Noble Square is a small pocket of a neighborhood surrounded by more notable areas such as Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village. The streets remain primarily residential, while the busy avenues of Chicago and Grand offer a variety of dining, shopping and nightlife options. People come from all over the city to experience the unique restaurants in Noble Square that have become all the rage in Chicago. A testament to Noble Square's culinary popularity: Some of these places are booked a month in advance for the weekends, and no matter what night you go out, there is bound to be a throng of hungry Chicagoans enjoying the neighborhood's eclectic menu choices. After dinner, the focus turns toward Noble Square's spirited watering holes. There are a good number of casual sports bars, the kind with pool tables and giant TVs for watching a game. For more cultural evening entertainment, the Chopin Theatre is known for its edgy performances that include every form of expression from poetry readings and films to plays and live music.
Noble Square Facts
Location: About 2 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods:River West, West Loop, Wicker Park, East Village, United Center Park
Boundaries: Kennedy Expressway to the east, Grand Avenue to the south, Ashland Avenue to the west and Division Street to the north
Then and Now
This small pocket within West Town (immediately south of Wicker Park) is loosely centered about a one-block square park at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Noble Street, called Eckhart Park. Though little information exists on the history of Noble Square, possibly because of its close proximity to Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village, we can assume the settlement and development of Noble Square was similar to that of its neighbors. Which means the neighborhood basically began to grow after the Chicago Fire of 1871, when a blend of wealthy and working class Polish, Ukrainian, and other European immigrants set up homes in the blocks of the west side.
Noble Square neighborhood developed alongside Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village, and over the years the area has seen an ebb and flow of different demographics. In general, Throughout its history, the Noble Square neighborhood has maintained a similar feel to that of Ukrainian Village with a splash of Wicker Park thrown in-in terms of both the neighborhood and the neighbors. It seems many former Wicker Parkers, disenchanted with the rapid gentrification of their own neighborhood, have migrated a few blocks south to set up shop in Noble Square.
Today, the Noble Square neighborhood is home to a mixed population who enjoy the Mom-and-Pop businesses, neighborhood walk-ability, proximity to the Loop, and diversity of the Noble Square area.
Noble Square Real Estate
Being so close to Ukrainian Village, the homes in Noble Square resemble the older abodes of the Village. Many of the houses in area were built at the turn of the 20th century, as the neighborhood experienced most of its residential development between 1900 and 1939.
You won't find cookie-cutter condos here; Noble Square real estate features blocks lined with single-family homes, two- and three-flats, and low-rise multi-unit buildings. That's not to say you won't find the occasional condominium. It's just that they'll more likely be gut rehabs than new constructions, helping to maintain the Old World feel of the neighborhood.
Check out our Noble Square Home Sales Statistics to get an idea of the real estate market trends in this neighborhood.
What's on the Menu?
Want to experience the true diversity of Noble Square? We recommend walking up and down the streets with a hearty appetite and choosing a different place to eat each time. Noble Square cuisine ranges from progressive and posh to greasy and cheap, and reflects the neighborhood's scope of residents: Mexican, Cuban, Polish, Italian, Thai, Japanese, and, of course, American.
Noble Square is even home to one of Chicago's most acclaimed chefs. Shawn McClain, the brains behind Spring in Wicker Park and Custom House in Printer's Row, chose the Noble Square neighborhood as the home of his vegetarian restaurant Green Zebra (1460 W Chicago Ave, 312-243-7100). It's a true contemporary spot, specializing in seasonal menus that include such delights as a roasted squash and apple tart, crispy sweet potato dumplings and parmesan caraway gnocchi. Meat-lovers, don't fret. You'll find the occasional chicken breast on the menu, but otherwise prepare to let the veggies blow your mind.
If you like food with a little kick and an ambiance with a splash of funk, try out Flo (1434 W Chicago, 312-243-0477), where the walls are practically a folk-art gallery and the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch dishes are New Mexican cuisine. Flo uses peppers directly from a farmer in New Mexico, so every delicious bite is as authentic as you can get here in Chicago. They also feature drink specials on Tuesdays, and we guarantee you'll want to be here at least once a week for the fresh-lime margaritas and homemade sangria.
Sticking to south-of-the-border cuisine, El Barco (1035 N Ashland Ave, 773-486-6850) is a Noble Square favorite for Mexican seafood. You'll see the boat-shaped restaurant from blocks away, and you'll get a kick out of dining in a room that's a cross between Mexican cantina and sea-faring vessel. Order up some fish or meat and the staff will bring a grill to your table so you can do the dirty work. It's fun, trust us.
Looking for the best tacos in Chicago? Stop by La Pasadita Restaurant (1132 N Ashland Ave, 773-384-6537) for mouth-watering tacos. This Noble Square restaurant has been serving Chicago for over thirty years. The service is fast, the food is delicious, and they weren't lying about those tacos. The carne asada is perfectly seasoned, and the cilantro bursts with freshness. One bite and you'll be heading back to Ashland Avenue for your Mexican fix almost every time.
Habana Libre (1440 W Chicago Ave, 312- 243-3303) is a new addition to the great Noble Square restaurants and has quickly become a garlic-lover's paradise. Serving up authentic Cuban fare, Noble Square residents are abuzz over their ropa vieja (spiced shredded beef), red snapper, Cuban paella and empanadas. Bring along a tin of Altoids-the garlic is delicious but potent.
An Italian option, Bella Notte Restaurant (1374 W Grand Ave, 312-733-5136), is slightly more refined, and a top pick for both power lunches and romantic dinners. Since opening in 1995, this favorite of Noble Square has been providing quality soups, salads, and pastas to the neighborhood. Don't forget to pair your entree with some wine. Bella Notte has an extensive wine list that will make you want to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
Sometimes pizza is all you need and family-owned Oggi Trattoria (1378 W Grand Ave, 312-733-0442) is a light and airy joint famous for its homemade pizza. But the pastas, chicken, and paninis are equally as delectable and can satisfy the hunger in you. Since they deliver, we recommend you put their phone number on your speed dial.
The Polish restaurants commonly found on the west side are also found in Noble Square. In fact, the Noble Square neighborhood is home to one of the best. Podhalanka (1549 W Division St, 773-486-6655) is practically a trip back to the old country. The food is authentic and the room is so casual that patrons share the large rectangular banquet with strangers, as Polish tradition encourages.
If you're feeling like something from across the globe, there are some great Noble Square Asian eateries to choose from. Usagi Ya (1178 N Milwaukee Ave, 773 292-5885) makes its mark on the west side dining scene with super fresh fish, about 30 sushi and sashimi options and more than 40 types of maki rolls. The super-white tuna is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and there are plenty of non-sushi options for those who don't do the raw stuff.
Butterfly Sushi Bar and Thai Cuisine (1156 W Grand Ave, 312-563-5555) is a BYOB spot with an interior reminiscent of a Monarch butterfly. But as cool as that is, you're more likely to return again and again for the red snapper carpaccio, banana duck curry, and seared tuna salad. Plus, they do equally well with the basics-Pad Thai, maki rolls, etc.
Best Shopping Stops
We're not going to lie to you: Noble Square is not the place where you're going to find that killer dress for your cousin's wedding. But everything you could need (or maybe just want) is within walking distance. The home improvement-obsessed will find the Noble Square furniture and housewares stores right up their alley.
Imperial Ace Hardware (1208 W Grand Ave, 312-421-0475) is the hot spot for anyone looking to fix up their home, yard, or anything else in their life (well, within reason). You can get anything from keys made to new cabinets for your home. And once your home is all spruced up, it's time to invite the guests over to show off.
Okay, enough of the practical. Let's get down to the fun, unnecessary shopping. Abbey Brown (1162 W Grand Ave, 312-738-2290) sells 'bath products for the soul.' Who doesn't need that? Their handcrafted soaps, spa products and aromatherapy-based candles, oils and eye pillows turn your home into a sanctuary. Abbey's homemade lemongrass soap is a Noble Square favorite, as are the aromatic rosebud or basil candles. Want to learn to make your own soaps and oils? Abbey Brown offers classes to those interested in dabbling into making their own bath favorites.
Sticking with the gift-y, irresistible items? Housed in a former pharmacy, RR #1 (814 N Ashland, 312-421-9079) gives off an old-fashioned vibe, but don't be shocked when you find a modern day Yankee Candle. This little Noble Square gift shop provides customers with hawks original jewelry, home decor, bath/body items, homeopathic remedies, and other gift-able items that you'll buy for others and end up keeping for yourself.
Sometimes a vintage shop is all you need and Very Best Vintage (1919 W Chicago Ave, 312-226-5530) is the place to stop in Noble Square. Since opening in 2008, Very Best has been providing the neighborhood with some of the best vintage clothing around and they take pride in that. Clothes and shoes are neatly organized up and down the walls and aisles, making your search that much easier.
Night on the Town
Noble Square may be on the smaller side when it comes to surface area, but its nightlife has the spirit and energy of an entire city. Whether you're a beer-and-pool kind of guy, or a martini-and-dessert kind of girl, Noble Square has something for your partying style.
But before you hit up any of the local Noble Square watering holes, kick off your night with a show at the Chopin Theatre (1543 W Division St, 773-278-1500). The Chopin is an arts center that hosts plays, readings, music, poetry, films, and other forms of artistic expression. They're known for productions that are multi-cultural, unique and edgy, yet accessible to everyone.
After a brief stop for cultural betterment, it's time to hit the Noble Square hotspots. A popular spot in the neighborhood is Five Star Bar and Grill (1424 W Chicago Ave, 312-850-2555). They've got delicious bar food (try the pigs in a blanket or the BBQ cheddar burger), nightly drink specials, TVs that show the local sports teams, and the infamous stripper pole. But that's all we're going to say about that.
If you are looking for a more intimate location to get some drinks, check out The Matchbox (770 N Milwaukee Ave, 312-666-9292). During the warmer months, you can enjoy a brew on the patio or just enjoy the ambiance of the bar. Matchbox is a casual setting with cheap drinks and friendly atmosphere.
One of Chicago's most notorious biker bars is located in the Noble Square neighborhood, and it's deserving of a visit even if leather and Harleys aren't your speed. Twisted Spoke (501 N Ogden, 312-666-1500) has antique bike parts hanging throughout the bar, and the vintage bike-riding skeleton outside is one of the more notable landmarks in the neighborhood. Regulars may kick it at the bar (their Bloody Marys are famous), but drinkers far and wide stop by to hang out on the rooftop patio. The fare is freshly made burgers and fries, and the background music spans vintage country, old school punk and classic R&B, among many other musical genres.
Mark Your Calendar
Noble Square residents don't have their own festival-they just hoof it to the neighboring fests for summertime fun. Wicker Park is host to the Around the Coyote Fall Festival, Wicker Park Summerfest, and the Wicker Park and Bucktown Summer Sidewalk Sales. And Ukrainian Village presents the annual Ukrainian Village Fest every summer.
Noble Square residents seem to be an equal blend of public transport devotees and car lovers. Parking is middle-of-the-road here-you'll most likely find a spot, but you will have the occasional struggle. The main streets are metered, and residential streets are a blend of permit and non-permit. When possible, we recommend leaving the car keys on the counter and venturing out on your own two feet. Since Noble Square is a fairly small area, getting around within the neighborhood won't be a problem, and because Noble Square is situated closely to such activity-saturated neighborhoods as Wicker Park, East Village and Ukrainian Village, there's always something exciting to do within walking distance.
If you need to whip out that CTA card, there are a handful of buses and a train to take you wherever your heart desires. The Blue Line stop on Chicago Avenue is technically located outside Noble Square, but it's the closest the 'El' will get you to this neighborhood. We tend to rely on the buses. The #65 Grand Avenue bus and the #66 Chicago Avenue bus run east/west, and they're a quick and easy way to get downtown.
School's in Session
There are quite a few Noble Square schools that families with young scholars can choose from. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Alternative Schools Network 1116 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 342-4243
Holy Trinity High School 1443 W Division St - (773) 278-4212
Noble Street Charter School 1010 N Noble St - (773) 862-1449
Peabody Elementary School 1444 W Augusta Blvd - (773) 534-4170
Rowe Elementary School 1424 N Cleaver St - (312) 445-5870
Here's a quick list of those places you will undoubtedly need at some point-all within your own neighborhood's backyard.
Chicago Public Library- Midwest Branch- 2235 W. Chicago, 312-744-7788
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
UPS Store 516 North Ogden - (312) 243-9500
Candy's Grocery 1366 W Ohio Street - (312) 421-7269 Crater Food & Liquor 1144 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 862-4353
Green Grocer Chicago 1402 W Grand Ave - (312) 624-9508 Noble Pantry 932 N Noble St - (773) 276-6400
My Time Fitness 1448 W Chicago Ave - (312) 878-8686
OTG Boot Camp 1165 N Clark St - (773) 245-6841
Chopin Theatre 1543 W Division St - (773) 278-1500
Abbey Brown Soap Artisan 1162 West Grand Ave - (773) 545-9531
Aesthetic Eye 1520 W. Chicago Ave - (312) 243-1520
A Sharp Dressed Man 516 N Ogden Ave - (773) 644-1544
Dovetail 1452 W Chicago Ave - (312) 508-3398
Espace 1205 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 252-6994 Imperial Ace Hardware 1208 W Grand Ave - (312) 421-0475
Palm USA City Sports 1201 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 235-7673
RR1 814 N Ashland Ave - (312) 421-9079
Seek Vintage 1432 W Chicago Ave - (312) 526-3164
Terry's Toffee 1117 W Grand Ave - (312) 733-2700
Very Best Vintage 1919 W Chicago Ave - (312) 226-5530
Blue Star Bistro & Wine Bar 1209 N Noble St - (773) 278-2233
Frontier 1072 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 772-4322
Green Zebra 1460 W Chicago Ave - (312) 243-7100
Two 1132 W Grand Ave - (312) 624-8363
Ada Street 1664 N Ada St - (773) 697-7069
Flo 1434 W Chicago Ave - (312) 243-0477
Unite Urban Grill 1450 W Chicago Ave - (312) 455-8900
Butterfly Sushi Bar and Thai Cuisine 1156 W Grand Ave - (312) 563-5555
China Court 1146 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 292-2388
Kin Sushi and Thai Cuisine 1132 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 772-2722
Sushi X 1136 W Chicago Ave - (312) 491-9232
Usagi Ya 1178 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 292-5885
Iguana Cafe 517 N Halsted - (312) 432-0663
Ugly Mug Cafe 1458 W Chicago Ave - (312) 666-7707
Coffee on Milwaukee 1046 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 276-3200
Sip Coffee House & Garden 1223 W Grand Ave - (312) 563-1123
Starbucks 520 N Ogden Ave - (312) 850-1617
D'amato's Bakery 1124 W Grand Ave - (312) 733-5456
Lovely: A Bake Shop 1130 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 572-4766
Uppercrust Bakery 1332 W Grand Ave - (312) 829-2000
Habana Libre 1440 W Chicago Ave - (312) 243-3303
Bari Foods 1120 W Grand Avenue - (312)666-0730
Jimmy John's 520 N Ogden - (312) 243-1122
Nini's Deli 543 N Noble St - (312) 666-7767
Vinnie's Sub Shop 1204 W. Grand Avenue - (312) 738-2985
Bella Notte Restaurant 1374 W Grand Ave - (312) 733-5136
Buongiorno Cafe 1123 W Grand ave - (312) 829-7433
Oggi Trattoria 1378 W Grand Ave - (312) 733-0442
El Barco 1035 N Ashland Ave - (773) 486-6850
La Pasadita 1140 N Ashland Ave - (773) 278-2130
Mexique 1529 W Chicago Ave - (312) 850-0288
Taqueria El jardin 1303 W Huron St - (312) 455-9523
D'Agostino's Pizza and Pub 1378 W Grand Ave - (312) 850-3247
Paula & Monica's Pizzeria 1518 W Chicago Ave - (312) 929-3615
Pie Eyed Pizzeria 1111 W Chicago Ave - (312) 243-3735
Salerno's Restaurant & Pizzeria 1201 W Grand Ave - (312) 666-3444
Podhalanka 1549 W Division St - (773) 486-6655
Cafe Central 1437 W Chicago Ave - (312) 243-6776
The Chipp Inn 832 N Greenview Ave - (312) 421-9052
Five Star Bar & Grill 1424 W Chicago Ave - (312) 850-2555J
Patrick's 1367 W Erie St - (312) 243-0990
The Matchbox 770 N Milwaukee Ave - (312) 666-9292
The Twisted Spoke 501 N Ogden Ave - (312) 666-1500
Sometimes it makes more sense to view the city of Chicago as a bunch of separate neighborhoods especially when it comes to real estate. Whether you are in the market for a loft, condo, townhome, or house, it is just as important to inspect the surrounding area as it is to inspect the home's foundation. Noble Square neighborhood is just one Chicago community with an abundance of residential properties, and a life all its own. From where you send your kids to school to where you dine at night, the information we provide is an essential piece of the puzzle when you're trying to decide whether or not to buy that beautiful loft or adorable house in Noble Square.