An abundance of green spaces and lakeside activities blend with quiet, residential streets to make this sub-neighborhood of Uptown an ideal place for people-on-the-go and stay-at-home types alike. Margate Park is not a very large Chicago community, yet it manages to squeeze in quite a bit of public parkland and recreation spots in its limited area. Margate Parkers can easily ride their bikes and jog along the shoreline, soak up the sun at the beach, participate in volleyball and basketball games, and picnic in the park. Families enjoy the neighborhood's interactive playgrounds and dog-owners are fans of Puptown, the fully enclosed, off-leash dog park. Because of its prime waterfront location, much of Margate Park real estate is highly desirable. Renovated older flats offer a vintage appeal with modern living spaces, for affordable prices to boot. Although Margate Park is mostly a relaxed beach town, Sheridan Road supplies the community with a commercial kick of tasty restaurants, a few shops and a handful of grocery stores.
Margate Park Facts
Location: 6.5 miles north of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Edgewater, Uptown
Boundaries: Foster Avenue to the north, Lawrence Avenue to the south, Lake Michigan to the east and Sheridan Road to the west
Then and Now
Margate Park wasn’t always the active, residential lakeside neighborhood it is today. In fact, the area was only sparsely populated by German and Swedish immigrant farmers until the late 19th century. In the 1890s that all changed when the area’s potential as a great vacation getaway was recognized and the land was developed into a summer playground for the rich.
In the 1900s, all northbound trains from Chicago’s downtown ended up in neighboring Uptown. With the trains came people, and with the people came more interest and motivation to develop the area. The roaring twenties brought a commercial boom to Uptown and the surrounding areas, leading to the construction of hotels, apartment buildings and nightclubs like the Aragon Ballroom and Green Mill. While Uptown was thriving as Chicago’s new 'it' spot, nearby Margate Park grew as a residential neighborhood.
For the same reasons that Margate Park was a popular summer playground, it became a desirable north side Chicago neighborhood. The middle and upper classes continued to build houses there, but this time they were moving in for good rather than for just a few months during the summer. These new permanent residents got the best of both worlds—they could enjoy the tranquility of living lakeside, and take advantage of the happening Uptown scene without being immersed directly in it.
Unfortunately, the aftermath of World War II turned Margate Park’s boom into a bust. A housing shortage led to homes and apartment buildings being turned into poorly designed rooming houses, destroying the structures’ original architectural aesthetic. The run-down state of Margate Park continued until the 1980s when widespread renovations and restorations of the neighborhood’s property began in earnest, rejuvenating the neighborhood and bringing back its former glory which current residents enjoy today.
It’s not surprising that a neighborhood with the word 'park' in its name has an abundance of recreational spots where active-types can keep busy year round.
This lakeside neighborhood—which borders the lake from Foster to Lawrence Avenue—has access to the sprawling park and beach system that extends along Lake Michigan. This system, collectively known as Lincoln Park, includes walking trails, biking and jogging paths, sand volleyball courts and even hills for sledding during the snowy, winter months.
In the summer months, we soak up the sun with other Margate Parkers at Foster Avenue Beach (W. Foster Ave and N. Simonds Dr), thankfully one of the less crowded beaches along Chicago’s lakefront. In addition to the water, sand and sunshine, the beach also has amenities like concessions, bike racks, basketball courts, beach volleyball and bikes for rent. In between shooting hoops and taking a ride, residents stop by for a snack and to enjoy the scenic setting.
Margate Park (4921 N. Marine Dr), the neighborhood’s namesake green space, includes a playground, a dog park and a fieldhouse among its amenities. Margate Fieldhouse was built in 1947 and has since provided a variety of recreational activities that now include a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and an assortment of in vogue classes such as kickboxing, yoga and Pilates. Join other Margate Park residents to burn off a few calories and a little steam as you punch, kick, stretch, and bend your way to a healthier you. The area surrounding the fieldhouse is called Puptown (4921 N. Marine Dr), a dog-friendly park where off-leash pooches can romp and exercise in 16,230-square-feet of fully enclosed running space. Where else in the city can we legally let our four-legged friends off their leashes? And, finally, for the kiddies there’s Margate Playground, a 1,400-square-foot interactive playlot designed by local artists. They created this unique space to reflect the urban locale while catering to children’s interests and focusing on native plant life. Tiny tykes happily spend hours exploring this innovative park that puts a fresh spin on traditional outdoor fun.
In another tribute to fauna, Buttercup Playlot Park (4901 N. Sheridan Rd) was named simply for the bright yellow flower and is a popular playground for local school children (McCutcheon Elementary is located immediately to the south). Whether it’s during a twenty-minute break for recess, or a three-month vacation for summer, you can bet this highly-prized neighborhood park will be a flurry of activity on any given day, bustling with young Margate Parkers.
Margate Park Real Estate
This residential neighborhood’s tree-lined properties and traditional brick architecture radiate a historic vibe that seeps into every block of Margate Park’s waterfront community. Vintage condominiums and single-family mansions dating from the early 1900s edge the leafy streets. Overlooking the park and lake along Marine Drive are high-rise condominiums and apartment buildings from the 1950s and ‘60s, some of which have undergone renovations bringing back the structure’s original beauty and bringing the interior amenities up to date.
The neighborhood is dedicated to salvaging its historic architecture, which was almost lost due to the post-World War II housing shortage when the existing homes where sub-divided into smaller apartments, damaging the early residences’ original edifices and charm. Renovations have gone far to restore much of Margate Park’s unique homes and early splendor. But not everything in Margate Park screams history—a few modern constructions are mixed in with the older buildings.
Sections of the neighborhood give way to stately manors positioned on sprawling lots. There’s no doubt Margate Park’s grand single-family homes are certainly a prize. However, this prize comes with a hefty price tag—about $1.5 million—and there are generally very few of these properties on the market. Fortunately, the neighborhood furnishes a variety of housing at all different price points. The average sales price for a one-bedroom Margate Park condo or flat is around $170,000, but there are plenty of options for under $100,000 as well. Likewise, you can easily find a higher-end one-bedroom place here that will cost close to $300,000. Typically, a two-bedroom condo averages around $270,000 and a three-bedroom will jump the average price up to about $380,000. And, as we mentioned before, the detached homes around here can cost quite the pretty penny.
What’s on the Menu?
When hunger strikes, you don’t have to search far and wide for your next meal. Although the neighborhood is mostly residential, a variety of eateries can be found along Margate Park’s main artery, Sheridan Road.
As the borderline between Margate Park and Uptown, Sheridan Road is full of many of the Asian restaurants that Uptown is well known for. A double powerhouse of Asian cuisine, La Banh Mi Hung Phat (4942 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-878-6688) and Vinh Phat (4940 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-878-8688) share a space. On one side, Hung Phat serves up some of the area’s best banh mi, a French-inspired Vietnamese sub. We suggest the shredded chicken or barbecue pork varieties, in addition to getting there early for the best selection: the availability of certain banh mi options dwindles as the day goes on. On the other side, Vinh Phat slices and serves barbecued duck, chicken and pork, all of which can be seen hanging in the restaurant’s window. These eateries are mainly carryout, so decoration is scant and tables are few. China Cafe (4818 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-275-8480) is a small strip mall storefront with a large Chinese menu. Most of its business is takeout or delivery as well, but you do have the option to dine on your General Tso’s chicken, egg drop soup and moo shu pork in the simple, diner-like space of black-and-white checked floor tile, red tables and black chairs. It’s very intimate, but sometimes that’s just the atmosphere we’re craving.
For a sampling of Indian and Pakistani dishes (and culture) Shan Food Restaurant (5060 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-769-4961), which doubles as an Asian convenient store, serves wonderful tea, chicken curry, lamb rice and fresh, spicy samosas. The mini-mart setting is a little off-putting, but for good chow in large portions at a small price, we easily overlook the packaged foods and rechargeable phone cards.
If you’re looking for a more traditional restaurant backdrop but still want a tasty meal of international origin, Bolat Restaurant (4834 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-769-6189) serves Ghanaian and Nigerian cuisine to customers seated in wicker chairs at glass tables in a space decorated with vibrant, African art. This popular place to eat in Margate Park isn’t for dine-and-dash types, as each dish is prepared per order. Nibble on an appetizer or two—like beef kabob or goat pepper soup—to tie you over while you wait for your main course of coconut rice with goat, boiled plantain with spinach sauce, or curried vegetables over rice. Got an adventurous side? Choose dishes like cow skin and fufu, firm white balls of beaten yam or cassava.
For south-of-the-border delicacies, pull up a seat at Rique’s Regional Mexican Food (5004 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-728-6200) where the tables are draped in cloths reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen. With walls displaying the works of contemporary Mexican artists, this colorful, homey BYOB enjoys a large central Mexican influence with favorite dishes like Rique’s tortilla soup (good for cold nights) and chicken breast in a tomatillo and pumpkin seed sauce. This place strives for authenticity not only in its food but in its service—it even accepts pesos as payment. We come here on Saturdays for the four-course prix-fixe meal highlighting cuisine from different Mexican states.
Best Shopping Stops
Admittedly not the best shopping neighborhood in Chicago, Margate Park still has a handful of random shops, ranging from the metaphysical bookstore Aurum Solis Occult (5044 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-334-2120) and women’s fashion boutique Fashions by Maryanne (846 W. Ainslie St, 773-465-3530) to discount stores like Dollar Mark Plus (5008 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-989-6810) and Quality Bargain Furniture (4826 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-907-0907), where you can find designer brand furniture to fill just about any room in your place without paying the designer prices.
There’s plenty more first-class shopping nearby. Cross Sheridan Road or Lawrence Avenue and you will find yourself in Uptown, a neighborhood well known for its diverse assortment of stores. Or head north past Foster Avenue to shop art, antiques and boutiques in Edgewater.
Night on the Town
Nightlife options in the residential community of Margate Park are even more scarce than shopping. But again, there are plenty of viable bars, clubs and music venues just a hop, skip and jump away in Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods.
One spot where Margate Park residents can get a drink within their own neighborhood’s boundaries is Big Chicks (5024 N. Sheridan Rd, 773-728-5511). This gay bar is decorated with the owner’s private art collection in addition to on-display adult videos that keep with the venue’s theme—if you catch our drift. There’s an outdoor beer garden and indoors, an antique bar. Daily specials cover both food and drinks, like $2 off all pitchers and $1 1/4lb burgers on Mondays, or Wednesday’s $4 martinis and $5 quesadilla night. DJs spin Thursday thru Saturday when this Margate Park neighborhood bar turns into a full-on dance club. The party keeps rolling through Sunday with a popular free barbecue buffet and $2.50 vodka lemonades.
Due to its small size, getting around in Margate Park is fairly easy. Walking is a great option as the neighborhood’s few stores and restaurants are located near each other on Sheridan Road. The rest of Margate Park’s attractions—mainly the beach and park—are just a few-minute stroll, or bike ride, from your front doorstep.
If you’re driving, there’s quick access to the expressway in neighboring Uptown, where you’ll find entrance ramps to both I-90/94 and U.S. Route 14. Parking in Margate Park can be a bit of a hassle though, as most spots in the neighborhood are metered or permit spaces. If you aren’t lucky enough to score driveway parking, be prepared to do the old block-circling thing until you find somewhere to parallel park. And be sure to check street signs for restrictions, it’s an easy way to loose $50 if you accidentally leave your vehicle in the wrong place.
For those of us without wheels of our own, Chicago’s public transportation system (the CTA) makes traveling around the city a breeze. Nicknamed for its section of elevated track, the CTA 'El' Red and Purple lines run through nearby Uptown neighborhood—with stops at Argyle, Lawrence, Wilson and Sheridan—while several CTA buses run down Sheridan Road and other major streets through Margate Park.
School’s in Session
In addition to the following Margate Park school, you can find more information on Chicago area educational facilities for students of all ages at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
McCutcheon Elementary School 4865 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 534-2680
We’ve compiled a sampling of some of the places you can get your bare necessities in Margate Park, from paper towels to pasta, bananas to banh mi.
Chicago Transit Authority 888-968-7282
J J Peppers Food Store 4800 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 275-7292
New Sam’s Food Market 5038 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 271-3525
Randy’s Market 5010 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 769-5134
Trung Viet Grocery Store 4938 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 561-0042
The following are just a taste of the dining, shopping and entertainment Margate Park has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
Vietnam War Museum 954 W. Carmen Ave - (773) 728-6111
Aurum Solis Occult 5044 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 334-2120
Dollar Mark Plus 5008 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 989-6810
Fashions by Maryanne 846 W. Ainslie St - (773) 465-3530
Plants Unlimited 5038 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 784-4443
Rainbow Mart 5058 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 769-6355
Quality Bargain Furniture 4826 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 907-0907
Big Chicks 5024 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 728-5511
Chicago Pizza 5062 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 293-0100
Express II Carryout 5200 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 334-5344
McDonald’s 5130 N. Sheridan Rd - (312) 786-1855
Sulko’s 5054 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 989-1129
Tweet 5020 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 728-5576
Rique’s Regional Mexican Food 5004 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 728-6200
China Cafe 4818 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 275-8480
Ha Mien 4920 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 728-9594
Hing Lung Restaurant 1002 W. Argyle St - (773) 275-3889
La Banh Mi Hung Phat 4942 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 878-6688
Vinh Phat 4940 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 878-8688
Shan Food Restaurant 5060 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 769-4961
Bolat Restaurant 4834 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 769-6189
Phat Tai Bakery 4940 N. Sheridan Rd - (773) 878-6688
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Margate Park offers homeowners a wide range of residential properties. Margate Park homes include lofts, condos and townhomes, to name a few. In addition to Chicago real estate, you can get detailed neighborhood information from our comprehensive online Chicago neighborhoods guide. With features like dining, shopping, entertainment, and resources, we’ve done all the leg work already to make your home search that much easier. Now, when a listing in Margate Park catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without setting foot in the neighborhood. Like a Yellow Pages, Metromix and MLS database all rolled into one, this site is your ultimate Chicago neighborhoods visitors’ guidebook.