An expansive eighteen-acre park sits at the center of this green Chicago neighborhood offering a pleasant place to bring up kids, buy a first home, retire in style, or just enjoy the scenic surroundings from your own backyard. Typical mid-range homes and modest lots exemplify Oriole Park, which enjoys a slightly more suburban feel than most Chicago neighborhoods, with gradually curving lanes and street-access driveways. The large, namesake park is a big draw for homebuyers in search of a community-oriented setting with ample outdoor recreation space. Oriole Parkers have full advantage of several athletic fields, a playground and sandbox, a paved jogging trail, and numerous programs and special events offered through the Chicago Park District.
Oriole Park Facts
Location: About 14 miles northwest of the Loop
Boundaries: The Kennedy Expressway to the north, Harlem Avenue to the east, Foster Avenue to the south and Canfield Road to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Norwood Park, O’Hare, Union Ridge, Old Norwood Park, Harwood Heights
Then and Now
Not too long ago the area now filled with numerous pleasant Oriole Park homes was once quite sparsely populated. As late as the 1930s the land was fairly rural, with settlements decently spaced out. Single-family homes began popping up with more frequency once newly affordable automobiles allowed people to move further out from the center of the city. And once everyone had those shiny new cars, the population in Oriole Park really boomed with the construction of Northwest Highway, which made this Chicago neighborhood even more accessible to the rest of the city.
These days Oriole Park is considerably more urban, with scores of homes occupying the land. Yet, this small northwestern Chicago community has managed to retain a bit of its rural charms. Tall trees still edge the streets and occupy the yards, and all the residences are built around a large eighteen-acre park that offers a host of programs as well as open space for relaxing and recreation. The quiet Oriole Park neighborhood has grown into a fine place to raise a family.
Strolling along virtually any of the tree-lined streets of Oriole Park eventually takes you into this Chicago neighborhood’s most notable recreation destination: its namesake Oriole Park (5430 N Olcott Ave, 773-631-6197), eighteen acres of enjoyable leisure space both indoors and out. Anyone of any age is sure to find something in Oriole Park to enjoy. For the kids, the park offers a couple of playgrounds, good-size sandbox, four baseball fields built smaller than regulation and a spray pool (which, we have to admit, we wish was around when we were lil’ tykes). For those of us too old to hit the swings, Oriole Park has two standard baseball diamonds, softball field, two soccer/football fields, three tennis courts, two basketball courts, and a paved trail encircling the park for running, biking, walking, or rolling about on those new-fangled shoes with wheels.
Oriole Park also offers a number of programs and special events throughout the year. For the most wee of park-goers, Oriole Park has preschool, storytimes, crafts, and assorted parents-and-wee-kids programs, including t-ball and tots music. Teens have basketball leagues and roller hockey, and us older folks can join walking clubs, volleyball, or even piano lessons, just to name a few options. Additionally, a number of annual events pop up through the year, including a Daddy-Daughter Valentine’s Dance and a fall pumpkin patch. This is only a sampling of the offerings, so come on by and check out what’s going on for yourself.
Oriole Park Real Estate
The streets of Oriole Park are rather distinctly split by the neighborhood’s titular park. The roads to the west of the park form a nice, neat grid of rectangular blocks of homes. The streets to the east of the park wind and weave their way around the neighborhood. Other than how they appear on a map, there’s no real distinction of architectural styles or house size between these east and west Oriole Park roads. They all feature the tall trees and lush greenery that help make this northwest side Chicago neighborhood such a pleasant place to call home.
Oriole Park is a primarily residential area, with little industrial development and few shops and restaurants. The residences themselves are predominantly single-family ranch and raised ranch homes—with some two-story houses thrown in the mix—sporting modest yards and well-kept landscaping. Although they might not provide enough space for that weekend soccer game you planned, the properties usually have nice, older trees and at least enough room to relax and barbeque. And don’t forget, if you live in Oriole Park, you live within walking distance of one of Chicago’s nicest parks.
In Oriole Park there are quite a few options for detached two-bedroom houses in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Three-bedrooms will raise the average listing price to around $387,000, with a select few valued between $600,000 and the upper $700,000s. If you need a little more living space, and perhaps another bedroom or two, you’re looking at spending $500,000, on average, although there are a handful of larger homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range, as well. As for attached homes in Oriole Park, which is a much less common housing option in this Chicago neighborhood, the average sales price for a two-bedroom is about $250,000.
What’s on the Menu?
As a quiet residential Chicago neighborhood with a large park in the middle, Oriole Park is a bit light on places to dine. That doesn’t mean, however, you can’t find a fantastic place to eat within blocks of your doorstep. We’ve found a fine assortment of dining options here that are sure to please the appetite and the tastebuds.
If you’re like us, sometimes you find yourself struck by the unshakable craving for really good pancakes—something to top all other flapjacks—and you just can’t rest until satisfied. When the urge does strike, you might want to make your way to Sally’s Waffle & Pancake Shoppe (5454 N Harlem Ave, 773-631-8966), a place famed for its apple pancake. We can’t get enough of Sally’s specialty stack of light and airy fruit-filled treats, which have big chunks of apples, a delicious 'cake' that isn’t too doughy, and a topping of syrup that isn’t too sweet or runny. The large size feeds about four, so bring the whole family. If you’re not in much of an apple pancake mood (something we have a little trouble believing), Sally’s offers a number of other breakfast items within its quaint, old-fashioned diner decor. We suggest the eggs benedict as a worthy alternative, if you’re going to go the non-pancake route.
Once your internal clock ticks past breakfast, you might be ready to head over to New China Buffet (7310 W Foster Ave, 773-792-8888). This large all-you-can-eat buffet offers tasty traditional Asian cuisine, as well as an assortment of shrimp and beef dishes, salads, pizza, and desserts. Be sure to come hungry, because once you see that incredible spread of mouthwatering choices, you’ll want to try it all. Believe us, endless plates of crab rangoon is truly a dining adventure to behold. And don’t let the strip mall exterior fool you; the spacious dining room is a fine place to enjoy a very tasty, very reasonably priced buffet.
Now if that internal clock of yours hits babka o’clock, Oriole Park is also home to some nice Polish delis. Red Poppy Deli and Cafe (7256 W Foster Ave, 773-631-6969) is, as the name implies, both a deli and a cafe. You can pick from their large assortment of sliced meat and sausages to bring home, or dine in and partake of their daily specials and homemade soups. The sandwiches are large and feature mounds of lunchmeat along with your choice of chips or salad. The dining area is cozy and not disrupted by the busy deli side of the establishment. They also carry a wide variety of Polish magazines, candies, and other food items. Stop on by to satisfy your hankering for a sandwich or just some good czernina (duck’s blood soup, which honestly is a lot tastier than you might think).
Best Shopping Stops
As with dining, the residential nature of Oriole Park neighborhood makes shopping selections a bit on the skimpy side. Still, the tree-lined streets do have some useful places to spend your hard earned dough.
Perhaps you need something for baby, or for a friend’s baby shower. Once Upon a Child (7246 Foster Ave, 773-594-1705) is just the place to go. The large, well-stocked storefront offers a huge variety of new and gently used children’s clothing, furniture, toys, and equipment. Additionally, they’ll buy your little one’s previously worn clothes and accessories, which is a plenty good idea, as those tots grow out of clothes faster than we can pull those cute little duds out of the closet. The staff is courteous and friendly, and very willing to help you as you peruse the white and pastel store. So don’t worry if baby needs more toys, or junior keeps growing out of his pants—Once Upon a Child has you covered, well technically they’ve got your child covered.
Some of the kids’ furniture is downright tricky to assemble (we’re eyeing those cribs particularly) and might require the assistance of some extra tools or nails. Harlem & Foster Ace Hardware (7230 W Foster Ave, 773-763-7565) is the perfect place for all your tool and home project needs. The numerous aisles and shelves offer a bevy of tools, paints, gardening supplies, lighting and electrical odds and ends, and any other gadget you could want. If you need that specific bulb for the lamp in junior’s room, this is the place to go. If you need the specific size washer to finish off constructing that cabinet, Ace Hardware is it. If you need some help and advice on said project, you guessed it—these guys are on the job. The staff is knowledgeable and always willing to lend a hand to help you get your latest home-improvement endeavor completed. They also offer a number of useful services, including key cutting, propane tank refilling, screen and glass repair, blade sharpening, and carpet cleaning machine rental, just to name a few.
We find walking is just about the easiest way to get around Oriole Park. With its many trees and large central park space, Oriole Park presents an awfully nice location for a bit of a promenade. Now if your destination is well outside the Oriole Park neighborhood, then you can easily take advantage of Chicago’s public transportation system (the CTA), which offers both train and bus access in the area.
The CTA has an elevated train system (called the 'El') that runs throughout the city and into a few of the surrounding suburbs, offering fast and reliable transportation around Chicago. The Blue Line runs along the northern border of Oriole Park, with the Harlem stop offering direct access from the neighborhood. You can take the Blue Line to O’Hare International Airport, out to the Forest Park suburb, or into Chicago’s downtown Loop. From the Loop, riders can transfer to another train for free to go pretty much anywhere in the city you’d want.
The CTA also offers you the option of bus travel into the Loop. Just take the Blue Line 'El' west one stop to the Jefferson Park station, where a number of different bus routes begin. From there, the buses will transport you anywhere in the city, which is a good thing as the 'El' trains are rather confined by those pesky tracks. If you’re looking to try to race the train though, the #56 bus will drop you right in the Loop.
If you’re feeling a bit more solitary and not in the mood to share a ride with a few fellow Chicagoans, car travel from Oriole Park is a breeze. The neighborhood is bordered to the north by the Kennedy Expressway (I-90), which offers the quickest way downtown by automobile—if the traffic cooperates, that is. As for where to stash your car when not jetting to and from downtown, a good deal of Oriole Park homes have garages accessed by back alleyways, but a number of vehicles still have to park on the streets. Luckily, since there aren’t many businesses to use up road parking, you can usually find a spot near your home.
School’s in Session
Oriole Park families with school-aged children can send their little scholars to class at the neighborhood elementary. But you can find more information on other Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Oriole Park Elementary School 5424 N Oketo Ave - (773) 534-1201
Oriole Park may be small and mostly residential, but this little Chicago neighborhood has its residents covered with places to get all the bare necessities, from daily groceries to the Greats of literature.
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
Oriole Park Public Library 7454 W Balmoral Ave - (312) 744-1965
Harwood Heights Post Office 7101 W Gunnison St (800) ASK-USPS
Osco Drug 7342 Foster Ave - (773) 775-6866
Walgreens 5753 N Canfield Ave - (773) 631-2480
Resurrection Medical Center 7435 W. Talcott Ave. - (773) 774-8000
Jewel-Osco 7342 Foster Ave - (773) 775-6866
The following are just a taste of the shopping and dining Oriole Park has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
Harlem & Foster Ace Hardware 7230 W Foster Ave - (773) 763-7565
Once Upon a Child - 7246 Foster Ave - (773) 594-1705
Top Line Sports 7218 W Foster Ave - (773) 792-1402
Baker’s Square 5220 N Harlem Ave - (773) 792-8481
Sally’s Waffle & Pancake Shoppe 5454 N Harlem Ave - (773) 631-8966
New China Buffet 7310 W Foster Ave - (773) 792-8888
Red Poppy Deli and Cafe 7256 W Foster Ave - (773) 631-6969
Little Caesar’s (Caesarland) 7300 W Foster Ave - (773) 774-1585
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 Oriole 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 Oriole 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.