Single family bungalows and ranch houses with front lawns and private back yards comprise most of the residential real estate market in Archer Heights. There are a few condo conversions that give this established Chicago neighborhood a fresh appeal, especially for first-time home buyers in Chicago. But older brick walk-ups and three- and four-flats are more common for multiunit residences here and their presence instills an old-world urban quality that makes Archer Heights a desirable south side Chicago community.
Archer Avenue runs diagonally through the neighborhood. The name comes from Colonel William Beatty Archer who was the commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which ran parallel to the former Indian trail that is now a busy, multilane road. Despite the existence of three railroad lines running through the area and its annexation to Chicago in 1889, Archer Heights was slow to attract residents until after the turn of the century when the arrival of electric street cars allowed Chicagoans more commuting options. Early settlers of the community were European immigrants, mostly from Poland. With a baby boom boost in the 1950s followed by flight to the suburbs in the '60s, Archer Heights has seen its share of ups and downs and population shifts. But the region has always held on to its strong community ties and today Archer Heights is a stable, family-oriented working-class Chicago neighborhood with much to offer residents. One thing Archer Heights has that not many Chicago neighborhoods can claim is the all-American superstore: Target. This one-stop wonder covers all your daily needs from groceries and clothing to electronics and housewares. But, in case your grocery list has a few unusual items, like Asian spices and pre-made dim sum, Archer Heights has an International Club, which stocks everything from fresh fish to exotic non-perishable goods. And for the freshest produce around, you can't beat the selection at Pete's Fresh Market.
Archer Heights is a mixed-industry neighborhood, so locals really appreciate the greenery and wide open backdrop of the public recreation and athletic facilities at Archer Park. The grounds span about 13 acres (the equivalent of three residential blocks) and have baseball and softball fields, plus plenty of grassy landscapes to run with the dog or throw the Frisbee around. There's a fieldhouse with a fitness center and gymnasium, and neighborhood kids love the water playground in the summer, which features a spray pool. When dusk rolls around, dry off the children and set out some lawn chairs for a little evening entertainment at the park because Archer Park features family-oriented movies on a big outdoor screen on special nights from June through August. For commuters, Archer Heights is easily accessible with the I-55 Stevenson Expressway as the northern boundary of the neighborhood (exits are at Cicero Avenue and Pulaski Road). There are several Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus routes operating through Archer Heights, too, providing quick, convenient travel within the community borders and beyond. For instance, the Archer Avenue bus runs diagonally through the neighborhood southeast/northwest and the Cicero Avenue bus heads north and south, which you can take to Midway Airport at Archer Height's southern tip. There's also service north and south through the center of the neighborhood on Pulaski Road.
Along many of these main thoroughfares, you'll find excellent restaurants and local eateries that fit the bill for good neighborhood grub. Archer Heights has several great Polish-influenced dining spots that are frequented by community regulars and patrons from all over the city, like Szalas Restaurant where you can get veal shank, wild rabbit, filet mignon or fresh river trout. Bobak Sausage Company also has outstanding polish cooking that draws the dinner crowds. As authentic as it is easy on the budget, this restaurant and grocery store features an all-you-can-eat buffet with Polish mainstays like pierogies, borscht soup and home-made kielbasa. The lunch buffet is around $9 and the slightly expanded dinner version is only a dollar more! Gilmart is another great place to shop for imported Polish beer, cheese and other food from the Old Country. For traditional Chicago-style grub, visit Nicky's Hot Dogs and get a dog with all the fixings, as well as gyros, burgers and fries. Anyone who favors Mexican cuisine will love eating out in Archer Heights - just try La Cebollita, El Sombreo, Luis Mariscos Restaurant, La Iguana or El Muelle. We'll let you decide which one is the best. For a quick fix of caffeine, Archer Heights also has its trusty Starbucks location. And what goes better with a cup of hot coffee than a doughnut from Krispy Kreme? Nothing we can think of!
Speaking of liquid refreshments, Illinois Bar & Grill on 47th Street is a nice place in Archer Heights to unwind and enjoy a beer and a burger and watch some local sports action. If you feel like singing and dancing, however, Tony O's Studio 31 might be your spot. This small nightclub has a DJ booth to keep the dance floor moving and features karaoke on Monday nights for all those wannabe pop stars out there.