Marynook offers a little taste of suburbia right in the city of Chicago. This south side neighborhood is a predominantly residential section of town that provides homeowners with spacious properties and a slightly more suburban setting than most areas in Chicago. Cul-de-sacs and winding roads are a far cry from the typical grid-like layout you see throughout the city. Comfy split-level houses are a stone's throw away from the sprawling, tree-shaded neighborhood park that features several athletic fields, tennis courts and a kiddie spraypool. Downtown commuters and folks heading into the Loop for fun find the Marynook Metra Train station a convenient perk. But anyone who prefers to drive can hop in the car and head over to the Chicago Skyway for a quick trip into the city's center.
Location: About 13 miles south of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Burnside, Stoney Island Park, Calumet Heights, Avalon Park, Chatham
Boundaries: 83rd Street to the north, Stoney Island Avenue to the east, 87th Street to the south and Cottage Grove Avenue to the west
Then and Now
These days, Marynook is epitomized by attractive single-family homes and a great park, so you would never know that for most of the 19th century this portion of Avalon Park was so swampy that it was uninhabited and used for garbage disposal.
Needless to say, things have changed for the better since those days, and though Marynook is within the official community area of Avalon Park, it has its very own ambiance that encompasses a more recent history than many of Chicago’s neighborhoods. The mostly residential subdivision of Marynook is just a little over 50 years old, built at a time that Chicago was trying to prevent city folk from leaving for the suburbs. That might explain why it has a suburban feel that attracts families who desire more living space, but want to stay within the metropolitan area.
For fun in the sun, lazing around, and a healthy dose of exercise, Marynook residents can practically roll out of bed and over to Avalon Park, which sits right in the middle of this small south side Chicago neighborhood.
Some of us can’t get started in the morning without a little stroll to perk up the senses… lucky for Marynook residents; Avalon Park (1215 E 83rd St., 312-747-6015) has walking trails that are perfect for strollers and joggers. In the mood for quick sprints or a decent-cardio workout? Grab your iPod and make a few circuits around the short lap path (0.17 miles). We like to amble along the longer half-mile trail, which winds around the athletic fields. More athletic types can put on their tennis gear and invite a friend to an early morning game. Avalon Park was named after the isle of Avalon, the supposed resting place of King Arthur, though don’t expect Merlin to hover anywhere. If you want magic, just bring the latest Harry Potter book, park yourself on a bench and connect with a little of the park’s history and instead of knights and sword fights, you can try kickboxing lessons at the onsite fieldhouse.
In the summer, when temperatures (and the humidity level) in Chicago are high, Avalon Park provides a bit of relief from the heat. The kids will love the spraypool, but beware: if you get too close, you’re bound to get wet from the way those little playful tykes splish-splash about in the cool water. But really, with the type of humidity we get here in Chicago, that’s not such a bad thing! And if just getting a few drops on you from the kids frolicking in the spraypool isn’t enough, take a dip in Avalon Park’s outdoor swimming pool. You can also rack up a little exercise by swimming laps if you want.
On certain nights during the summer, you can also grab a blanket, a little picnic dinner and come on down to Avalon Park with the family to enjoy a Movie in the Park. All-age films are screened throughout the many Chicago Park District sites and when they come to Marynook, you can bet the neighbors take advantage of the free show.
Marynook Real Estate
Unlike the majority of Chicago neighborhoods, sections of residential streets in Marynook wind and curve around the private lots creating a characteristically suburban feel. And, unlike in other Chicago neighborhoods, Marynook residents have quite a bit of yard surrounding their homes, which provides a decidedly family-oriented atmosphere to this little south side community. Lawns and gardens are well-tended here, as people seem to take great pride in their little patch of suburbia within the city.
Marynook neighborhood is really split into two distinct housing areas that offer a large selection of single-family homes. The zone nearest Avalon Park boasts good-size homes with sprawling lots that fan out around cul-de-sacs and even butt up to the park itself for a little extra backyard play space. The other residential areas flank either side of the central park region and provide more tightly-packed houses that still have ample green yards, but not to the level of the park subdivision.
In any part of Marynook, homebuyers will find the real estate is predominantly newer models with some classic brick bungalows thrown in the mix. There are even a few townhomes and half-duplexes in the neighborhood priced from $65,000 to $270,000. For the most part, though, residents in Marynook enjoy spacious lots with ample living space and garage parking. From raised ranches to two-story modern layouts, the variety of housing options here suit a wide range of homeowners. With older two-bedroom houses starting around $90,000, and prices for three-story new constructions going up to $350,000, Marynook real estate is meant to cradle Chicagoans from all walks of life with all sorts of budgets.
Best Shopping Stops
Marynook may be small, but it offers an eclectic assortment of shops from designer men’s shoes to vintage goods at the thrift shop … Hey, we’re not snobs; buying secondhand is fashionable and good for the environment.
For elegant footwear, the men in the neighborhood like to step inside A Step Above (1520 E 87th St, 773-375-8333), but for the latest in athletic wear for the feet, your best bet is go to the Foot Locker (8651 S Cottage Grove Ave, 773-783-8578). Need a stylish hat or a baseball cap? Check out the incredible selection at Brims (1524 E 87th St, 773-734-2820). Still, our favorite haunt is the South End Thrift Shop (8533 S Cottage Grove Ave, 773-873-0717) where we can get duds to make an original fashion statement, buy furniture, or have our coins appraised—not your typical thrift store service. So come in an enjoy the unique atmosphere, and next time you’re sitting on the couch watching TV, dig around in the cushions for any long lost change that someone dropped ages ago. Who knows, you could be sitting on a bona fide goldmine!
Marynook is a compact area, with excellent connections to Chicago’s public transit system (the CTA) making it easy to get downtown for work and play.
Our favorite way to get to the Loop is via the Metra Rail (Chicago’s commuter train that services the city and suburbs). Hop on the Metra at the 83rd Street station, or at the 87th Street stop (87th and Avalon Park). While some Marynook homes are in easy walking distance to theses stations, others might necessitate a little more of a trek from doorstep to train stop. If that’s the case, a quick bus ride will make up the difference and get residents there in no time at all. Then, in just over 30 minutes you’ll be transported into the Millennium Park station in the center of downtown, where you can make your way to work, or stop to admire the myriad faces in Crown Fountain at Millennium Park (if you don’t know what we’re talking about check out the Loop neighborhood for a brief rundown).
As we touched upon already, buses are readily available in Marynook and provide a convenient complement and alternative to the Metra. You can pick up the #X4 Cottage Grove Express at Cottage Grove Avenue and 87th Street and take that straight downtown. Or catch bus #X28 at 87th Street and Stoney Island Avenue for another route that swings through the Loop. Both can take about an hour to reach a destination in Chicago’s city center, which, for us, is a compelling reason to use the Metra, which gets passengers downtown in half the time.
Many residents in Marynook have a vehicle or two, but don’t worry, the traffic and parking in the neighborhood is nothing to get worked up about. Folks have their own garages for parking and the main thoroughfares see nowhere near the congestion of downtown streets. Car owners can use the Chicago Skyway (I-90) to get to destinations in downtown—just head up Stoney Island Avenue to 80th Street, or go east on 87th Street for a few blocks until you hit the highway. Just be warned, the traffic is heavy at rush hour and you should have exact change to get through the tolls—or risk delay.
School’s in Session
There are two elementary schools in Marynook, one of which is a chapter of the Chicago International Charter School, where kids can join the junior Great Books Foundation. This organization exposes school children to a host of fabulous literature for their age range and encourages youngsters to read—and perhaps lay off the video games for awhile, but we won’t hold our breath on that one. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Marynook and other Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Ashe Elementary School 8505 S Ingleside Ave – (773) 535-3550
Avalon Campus of Chicago International Charter School 1501 E 83rd Pl – (773) 721-3076
We know that life is made up of daily routines, and shopping for necessities is one of them. So here is a list we’ve compiled of places to get everything from soap to sneakers in Marynook neighborhood.
Chicago Transit Authority (888) 968-7282
Aldi 1246 E 87th St
Nature’s Way Heath Food Store 8504 S Stoney Island Ave – (773) 721-6611
Avalon Park 1215 E 83rd St 312-747-6015
A Step Above 1520 E 87th St – (773) 375-8333
Brims 1524 E 87th St – (773) 734-2820
Carter & Co 1133 E 83rd St – (773) 221-7250
Diana Shoes 8455 S Cottage Grove Ave – (773) 892-1939
Foot Locker 8651 S Cottage Grove Ave – (773) 783-8578
South Shore Thrift Shop 8533 S Cottage Grove Ave – (773) 873-0717
J&J Fish 8508 S Stoney Island Ave – (773) 933-8906
Artis’s Lounge 1249 E 87th St – (773) 734-0491
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 Marynook 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 Marynook. 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.