With its winding streets, cul-de-sacs and ranch-style homes, Scottsdale brings a little touch of the suburbs to the southwest side of Chicago. Neighborhood parks and playlots dot the blocks, offering a place get in some exercise, participate in sports and let the kids burn off excess energy. While Scottsdale's interior residential streets are quiet and sheltered, Cicero Avenue (Scottsdale's high-traffic border street) is chockfull of different restaurants, businesses and shops. Indulge your tastebuds with an array of international cuisine, or allow your eye for fashion to peruse the racks at the selection of furniture and clothing stores in the area.
Location: About 18 miles southwest of the Loop
Boundaries: Ford City Drive to the north, Pulaski Road to the east, 87th Street to the south and Cicero Avenue to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Ford City, Ashburn, Parkview, Hometown, Oak Lawn
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Then and Now
The small area now known as Scottsdale spent the first portion of the 20th century as the unpopulated west side of the Ashburn neighborhood. Hardly anyone lived there, but that’s because it served a more important purpose as the site of Chicago’s first airport. Created in 1914 with two sod runways stretching across 67 acres southwest of Cicero Avenue and 83rd Street, the Ashburn Flying Field functioned as a WWI pilot training facility that drew many of America’s aviation pioneers, including 'Pop' Dickinson, the field’s developer, as well as a certain young flying enthusiast named Charles A. Lindbergh.
Twenty years later it was struggling in the shadow of the nearby and much larger Midway Airport, which already ranked as the world’s busiest airfield. In 1942 the U.S. Defense Department took over a public park in Scottsdale for Chrysler Corporation to build a bomber factory, and that helped keep the little Ashburn airport alive. Its runways remained in use until the early 1950s, when the post-WWII Baby Boom caught up with the Ashburn/Scottsdale area. Its population ballooned by a whopping 400 percent during that decade, and the urgent need for housing inspired a flurry of retail and residential construction that finally brought an end to the historic airport.
In 1952, a builder named Raymond Lutgert redeveloped the airfield as a new residential community which he named for his son, Scott. One of the area’s biggest attractions was—and still is—the Scottsdale Shopping Center, which was built in the mid 1950s and was the first strip mall-style shopping plaza in Chicago. Today, Scottsdale is a thriving community where thousands of people populate its quiet, winding streets.
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The population explosion and housing boom that Scottsdale experienced in the 1950s left it with a shortage of public parks, but that was rectified in the early ‘60s when the Chicago Park District acquired several blocks between 83rd and 84th streets, tore up the roads that ran through the site and transformed it into Durkin Park (8445 S Kolin Ave, 773-284-7316), on the south side of Scottsdale neighborhood. Graced with four baseball diamonds and a nearly half-mile walking path, the western portion of the park is actually the grounds of Durkin Park Elementary School, and the school’s gymnasium functions as the park’s fieldhouse after school hours. (The school, by the way, was originally named Crerar Elementary, which is why you’ll find some maps that still identify Durkin Park as Durkin Crerar Park.)
Rainey Park (4350 W 79th St, 773-284-0696) is the largest public park in the neighborhood, even though it lost some of its size in the early 1940s when the federal government appropriated a quarter of its land for Chrysler to build that airplane factory. After World War II ended, the factory was closed, but then the entire park was turned into a temporary housing site for returning veterans. Eventually the factory was replaced by John Hancock High School; the temporary housing came down, and in the late ‘50s Rainey Park was at last restored to its original purpose. Today it provides the neighborhood with tennis courts, four baseball diamonds, a quarter-mile walking path, and lots of open green space for picnicking and pet play. Hancock High doubles as the park’s fieldhouse, with area residents enjoying access to the school’s gymnasium and assembly hall.
In the early 1950s, St. Bede Parish Church at 83rd Street and Scottsdale Avenue relocated, selling its building and land to the Chicago Park District. The old church served as a fieldhouse for the parkland until it was replaced by a new structure in 1981. Today, Scottsdale Playground Park (4620 W 83rd St, 773-284-1826) is still going strong and, despite its modest size, it has a whole lot to offer. In addition to a softball diamond, a soccer field, a basketball and volleyball court, a walking path and a playground for the kids, the new fieldhouse boasts a fitness center and a gym where the Park District operates one of the city’s few boxing programs open to all ages and genders.
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Scottsdale Real Estate
Scottsdale’s neighborhood boundaries are busy commercial thoroughfares, particularly Cicero Avenue on its western edge which bears a heavy traffic volume. But just one block off that busy street you’d think you’re in a quiet suburb. Scottsdale is characterized by the sort of winding streets, cul-de-sacs, sloping curbs and speed bumps that you just don’t see that often in the city.
You won’t find many multi-unit dwellings along the neighborhood’s meandering roads, most of the condo buildings and attached housing are located on Scottsdale’s border streets such as Cicero Avenue, Ford City Drive, 87th Street and Pulaski Road. These units start at $50,000 for a one-bedroom with no garage parking, and go up to $170,000 for a two-bedroom with a garage space.
Many of the detached single-family homes that you will see further into the reaches of the neighborhood are one-story or ranch-style houses, which helps give Scottsdale a unique look for Chicago’s southwest side, typically dominated by bungalows. Still, there are a good number of split-levels and two-story designs, adding to the architectural diversity of the residential streets here. On the high end, you might pay $380,000 for a nice four-bedroom split-level with attached garage and large front yard; on the other hand, a smaller, one-story house with two or three bedrooms could cost as little as $150,000.
What’s on the Menu?
Scottsdale has plenty of fast food joints and breakfast diners to handle your average eating-out needs, but there are a few stand-out sit-down restaurants here as well that merit special attention.
One of them is Mattson’s Steak House (8150 S Cicero Ave, 708-424-5884), our favorite place stop for reasonably priced and expertly prepared steaks—rib eye, Porterhouse, T-bone, teriyaki, sirloin, prime rib, you name it. Catfish, cod, coho salmon, shrimp, and lobster tail are on the menu here, too, and while you’re waiting for your entree you can help yourself to the well-stocked salad bar, soup bar, and hot food bar featuring cornbread, Texas toast and hot greens. Cream pies are made fresh daily and are quite tempting, but our favorite dessert here comes from the do-it-yourself sundae bar, offering vanilla and chocolate ice cream plus all the toppings you could want, from strawberry and chocolate syrups to fresh fruits, nuts and a variety of other sprinkles.
The southwest side of Chicago has long been a home away from home for Lithuanian and Polish immigrants, and when they’re looking for authentic Old Country cooking, the next best place to their own kitchens is Mabenka (7844 S Cicero Ave, 708-423-7679). Generous portions provide a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite, from familiar dishes like pierogies and apple pancakes to traditional delicacies like kugelis (potato pudding) and cepelinai (stuffed dumplings). American favorites including baby-back ribs, pork chops and rainbow trout round out the menu, though nothing here is ordinary, since every entree has a delectable Polish panache to it.
It’s no surprise that you can find great steaks and Polish cuisine in Scottsdale—this is Chicago. Likewise, Chicago is also a terrific town for authentic Mexican food. There seem to be so many little taquerias in every direction, each putting its own special spin on the traditional fare that you’d never have to opt for a chain restaurant—with one exception. Pepe’s (8516 S Cicero Ave, 708-424-8222) is a local chain that has been providing consistently well-prepared, moderately priced Mexican food for discerning Chicagoans since 1967. And we’re lucky enough to have a location right here in the neighborhood. While the size, layout and decor of Pepe’s restaurants will vary, they’re always cool, casual and comfortable, with good service and dependably delicious food. The extensive menu has something for everyone, including a selection of American dishes for less adventurous folks. We’ve always found the combo dinners to be particularly satisfying—enticing tacos, tamales, tostadas, enchiladas and flautas with a range of fillings and preparation styles. Botanas (appetizers) here are tops as well, but you’d better be hungry. One of our favorite after-movie snacks is a pitcher of Pepe’s margaritas and a shared order of chili con queso—stringy, stretchy chunks of melted cheddar cheese swimming in cascabel sauce, scooped up with crispy chips or soft, warm flour tortillas. Mmmmm … heavenly.
When it comes to Asian food, Scottsdale has a couple options to keep your chopsticks clicking. One is the Asia Buffet & Grill (8059 S Cicero Ave, 773-585-3388) located in the Scottsdale Shopping Center. Every day this large, attractive and popular establishment lays out a buffet of more than 100 Hunan, Szechuan and Cantonese-style dishes, complemented by an excellent sushi bar. Carryout is available, though there’s no carryout menu. If you want to feast at home, just stop in, raid the buffet tables, load up your take-out cartons and pay by the pound on the way out. If you prefer having a waiter do the footwork, then cross the street to dine at Panda Hut (4800 W 83rd St, 708-423-5606). The menu may seem bigger than the restaurant itself, but don’t worry, we’ve always found ourselves a booth. The hot and sour soup and the mu shu dishes are superb, but most of all we love Panda Hut’s way with yu shiang, a black bean sauce flavored with scallions, garlic, ginger and hot chilies. Only be careful: When the Panda man says it’s hot and spicy, he means it!
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Best Shopping Stops
Just north of Scottsdale is Ford City Mall (7601 S Cicero Ave, 773-767-6400), a mammoth shopping complex with about 150 stores. But you don’t have to leave the neighborhood to do your shopping, thanks to the Scottsdale Shopping Center (7905 S Cicero Ave, 773-582-6677), Chicago’s first retail shopping plaza constructed over 50 years ago and still going strong.
Ladies looking for fashions in sizes 14 through 32 are in luck here, since the shopping center is home to Avenue (8019 S Cicero Ave 773-735-1800) and Catherine’s (8107 S Cicero Ave, 773-284-7718), two of America’s top retailers specializing in plus-size women’s apparel. Both offer an impressive selection ranging from suits and dresses to casual wear, coats and jackets to swimwear and lingerie. And guys aren’t left out of the picture here thanks to Dress To Impress (8053 S Cicero Ave, 773-582-7171), a superior source for fine men’s and boy’s clothing, featuring an array of suits, dress shirts and slacks, hats, dress shoes and accessories. They provide same-day alterations here, too.
The shopping plaza is a top spot for shoe shopping as well with bargains galore. Not only is there a Payless Shoe Source (8001 S Cicero Ave, 773-582-5981), but there’s also a Chernin’s Shoe Outlet (7969 S Cicero Ave, 773-581-0077), 'where every day is a sale day,' as they like to say. Casual shoes, dress shoes, sandals, slippers, athletics, boots—you name it, they’ve got it, with prices starting at $9.99 a pair.
If dressing up your living space is on your to-do list, then the Scottsdale Shopping Center will again come to the rescue. Between Circle Furniture (8133 S Cicero Ave, 773-585-9600), Harlem Furniture (8027 S Cicero Ave, 773-767-8200) and Jennifer Convertibles (8101 S Cicero Ave, 773-767-1605), you’ll probably find everything you need to give your home decor a full make-over. If not, or if budget is of primary concern, just cross the street to explore the huge showroom of moderately-priced furnishings at Value City Furniture (8310 S Cicero Ave, 708-422-2900).
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Night on the Town
South Cicero Avenue is a busy street with plenty of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, but since Scottsdale is a more conservative, family-minded part of town, you’ll find it to be a bit shy on pubs and clubs.
You can always hit the Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill (7519 S Cicero Ave, 773-767-0711) a couple blocks to the north in the Ford City shopping complex, but most area residents thirsting for a brew head to the friendly, sports-oriented environs of Dickie’s Saloon (8504 S Cicero Ave, 708-229-9033). If you’d rather hang with a younger, livelier crowd, check out Maggie McGuire’s Tavern (8642 S Cicero Ave, 708-424-3720), where the free parking lot makes it a simple matter to drop by for a nightcap (with a designated driver, of course). Just be sure hit up the ATM on the way over, because it’s strictly a cash operation at Maggie’s.
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In comparison to the north side of Chicago, street parking on the south side is no problem. Instead, the challenges out here are the heavy volume of traffic, particularly on Cicero Avenue, and the frequency of freight train crossings, which you’ll encounter far more often in this part of town. Taxis serve the area but are rarely seen, so you can’t count on hailing one as you walk down the street. South siders who depend on cabs usually call to arrange a pick-up.
As for public transportation, east/west routes around Scottsdale are covered by the 79th Street and 87th Street Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus lines, while north/south travel on the neighborhood’s eastern border is handled by the South Pulaski #53A. The western edge of Scottsdale borders on the suburb of Burbank, so travel along Cicero Avenue is in the capable hands of the Regional Transportation Authority, or RTA, the suburban bus system. But don’t worry, your CTA passes work just fine on the RTA—plus, the suburban buses are much more attractive and comfortable than the city ones. For north/south travel you can rely on the RTA 383 bus, which makes stops at Midway Airport and the Orange Line 'El' station, Ford City Shopping Center and the suburban Oak Forest Metra train station.
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School’s in Session
Scottsdale 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.
Durkin Park Elementary School 8445 S Kolin Ave – (773) 535-2322
John Hancock High School 4350 W 79th St – (773) 535-2410
St Bede the Venerable School 8200 S Kostner Ave – (773) 582-8800
Stevenson Elementary School 8010 S Kostner Ave – (773) 535-2280
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To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of where you can find the bare necessities and handy resources in Scottsdale neighborhood, from bread and butter to Band-Aids and books.
Chicago Transit Authority – (888) 968-7282
Scottsdale Branch Public Library 4101 W 79th St – (312) 747-0193
CVS Pharmacy 8639 S Cicero Ave – (773) 284-6332
Osco Drug 8444 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 284-0316
Aldi 8333 S Cicero Ave – (773) 000-1111
Dominick’s Finer Foods 8700 S Cicero Ave (708) 422-3906
Jewel-Osco 7910 South Cicero Ave (708) 422-5252
Bally Total Fitness 3348 W 87th St – (773) 925-0400
Curves 7716 S Cicero Ave (708) 425-4401
The following are just a taste of the dining, shopping and entertainment Scottsdale has to offer. Discover the rest as you explore the neighborhood for yourself.
AMC Theatres 7601 S Cicero Ave – (773) 582-1839
Avenue 8019 S Cicero Ave – (773) 735-1800
Catherine’s Plus-Sizes 8107 S Cicero Ave – (773) 284-7718
Chernin’s Shoe Outlet 7969 S Cicero Ave – (773) 581-0077
Circle Furniture 8133 S Cicero Ave – (773) 585-9600
Dress To Impress 8053 S Cicero Ave – (773) 582-7171
Discovery Clothing Company 8105 S Cicero Ave – (773) 478-4500
Harlem Furniture 8027 S Cicero Ave – (773) 767-8200
Jennifer Convertibles 8101 S Cicero Ave – (773) 767-1605
Payless Shoe Source 8001 S Cicero Ave – (773) 582-5981
Radio Shack 8030 S Cicero Ave (708) 499-0990
Scottsdale Shopping Center 7905 S Cicero Ave – (773) 582-6677
Toys R US 8148 S Cicero Ave (708) 636-1202
Value City Furniture 8310 S Cicero Ave (708) 422-2900
Angie’s Restaurant 8352 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 735-8527 Brown’s Chicken & Pasta 8300 S Cicero Ave (708) 425-8070
Carmie’s 8550 S Cicero Ave (708) 857-9292
Mattson’s Steak House 8150 S Cicero Ave (708) 424-5884
Uncle Sam’s 8668 S Cicero Ave (708) 636-7017
Asia Buffet & Grill 8059 S Cicero Ave – (773) 585-3388
Panda Hut 4800 W 83rd St (708) 423-5606
Dunkin Donuts 4747 W 79th St – (773) 585-2432
Mediterranean Grill 8542 S Cicero Ave (708) 423-0057
Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant 8516 S Cicero Ave (708) 424-8222
Taqueria Los Comales 7812 S Cicero Ave (708) 499-6465
Conte’s Pizza 8512 S Pulaski Rd – (773) 582-4111
Mabenka 7844 S Cicero Ave (708) 423-7679
Dickie’s Saloon 8504 S Cicero Ave (708) 229-9033
Maggie McGuire’s Tavern 8642 S Cicero Ave (708) 424-3720
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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. Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale.
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