Home to beautiful parks, thriving businesses and family-oriented residents, Hermosa prides itself in maintaining a safe and diverse Chicago neighborhood with loads of recreation for a fun-filled lifestyle. Part of the enjoyment of residing in Hermosa, is the delicious assortment of restaurants at your fingertips. Head out your front door and take your pick of flavors, from Cantonese cuisine to thin crust pizza pie. However, as its Spanish name implies, Hermosa is also a haven for mouthwatering south-of-the-border fare. Stop by the corner taqueria for a quick bite, or dine in on fresh ceviche and homemade tostadas. Nightlife in Hermosa is fairly low-key, but there are a handful of bars that serve up spirits. The shopping scene in Hermosa is also pretty impressive with a handful of clothing and shoe stores, a neighborhood hardware stop, and even Home Depot, for the bigger home improvement jobs.
Location: Approximately 8 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Kelvyn Park, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, West Humboldt Park, North Austin
Boundaries: Fullerton Avenue to the north, Pulaski Road to the east, North Avenue to the south and Cicero Avenue to the west.
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap for crime stats on specific Chicago neighborhood, intersection, address or police beat.
Then and Now
Anyone who has taken first-year Spanish probably learned right away the word hermosa means 'beautiful.' Well, with the Spanish definition in mind, it is certainly a fitting name for this northwest side neighborhood that is full of greenery, children playing in park areas, and bungalow-style homes that are unique and distinct.
Hermosa first began as a mostly Swedish neighborhood that grew when a surge of immigrants (mainly Hispanic), came there to live. Influenced by the largely Latino population, the area was named Hermosa when the city of Chicago annexed it in 1889.
Evolving from hard times and lack of business development during the 1990s, Hermosa has since prospered to become a community with a booming population that emphasizes kinship. It was only recently that Hermosa has turned around to become the safe, family-friendly neighborhood that it is today. A place where Chicagoans can relax, raise their kids and partake in a slew of recreation within walking distance of their front doorstep. Thanks to the locals being persistent in their volunteer work to develop and beautify Hermosa, in addition to neighboring Kelvyn Park and Belmont Gardens, the communities are now home to beautiful parks, thriving businesses and proud residents.
In Hermosa, the park is really the place to be, with acres of spacious green recreation area and loads of activities offered at each of the neighborhood’s park locations.
The community’s namesake Hermosa Park (2240 N. Kilbourn Ave., 312-742-7540) was originally created by the Northwest Park District in 1925. By 1927, a fairly large fieldhouse was built on the grounds, which now serves as the hub of indoor sport and leisure activity for many of Hermosa’s residents. These days, Hermosa Park offers a slew of summer programs such as twelve-inch softball for children ages nine to thirteen, as well as Cubs Care Rookie Baseball camp for the younger ones (ages five to eight). Hermosa’s wee ones can also participate in day camps (for ages six to twelve), and the slightly more mature set are welcome to join in the Leadership Camp which is designed to for ages thirteen to fifteen. No matter what your age, you can dust off the old tennis racquet and hit the courts at Hermosa Park for a lively doubles match or a little one-on-one. Sound like a bit too much hand-eye coordination involved there? Then, simply lace up the jogging shoes and go for a run on the park’s lovely footpath. Sound like too much fast footwork for your tastes? Then just take to the walking trail for a nice, relaxing, non-complicated stroll.
One of the last parks created by the Northwest Park District before being given to the Chicago Park District, is the Henry Greenbaum Playlot Park (4300 W. Wabansia Ave., 312-742-7540). Named after a local banker and real estate developer, Greenbaum Park’s 1.75 acres was transformed into a scenic community commons in 1931. If you’re a young sports fan, this park has it all. Sports camps run in the summer from June to August for kids and teens ages five to sixteen. Greenbaum Park is also equipped with baseball facilities and a super fun playground for the little tykes.
Although modest in size compared to other neighborhood parks, Keystone Playlot Park (1655 N. Keystone Ave., 312-742-7540) is still a highly visited spot by Hermosa locals—especially those with little ones to keep occupied. The story on this park is that it was specifically developed after World War II to add more recreation space to the city of Chicago. In 1959, Keystone Park was given to the Chicago Park District and now you’ll find many locals—young and old—enjoying this neighborhood oasis day and night, throughout the seasons. The playground area is kept clean and provides safe, fun playtime for the kids. Plus, you might find you have a budding architect or engineer in the family when the kids demonstrate their skills at the park’s sandbox.
Hermosa Real Estate
If you were around for the Spanish lesson earlier, you know the name Hermosa says something about this northwest side Chicago neighborhood. And with new construction homes and a small wave of renovations going on among the area’s older houses, we think the founders got the name just right.
The majority of housing in Hermosa is found in the detached single-family form. More specifically, the neighborhood hosts a mixture of one- and two-story homes that range from brick ranches and bungalows to classic frame houses with siding. Many of these properties have modest lawn space, back patios great for cookouts, and good-size windows overlooking the front porch that let in plenty of light.
Some vintage lofts and apartments reside above storefronts, providing the feeling of small town living while others stand on green lots, giving residents a little extra space. Newer condominiums and townhomes add to the assortment of housing options in Hermosa neighborhood. Townhomes in the area are known to come complete with hardwood floors, granite countertops and private decks. Still, the old-school vintage-style lofts provide the uniqueness that some people look for when shopping for a home. Inside these elegant lofts, you will most likely find the original woodwork, hardwood floors, crown molding and even a fireplace great for those chilly Chicago winters.
No matter which type of dwelling suits your living style best, Hermosa is bound to have a place that fits your tastes—and your budget. The average sales price for a three-bedroom detached home in Hermosa is around $263,000, and not many go for over $350,000, but there are a few that sell for under $200,000. When a little more space is necessary, you can typically buy a house with four or five bedrooms in this neighborhood for between $250,000 and $350,000. A two-bedroom attached condo or loft sells for around $181,000, on average, although there are a few listings in the mid to upper $200,000s.
What’s on the Menu?
One of the highlights of living in the Hermosa neighborhood is the countless number of restaurants inspired by authentic, worldly flavors. It’s like an international culinary tour—just steps from your own backyard.
When you’ve got a taste for the pie, Hermosa’s got a few pizzerias to choose from … but for us, the only real option is Dino & Nick’s Pizza (2035 N Pulaski Rd., 773-278-6606). Using only the finest cheese to top their homemade pizza, Dino & Nick whip up pizza any way you like it, whether it’s thin crust, stuffed or pan. The one we love to indulge in is the taco pizza smothered in two kinds of cheese, lettuce, olives, nacho chips, hot jalapeno peppers and taco meat made with their own special seasonings. Pizza sizes range from twelve to eighteen inches, but if you don’t want to share, Dino and Nick’s also serves it by the slice. If pizza’s not your thing, not to worry. Dino and Nick’s serves dishes like the popular Greek gyro sandwich put together on a soft, warm pita and smothered in cucumber sauce and tomatoes. The shrimp dinner plate will tackle your hunger with twenty-one fried shrimp, coleslaw, and a side of crispy french fries. Desserts range from sweet, fruity Italian ice to banana splits and the hot fudge brownie a la mode. Prices are minimal and the plates are full. You just can’t lose by dining in this Hermosa neighborhood mainstay.
You won’t have to go far when your cravings start to creep up and your stomach starts to grumble and asks for some spicy, Latin cuisine. Hermosa is full of a multitude of Mexican restaurants and bars like El Taconazo Restaurant (4124 W North Ave., 773-862-7705) or Taqueria el Tapatio (4114 W North Ave., 773-278-0237). And whether you are just beginning your day, looking for somewhere to take your lunch break, or out on a date with your significant other, you need go no further than Lindo Poncitlan (4406 W Armitage Ave., 773-772-2372). For true Mexican cuisine, whenever you want it, this is the spot. One of our favorite breakfast meals is the unbelievably yummy huevos a la Mexican which is a plate of freshly prepared scrambled eggs mixed with fresh tomatoes, onions and green peppers. More of a lunch or dinner meal, bisket ranchero is a juicy steak smothered in ranchero sauce and served with rice, beans, salad and avocado. Cool down your mouth after finishing one of these spicy hot meals with a glass of Mexican soda or their original sangria. The atmosphere here is casual and meals are all under $9.
Another great, local Mexican restaurant on the neighborhood front is Las Islas Marias (4770 W Grand Ave., 773-637-8233) where you are instantly made welcome with a banner that reads 'Bienvenidos a su vitaminas' which literally means 'Welcome to your vitamins.' We’re not sure if something is lost in translation there—but hey, sounds healthy enough to be included in our regular diet. Not what you’d normally expect from a Mexican restaurant, there’s a ton of seafood entrees on this menu and instead of your standard chips and salsa, the server will give you fresh tostadas, saltine crackers, shrimp ceviche and some fiercely hot salsa verde. A favorite dish is the camarones rancheros—peeled shrimp cooked in tantalizing seasonings and spicy tomato sauce, served with a side of rice and a crisp salad. Your mouth will be on fire after most of Las Islas Marias’ Spanish seafood dishes, so put out the flames with a Dos Equis Mexican beer or a salt-rimmed margarita. We’re appreciative of the friendly staff who is more than willing to walk patrons through the menu and make suggestions for first-timers—although, we wouldn’t be surprised to find out every customer in this place is a regular, being such a consistently pleasurable place to eat.
Best Shopping Stops
So now you know there is good number of dining options in Hermosa, well there are twice as many nifty places to shop. So grab that purse (or wallet) and let’s hit the streets for a little taste of what this northwest side Chicago neighborhood has to offer.
The entire family can find a new wardrobe—or a knockout outfit for that special occasion—over at Guayabara’s Y Mas (4421 W Fullerton Ave., 773- 227-4272). Dressing men, woman and children, Guayabara’s has an extensive selection of designer clothing and accessories and has a remarkable staff to consult with on your particular apparel needs. If you’re looking for a snazzy pantsuit to wear to work, or just some casual denim for weekend lounging, you will find it in the racks at Guayabara’s. They even have hard-to-find linen, and a good selection of socks and jewelry. The store is family-owned and operated, and has been a Hermosa shopping mainstay for years. Proud to help you dress your best, the staff here is friendly and gracious.
Hermosa’s one-stop shop is Cook Brothers Warehouse (1740 N. Kostner Ave., 773-720-1200). You don’t have to drive around town, going place to place to find what you’re looking for because you’ll find it all here in one location. The aisles at Cook Brothers are endless and stocked with everything from appliances and electronics to food and beauty supplies. This wholesale warehouse is busting with low prices and large quantities so you can save money and cut back on the frequent trips to the store. Of course, frequent shopping sprees can be a fun thing—especially when Mademoiselle Inc. (2321 N Keystone Ave., 773-394-4555) is on our route. Mademoiselle is a favorite among the accessory-seeking shoppers as it carries all the new and trendy items to accent your outfit. A wholesale manufacturer and importer, this Hermosa neighborhood fashion staple has an amazing supply of brightly colored scarves, hats, wraps and other fabulous accessories. Mademoiselle also sells designer inspired handbags—practically a necessity to the true city girl and all merchandise has been hand selected by buyers who spend their days scouring the world over for rare accessories and original items.
Go sporty and search the finds at Marathon Sports of Chicago (4313 W. Fullerton Ave., 773-384-7777) in the Hermosa neighborhood. Bursting with brand name athletic wear and equipment, this place is a dream for both amateur athletes and well-seasoned pros. The staff here at Marathon Sports is extremely pleasant and knowledgeable and are always at hand to answer any questions or help you with sizing. Deemed one of the best stores around for soccer players’ needs, you can’t miss! Whether you are a marathon runner, bike-rider or are just looking to pick up a team jersey, Marathon Sports of Chicago is the place to help you get suited up—jersey/apparel/equipment and all—for your sport of choice.
Time is of the essence these days so when you have places to go and people to see, you will have no trouble getting there and back from the Hermosa neighborhood.
Whether you’re commuting to work or just taking a day trip around the city, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) can get you there by bus or by subway/train, which—due to its portions of elevated track—has been nicknamed the 'El.' The Blue Line train is the closest El train to Hermosa with stations at Logan Square, Belmont Avenue and Addison Street, which are only a few blocks northeast of the neighborhood. This line will take you directly to the Loop or, if you take it in the opposite direction, right to O’Hare International Airport. Extremely convenient and timely for neighborhood residents, the #73 Pulaski Road bus goes east and west and travels straight through Hermosa stopping at Pulaski Road and Cicero Avenue. The #53 bus travels north/south, beginning and ending at Peterson and 31st streets. Other CTA buses that travel through or near Hermosa are the #65 Grand Avenue and the #54 Cicero Avenue. CTA train/bus fares are $2 a trip and transfers are free a lot of the time, and considering the price of gas these days, we’re more than happy to have a cheaper alternative to driving.
Chicago’s commuter train line, the Metra Rail, is also very efficient in giving you the transportation service you need to get downtown and to outlying residential areas. One of two Metra Rail lines that come through Hermosa neighborhood, is the Milwaukee District North Line which stops at nearby Healy Avenue (4014 W. Fullerton Ave). The Milwaukee District West Line also travels through Hermosa with a station at the Grand and Cicero intersection. Both the Milwaukee District North and West lines run along Milwaukee Avenue. Fares vary, but are minimal, and the Metra Rail tries to accommodate everyone’s transportation needs as it is handicap accessible. You can even load your bicycle on non-rush hour trains.
Traveling by car in the city can be either a straight shot or a pain in the neck—depending on traffic. And many times parking is just the same. Hermosa lies midway between Chicago’s major highways—the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) and the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290)—so it takes a few minutes to get over to the city’s man arteries of automobile travel.
Just remember to purchase a vehicle city sticker at City Hall (121 N. LaSalle Room #107, 312-744-6861), or the local Chicago Department of Revenue Substation (2550 W. Addison St.). You can also pick up visitor parking passes at those locations so your guest can park on the street for free and not risk getting a ticket or towed.
School’s in Session
The Hermosa neighborhood supports fine education of our nation’s youth with a handful of schools that prepare kids for success in present and future studies. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Hermosa and Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Nixon Annex Elementary School – 2121 N Keeler Ave. – (773) 534-4375
North Grand High School 4338 W Wabansia Ave. – (773) 534-8520
Pritzker College Prep 4131 W Cortland Ave. – (773) 394-2848
St Philomena School 4131 W Cortland St. – (773) 342-3462
Hermosa residents like the fact that they don’t have to go far to stock up on groceries and toiletries, and it’s a comfort knowing you can send the kids to the park to play only a few blocks away.
Chicago Park District Hermosa – 2240 N. Kilbourn Ave. – (312) 742-7540
Greenbaum Playlot Park – 4300 W. Wabansia Ave. – (312) 742-7540
Keystone Playlot Park – 1655 N. Keystone Ave. – (312) 742-7540
North Pulaski Library 4300 W North Ave. – (312) 744-9573
Family Farmacia 4242 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 227-8874
Framacie Cuatro 4020 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 252-6003 Jewel-Osco 1710 N Kostner Ave. – (773) 252-1900
Walgreens 4225 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 235-0043
Hermosa Dental Clinic 2004 N. Pulaski Rd. – (773) 342-5923
Hermosa Medical and Diagnostic 2004 N. Pulaski Rd., – (773) 772-8876
Cermak Produce 4401 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 227-4700 Jewel Osco 1710 N Kostner Ave. – (773) 252-1900
C & A Hardware 4141 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 384-3139
C & K Fashions 4012 W North Ave. – (773) 486-6035
Cook Brothers Wholesale & General Merchandise 1740 N Kostner Ave. – (773) 770-1200
Dynamic Euro Sports 4146 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 227-3044
Envy My Shoes Ltd 4023 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 772-4949
Fashion Mode 4044 W North Ave. – (773) 384-1964
Foot Locker 4018 W North Ave. – (773) 862-7800
Guayabara’s Y Mas 4421 W Fullerton Ave. – (773) 227-4272
Home Depot 1919 N Cicero Ave. – (773) 622-8860
Lopez’s Fashions 4038 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 889-8955
Mademoiselle Inc 2321 N Keystone Ave. – (773) 394-4555
Marathon Sports 4313 W Fullerton Ave. – (773) 384-7777
Payless Shoe Source 4024 W North Ave. – (773) 235-0693
Wierchy Restaurant and Lounge 4518 West Fullerton Ave. – (773) 342-2360
Canton Express 4116 W North Ave. – (773) 235-8866 Kim Long Restaurant 4356 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 235-3515
Lee Lee Kitchen 4240 W North Ave. – (773) 342-9933
Cafes/Coffee Shops Cafe Internet Latino 4036 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 486-5444
El Taconazo Restaurant 4124 W North Ave. – (773) 862-7705
Fiesta Magica 4118 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 292-0939
Las Islas Marias 4770 W Grand Ave. – (773) 637-8233
Lindo Poncitlan 4406 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 772-2372
Raymond&aposs Tacos 4112 W North Ave. – (773) 384-1473
Taqueria el Tapatio 4114 W North Ave. – (773) 278-0237
Taqueria Lolita 4413 W Fullerton Ave. – (773) 384-3935
Asi Es Guerrero 4114 W. North Ave. – (773) 276-2099
Taqueria Poncitlan 4158 West Armitage Ave. – (773) 486-1424
Taqueria Acapulco and Sea Food 4040 West North Ave. – (773) 395-1573
Dino & Nick’s Pizza 2035 N Pulaski Rd. – (773) 278-6606
Mari’s Pizza 2150 N Pulaski Rd. – (773) 227-9266
Mom’s Pizza 4138 W Armitage Ave. – (773) 276-0488
Subway 4435 West Grand Ave., – (773) 395-0444
Armitage Sandwich’s 4011 W. Armitage Ave. – (773) 342-1245
McDonalds Restaurants 4338 West North Ave. – (773) 384-8165
Michalios Carry Out 4235 West Armitage Ave. – (773) 489-0410
Happy Cracovia Lounge 2025 N Cicero Ave, – (773) 637-6787
La Pena Restaurant & Bar 4104 W North Ave. – (773) 292-0028
LA Posada Lounge 4059 West Armitage Ave. – (773) 227-1816
Trading Post 4225 West Fullerton Ave. – (773) 489-2826
Trier Lads 4010 West Armitage Ave. – (773) 342-5145
Hermosa Community Organization 1833 N. Kedvale. Ave. – (773) 252-6729
Chicago Park District Hermosa 2240 N. Kilbourn Ave. – (312) 742-7540
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 Hermosa 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 Hermosa. 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.