This picturesque neighborhood is a breath of fresh air in the center of Chicago's north side. Perfect for families starting out, university students, retired couples, and everyone in between, Graceland West offers a tranquil community-oriented home away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, without being too far removed from the exciting nightlife and dining scene of nearby Wrigleyville. Traces of the Victorian era are found in Graceland West's grand homes and sweeping front lawns. Other sections of the neighborhood are more modern with contemporary condominiums, duplexes and townhouses. With such a range of housing styles, homebuyers of all budgets can find just the right place.
Graceland West Facts
Location: about 7 miles north of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Lakeview, Ravenswood, North Center, Sheridan Park, Graceland Cemetery
Boundaries: Montrose Avenue to the north, Clark Street to the east, Irving Park Road to the south and Ashland Avenue to the west
Then and Now
Tucked between the popular Chicago communities of Lakeview, Uptown, Wrigleyville and Andersonville, Graceland West locals enjoy the spillover of entertainment and vitality from the surrounding neighborhoods that attract Chicagoans from all around to hang out, eat, and cheer on their baseball team. But its location, next to the sprawling grounds of the historic Graceland Cemetery, not only inspired the neighborhood name, but also incites an air of peace and a slower pace than other areas in the vicinity.
Considered by most to be the Pére Lachaise (Paris’ largest cemetery) of Chicago, Graceland is the final resting place to the Windy City’s royal merchantry. Potter Palmer, George Pullman, Marshall Fields, Phillip D. Armour and Daniel Burnham are but a few of the luminaries buried here.
Designed by O.C. Simonds, one of Chicago’s most respected landscape architects, the graveyard was built in 1860. It wasn’t long before folks started to construct houses next to the beautiful grounds of the city’s most talked-about cemetery, and soon a thriving residential area followed. The land directly west of the burial site—aptly called Graceland West—was settled between the 1870s and 1900 as a retreat from hectic city life. The original real estate campaign championed quaint countryside where tall trees grow and properties boast spacious lots. As the years progressed, though, the open green plots of land filled in with rows of tightly-packed housing along a well-defined grid of streets.
These days, despite its close proximity to other urbanized areas, sections of Graceland West still maintain a bit of its distinctive past characteristics as a rural haven. Many of the homes are still surrounded by plenty of green grass, set back from the road on lots that are twice the size of most city properties. And, because of its prime spot in the dead center of Chicago’s north side, Graceland West continues to be a very desirable locale for Chicagoans who prefer to feel like they’re a little more removed from the action, but appreciate the neighborhood’s accessibility.
Living in Chicago means embracing the outdoors whenever possible, and as soon as the mercury starts to rise we take to the nearby neighborhood parks and seek out open green areas wherever we can.
Residents of Graceland West are fortunate to have not only a public park meant for recreation, but the iconic namesake cemetery, which makes the perfect setting for a good old-fashioned stroll—if you don’t mind the fact that it is a graveyard. The nearly 120 acres of land covered by Graceland Cemetery (4001 N Clark St., 773-525-1105) embody a scenic leisure spot more than a burial ground. People from all over Chicago come to see the gorgeous professional landscaping and historic monuments, viewed through guided tours. But if you’re just looking for a tranquil site to take a walk, we say skip the tour and just wander about the grounds. There are winding paved paths throughout, or you can head off road and weave in between the headstones and mausoleums, if you like.
For those who prefer to walk among the living, Warner Park and Gardens (1466 W. Warner Ave) is a community space unlike any other. Established in 1987, this shady oasis was the result of the efforts of a well-intentioned community group to save a hundred-year old ginkgo tree destined for destruction. At the time, a developer’s bid for the unused lot (and the ancient tree it contained) was countered by local activist Lois Buenger, who rallied neighborhood businesses and mortgaged her own house to put in a counter bid. In the end, Buenger and her cohorts won the day (and the lot) turning the area into a lovingly-landscaped, community-run space. Brick paths wind through colorful flowerbeds and lush greenery where reading benches abound and an inviting gazebo welcomes residents to enjoy the shade. And, of course, the tree that started it all still anchors the small commons. Warner Park remains the only privately owned park in Chicago and is a popular location for weddings, flea markets and neighborhood events.
Graceland West Real Estate
Located beside a historic cemetery in the center of Chicago’s north side, Graceland West neighborhood is an idyllic residential respite within the cityscape.
One might expect a neighborhood built next door to a graveyard to be dreary, somber or generally creepy. Well, lucky for us, the spooky factor in Graceland West is virtually zero. Instead this quiet little enclave boasts lushly landscaped lawns and stunning properties that attract a variety of folks who want to settle down in a comfortable Chicago community not too far from downtown and other fun destinations within the city.
It’s typical for the streets in Graceland West to be wide and tree-lined, and depending on which section of the neighborhood you are in, the housing varies from huge two- or three-story manors to small one-bedroom condos. But that is the beauty of Graceland West, the real estate here is a healthy mix of single-family houses and multi-unit buildings, so everyone can find a home to suit their living style.
Along Greenview Avenue, you’ll find a lot of the neighborhood’s largest and most breath-taking houses. Many of the grand residences along this street were built in the Victorian era and are set back from the curb, affording a sense of exclusivity that accompanied the stately manors of the early 1900s. Some of the properties have been split into multiple residences or duplexes, although they have managed to keep an air of elegance and grandeur with high ceilings, arched doorways, hardwood moldings, and long walkways up to the expansive front porches. But for the most part, houses along Greenview are single-family dwellings that can have up to six bedrooms and cost well over a million dollars to purchase.
The rest of Graceland West is dotted with similar grand properties, but in between are more affordable two- and three-bedroom houses that start in the upper $500,000s. Now that is if you are dead set on having a detached home;if you don’t mind sharing a wall with the next door neighbor (like most people in Chicago do), Graceland West has countless housing options that run the gamut in price, design, modernity, and size. Residents can get a one-bedroom condo (possibly with a street parking spot) starting for $177,000. Many of the units occupy vintage courtyard buildings and more contemporary low-rise constructions. On the higher end, folks find very roomy three- and four-bedroom townhomes, half duplexes and penthouse condominiums in the neighborhood for between $500,000 and $900,000. The property values fluctuate with the newness of the structures or whether the older places have been renovated or not. Generally speaking, though, a one-bedroom attached unit in Graceland West neighborhood sells for about $220,000, a three-bedroom goes for around $335,000, and a three-bedroom will cost around $480,000, on average.
What’s on the Menu?
When it comes to culinary indulgences, Graceland West isn’t exactly the dining mecca of Chicago’s north side, but the restaurants it does have make sure that you’ll never have to leave the ‘hood for dinner if you don’t want to.
People expect the world out of their favorite neighborhood haunt—sophisticated fare in stylish environs with a lively clientele and personable staff, all without breaking the bank. It’s true, the neighborhood bistro is a difficult culinary role to fill, but Deleece (4004 N Southport Ave., 773-325 1710) is up for any challenge. The space’s origins as a grocery-store conversion are evident in its tin ceilings, exposed brick walls and old-fashioned tiled floors. Purple velvet drapes and old-timey staged photographs add a touch of classic supper club to this lofty Graceland West eatery. The menu consists of creative takes on American favorites. Typical seafood and pasta dished are infused with a little global flair—a little jalapeno here, a bit of chutney there; maybe a sprinkle of saffron for kick. The pre fixe menu is a steal at $20 for three courses, and their brunch menu is a weekly must among neighborhood locals.
Any health nut or worldly eater is familiar with the benefits of Mediterranean cuisine. Fresh foods, simply prepared with heaps of omega-3 await you at Andies Restaurant (1467 W Montrose, 773-348-0654). Although the traditional plates like hummus, babagonoush, gyros and pita bread are done perfectly at Andie’s, a myriad of seafood dishes and succulent rack of lamb is available for those who like to stray from the Middle Eastern staples. Lunch specials here come in enormous portions and are only $5 per plate, making Andie’s the best bet in the neighborhood for our money.
When it comes to a night on the town, it can be tempting to bypass the theatre for the multiplex, but Graceland West residents find it much easier to travel the cultural path.
Situated on the southern border of this north side Chicago neighborhood, The Artistic Home (1420 W Irving Park Rd, 773-404-1100) offers all the excitement of blockbuster films alongside a hefty dose of theatrical culture. The company prides themselves on delivering complex, cerebral material that is sure to both intrigue and utterly dumbfound the audience. Whether eccentrically absurdist, exquisitely existential, or unabashedly political, the performances offered at Artistic Home are always deliciously character-driven. In addition to their seasonal line-up, the annual Cut to the Chase festival is a breeding ground for new playwriting talent. No time is wasted getting to the heart of each piece, and the event makes for an inspirational night for any theatre buff with a short attention span.
The convenient location of this Chicago neighborhood affords a slew of different transportation options that will get you from point A to point B, whether it’s in Graceland West, in the downtown Loop, or anywhere else in between.
Because Graceland West is situated in the epicenter of Chicago’s north side, it’s easy to ride a bike or use your own two feet when traveling to nearby neighborhoods. And, in case you are a Cubs fan (as you should be if you live on the north side), Wrigley Field is just down Clark Street, so you can easily head to Wrigleyville before and/or after the game to party with other fans.
Those that have further to travel might opt to use a car. Graceland West’s proximity to Lake Shore Drive makes commuting to other parts of the city a snap. Just cruise east on Irving Park Road and you’ll connect with this fast-moving Lake Shore Drive, which provides a quick, scenic route to other destinations in Chicago. As with any main thoroughfare in a metropolitan area, the traffic can get pretty backed-up during rush hour, so remain calm and just remember: patience is a virtue. Back in the Graceland West neighborhood, parking can be difficult because the neighborhood is so small, but several homes have attached garages to store the vehicle and street parking is not impossible to find, although you may need to do a few laps around the block before finding a vacant spot.
If you prefer to take public transportation, you have your pick of bus or train. The"El" (Chicago’s elevated rapid transit system), does not run directly through Graceland West, but the Sheridan Avenue station is just east of the neighborhood past Graceland Cemetery, so most Graceland West residents utilize that stop. The Red Line passes through here and offers a quick trip to the Loop for work, shopping, a bite to eat, or whatever—especially during the weekdays when the Purple Line also runs along the same tracks during rush hours, providing extra trains for commuter crowds. On the other side of the neighborhood, the Brown Line also stops in close proximity to the western border of Graceland West, so residents also hit up the Irving Park Road Brown Line station for their more distant destinations.
Anyone who would rather stick to road surface, as opposed to riding twenty feet off the ground in the"El" can jump on the #80 bus that operates along Irving Park Road or the #78 bus on Montrose Avenue, which will both take you to the western edge of the city or to the scenic shore of Lake Michigan. For north/south travel, we recommend the #22 Clark Street bus, which runs south to the Loop and north to the border of Evanston, Illinois.
School’s in Session
Families in Graceland West neighborhood like that they can send their children just down the street to school. In addition to the following list of Graceland West educational facilities, you can find out more information about Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Lake View High School - 4015 N Ashland Ave - (773) 534-5440
Passages Charter School - 1447 W Montrose Ave - (773) 549-1052
Whether you’re looking for pitas or potstickers, coffee or comedy, you’re going to want to know where in the neighborhood to find it. For that reason, we’ve compiled a basic guide to Graceland West to get you started.
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
White Hen - 4116 N Clark St - (773) 935-4510
The Artistic Home - 1420 W Irving Park Rd - (773) 404-1100
Gone to Pot - 1432 W Irving Park Rd - (773) 472-2274
Deleece Restaurant - 4004 N Southport Ave - (773) 325-1710
Lee’s Wok - 1437 W Montrose Ave - (773) 388-9978
Dunkin’ Donuts - 1441 W Montrose Ave - (773) 348-4888
Andies Restaurant - 1467 W Montrose Ave - (773) 348-0654
The residential real estate in Graceland West is fairly diverse, providing homeowners with a number of housing options from condos to lofts to townhomes. But there is more to your Graceland West home than where you rest your head at night. The area surrounding a property can be just as much a factor in the decision to buy as the color of the carpet or the condition of the foundation. Each Chicago neighborhood has its own unique charm that sets it apart from the rest. Our comprehensive online guide is all you need to explore the many streets of Chicago-all from the comfort of your own computer. Shopping, dining, entertainment, schools, you name it, we’ll show you where it is. Find out whether that fabulous Graceland West condo is immersed in the throes of wild nightlife, or veiled by the tranquility of a quiet residential setting. Like Metromix and the MLS merged into one, this site is your one-stop shop for Chicago neighborhood information.