native people thought that birds must live inside the magical wooden box.
At the time, the couple lived upstairs from the downtown Chicago shops they had opened. Soon, it became apparent that Sarah’s business—a boutique that sold fancy hats to the elite ladies of the city—had the potential to make some real dough. Abram dutifully closed his own shop and set out to keep the books for his wife’s business, all the while putting aside the profits to invest in local real estate. By 1837, the Gales had enough money to pay for 320 acres of farmland stretching from Grand Avenue to Lake Street. The total transaction was around $200.
In 1889 the sparsely populated neighborhood where the Gales had settled was annexed to the city of Chicago as part of Jefferson Township. The neighborhood, by then known as Galewood, didn’t really draw many visitors until 1899, when the Gale family leased some 65 acres for the development of the Ho Golf Club—one of the first golf clubs built in the Chicagoland area. The 18-hole course filled the space on North Avenue between Oak Park Road and Ridgeland, and although it was only in operation from 1899 to 1927, it peeked the interest of many well-to-do Chicago residents who later decided to move to the neighborhood to raise families.
It was during this surge, which lasted from the late 1920s until the mid ‘30s, that the majority of homes in the Galewood area were built. Since that time, the neighborhood has been a magnet for young families, upper-class professionals and its fair share of celebrities (silver-screen siren Kim Novak used to call Galewood home, as did publishing mogul Hugh Hefner, in addition to several local and national politicians). During the mid 1900s, many Norwegians immigrated to the community and their distinctive cultural mark is still apparent here today.
Maybe Chicago’s historical leaders have always been concerned with creating an abundance of green public spaces for its citizens to make up for the long winters spent indoors, feeling sorry for ourselves. Whatever the reason, we’re just happy to have so many parks.
Rutherford-Sayre Park (6871 W Belden Ave, 312-746-5368) was born from the merging of three nearby parks in 1999. Locals have always regarded this area as one big frolicking ground, so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when the city made it official. This is one of those special Chicago parks that includes a fitness center so you can throw out your wallet-draining membership card to the downtown gyms. A little historical tidbit for you: When the original Rutherford Park was built in 1916, there was a bowling alley in the fieldhouse, a very unusual quirk for a city park.
There are plenty of scenic trails here for inline skating, jogging, running, or just taking Fido out for a stroll. For a quick pick-up game during the summer, the baseball fields here are well-maintained, and the park even offers summertime baseball camp for the kiddies. Rutherford-Sayre also participates in the free "Movies in the Parks" series, so grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some takeout and settle in for the night.
Amundsen Park (6200 W Bloomingdale Ave, 312-746-5003) is a beautifully landscaped gem. Like Rutherford-Sayre, Amundsen has baseball diamonds, a gym and fitness center, and several lovely walking paths. The park offers day camp programs in the summer, and hosts a sports series for kids under age 12 in basketball, baseball, and kickball. Formed in 1933, the park was named after Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian adventurer who discovered the South Pole, as homage to the area’s strong Norwegian population.
Galewood Real Estate
Because the majority of Galewood homes were built before World War II, the residences in this neighborhood have a stunning luster of antiquity that you won’t find in such abundance in other Chicago neighborhoods.
Situated on wide, well-maintained tree-lined streets are single-family brick homes of all prices and styles: bungalows, Colonial, Georgian and Tudor-style homes have been lovingly maintained by generations of Galewood residents. In fact, many homes here are simply passed down through the family, and that Old World air is apparent on any stroll through the neighborhood. Estates here were built on larger lots, which means they have sprawling yards, ample parking, and plenty of room for home expansion—all common perks of purchasing a home in this area.
Because so many residences were being built between the 1920s and mid ‘30s, it wasn’t uncommon to share blueprints, and it can be fun to walk through the neighborhood and find your home’s twin. Actually, it’s fun to walk through this neighborhood just for the heck of it—the unique architectural styles anchored by landscaped yards makes a journey through Galewood one of the most magnificent promenades in the city.
The average sale price for a three-bedroom single-family detached home in this northwest side Chicago neighborhood is $320,000, although there are several dwellings this size that sell for over $400,000. Some of the larger Galewood homes on the market cost over $600,000, but the average sale price for a four to six-bedroom house is around $336,000.
What’s on the Menu?
Beauty, serenity and history are nice, but the true soul of a neighborhood is in its kitchens. Galewood offers a plethora of wonderful culinary options for everyone.
Every home needs that perfect pizza delivery place. We consider several factors when choosing our regular pizza guy, and Sarpino’s Pizza (6526 W North Ave, 773-622-2262) has all the components necessary to make its way onto the speed dial. Fantastic prices? Check. How’s three medium thin-crust pies for 15 bucks sound? Good hours? Check. You can order in until 2am. A wide variety of fresh ingredients? Double check—this is where Sarpino’s truly shines. When the rest of the late-night delivery joints are lugging around greasy over-processed pies, Sarpino’s is busy raising the bar.
For those of you that prefer deep-dish pizza but are tired of the endless debate over which Chicago chain is best, just belly up to a booth at Edwardo’s Natural Pizza (6831 North Ave, 708-524-2400). The service is fast and friendly, the pies are stuffed high enough to fill you up and provide leftovers for a week, and you can request whole-wheat crust if you’re feeling guilty about eating a 10-pound pizza. We suggest the spinach and elephant garlic stuffed pizza. Just don’t forget to bring the Altoids.
As much as we adore pigging out on pizza, sometimes we’re looking for something more civilized and quiet (dare we say romantic?). These are the times to head to Sparacino Ristorante (6966 W North Ave, 773-836-2089), Galewood’s best kept secret. This cozy little neighborhood bistro serves up authentic Italian fare. The chef scours the Chicagoland area for seasonal ingredients and then comes up with delicious entrees like pistachio-encrusted sea bass, balsamic-marinated lamb, or our favorite, the Portobello-stuffed ravioli. The cozy dining room is paneled in dark mahogany, with vintage posters scattered about. And its Old World, bohemian flair is perfect for sipping an espresso and nibbling on something from Sparacino’s inspired dessert menu.
If you’re looking for a more casual dining environment, give Cafe Laguardia West (6818 W North Ave, 773-385-8930) a try. This lively spot is an outpost of the famed Bucktown restaurant that Rachel Ray swears by. Here you can knock back a few mojitos and savor some spicy Cuban food delicacies like frog legs and red snapper. This place is perfect for lounging, nibbling and taking an easy night out on the town. We love making like we’re Havana hipsters by choosing from Laguardia’s full menu of authentic Cuban cocktails and dancing in the backyard garden.
When it comes to lunch, this Chicago neighborhood doesn’t mess around. There are tons of options that fit the bill for the perfect midday meal: cheap, fast, and tasty. For a quick dose of Chicago-style fast food, hit up Michael’s Beef House (6747 North Ave, 708-848-8080) for a steak sandwich done right. During the dog days of summer, this is a great place to stop by for a refreshing Italian Ice. For another good bet, we love the almighty burrito at North Burrito (6814 W North Ave, 773-622-6249). The friendly staff here serves up all of your favorite variations on rice, meat and beans.
We had almost abandoned the idea of a great Thai lunch this far west of downtown, but that was before we tried Galewood’s Amarind’s Thai Restaurant (6822 W North Ave, 773-889-9999). With a peanut sauce that marries the best of sweet and savory flavors, the pad Thai here is divine. The curries are earthy and flavorful, with just the right amount of kick. With all the delicious standards, and the requisite page of inventive noodle dishes, you can just close your eyes and point at anything on the menu—no matter what dish your finger lands on, you won’t be disappointed.
Best Shopping Stops
Although it’s tempting to head downtown for shopping excursions, you might just find what you’re looking for right here in Galewood.
When you don’t have time to stitch together that costume for your daughter’s ballet recital, Leo’s Dancewear (1900 N Narragansett Ave, 773-745-5600) will swoop in to save you. The huge selection of costumes, bodywear, and shoes for all styles of dance is like Disneyland for any performer. In addition, you can find stylish alternatives to the outfits that everyone else in your yoga class poses in. And the clerks here don’t mind if you want to do a "down dog" while trying on a new pair of stretchy pants—you’ve got to see how they look, right?
One of our favorite local shops is Gwen’s Corner (6160 W Grand Ave, 773-622-2470). This little boutique fills a niche in the Chicago fashion scene; it specializes in designer apparel and accessories for full-figured women. The selection here is fabulous and includes the shoes and handbags you’ll need to complete your new look.
When you’re in the market for some new wheels, make Barnard’s Schwinn (6109 North Ave, 708-524-2660) your first stop. This little bike shop has been around since 1911, and they are your headquarters for all things bicycle-related. We love Schwinn bikes for their vintage look, comfy ride, and enviable color selection, and we love Barnard’s for answering all of our biking concerns, restoring our rides, and keeping us current with the coolest accessories out there. And trust us, you’ll be among the hippest bicyclists tooling around the neighborhood on your new set of wheels from this Galewood community fixture.
You can take your shiny new bike and cruise the streets of the Galewood neighborhood all summer long. The lovely houses and lush landscaping make for a scenic ride. Once the weather turns cool again, you might need to explore some other way to get around.
If you like a little old-fashioned transit to go with your architecture, just hop aboard the Metra, whose Milwaukee District West Line stops at the Montclare and Mars stations in Galewood. This train takes passengers straight to Chicago’s downtown Union Station, just outside the Loop.
Prefer to drive? With such ample and easy neighborhood parking it’s tempting to jump behind the wheel and take your own vehicle just about everywhere within the boundaries of Galewood. Of course, for destinations outside the neighborhood, driving can be a direct way to go as well. The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) is only three miles south of here. Or, you can take Grand Avenue to downtown and back in a snap—well, depending on what time of day it is. Pretty much all of Chicago’s main thoroughfares and highways get congested and backed up during the busy morning and evening rush hours. So, just be aware, and give yourself extra time to get somewhere if you must travel during heavy commuter traffic.
School’s in Session
Because Galewood is a Chicago neighborhood that can’t quite decide between suburb and city, the primary schools here tend to lean towards the suburban side. Families will find that top-notch facilities, low student-to-teacher ratios, and a diverse mix of students result in a stellar educational system for your young ones. In addition to the following list of Galewood public schools, you can check out our Chicago Guide Schools page for more information on Chicago area schools.
Joseph Lovett Public School – 6333 W Bloomingdale Ave – (773) 534-3130
Luther Burbank Public School – 2035 N Mobile Ave – (773) 534-3000
From bicycles to burritos, ballet slippers to the best mojito this side of Havana, you’re going to need to know where to go. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of all the Galewood neighborhood destinations you’ll use everyday.
Chicago Transit Authority – (888) 968-7282
Osco Drug – 1819 N Harlem Ave – (773) 237-8927
Walgreens – 1606 N Mobile Ave – (773) 836-9497; 1600 N Harlem Ave – (708) 456-8810
J&J Fish Mart – 6317 North Ave – (708) 383-1137
Sorelli’s Food Mart – 6454 W North Ave – (773) 745-3888
White Hen Pantry – 6800 W North Ave – (773) 836-1806
Ladies Workout Express – 6528 W North Ave – (773) 745-0100
Rutherford-Sayre Park – 6871 W Belden Ave – (312) 746-5368
Amundsen Park – 6200 W Bloomingdale Ave – (312) 746-5003
Another Fashion – 6056 W North Ave – (773) 237-0209
Barnard’s Schwinn – 6109 North Ave – (708) 524-2660
Gwen’s Corner – 6160 W Grand Ave – (773) 622-2470
JB’s Pro Shop – 7015 North Ave – (708) 848-6892
Kohn’s Pants & Tops – 6004 W North Ave – (773) 637-5175
Leo’s Dancewear – 1900 N Narragansett Ave – (773) 745-5600
International House of Pancakes – 6501 North Ave – (708) 386-1199
Kenny’s Ribs & Chicken – 6427 North Ave – (708) 660-9939
Michael’s Beef House – 6747 North Ave – (708) 848-8080
Amarind’s Thai Restaurant – 6822 W North Ave – (773) 889-9999
China Chop Suey – 6425 North Ave – (708) 524-3388
China Delight – 6618 W North Ave – (773) 237-8886
Chopstick Louie’s – 5811 W Grand Ave – (773) 637-4578
Cafe Laguardia West – 6818 W North Ave – (773) 385-8930
Sparacino Ristorant – 6966 W North Av – e (773) 836-2089
El Ranchito Restaurant – 2175 N Austin Ave – (773) 745-8010
North Burrito – 6814 W North Ave – (773) 622-6249
Taqueria La Ley – 6000 W Grand Ave – (773) 385-9878
There’s a lot of mystery involved in searching for a new home-it starts with the property and expands outward to encompass the street, the block, the neighborhood, the entire city! Every little thing matters from the color of the walls to the attractions of the town. That’s why a guide like this one on Galewood is so helpful to potential homebuyers. Without leaving the comfort of your desktop computer or laptop, you’ve got an extensive pool of information on all of Chicago’s neighborhoods that includes first-hand descriptions of dining, entertainment, shopping, bars, and events, in addition to lists of schools, hospitals, post offices, and gyms. We’ve done all the research to carefully craft this one-stop online spot, and create your hub for the real deal on Galewood. So as soon as a Chicago loft, condo, townhome or house catches your eye, you know where to come for the low down on the digs around that prime piece of real estate.