Quiet and friendly, this north side Chicago neighborhood feels like one of the city's last true villages. However, its location offers sophisticated options to singles, couples and families who prefer a touch of big city living as opposed to a totally suburban lifestyle. Roscoe Village certainly does draw a family crowd and baby-strollers, toddlers and beaming parents are spotted on almost every street corner. The conventional flats and vintage walkups in Roscoe Village are an ideal home for young families who don't need too much space and appreciate the minimal yard work and grounds upkeep. For those who like to garden and stretch the legs a bit more, Roscoe Village has a large pool of private properties with plant-rich lots and traditional houses. A rise in new luxury construction is also hitting the scene, and the dining and nightlife is long established, giving this quaint Chicago “village” a highly metropolitan edge.
Roscoe Village Facts
Location: 6 miles northwest of the Loop
Boundaries: Lincoln Avenue to the east, Addison Street to the north, Western Avenue to the west and Belmont Avenue to the south
Bordering Neighborhoods: Lakeview, West Lakeview, North Center, Avondale, Logan Square
Then and Now
In the latter part of the 19th century, immigrant German and Swedish workers settled in Roscoe Village, split between the industrial depots along the Chicago River at the western most point of the village, and the plants and factories on the eastern border. The post-war economic boom of the 1920s brought more development to the area with brick buildings springing up, often creating entire blocks of identical two-story brownstones lining the streets. Practically impossible to distinguish one building from another, some of Roscoe Village's residential blocks still maintain this Old World architectural charm.
Because much of the economy collapsed during the Great Depression, many of the warehouses and factories ceased operation, and their spaces went unoccupied. Still, the character and history of Roscoe Village remained, as colorful politicians such as 'Burgermeister' Charlie Weber wore lederhosen during parades as a way to keep residents upbeat and optimistic.
After the federal interstate highway initiative in the 1950s made travel between the suburbs and city that much easier, many villagers left the struggling community for the inexpensive homes and good schools of the suburban 'collar counties.' By the late 1970s, residential developers started to take notice of the locational advantages of Roscoe Village with its proximity to many other up-and-coming neighborhoods, and looked to the old industrial corridors for urban pioneering.
With the housing explosion of the 1980s, much of the industrial space had been converted into loft condominiums, including the conversion of the Eversharp Pencil Factory at Roscoe and Ravenswood, which because of its size (nearly a full city block) and history caught the attention of the entire city. All the new rehabs and additional restoration of walk-ups caused real estate values to shoot up as did property taxes, forcing much of the working class out and bringing a more affluent class in.
Roscoe Village Real Estate
Roscoe Village is a family-oriented Chicago neighborhood. We need only to walk down the leafy canopy of Roscoe Street on any given afternoon to see several babies and four-legged friends going out for a stroll with moms and dads. When it comes to Roscoe Village real estate, single-family homes dominate many of the garden-rich lots, but several three-story conventional walkups and duplexes are mixed in, accommodating younger working singles who enjoy a tranquil reprieve from the loud nightlife a few neighborhoods away.
Check out our Roscoe Village home sales statistics to get an idea of the real estate market trends in this neighborhood.
Park is the Place
Roscoe Village's Fellger Park and Playlot was recently redone by the Chicago Park District, which made it more safe and friendly for kids (but sadly, not for dogs, they aren't allowed here). With nearly an acre of playground equipment and benches, it's the perfect Roscoe Village park for parents to sit and chat, while the kids work off some energy. During the summer, tall plastic sculptures become fountains of water for the little ones to splash around and catch glimpses of the rainbows materializing out of the mist. Fostering community spirit between neighbors and families, Fellger Park is a part of Roscoe Village's charming appeal.
What's on the Menu?
If there's one particular cuisine at which Roscoe Village restaurants excel, it's breakfast food. Brunchers can choose from three of the best breakfast joints in town to meet your get-together needs, or to beat those post-weekend partying blues. Brunch is fast becoming a true tradition in Roscoe Village, as all three popular a.m. spots command at least a 30-minute wait to be seated on the weekends.
For those in the group not interested in sausage links, the vegetarian Victory's Banner (2100 W. Roscoe St., 773-665-0227) marks the best choice. Some of the menu options are vegan as well, but most involve breakfast's necessity-fluffy eggs. We love the soothing ambience, from the calming New Age music to the wait staff in white robes. As a great alternative to coffee, the green tea cooler (iced green tea blended with grapefruit juice) is an excellent non-jittery option. And don't even think about leaving this Roscoe Village breakfast spot until you've had some of their peach butter French toast-it's delicious!
Just up the road is the funky Kitsch'n on Roscoe (2005 W. Roscoe St., 773-248-7372), which is open for lunch and dinner, but brunch is what really lines them up. A retro pop-culture theme pervades the orange-walled decor -we noticed 'Knight Rider' lunchboxes and small knob televisions showing episodes of 'Hawaii 5-0.' Menu options range from spicy Mexican fare to green eggs and ham (it's basil, folks), and the alfresco dining during the summer makes for fabulous people-watching on busy Roscoe Street.
And that's the tip of the iceberg! For brunch that's tasty, unique, and brimming with a village ambiance, John's Place (2132 W Roscoe St, 773-244-6430) is just the ticket. With a small, creative menu that focuses on farm fresh food, you're sure to find something new and delicious. Other great Roscoe Village brunch spots are Endgrain (1851 W Addison, 773-687-8191) and Orange on Roscoe (2011 W Roscoe St, 773-248-0999).
The family owned Big Boy Gyros (3541 N Western Ave, 773-525-3241) is the perfect place to head towards when you are starving but you just don't feel like cooking. A neighborhood staple, pictures of the Lane Tech High School teams adorn the wall. The gyros give the shop its name, but the Italian Beef is definitely worth a shot. Another great spot to grab a bite is Man-Jo-Vin (3224 N Damen Ave, 773-935-0727). With classic fare like hot dogs, burgers, and Chicago Italian Beef, this Roscoe Village joint covers all your cravings. For a slightly different sandwich, consider Banh Mi & Co (2057 W Roscoe St, 773-360-7266). Offering a menu with Vietnamese sandwiches and spring rolls, this small, intimate place has only two tables, so regulars suggest you try take out first. But the word on the street is they are going to have to buy some more tables, because the food is amazing!
If you're in the mood to explore Turkish cuisine, consider Turquoise Cafe (2147 W. Roscoe St., 773-549-3523), with authentic Turkish dining options. Tasty lamb dishes are complemented afterward by wonderful Turkish coffee. There's a much-appreciated Old World mentality here, so your server won't try to turn your table over by dropping the check off as you're enjoying the last few sips of coffee.
For a taste of Asian fusion, consider Hot Woks Cool Sushi (2032 W Roscoe St, 773-880-9800). The menu takes a little bit of Thai, Chinese and Japanese and spins out some interesting, fun options. You can try a Bento box or one of their signature rolls. Consider the Confusion roll with asparagus and sweet potato tempura or the Harajuku roll with Yellowtail, avocado, and jalapeņos.
Tony's Burrito Mex (1957 W Belmont Ave, 773-832-4896) offers great food, fast service, and the hours to accommodate all your late night cravings. Tacos and other menu items are made to order in less than five minutes, and diners rave about the salsa verde. This Roscoe Village favorite is cash only, so make sure you've got some green before stepping up to the plate.
Best Shopping Stops
With Roscoe Village's strong family-orientation, many niche-market boutiques and neighborhood shops pop up that appeal to the residents' tastes. The area also boasts a network of antique and vintage stores, making the old new again.
The southern most border of Roscoe Village boasts a few surviving shops from Antique Row's heyday-when a group of antiques dealers dominated the storefronts of Belmont Avenue two decades earlier. Our favorite today is Lazy Dog Antiques (1903 W. Belmont Ave., 773-281-3644), a more recent addition to the members of Antiques Row. Among other ancient oddities, we discovered an old manual camera that works like new, and the lazy floppy-eared dog that greets us upon entrance explains the shop's curious name. Shangri-La Vintage (1952 W Roscoe St, 773-348-5090) has an amazing selection of men's and women's clothing at reasonable prices. This Roscoe Village store also offers a selection of knick-knacks and doo dads, fabric, and patterns, and basically things that you were always wanting but could never find. The helpful owners are just icing on the cake.sorry
Much of the same could be said about Praha (2201 W Belmont Ave, 773-549-1227), except with the addition of vintage furniture. Finally, The Good Old Days Antiques (2138 W Belmont Ave, 773-472-8837) has been called the best antique shop in the city-with three stories of rooms to explore, and antique radios that are rebuilt from scratch, you can seek out and take home a real piece of Chicago history.
Contributing to Roscoe Village's reputation as a small town within a city, there are some great places to get or fix a bike. Roscoe Village Bikes (2016 W Roscoe St, 773-477-7550), owned by husband and wife team Alex and Lesley Tweedie, opened in 2006. This is a great spot for all your cycling needs. Whether you are a commuter, a recreational rider or a competitive cyclist, Roscoe Village Bikes is determined to make sure you enjoy your bike as much as possible. Another place that will get you in the saddle and on the road is Kevin Thornton Bikes (3110 N Damen Ave, 773-610-9442). Customers can't say enough good things about the owner. Known for his skill at quickly and efficiently repairing bikes, he also repairs to sell vintage bikes.
If you're a serious shopper, dedicated to going beyond the usual chain store options, you'll want to check out the many clothing boutiques in Roscoe Village. Start with Cinnamon Boutique (2104 W Roscoe St, 773-281-2466) , which boasts a carefully edited selection of women's clothing, accessories and jewelry. With new shipments in daily, the stock rotates quickly and the selection is always changing. Just down the street is Hubba-Hubba (2040 W Roscoe St, 773-477-1414), a boutique with something for everyone. The clothing focuses on romantic and classic, with a strong emphasis on dressy date night. A smattering of new and vintage costume jewelry makes browsing extra fun.
Also on Roscoe is Glam to Go (2002 W Roscoe St, 773-525-7004), with a great assortment of essentials for the urban woman on the go, as well as a line of baby bath products and other gifts for baby. And if that wasn't enough for you, there is 2 Sisters Boutique (3828 N Lincoln Ave, 312-226-6677), which boasts a great selection of truly unique items at reasonable prices. Visitors love the sales rack, where great finds can be found.
For the tiny but fashion conscious, there is Little Threads (2033 W Roscoe St, 773-327-9310). Packed with super-cute clothes for babies and bigger kids, you won't be able to stop yourself from "awww-ing." This is a great place to find ways to show your Chicago pride-whether sports-related or just the familiar Chi-town logos.
Bursting with gorgeous cards and personalized gifts, With Grace (2238 W Roscoe St, 773-525-3700) is a great Roscoe Village shopping spot to find the perfect gift. The store specializes in designing wedding invitations, and many a nervous bride has found herself relaxing in the capable hands of Jen, the owner. Just down the way a bit is Village Paperie and Gifts (2217 W Roscoe St, 773-348-7785), another stationary store with a large selection of elegant cards and stationary.
Night on the Town
Roscoe Village keeps nights out a bit more relaxed compared to the nightlife activity of surrounding Chicago neighborhoods. There's less people traffic so bars are full of places to sit. Music is generally played from a jukebox creating a laid-back scene geared toward an evening of conversation rather than clubbing or dancing.
One of our favorite Roscoe Village nightspots is Four Moon Tavern (1847 W. Roscoe St., 773-929-6666), a neighborhood bar where the cheap beer specials and 'beer of the month' choices are the clientele's drink of choice. A popular after-show hangout for actors from Chicago's theater scene, playbills, and notices for new city productions scatter the bathroom bulletin boards. Amber lighting against the wooded panels above the bar gives the tavern a cozy, lodge-like feel, and the outdoor patio is draped with white party lights making a perfect place to sit and enjoy summer nights with friends.
Along that same kind of vibe is a fun neighborhood pub called the Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont Ave., 773-935-2118). On your way there, be on the lookout for its easy-to-miss entrance which lacks clear identification. Hungry Brain has inexpensive specials on beer and cocktails, as well as plenty of tables for sitting with a group. There is a significant sense of strangeness here that adds to the clandestine nature of the place with pinball machines, ceramic brains on shelves, and oddball lamps that illuminate the crowd. One never knows if the stage riser in the front of the room could suddenly become host to an impromptu jazz concert (it happens from time to time).
There's one more comfy dive on our Roscoe Village neighborhood pub crawl-The Village Tap (2055 W. Roscoe St., 773-883-0817). A popular spot for locals for many years, it has a Cheers-like feel where bartenders know all the regulars' names. Beer is again the libation of choice, with over 30 rotating drafts, and great burgers and bar food with reasonable prices. Other great laid-back Roscoe Village spots are Liberty Lounge (3341 N Western Ave, 773-910-1473), Four Treys Tavern (3333 N Damen St, 773-549-8845), and Underbar (3243 N Western Ave, 773-404-9363).
Live music entertainment happens every night at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave., 773-281-4444). Now managed by the club owner of Wicker Park's popular rock spot Subterranean, Beat Kitchen offers music for all kinds of ears. With an updated sound and lighting system, bands from both the national and local scene make it a point to stop for a performance at this Roscoe Village venue. The music room holds a limited capacity-shows typically draw anywhere from 20 to 150 people a night, with tunes ranging from indie rock to punk to heavy metal. A bonus at this venue is you can get a bite before the band begins-and it's not the usual fried bar food-Beat Kitchen serves up quality meals. We recommend the tasty Cajun meatloaf sandwich.
Mark Your Calendar
Summertime means neighborhood street festivals-all over Chicago. Two incredibly popular ones happen to be in Roscoe Village and they both center around Chicago residents' love of music.
During the first weekend in August, Retro on Roscoe sets up multiple stages for cover bands to play everyone's favorites from the '60s, '70s, and'80s. This retro rock fest goes on all day and into the night. It's free, but the Roscoe Village Neighbor's Association asks for a donation to support the festival's continuing success. Thousands wander shoulder-to-shoulder, through closed-off neighborhood streets checking out the featured booths from Roscoe Village stores and restaurants.
Traveling independent vendors and other unique craftsmen make it out to sell their wares at the three-block-long party (on Roscoe between Damen and Oakley). As with most things in Roscoe Village, this summer fest is good for the whole family and features a large children's play area to keep the kids occupied.
The Belmont Arts and Music Festival features a more contemporary list of rock acts on two stages of live music, often drawing excellent performers that we would expect to see in an arena, not on Belmont Avenue. Held in late June, this two-day music and art event is not to be missed.
Who doesn't love a good burger? Nobody, or at least that's the secret behind the success of the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. This summer event showcases Chicago's favorite burger joints, along with great music spread out over two stages, and a Kids Zone for the little ones. Visitors vote for their favorite burger and participants include some of the biggest names on Chicago's burger scene.
The CTA Brown Line elevated train (known to Chicagoans simply as the 'El') has two stops on the northeast side of Roscoe Village's neighborhood borders at Paulina and Addison. The Brown line provides Roscoe Villagers with direct service to the Loop and to convenient Red Line transfers at Belmont and Fullerton.
We never rule out travel on the CTA's other form of public transportation-buses. There are a few routes servicing this Chicago neighborhood that make getting around easy and quick. Running up and down Roscoe Village's main traffic arteries, a ride on the bus is probably the best way to get from point A to point B here. And Bus #154 Wrigley Field Express provides rush service to Cubs games so you don't have to worry about missing the first pitch.
For anyone who owns a car, it's good to know Roscoe Village has mostly zone- and sticker-free parking. But save those quarters because there are meters on major thoroughfares like Lincoln, Belmont, and commerce-heavy parts of Roscoe and Addison. Lincoln Avenue also has a marked bicycle lane for those of you who travel via two-wheeler.
School's in Session
With all the families residing in Roscoe Village, parents can send their school-age children off to class just around the corner. In addition to the following list, find more information on Chicago area schools at Chicago Public Schools or Great Schools.
Audubon Elementary School 3500 N Hoyne Ave - (773) 534-5470
Lane Tech High School 2501 W Addison St - (773) 534-5400
The following is a list of some of those everyday services that are nice to know exist in your own backyard.
Lincoln-Belmont Branch Library 1659 W Melrose St - (312) 744-0166
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
Walgreens 3358 N Western Ave - (773) 327-2111
Osco Drug - 3400 N Western Ave - (773) 327-2723
Total Wellness Systems 3058 N Clybourn Ave - (773) 868-9330
My Time Fitness 2121 W Roscoe St - (312) 878-8686
MakeYourBody 2218 W Belmont Ave - (312) 206-5176
B4 Health & Fitness 2203 W Roscoe St - (773) 251-4619
Belmont Arts and Music Festival 2000 W Belmont Ave - (773) 327-5123
Retro on Roscoe 2000 W Roscoe St - (773) 665-4682
Roscoe Village Burger Fest - (773) 327-5123
Cinnamon 2104 W Roscoe St - (773) 281-2466
Fixture 2108 West Roscoe Street - (773) 244-3100
Glam to Go 2002 W Roscoe St - (773) 525-7004
Good Old Days Antiques 2138 W Belmont Ave - (773) 472-8837
Lazy Dog Antiques 1903 W Belmont Ave - (773) 281-3644
Little Threads 2033 W Roscoe St - (773) 327-9310
Praha 2201 W. Belmont Ave - (773) 549 -1227
A Pied 2037 W Roscoe St. - (773) 281-2210
With Grace 2238 W Roscoe St - (773) 525-3700|
Hubba-Hubba 2040 W Roscoe St - (773) 477-1414
Gratitude Heart Garden 2058 W Roscoe - (773) 477-7475
Four Moon Tavern 1847 W Roscoe St - (773) 929-6666
Kitsch'n on Roscoe 2005 W Roscoe St - (773) 248-7372
Orange on Roscoe 2011 W Roscoe St Taos 2114 W Roscoe St - (773) 248-6899
Volo 2008 Roscoe St - (773) 348-4600
Wishbone 3300 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 549-2663
John's Place 2132 W Roscoe St -(773) 244-6430
Riverview Tavern 1958 W Roscoe St - (773) 248-9523
Endgrain 1851 W Addison - (773) 687-8191
Hot Woks Cool Sushi 2032 W Roscoe St - (773) 880-9800
Banh Mi & Co 2057 W Roscoe St - (773) 360-7266
Yindee 1824 W Addison St - (773) 525-4040
Thai Linda Cafe 2022 W Roscoe St - (773) 868-0075
Starbucks 2023 W Roscoe St - (773) 281-6272
2159 W Belmont Ave - (773) 935-5680
3356 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 871-6888
Rudy's Bakery 2038 W Roscoe St - (773) 348-8578
Phillips Butter Kist Bakery 1955 W Belmont Ave - (773) 281-4150
Irene's Bakery - 2038 W Roscoe St - (773) 472-1812
90 Miles Cuban Cafe 3101 N Clybourn Ave - (773) 248-2822
Banh Mi & Co 2057 W Roscoe St - (773) 360-7266
Miska's Deli 2156 W Belmont Ave - (773) 935-5373
Que Rico! 2301 W Roscoe St - (773) 248-7426
Big Boy Gyros 3541 N Western Ave - (773) 525-3241
Turquoise Cafe 2047 W Roscoe St - (773) 549-3523
Bartoli's Pizzeria 1955 W Addison St - (773) 248-0455
Pizza Bella Trattoria 2116 W Roscoe St - (773) 477-7330
Stevo's Grill 2326 W Belmont Ave - (773) 248-2300
HomeMade Pizza Company 2041 West Roscoe Ave - (773) 975-9100
Riverview Brick Oven Pizzeria 1954 W Roscoe St -(773) 248-7800
Victory's Banner 2100 W Roscoe St - (773) 665-0227
Beat Kitchen 2100 W Belmont Ave - (773) 281-4444
Four Moon Tavern 1847 W Roscoe St - (773) 929-6666
Four Treys 3333 N Damen Ave - (773) 549-8845
Hungry Brain 2319 W Belmont Ave - (773) 935-2118
Riverview Tavern 1958 W Roscoe St - (773) 248-9523
Underbar 3243 N Western Ave - (773) 404-9363
Roscoe Village Pub 2159 W Addison St - (773) 472-6160
Village Tap 2055 W Roscoe St - (773) 883-0817
Volo Restaurant Wine Bar 2008 W Roscoe St - (773) 348-4600
Helpful Neighborhood Websites
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Roscoe Village offers homeowners a wide range of residential properties. Roscoe Village homes include lofts, condos and townhomes, to name a few. In addition to Chicago real estate, you can get detailed neighborhood information from our comprehensive online Chicago neighborhoods guide. With features like dining, shopping, entertainment, and resources, we've done all the leg work already to make your home search that much easier. Now, when a listing in Roscoe Village catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without setting foot in the neighborhood. Like a Yellow Pages, Metromix and MLS database all rolled into one, this site is your ultimate Chicago neighborhoods visitors' guidebook.