Avondale is a buzzing, up-and-coming neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side.
Under towering smokestacks and dazzling cathedrals lies the low-key neighborhood of Avondale. Residents enjoy a variety of great homes, creative businesses, and an active cultural scene. Popular with downtown communities – getting around the city is easy with the CTA Blue Line and Kennedy Expressway!
Avondale Neighborhood Guide
Bordering some of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods, Avondale residents have plenty in their backyard. Award-winning restaurants, cultural hot spots, and renowned breweries call the neighborhood home.
Where else can you find a pierogi buffet, authentic Mexican, and a Michelin-starred Korean restaurant on the same block? Avondale’s diverse food scene has turned the neighborhood into a culinary destination.
Some well-loved restaurants include Kuma’s Corner, a delectable burger spot, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, an extremely popular Southern spot (try the sides!), and La Nonna, a cozy Argentinian restaurant. The Michelin-star belongs to Parachute, an outstanding Korean-American fusion restaurant on Elston Avenue.
Along the commercial corridors (Elston and Belmont Avenues), national retailers form a nice blend with independent shops and boutiques. Some favorites include Record Breakers, a dog-friendly independent music store, and Olde Antiques, a huge used furniture outlet. The neighborhood even has some unique grocery options. Check out Jong Boo Market, for fresh Korean and Pan-Asian groceries, and Kurowski Sausage Shop, for mouth-watering Polish food.
Like much of West Town, Avondale has its fair share of bars, which often double as hip music venues. Lost Lake is a local favorite, widely considered the go-to tiki bar in Chicago, offering a range of Cocktails from the accessible to the complex. Moe’s Tavern offers cheap beers and live music, including a popular open-mic. Revolution Brewing Tap Room might just be the neighborhood crown jewel, offering delicious beers brewed on-site.
And while Avondale has its fair share of hipster hotspots, it hasn’t yet lost connection to its roots. The neighborhoods’ stunning cathedrals, with institutions such as St. Hyacinth Basilica, and the stretch of Eastern European restaurants and shops on Milwaukee Avenue. Feeling adventurous? You can even attend Polish Polka night on Saturday’s at Podlasie.
Parks and Recreation
Avondale residents have their fair share of recreation options. A local gem is Avondale Park, featuring an outdoor pool for summer days, a playground, a gym, and a youth gymnastics center. Perfect for bikers and joggers is the 312 RiverRun, a two-mile recreational path with the longest pedestrian bridge in Chicago. The area is home to many pocket parks, playgrounds, gyms, and workout centers.
At the start of the 19th century, the area was prairie along a meandering Native American trail (which later became Milwaukee Avenue). European settlement began in 1853 and the small village of Avondale was incorporated in 1869. The community was mainly farmland, with a post office, train station, and a small school. Avondale was annexed by Chicago in 1889 along with the neighboring villages of Bucktown and Wicker Park.
A hotbed of industry, Avondale’s earned its “neighborhood that built Chicago” nickname. The land near the Chicago River was its industrial center, home to Florsheim Shoes, Olson Rug and Dad’s Root Beer factories. Industrial jobs and improved transportation (including the now-CTA Blue Line) attracted thousands of working families to the area. With a large Polish population (over one-third of the nearly 50,000 residents in 1930), Avondale became part of Chicago’s “Polish Triangle”.
Today, along the river luxury townhomes, condominiums, and shopping malls have replaced the factories–giving the neighborhood a new identity while it retains much of its blue-collar character. The neighborhood has even begun to generate buzz, being named to many “best neighborhood’s lists”, with journalists pointing out the neighborhood’s vibrant businesses and unassuming beauty.
Housing in the neighborhood ranges widely in price and type, though Avondale is generally more affordable than the hyper-trendy surrounding areas. Options include frame houses, modest brick bungalows, multi-units, two-flats, and condominiums. Industrial spaces converted to apartments and condominiums are also available.
With its multicultural heritage, creative businesses, and easy public transit accessibility, it’s no surprise that Avondale has been building some serious buzz in recent years!