This south side Chicago neighborhood is filled with numerous homes that have great access to scores of excellent schools and plenty of shopping. Roseland inhabitants enjoy lots of public outdoor space and recreational activities found at the various neighborhood parks scattered throughout the residential blocks. Like many Chicago communities, Roseland's properties are characterized by a mixture of architecture and home designs. Split-level houses, wood-frame homes and brick bungalows are most common, with a selection of condos and attached townhomes here and there. Roseland's central commercial area is lined with a good number of shoe stores and fashion outlets that serve just fine for a mini-shopping spree or wardrobe makeover.
Location: About 14 miles south of the Loop
Boundaries: 99th Street and 107th Street to the north, Cottage Grove Avenue and La Salle Street to the east, 115th Street to the south and Halsted Street to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Pullman, West Pullman, Morgan Park, Washington Heights, Rosemoor
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Then and Now
Ah, the way things used to be. Let’s take a trip back in time and gander at Roseland back in the day. The day in question is sometime in 1849. Let’s say it’s a Tuesday. On this particular Tuesday, a group of recently arrived Dutch settlers found the perfect plot of unsettled land to build their farms. They called their settlement 'de Hooge Prairie,' or High Prairie because it was built on higher and drier ground than other nearby settlements. With the city of Chicago to the north and stockyards to the west, farming flourished in High Prairie, bringing in both prosperity and more settlers.
In 1873, James H. Bowen, president of the nearby Calumet and Chicago Canal and Dock Company (which, by this time, employed a majority of the Roseland population) suggested that the area, now an orderly village abundantly landscaped with flowers, change its name to Roseland. The residents agreed and the name stuck, even after the town was incorporated into Chicago in the 1890s.
During the 1870s, the area around Roseland began to develop. Since it was pretty far from Chicago (at the time) and it had an ever-expanding population that provided a nice supply of workers, it was the perfect place to build factories and other industrial sites. As businesses such as the Calumet and Chicago Canal and Dock Company and the Pullman Car Works moved in, more and more of Roseland’s inhabitants set their farming aside and took to industrial labor.
Fast forward a hundred years: The closing of numerous local factories was detrimental to life in Roseland during the 1970s and ‘80s, as it forced unemployment on numerous residents who relied on the factories for jobs. Although times were tough for many for a while, the neighborhood remained strong with growing community organizations and area outreach groups, and the area, once noted for its topography and later for its flowers, is still a pleasant place to live, and it draws many a Chicago family to its south side setting.
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You might expect that with a name like Roseland the neighborhood would have plenty of greenery. Well, Roseland has been built up considerably since the 1870s when it took its name, but plenty of vegetation remains in the many area parks.
The largest of these is Palmer Park (201 E 111th St, 312-747-6576), which was named after Potter Palmer, a successful merchant who was responsible for developing State Street into Chicago’s major retail thoroughfare. The park was originally created in 1904 to provide both social services and a place to accommodate the neighborhood’s recreational needs. Today, the 33-acre Palmer Park continues to serve the needs of the tightly-packed community, supplying Roseland residents with open space and plenty of activities. In addition to providing trees and a stretch of grassy landscape in a fairly built-up area, it also has tennis courts, baseball diamonds, swimming facilities, playground equipment, and a fieldhouse that additionally offers a fitness center and meeting rooms for community use.
Palmer Park is all the way over on the southwest side of Roseland, so if you’re looking for a sizable park in the northwest part of the neighborhood, you’ll be happy to know Fernwood Park (10436 S Wallace St, 312-747-6132) is on the scene. Fernwood Park sits on land that was once a Dutch settlement known as the Village of Fernwood. This park offers the lush green environs for strolling or having a picnic, or just running around wildly, as children are apt to do. Fernwood Park likewise offers a number of facilities including baseball diamonds, tennis courts, gymnasiums, a swimming pool, meeting rooms, and a natatorium, which allows children to learn about the natural floral and fauna of the area.
Additionally, if you’re just looking for a nearby place with playground equipment to take the kids during the afternoon or for an after dinner romp, Roseland has a couple a block-sized spots tucked in amidst the residential streets just for you (and the kids). Smith Park (9912 S Princeton Ave) and Block Park (346 W 104th St) are admittedly smaller than Palmer and Fernwood parks, but they offer all the slides, jungle gyms, swings, and those weeble-wobble things your kids can handle.
While the neighborhood may not be the rose-filled locale it once was, Roseland has done a darn good job of maintaining that coveted garden-like feel with ample parkland sprinkled throughout the urbanized blocks of this south side Chicago community.
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Roseland Real Estate
Like many Chicago neighborhoods, Roseland’s residential streets present a mixture of architecture and home designs. From the quaint brick bungalow to the spit-level house to the one-story with a tiny pillared front porch, the housing options here are quite diverse and affordable. Condos and townhomes are less common than single-family dwellings in Roseland, so the majority of residents enjoy the privacy and space of their own lot. Roseland homes typically have modest yards, but many are without a garage, meaning those of us with cars might have to park on the street. This is never much of an issue though, as street parking is plentiful in this south side Chicago neighborhood.
Due to the economic downturn Roseland experienced in the 1970s and ‘80s, the quality of housing varies from property to property. Although most of the homes are in good condition, a handful of houses have become run-down and would require very extensive renovations to return them to their original glory. But if you shop around, you’ll find a good number of beautifully maintained homes with manicured lawns and freshly-pruned shrubbery.
As with other south side neighborhoods, real estate in Roseland most commonly leans toward the Cape Cod design with a number of those adorable Chicago bungalows thrown in the mix. There are some new-construction two-stories going up in Roseland and a sizable portion of residential buildings have been split into two- or three-flats.
Around here, houses that aren’t in as good of shape (the kind with boarded-up windows) are listed for as low as $25,000; however, you’ll see other properties in the same state that are on the market for double that amount. Places in Roseland that are actually livable still have very affordable price tags with many three- or four-bedrooms selling for well under $100,000. Single-family homes that are well-kept can cost as much as $275,000, but homebuyers will easily find plenty of really nice properties for between $100,000 and $200,000.
What’s on the Menu?
Now, as we all know, our bodies function by converting food into energy. Don’t worry about running out of energy in the Roseland neighborhood; there are plenty of places to refuel your batteries, no matter what octane level your taste buds take.
There are a lot of dining options to choose from in Roseland, so we’ll just highlight some of the popular choices. Personally, we can’t get enough of Old Fashioned Donuts (11248 S Michigan Ave, 773-995-7420), an adorable cafe with the feel of a 1940s ice cream parlor. The old-timey motif of the decor is furthered by the functioning antique donut maker and oven on display for diners to see. A fresh-brewed cup of coffee and a hot homemade donut make the perfect end to even the worst of days. Old Fashioned Donuts has more than round pastries on its menu; it’s a full diner that’s open for lunch and dinner. Have a seat in one of the booths or maybe by the counter, and enjoy a chicken salad sandwich and perhaps one of their delicious ice cream treats. And don’t forget the donuts! We suggest getting a few to go, as well, because come morning you’ll still be thinking about these light little pieces of heaven and wish you had a couple to go with that first cup of joe before starting your day.
Go-Go Fish and Steak (11346 S Michigan Ave, 773-821-1777) is another casual local dining spot in the Roseland neighborhood. Specialties (as one might infer) are steak and fish dishes (not necessarily together), but a number of other delicious items dot the extensive menu, including pizzas and pastas. The servers are friendly and the service is quick, although there is usually a half-hour wait to be seated on Fridays and Saturdays since this is a favorite among Roseland residents. But if you ask us, the steak is worth the wait.
For a rather different flavor, you can enjoy south-of-the-border cuisine at Roseland’s Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant (11227 S State St, 773-928-9069). Pepe’s has been serving fine Mexican food since the’70s, and continues its long tradition of tasty tacos and quesadillas to this day. The festive fiesta-like atmosphere is a hit with kids (or adults who like piñatas and large margaritas). The bill of fare is pretty extensive, ranging from old standbys like nachos, burritos and fajitas to more traditional dishes like chicken en mol’e—chicken cooked in a thick, velvety sauce made from chilis, ground nuts, spices, and a bit of chocolate that is absolutely amazing. We can’t get enough of the chicken fajitas, and have to recommend following up such a meal with an order of seemingly-impossible-yet-possible-and-delicious fried ice cream: vanilla ice cream flash fried to give it a crunchy coating and topped with a mountain of whipped cream.
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Best Shopping Stops
There’s a healthy selection of retail stores in Roseland, many of them concentrated along South Michigan Avenue. This provides a central area (well, a street at least) where residents can go to take care of those necessary and, more often than not, unnecessary shopping needs.
Speaking of unnecessary shopping needs, we are always in need of a new pair of shoes. Fortunately, we know Roseland’s retail strip has us (and our feet) covered. The neighborhood boasts an abundance of shoe stores for every kind of footwear for every kind of occasion. Let’s start at Diana Shoes (11245 S Michigan Ave, 773-785-2262), a women’s boutique that stocks nearly every imaginable style of footgear. Rows of shelves are chock-full of everything from trendy flip-flops and dress heels to casual Pumas and Chucks (in just the right colors, too). An added bonus: there are discounts for return customers that seem to keep us coming back. If you’re in the market for a sportier pair of shoes than the pumps you bought last weekend (or if you aren’t in the market for lady’s shoes at all), swing by City Sports (11102 S Michigan Ave, 773-660-1955). City Sports carries a large selection of athletic footwear for men, women, and children, as well as a small line of athletic clothing, which is mostly geared toward men—sorry ladies. Still not satisfied with the looks of your shoe closet? Feel like something is still missing? Have no fear, Roseland also features a number of other footwear purveyors that you could hit up to fill that looming void. Try Alpha Shoes (11133 S Michigan Ave, 773-928-5612), Star Shoes (11111 S Michigan Ave, 773-468-5684), and the familiar Foot Locker (11140 S Michigan Ave, 773-568-0373). If, after all those, you haven’t got what you need, you might want to think about seeing a therapist because your obsession with shoes is obviously out of control.
Other than the wide world of footwear, Roseland’s other big shopping class is in consignment clothing. AJ Fashion (11203 S Michigan Ave, 773-995-0100) might not occupy many square-feet of retail space, but this small vintage and used clothing shop sure knows how to pack it in. Cluttered, yet somehow well-organized racks and shelves display a wide variety of apparel for both women and men. From a classy older suit to a barely used White Sox sweatshirt, you’ll find a wonderfully eclectic mix of old and older at this Roseland neighborhood mainstay. And after you’ve bought enough here to basically replace your entire wardrobe, bring in your gently used shirts, pants and jackets into AJ’s to sell on consignment. Fresh Line (11150 S Michigan Ave, 773-785-9232) also stocks an interesting mix of formerly occupied threads. Between it and AJ Fashion, Roseland residents have their pick of apparel with a past.
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Night on the Town
Nightlife is a rather subdued affair in Roseland, which lacks the copious nightclubs or raucous sports bars scattered about the rest of the city. Still, this Chicago neighborhood does have places to go to enjoy a good drink. There is one place in particular …
My Friend’s Place (10815 S Michigan Ave, 773-264-6336) is an appropriately named neighborhood bar. My Friend’s Place enjoys a familiar clientele of regulars who enjoy the well-kept, neat tavern that draws a local crowd on any given night. There’s never anything fancy like karaoke or live bands—just a friendly gang of folks who enjoy drinking and chatting together. Fancy mixed drinks are unheard of around here too (you’ll have to look elsewhere for your chocotini fix), and the beer selection is pretty standard (Budweiser, Old Style, etc). But if you’re in the mood to test your coordination after a couple of Old Styles, this Roseland watering hole has the typical dartboards and a pool table.
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While a stroll down Michigan Avenue is one of the better ways to shop and see what Roseland has to offer, it’s also the best place from which to get to the rest of the city. And thanks to Chicago’s public transportation system (the CTA), travel around the city is a breeze.
One of the fastest and easiest ways around Chicago is by the elevated train system (known more familiarly as the 'El'), which runs throughout the city. The Red Line train runs from the 95th/Dan Ryan station (which is two blocks east of Michigan Avenue and just north of Roseland’s northern border) to Chicago’s downtown Loop, and then continues to the north side neighborhoods. Much of Chicago is accessible by El, as you can transfer from one line to another at select stations. But for where the El doesn’t go, the CTA fills in the gaps with excellent bus service.
So if that 95th/Dan Ryan station is a bit far for your feet to carry you, or you just don’t feel like riding the rails at all, there are a number of buses crisscrossing Roseland—which are probably the most convenient form of public transport in this south side neighborhood. We recommend picking up the #103 bus on 103rd Street and taking it to the 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line station, where you can either hop on the El, or transfer to another bus to take you pretty much anywhere in Chicago.
Other travel options include the Metra, which is Chicago’s other commuter rail system. Metra has a series of trains that connect downtown Chicago to the outlying suburbs, with stops throughout the city. The Metra Electric Line runs along the east edge of Roseland and offers stops at 107th and 11th streets. With only about a twenty to thirty minute trip into the Chicago Loop, and increased service during the rush hour commute, the Metra is a solid transit alternative for Roseland residents that work downtown.
The daily work commute can also be tackled easily from Roseland by car. The interchange of I-94/I-57 is at the northern edge of the Roseland neighborhood, providing a quick entrance to the city’s main expressways, which run directly into the downtown Chicago Loop. Needless to say, it gets a bit congested during rush hour. You can check the local TV and radio stations for traffic updates to see if you need to leave the house early to compensate for those annoying delays.
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School’s in Session
Families find Roseland has a number of public and private schools to choose from. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Chicago area schools at our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Alex Haley Academy 11411 S Eggleston Ave – (773) 535-5340
Brooks College Prep High School 250 E 111th St – (773) 535-9930
Christian Fenger High School 11220 S Wallace St – (773) 535-5430
Dunne Elementary School 10845 S Union Ave – (773) 535-5517
Fernwood Elementary School 10041 S Union Ave – (773) 535-2700
Hughes Elementary School 226 W 104th St – (773) 535-507
Maranatha Christian Academy 115 W 108th St – (773) 264-7702
Roseland Christian School 314 W 108th St – (773) 264-2174
St Helena’s School 10115 S Parnell Ave – (773) 238-5432
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We’ve assembled a sampling of some of the places you can get your bare necessities in Roseland neighborhood, from turnips to toothpaste, postage to Pilates classes.
Chicago Transit Authority (888) 968-7282
Chicago Pullman Library 11001 S Indiana Ave – (312) 747-2033
11033 S State St (800) ASK-USPS
Heinz Pharmacy 559 W 103rd St – (773) 238-8680
Ras Fashion Inc. 11152 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-0276
Roseland Community Hospital Pharmacy 45 W 111th St – (773) 995-8977
Walgreens 11040 S Michigan Ave – (773) 928-6447
Roseland Community Hospital 45 W 111th St – (773) 995-3070
Shop Wise Foods 316 W 103rd St – (773) 785-2780
Sunshine Foods 10805 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-0841
Barbee Fitness 11012 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-9871
Ron’s Fitness Center & Vitamin Shop 11314 S Michigan Ave – (773) 264-1884
The following are just a taste of the dining, shopping, and entertainment Roseland has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
AJ Fashion 11203 S Michigan Ave – (773) 995-0100
Alpha Shoes 11133 S Michigan Ave – (773) 928-5612
The Athlete’s Foot 11133 S Michigan Ave – (773) 264-8771
Chics Classic 11133 S Michigan Ave – (773) 568-1240
City Sports 11102 S Michigan Ave – (773) 660-1955
Collection Clothing 11145 S Michigan Ave – (773) 264-9445
Diana Shoes 11245 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-2262
Fashion by Leland, Inc. 11202 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-7722
Foot Locker 11140 S Michigan Ave – (773) 568-0373
Fresh Line 11150 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-9232
Mr. Mark’s 11131 S Michigan Ave – (773) 821-1319
On Line Clothing 11127 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-9725
Payless Shoe Source 11151 S Michigan Ave – (773) 785-3573
Rainbow Apparel 11225 S Michigan Ave – (773) 568-4297
Shoe Avenue 11227 S Michigan Ave – (773) 468-3936
Star Shoes 11111 S Michigan Ave – (773) 468-5684
UB Fashions 11142 S Michigan Ave – (773) 568-2337
Ursula’s Closet 10637 S Halsted St – (773) 264-3766
Chicago Cheese Steak Co 734 W 111th St – (773) 785-9330
Go-Go Fish and Steak 11346 S Michigan Ave – (773) 821-1777
Ranch Steak House 11147 S Michigan Ave – (773) 264-0320
Bilhah’s Kitchen 10658 S State St – (773) 995-9930
New Tea Garden Chop Suey 11342 S Michigan Ave – (773) 468-0748
Old Fashioned Donuts 11248 S Michigan Ave – (773) 995-7420
Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant 11227 S State St – (773) 928-9069
My Friend’s Place 10815 S Michigan Ave – (773) 264-6336
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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. Roseland 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 Roseland.
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