An abundantly green north side Chicago neighborhood, Norwood Park boasts strong community ties and is filled with fantastic older residences that are ideal for raising a family. Norwood Park resists the typical Chicago grid system in favor of more winding roads. Along these curving drives, homebuyers will find a wonderful variety of properties. Nineteenth-century houses, Cape Cods, ranches, condominiums and new construction developments sum up the real estate opportunities, which fall in just as broad a range of prices. The neighborhood features a small, yet satisfying assortment of dining options within its borders and there is even a unique boutique or two. When it comes to nightlife in Norwood Park, pubs are it. Neighborhood regulars meet up for whatever is on tap and a bit of that community bonding.
Norwood Park Facts
Location: About 13 miles northwest of the Loop
Boundaries: Devon Avenue to the north, Austin Avenue and Harlem Avenue to the east, Northwest Highway and I-90 (Kennedy Expressway) to the south, and Canfield Road to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Old Norwood Park, Oriole Park, O’Hare, Union Ridge, Jefferson Park
Then and Now
Located in a heavily forested country setting, Norwood Park was initially developed in the 1860s as a resort community for weary Chicagoans to relax away from the fast pace of city life. The local hotel, however, only ever attracted local residents that came for leisure, and the whole resort plan was eventually scrapped.
The community was integrated as a Chicago neighborhood in 1874. When incorporated, the area took the name 'Norwood' from Henry Ward Beecher’s novel Norwood: Or, Village Life in New England. After discovering that another Illinois post office already used the name Norwood, the 'Park' surname was added—a fitting inclusion for what would remain a very lush, green community.
As time marched on (as it is wont to do), and despite surrounding industrial development, the Norwood Park community remained primarily residential, gradually becoming home to scores of families—just as we know it today. A bit lesser known, Norwood Park has a somewhat notorious bit of trivia associated with its history. During the 1970s, the area was also home to the infamous convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy. He hid the bodies of over twenty victims in the crawlspace underneath his house in an unincorporated part of the Norwood Park Township.
History is interesting, but it isn’t always pretty. Anyway, let’s move along to some less macabre factoids, okay? Norwood Park sets itself apart from the rest of historically Democratic Chicago by maintaining primarily Republican leanings. Politics aside, Norwood Park neighborhood is a fantastic place for families, filled with schools, parks, and the community is home to a large number of Chicago police officers and firefighters.
Technically, Norwood Park is considered two separate neighborhoods: Norwood Park and Old Norwood Park. The larger area is bisected by a triangle of land known as Old Norwood Park, an older residential area surrounding the community’s original main drag. Both Norwood Park and Old Norwood Park are home to lush greenery and part of the same pleasant tight-knit northwest side Chicago community.
As you might expect, for a place called Norwood Park it does have its fair share of park spaces. However, most of them, such as the town’s large titular park, are located in Old Norwood Park; the neighborhood surrounded the area’s historic main street.
Outside Old Norwood Park’s bevy of park spaces, Norwood Park itself features Rosedale Park (6312 W. Rosedale Ave., 773-631-7156), a smaller park that nonetheless boasts a variety of leisure activities all year round for all ages. One of Rosedale Park’s most popular programs is soccer, offering indoor and outdoor soccer leagues for children ranging from pre-school to their early teens. Other activities include, basketball, flag football, tennis, track and field events, volleyball, tap and ballet dancing, and beginning tumbling, just to name a few of the many options for kids.
For those of us with youngsters in more of a 'just figuring out how our feet work' age group, Rosedale Park offers storytimes, playgroups, art classes, and an assortment of other activities for tots and their parents. For anyone who just wants to get out and play on their own (don’t we all?) the park offers 16' softball leagues as well as free use of its many facilities: fieldhouse with gymnasium, softball field, soccer field, three basketball courts, two tennis courts, two playgrounds (okay, those are probably just for the kids), sandbox (this one’s defiantly just for the kids), and a spraypool for keeping cool. We think it’s safe to say that the spraypool is also probably intended for children, but on those hot and humid August days a person has to do what they can to beat the heat...
If you are looking for a bigger park space, Norwood Park (5801 N. Natoma Ave., 773-631-4893) in nearby Old Norwood Park provides a number of different and expanded facilities, including the only outdoor pool on the north side with a water slide.
Norwood Park Real Estate
The Norwood Park neighborhood is unique in layout. Modeled after Frederick Law Olmsted’s Riverside community on the east side of the city, Norwood Park’s residential area bucks the typical city grid pattern for winding roads, interspersed with angled streets and mini-subdivisions. Additionally, as the area is filled with trees and other greenery, walking through the neighborhood’s meandering streets is quite literally like a walk in the park.
The neighborhood real estate in Norwood Park varies quite extensively. Homes range from well-maintained nineteenth-century Victorian houses to brick bungalows, Georgians, ranches, and Cape Cods. Also common are single-family condominiums which run the gamut from new construction developments to older brick buildings. As we have mentioned a number of times before (and are continually impressed with), the entire area is fairly green so no matter where you live in Norwood Park, most residences look out onto some kind of green space.
Generally speaking, a smaller home in Norwood Park starts in the mid-$100,000s, but the average sales price for a one- or two-bedroom detached house is $345,000. Places with a little more space (say three or four bedrooms) jump up in average sales price to around $420,000. And the value for some of the more historic properties can be even higher.
A one-bedroom condo or attached unit in Norwood Park starts in the low to mid-$100,000. Two-bedroom units in the neighborhood range between $185,000 and $340,000 with an average sales price around $212,000.
What’s on the Menu?
Norwood Park features a nice little assortment of dining venues, ranging from the finest fast food imaginable (we’ll get to that in a minute) to swankier sit-down establishments. Several neighborhood eateries even cater to those who prefer to leave meat off the menu.
But first we have some words for those of you who like meat. If meat makes you squeamish, you may want to skip this paragraph because we need to have a quick discussion about something fantastic: the Chicago hot dog. Now, if you happen to be from Detroit or Boston or even Tokyo, you might not know the specific balance of flavors that create a true Chicago hot dog: a beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun topped with mustard, piccalilli, a kosher dill pickle, onions and hot peppers. No place knows that balance better than Norwood Park’s own Superdawg Drive-In (6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-763-0660), a hot dog stand and drive-in restaurant that’s been operating since 1948. We can’t say we’ve been visiting Superdawg that long, but as far back as we can remember the restaurant’s distinct rooftop display of a giant anthropomorphic hot dog (with eyes of glowing red neon) flexing his muscles for his hot dog girlfriend has been an icon on the Norwood Park skyline. In addition to fantastic franks, Superdawg features burgers, sandwiches, and tasty ice cream creations.
Moving away from drive-ins to sit-downs, we make our way to a place that caters to meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. Amitabul (6207 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-774-0276) is a vegan restaurant with lots to offer everyone. Chef/owner David Choi fuses Korean and Buddhist dishes into delicious and healthy meals, all without meat, eggs, or dairy. And if you have room, try to cap off your meal with one of the featured all-vegan ice creams, in flavors such as green tea, plum, and cappuccino. We recommend the mango flavor as a perfect end to a meal.
Norwood Park is also home to several Italian eateries of note. The exposed brick walls of Trattoria Pasta D’Arte (6311 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-763-1181) make for a charming dining area, with seating both in front of the bustling open kitchen and outdoors on either the sidewalk or the year-round garden room. The specialties feature seafood, with an especially tasty pan-seared tilapia. Homemade pastas include a sacchettini al pesto, ricotta cheese stuffed into pasta pouches and finished with a pesto sauce. For more low key Italian (by 'low key' we of course mean pizza) try Chikago Pizzaria (6149 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-631-4111), an excellent Norwood Park neighborhood pizza place that offers a fantastic stuffed crust pizza. You can dine in and have a waiter deliver your pizza right to your table, or order by phone and have a delivery-man deliver your pizza right to your front door. Our favorite part about Chikago Pizzaria is that it closes nightly at 3 am, making it the perfect place to grab that last slice after a night on the town.
Best Shopping Stops
Although Norwood Park is a primarily residential Chicago neighborhood, that doesn’t mean we can’t find a good amount of interesting and unique shopping stops.
If you’re in the market for something that drives, flies, or runs on rails (tiny rails!) Chicagoland Hobby, Inc. (6017 N Northwest Hwy., 773-775-4848) might be right up your alley. Open since the 1970s, the store maintains an extensive selection of model trains, cars, slot cars, radio control vehicles, and rockets. If you need more help than the knowledgeable staff can provide, they also offer a number of assisting books and videos. Stop on by often and ask about monthly sales and special events.
Just a short walk from Chicagoland Hobby we encounter Gigi’s Dolls & Sherry’s Teddy Bears (6029 N Northwest Hwy., 773-594-1540), a place for those of us with less of a taste for miniature rail cars and more for cuddly stuffed animals. We found their stock terrifyingly large (well, it’s really only terrifying if you have some kind of doll phobia and can’t handle the endless stare of their unblinking eyes), accompanied by an amazing collection of accessories and bear making supplies. In addition to stocking every Barbie you could imagine, this Norwood Park neighborhood toy shop also features special events, get-togethers for enthusiasts, and even a doll hospital.
Night on the Town
The Irish heritage of Norwood Park shines though its large number of Irish pubs, all good places to hang your hat and stop in for a pint after a long day.
A blue-collar crowd meets a younger hip scene in Vaughan’s Pub Northwest (5485 N. Northwest Hwy., 773-631-9206), where seventeen different tap beers greet you in addition to a fine selection of spirits and wines. Don’t worry if you show up a bit peckish, the pub serves up hearty traditional Irish dishes like shepherd’s pie and egg mayonnaise, all viewed under the glow of televised Irish football (when it’s available). Graced with the luck of the Irish, a walk down the street yields even more fine pubs. Mc Ateer’s Irish Pub (5943 N. Northwest Hwy., 773-763-0095) offers a cozier atmosphere than Vaughan’s, but still a good selection of both beers and spirits, so if you so desired, you could get yourself a Tom Collins or just get a pint of whatever’s on tap. Also in the neighborhood, Trinity Pub (5943 N. Northwest Hwy., 773-763-0095) hosts live music and karaoke nights on select weekends after 9 pm. Stop in or call to ask about the schedule of events.
For more of a typical American bar, we recommend checking out Jet’s Public House (6148 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-792-2440), a pretty typical casual nightspot with live entertainment on Thursdays and Saturdays. On nights without live music, you can enjoy watching one of six plasma televisions and partake in one of their many beers. Jet’s stocks twelve draft beers and a large variety of bottled brews and spirits. Dining fare is traditional American and a brunch is served on weekends for those of us in need of that meal with our early drink. Sometimes we just can’t start our Saturdays without a plate of breakfast tacos and a Blue Moon draft.
Mark Your Calendar
When things heat up after a long, cold Chicago winter, it’s time to celebrate and Norwood Park is no exception. Summertime welcomes a number of festivities in the Norwood Park neighborhood, including the ultimate warm weather event—block parties. Community spirits run high as street after street of Norwood Park closes off to grill and celebrate outdoors. Be sure to keep up with your neighbors, as these parties spring up whenever residents feel the celebratory mood strike them. In fact, by reading this you could be missing out on block party fun right now.
Also running through the streets is the annual Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade (6634 W. Raven St. 773-497-5852), an ongoing tradition since 1922. Citizens line the streets as unique floats and scores of streamer-decorated cars make their way through the neighborhood. Whether you are among the spectators or part of the spectacle—this is a time-honored event that brings Norwood residents and other Chicagoan locals together in a salute to patriotism and community bonding.
One of the easiest and most enjoyable means to traverse Norwood Park is on your own two feet, often with children or dogs in tow. Since so much is nearby (and this Chicago neighborhood is so scenic) why wouldn’t you take a nice leisurely stroll? Still, on occasions of poor weather or limited time, we’d recommend the convenient trains and busses for your transportation needs.
Chicago’s public transportation system (the CTA) is excellent at getting us from point A to point B, anywhere in the city, and in good time. The 'El' (which is a short, hip way of saying 'elevated train') runs right through the middle of Norwood Park. The Blue Line has a stop at Harlem Avenue and will take you anywhere from O’Hare International Airport to the downtown Chicago Loop to the suburb of Forest Park. As for the bus, that trip downtown will take a bit longer. While buses run on Harlem, Higgins, Foster, Canfield and Talcott through or near Norwood Park neighborhood, we prefer hopping on bus #68 on Northwest Highway, taking it to the Jefferson Park 'El' station, transferring to bus #56 and then taking that downtown. A tad cumbersome, but you can swap out any of those buses for the 'El' and it’ll cost the same gloriously low fee of $2 per ride.
Norwood Park also boasts a Metra station. The Metra is a train system that runs throughout the Chicagoland area, from downtown Chicago to the surrounding suburbs and outlying counties. The neighborhood’s station is on Metra’s Union Pacific line, which runs from McHenry County into the city. This mode of public transportation is ideal for the morning and evening commute, especially if you don’t want to drive.
Speaking of driving, if you own your own automobile you’ll like this neighborhood even more because a number of Norwood Park homes feature driveways, garages, and back alleys for parking. But a sizable number of us still have to park on the street and scramble for spaces, especially when parking closes down on certain roads due to snow plowing in the winter or street cleaning in summer. Still, if you have a car, the hop on the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) is quick and yields an easy trip to and from downtown.
School’s in Session
Families in Norwood Park have a number of public and private schools to choose from. In addition to the following list, you can find out more information on Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Hitch Elementary School 5625 N. Mcvicker Ave. – (773) 534-1189
Onahan Elementary School 6634 W. Raven St. – (773) 534-1180
St Tarcissus School 6040 W. Ardmore Ave. – (773) 763-7080
Resurrection High School 7500 W. Talcott – (773) 775-6616
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a sampling of some of the places you can get your bare necessities in Norwood Park. Everything you need, all within a few blocks from home.
Jefferson Park Branch 5363 W. Lawrence Ave. – (312) 744-1998
Norwood Park Post Office 6300 N. Northwest Hwy. (800) ASK-USPS
Walgreens 6310 N. Nagle Ave. – (773) 774-2868
Resurrection Medical Center 7435 W. Talcott Ave. – (773) 774-8000
Dominick’s Finer Foods 6312 N. Nagle Ave. – (773) 774-6006
The Produce Center 5814 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 775-3200
White Hen Pantry 6200 N. Sayre Ave. – (773) 775-2063
St Thecla Gym 6323 N. Newcastle Ave. – (773) 792-8060
The following are just a taste of the dining, shopping and entertainment Norwood Park has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
Memorial Day Parade 6634 W. Raven St. – (773) 497-5852
Wingert House 6231 N. Canfield Ave.
Chicagoland Hobby, Inc. 6017 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 775-4848
Gigi’s Dolls & Sherry’s Teddy Bears 6029 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 594-1540
Primetime Sports & Athletic Apparel 6124 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 775-8061
Jet’s Public House 6148 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 792-2440
Mc Ateer’s Irish Pub 5943 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 763-0095
Vaughan’s Pub Northwest 5485 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 631-9206
Norwood Park Tap & Liquors 5823 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 763-0100
Three Countries Irish Pub 5856 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 631-3351
Trinity Pub 5943 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 763-0095
Bills Drive-In 5729 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 775-2035
The Norwood Family Restaurant 6101 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 467-0316
Superdawg Drive-In 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 763-0660
Trattoria Pasta D’Arte 6311 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 763-1181
Chikago Pizzaria 6149 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 631-4111
Tanzitaro Mexican Restaurant 6075 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 792-1100
Taqueria El Ranchito 6075 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 792-1100
Amitabul 6207 N Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 774-0276
China King Restaurant 6249 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 763-8018
Alex Deli & Restaurant 6247 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 792-1492
Kouks Vintage Cafe 5653 N. Northwest Hwy. – (773) 594-8888
Dunkin’ Donuts 6342 N. Milwaukee Ave. – (773) 763-7181
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 Norwood Park 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 Norwood Park. 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.