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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Mathena

Moving to North Center Chicago, IL Neighborhood Guide

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Moving to North Center Chicago, IL Neighborhood Guide

Welcome to the heart of Chicago's vibrant North Side – the charming and ever-inviting North Center neighborhood. As your dedicated local North Center moving company, we're excited to be your companions on this journey as you transition to North Center, where a world of charm and comfort awaits. While North Center boasts mainly residential streets, the dynamic pulse of life resonates along the vibrant Lincoln and Irving avenues, where an endless array of top-notch restaurants and bars beckon. Picture a tapestry of laid-back local hangouts, an eclectic culinary landscape, and a rich tapestry of history and culture woven into every street and building. North Center strikes the perfect balance, offering an idyllic haven for families while keeping the thrill of nightlife within arm's reach. Distinguished by its predominantly European-style single-family homes and a sprinkle of mid-rise condos, North Center's architecture tells tales of eras gone by. With the Brown Line's convenient access via two stations, the world is at your doorstep. Embark on a global culinary journey and experience a residential feel that's unlike any other. Let's dive into the heart of North Center, exploring its nuances and treasures, as you prepare to embark on this new chapter in a neighborhood that's not just a place to live, but a place to truly belong.

North Center History and Overview

North Center emerged due to the industrial shift towards the North Branch of the Chicago River. In the 1840s, John H. Kinzie and William B. Ogden owned much of the land. While some residential subdivisions were attempted, the area remained largely undeveloped until the late 19th century. The expansion of industries like the Deering Harvester Works and the growth of brickyards along the riverbanks earned the neighborhood the nickname "Bricktown," providing employment to a diverse working-class population.

Transportation improvements, including new street railway lines and the Ravenswood "L," sparked residential development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population grew as working-class residents found affordable homes, enabling them to commute to jobs elsewhere. However, the presence of unsightly clay pits along the river led to public objections, and the decline of the brickyards didn't eliminate challenges. Some pits turned into garbage dumps, and the transformation of land for purposes like public housing and a golf course highlighted changing land use.

After the war many residents left the area to move to the suburbs. By 1990, the population had declined. The neighborhood saw an influx of new residents from Hispanic, Korean, and Filipino backgrounds. In the 1990s, concerns about gentrification emerged as neighboring areas underwent transformations. Today, North Center stands transformed, no longer defined by its working-class origins but as a prosperous community, reflecting the intricate tapestry of its history and the ever-changing face of urban evolution.

What is it Like to Live in North Center?

North Center offers a mix of historic charm and modern designs, including classic two-flats, Victorian homes, new construction, condos, and apartments. With a strong sense of community, proximity to amenities, and convenient transportation, the neighborhood caters to both renters and buyers, making it an appealing and diverse residential destination within Chicago.

  • According to Redfin, as of September 2023, the average home price is $675K, down 1.5% compared to last year.

  • RentCafe states that the average apartment rent is $1,686 which is 24% lower than the Chicago average rent of $2,215.

  • 42.2% of North Center residents are renters while 57.8% are homeowners.

  • North Center has a Walk Score of 90 making it a walker's paradise. Its Transit Score is 67 and Bike Score is 87.

  • According to Niche, North Center is the 23rd best neighborhood for young professionals and the best neighborhood to raise a family in Chicago. Its overall Niche grade is A+.

  • The population is 35,114 per the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

  • The median age is approximately 34.6.

  • The median household income is $142,107.

  • Niche gives North Center a grade of B- for crime and safety.

North Center Chicago Location

North Center is located five miles North of downtown Chicago. It is both a community area divided into the smaller neighborhoods of Hamlin Park, Horner Park, Roscoe Village, and St. Ben's, and the neighborhood of North Center itself. Nearby neighborhoods include Avondale, Irving Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood.

The boundaries of the North Center community area are the Northern boundary 4400 North (Montrose Avenue), the Southern boundary 3600 North (Addison Street), the Western boundary runs along the Chicago River, and the Eastern boundary 1800 West (Ravenswood Avenue).

The boundaries of the North Center neighborhood are the Northern boundary 4400 North (Montrose Avenue), the Southern boundary 3600 North (Addison Street), the Western boundary runs along the Chicago River, and the Eastern boundary 1800 West (Ravenswood Avenue). The North Center zip codes are 60618, 60613, and 60657.

North Center is rated A- by Niche for commute and has good transit with a Transit Score of 67. The CTA Brown Line has two stops in North Center at Addison and Irving Park, as well as just outside of North Center at Montrose. Several bus routes also run through the area. To downtown Chicago, it takes approximately 30 minutes by car and 45 minutes by public transportation. North Center is a very bikeable neighborhood.

Map of North Center, Chicago, IL

North Center Restaurants

North Center boasts a thriving food scene that caters to all palates and preferences. From authentic ethnic eateries to modern gastropubs and everything in between, this vibrant neighborhood offers a delectable array of dining options that tantalize taste buds and create unforgettable memories. Whether you're a food enthusiast looking for a new gastronomic adventure or a local in search of familiar comfort, North Center's restaurants promise to deliver a feast of flavors and a warm welcome to all who enter their doors.

Casual Filipino restaurant serving classics such as lumpiang, pancit, and sisig. BYOB.

Puerto Rican restaurant famous for it's jibaritos. Other traditional dishes include mofongo and arroz con gandules. BYOB.

Lively spot renowned for its Korean barbecue as well as other favorites including bibimbap and japchae. BYOB.

Charming and friendly tavern known for its traditional German dishes, including sauerbraten, schnitzel, bratwurst, and more. German and Austrian beers are featured as well as liqueurs and wines.

Popular spot feature on many Chicago top ramen lists. Signature offerings include goku tonkotsu ramen, modern shoyu ramen, and goku tan tan men.

Breakfast, lunch, and brunch seven days a week. Menu features classics such as waffles and pancakes as well as Ecuadorian dishes such as mote pillo and llapingachos.

Casual Thai restaurant with an extensive menu featuring Thai favorites such as pad thai and curries, as well as Nothern Thai dishes such as nam prik ong and kow soy.

Taqueria El Asadero

Well-known for its authentic and flavorful Mexican cuisine with a particular emphasis on tacos and burritos with fillings such as al pastor, barbacoa, pollo, carne asada, and more.

Laid-back gastropub known for its unique and inventive burgers and extensive craft beer selection.

North Center Bars

Whether you're in the mood for craft cocktails, local brews, or a laid-back pub atmosphere, North Center's bars have something for everyone. From trendy lounges with artisanal mixology to traditional watering holes exuding old-world charm, the neighborhood's bar scene promises an unforgettable night out. Whether you're mingling with friends, catching the game, or seeking live entertainment, North Center's bars beckon with their warm ambiance and a toast to good times.

New French-inspired wine bar with a carefully curated, mostly by-the-glass selection offering approachable wines from around the world, complemented by a thoughtfully crafted small menu of delectable food pairings to enhance the tasting experience.

Dog friendly tavern with craft beer, cocktails, and wine from around the world.

Warm and inviting Irish pub where traditional favorites like beef and Guinness stew and fish and chips are complemented by an extensive selection of craft beer and over 70 varieties of Irish whiskey. Live music is featured several times weekly.

Tavern with an impressive German beer and food selection which can be enjoyed in their nice beer garden.

Neighborhood sports bar featuring international sports on over 20 TVs along with an extensive beer list and bar food.

Cozy cocktail bar with a Parisian feel.

North Center Breweries

A collection of exceptional craft breweries awaits beer enthusiasts in North Center. From creative IPAs to velvety stouts and seasonal delights, North Center's breweries showcase the artistry and passion of local brewmasters. With inviting taprooms, a vibrant community of beer aficionados, and an ambiance that fosters camaraderie, these breweries promise a memorable journey through the diverse and flavorful world of craft beer.

Friendly taproom often featuring food trucks.

Dog and family friendly taproom with a large patio along the river. Wine, cider, and other options available for non-beer drinkers.

Taproom serving European style beers.

Highly regarded hop-focused brewery specializing in IPAs, stouts, and lagers.

North Center Coffee Shops

Plant shop and cafe serving coffee drinks, tea, pastries, salads, and sandwiches.

Coffee shop also offering tea and sandwiches.

Dulce De Leche Cafecito

Latin American coffee shop also serving pastries, crepes, and other food items.

Charming coffee shop with a large selection of vinyl to play.

New bubble tea cafe.

Unique Places to Shop in North Center

In North Center, you'll discover charming shops that add to the neighborhood's quaint appeal. Each boutique and store offers a carefully curated selection of unique treasures and essentials. Explore the hidden gems scattered along the streets and uncover the perfect find that speaks to your taste and style.

Boutique selling its own jewelry line as well as other jewelry and items made by independent local and global designers.

Vintage furniture and home accessories store offering unique pieces.

Gift shop featuring jewelry, cards, home goods, and other items.

Boutique specializing in artisan-quality comfortable European shoes.

Music and Theater Venues in North Center

Comedy theater company.

Live music venue featuring an eclectic mix of performers.

Southern gastropub featuring live music with an ambience that celebrates music and vinyl.

Outdoor Activities in North Center

June through October farmers market with fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, live music, and more.

Park featuring various sports facilities including baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis courts, along with a fieldhouse and a new ADA accessible playground.

BBQ masters compete for title of "Best Ribs" and "People's Choice" along with an indie music festival.

Things to do in North Center

Family-friendly indoor rock climbing.

Old-school bowling alley featuring wooden lanes, manual scoring, and a full bar.

40 lane bowling alley with an arcade area, billiards, 2 bars, and a snack bar.

North Center Grocery Stores

Gyms in North Center

North Center Dry Cleaning

North Center Post Office

Other Helpful Information

We trust that this comprehensive guide to North Center, Chicago, IL, has provided valuable insights into the essence of this community. Count on our skilled North Center Movers to guide you through a seamless transition to your new home, allowing you to relish in the neighborhood's rich offerings. Ready to embark on your North Center adventure? Reach out to us at Under One Roof by calling 773-472-5784 for a complimentary moving estimate.

Blog authored by Michelle Mathena, President of Under One Roof, a local moving company in Chicago. Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the moving industry. Under One Roof has had thousands of satisfied customers since 1982.

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