This quaint, northwest neighborhood is best known for its historical charm and quiet, tree-lined streets. Home to hundreds of historic bungalows, North Mayfair captures the vintage, urban charm that gave Chicago its swagger during the mid 20th century. Today North Mayfair is a family-orientated community steeped in rich history, scenic parks and a sprinkling of retail and restaurants. The neighborhood parks are not only a place to enjoy the great outdoors, but a venue for annual events and fun holiday celebrations. From Easter egg hunts to live musical entertainment, North Mayfair residents can always count on Gompers Park to be a flurry of activity and an excellent spot to meet the new neighbors.
North Mayfair Facts
Location: About 11 miles northwest of the Loop
Boundaries: Lawrence Avenue south, Pulaski Road to the east, Foster Avenue to the north and Cicero Avenue to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Mayfair, Sauganash, Jefferson Park, Albany Park, Forest Glen
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap for crime stats on specific Chicago neighborhood, intersection, address or police beat.
Then and Now
Like many outlying Chicago neighborhoods, North Mayfair grew from small farms scattered around the outskirts of urban development. In 1889, the city of Chicago annexed Jefferson Township and the Village of Montrose, an area that would later include the North Mayfair neighborhood. With many residents looking to settle outside of the city for more space and less congestion, the new village experienced a housing boom between the turn of the 20th Century and the Depression era.
North Mayfair’s history is unique in the fact that a small number of families had a hand in designing the aesthetic character of the neighborhood. Some of North Mayfair’s earliest families included the Spikings, the Hardings, and the Ericksons, who not only set the foundation for North Mayfair, but also were involved in building the nearby Bohemian National Cemetery and hundreds of homes in neighboring Albany Park.
The Erickson family played the most pivotal role in establishing North Mayfair as its own distinctive neighborhood. In 1850, all 10 acres of their family farm resided in what is now North Mayfair. With every generation, the Erickson family acquired more land and eventually began building bungalows on the property - bungalows that still exist today and are now considered historic. At one time, the family owned 11 bungalows in North Mayfair, with most still standing on the 5100 block of north Kostner Avenue.
North Mayfair has always maintained its own distinctive, historical identity. Residents formed the North Mayfair Improvement Association as far back as 1929. The organization was 24 members strong when it published its first newsletter. Today, North Mayfair continues to uphold its unique identity with a mix of historic bungalows, courtyard condos and renovated two-flats that cater a diverse group of residents from young families to long-established homeowners.
North Mayfair may be small in acreage, but it boasts one of the most beautiful parks in the Chicago Park District system. At the crux of Foster and Pulaski avenues lies the sprawling Gompers Park (4222 W. Foster Ave, 773-685-3270) the largest park in North Mayfair neighborhood. Covering almost 39 acres, the park straddles the Chicago River and includes rehabilitated wetlands and a lagoon with pier access. The unique environment lends itself to a slew of environmentally savvy activities, including and an annual fishing derby, Nature Oasis family nights and camp outs, and River Rescue Days. And, so no one is excluded from the fun, fishing licenses are also available here for public purchase during the summer months. The park’s eco-friendly aim has resulted in collaborations with local arts groups spurring 'Theater Hikes' and productions set back in the natural wooded surroundings of Gompers Park. The plays have become popular summer activity for North Mayfair families.
In addition to its nature-friendly vibe, the Gompers Park boasts traditional amenities including an outdoor pool, kids playground, three junior baseball diamonds, one football field, two basketball courts, four tennis courts, a skating area and a spray pond. As if that wasn’t enough, the park’s field house offers several activities rooms, an auditorium and a gymnasium. One of the most attractive features about Gompers Park are its preschool programs, which includes everything from dance lessons and arts and crafts sessions to t-ball and 'Moms, Dads and Tots Gymnastics.' Local youth can also participate in sports such as basketball, volleyball, Nerf football and tennis at this fun-filled North Mayfair recreation destination.
On a smaller scale, North Mayfair Park (4537 W. Carmen Ave.) is nestled in the heart of North Mayfair’s tree-lined neighborhood. Purchased in 1930 by the Jefferson Park District, the North Mayfair Women’s club petitioned to create the park to service the growing number of families in the area. Today, the lot is popular destination for the mid-day stroller set.
North Mayfair Real Estate
Few Chicago neighborhoods boast the kind of historical swagger embodied by North Mayfair. In February 2006, it became Chicago’s fifth bungalow neighborhood to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The area bound by Foster Avenue, Pulaski Road, Kilbourn Avenue and Lawrence Avenue includes approximately 700 homes that were constructed between the post World War I and Depression eras.
Today, many of these historic bungalows proudly dot the neighborhood streets. And homeowners in National Register Historic District also benefit from such prestige. They have the option to apply for the State of Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze when completing major home renovations equal to at least 25% of the market value of the property. The renovations must be approved by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Aside from historical bungalows, North Mayfair has a wide variety of single-family houses and apartment buildings, ranging from rehabbed two-flats to spacious courtyard condominiums. Most of the private dwellings have front lawns and cozy front porches, and while there are certainly plenty of brick one- and two-story homes in North Mayfair, there are also a good number of places with barn-style rooflines and a variety of other architectural designs to choose from.
The average sales price for a three-bedroom home in North Mayfair is about $360,000. For something with more space, and a couple more bedrooms, you can expect to pay around $425,000 on average. Not everyone needs that much room—one-bedroom North Mayfair condos are available for anywhere between $140,000 and $225,000. Two-bedroom units cost around $200,000 on average.
What’s on the Menu?
We enjoy discovering new dining hideaways as much as you. North Mayfair has a few culinary gems that cater to everyone’s taste—dig in and find yours.
Much like its architecture, North Mayfair’s culinary character is steeped in rich traditions. One of the most celebrated eateries is Kildare’s Restaurant (4300 W Lawrence Ave, 773-777-7033), a three-part establishment featuring a liquor store that gives way to a restaurant that gives way to a long bar. Don’t be deceived by its rustic exterior; what Kildare’s lacks in ambiance (it’s connected to a liquor store) it makes up for with classic, American flavors. Menu highlights include hearty portions of chicken, ribs and a steak special. The bar also has dartboards and live entertainment on select nights.
Venture down the street to Kokeeri Restaurant (4346 W Lawrence Ave, 773-205-5680), a Korean-style restaurant that offers a traditional menu of soup, dumplings and bibimbap, a bowl of warm white rice topped with sauteed and seasoned veggies, beef, a fried egg and chile pepper paste. We love the no-frills ambiance, and the price is certainly right. Portions are large, and often two people can dine for well under $20. There is also ample parking in the neighboring lot.
What neighborhood is complete without its own Mexican cantina (so to speak)? In North Mayfair, Las Cazuelas Restaurant (4821 N. Elston Ave, 773-777-5345) sizzles local palates with its array of fajitas, burritos and margaritas. The restaurant is also known for branching out and serving less conventional Mexican fare, including a uniquely seasoned bistec Mexicana. This cozy North Mayfair restaurant gets its name from the terra cotta pots that many of the dishes are served in. Bonus for summertime: outdoor seating!
Night on the Town
Nightlife options are limited in North Mayfair, mainly because the neighborhood is so family-centric. One nightlife bright spot is Gambler’s (4908 N Pulaski Rd, 773-545-5566), which has the market cornered in the gaming department. Its array of weekday dart leagues, pool leagues and visits from Sunday softballers make this watering hole the perfect play spot. Weekends find Gambler’s serving a free buffet of various greasy goodies—the perfect accompaniment to your alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverages of choice. This cozy, neighborhood joint is a perfect gathering spot dotted with neon beer signs and a welcoming vibe.
Mark Your Calendar
Much of North Mayfair’s frolics are confined to the scenic Gompers Park (4222 W Foster Ave, 773-685-3270). The park kicks off its outdoor activity season each spring with 'Bunny Bonanza,' which aligns with the Easter holiday. Families can stroll the park hunting eggs or get their photos taken with the Easter bunny himself. Once summer settles in, the park’s rehabilitated wetlands and lagoon lend themselves to many environmental activities, including an annual fishing derby, Nature Oasis family nights and campouts as well as River Rescue Days (dates vary each summer).
Gompers Park promotes family-gathering events throughout the summer, including 'Toddlers, Tunes and Turtles' (312-742-5039), a bi-monthly event that features musicians from the Old Town School of Folk Music. Geared toward children under five, tots will have to the chance to see and learn about live animals indigenous to the park and lagoon. They can also participate in nature-friendly activities while sipping on healthy refreshments. The park also plays host to a 'Stroller Strut' (312-742-5039) several times throughout the summer. The guided walks are geared towards parents, grandparents, caregivers and their children who enjoy exploring nature and learning about one of Chicago’s largest preserved nature centers.
North Mayfair is accessible via several public transportation modes. The closest Chicago Transit Authority train station is located just south of North Mayfair’s jurisdiction at the Montrose Avenue stop and the Old Irving Park stop—both on the Blue Line. From the Old Irving Park 'El' stop, commuters can take the #53 Pulaski bus which runs north-south between south 31st Street and 6000 North Peterson. The #81 Lawrence bus route runs east-west along the southern border of the neighborhood, from the Cumberland Blue Line 'El' station to the Jefferson Park Blue Line 'El' station.
For those with their own set of wheels, North Mayfair is one of the most accessible neighborhoods in the city. Conveniently located off of I-94 (the Edens Expressway), motorists can access North Mayfair by taking the Cicero Avenue exit, eastbound. Car owners should note that some areas require permits while others are free of regulations.
Taxicabs can be located most easily on the neighborhood’s major thoroughfares—mainly Lawrence, Foster, Pulaski and Cicero avenues. As much as we love hopping in a cab, jumping on a bus or putting the pedal to the metal in our own vehicle, if you are staying within the neighborhood, nothing is more relaxing than a stroll on foot down the quaint historic streets that give North Mayfair its historic charm.
School’s in Session
North Mayfair’s tight boundaries are home to Palmer Elementary School (5051 N Kenneth Ave, 773-534-3704), which caters to the scholastic needs of neighborhood families. Palmer’s commitment to academic excellence is reflected in the students’ consistently high-ranking test scores. The school’s website reports that 70 percent of it students scored at or above national standards for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Students at Palmer also surpassed Chicago Public Schools and Illinois average IGAP scores (an Illinois standardized test). Palmer accepts students in kindergarten through 8th grade. For more information on Chicago area schools, please visit our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Palmer Elementary School 5051 N. Kenneth Ave, - (773) 534-3704
When it’s time to make a trip to the grocery store or fill a script at the local pharmacy, it’s important to know where you can go in the neighborhood to load up on those everyday items and the bare necessities. We’ve got you covered with a sampling of the useful resources and handy stores found in North Mayfair.
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
Mayfair Public Library 4400 W Lawrence Ave - (312) 744-1254
Osco Drug 4032 W Foster Ave - (773) 478-8750
Grand Food Mart 5002 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 283-0224
Jewel Osco 4042 W Foster Ave - (773) 583-8080
Ace Hardware Stores 4050 W Lawrence Ave - (773) 736-1478 Fox Lighting Galleries 4240 W Lawrence Ave - (773) 282-6300 Kmart 5033 N Elston Ave - (773) 685-1121
American Cuisine Kildare’s Restaurant 4300 W Lawrence Ave - (773) 777-7033
Kokeeri Restaurant 4346 W Lawrence Ave - (773) 205-5680
Las Cazuelas Restaurant 4821 N Elston Ave - (773) 777-5345
Gambler’s 4908 N Pulaski Rd - (773) 545-5566
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. North Mayfair 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 North Mayfair.