The Northwest Side neighborhood of Dunning is a typical bungalow-laden residential haven on the outer edge of Chicago’s city limits. Lined with block upon block of single-family homes, trim lawns and sidewalk-edged streets, Dunning is a great place to raise a family and enjoy a more suburban setting while still living in the city.
Dunning’s neighborhood boundaries are Addison Street to the south, Harlem Avenue to the west, Irving Park Road to the north and Narragansett Avenue to the east. Its northern border gives way to the Chicago suburbs of Norridge and Harwood Heights, where you’ll find the campus of Wilbur Wright College. Ridgemoor Country Club, with its sprawling golf course, is also nearby—just past the college at Oak Park and Montrose avenues. While the majority of Dunning is residential, nearly half of the neighborhood is occupied by cemeteries. Mt. Olive Cemetery, Mt. Mayriv Cemetery and B’Nai Abraham Cemetery all share the grounds between Addison Street, Narragansett Avenue, Dakin Street and Normandy Avenue. Needless to say, it helps maintain a peaceful environment that extends throughout the entire neighborhood.
Commercial development in Dunning is limited mostly to its major thoroughfares—Addison Street, Harlem Avenue and Irving Park Road. The neighborhood’s four-block stretch along Harlem is a good place to grab a bite. It has lots of restaurants, bar and grills, cute cafés, bakeries and chain fast food joints. The Brewery (located at 3848 N. Harlem) is a favorite neighborhood hangout with an excellent outdoor beer garden, sought-after patio seating and plenty of flat screen TVs to watch Chicago sports games. Other popular go-tos for wining and dining in Dunning are Extra Innings Sports Bar at 6801 W. Addison, New England Inn at 6859 W. Irving Park Road and Main Pub and Grill at 7320 W. Irving Park Road, which is actually in the suburb of Norridge but is still only a few blocks from the neighborhood’s northwest corner.
Due to its proximity to Wilbur Wright College, Dunning has a small student population. But for the most part, it is a family-oriented community with Bridge Elementary School smack-dab in the middle at New England Avenue and Grace Street. Bridge is a K-8 Chicago Public School with approximately 770 students. It has above average performance ratings in reading, math and science. In 2007, Bridge received the “Exemplary Achievement Award” for maintaining 5 consecutive years of improvement on Illinois’ standardized achievement tests. It was also recognized in Chicago magazine’s 121 Great Public School’s issue as one of the city educational system’s most “Promising Places” in 2010.
Aside from its beautiful Chicago bungalows, the architecture in Dunning includes brick Tudors, mid-century ranches, modest a-frames and a few newer construction models. Most properties have their own front and back yards with a detached alley-entrance garage. Leafy trees, privacy hedges and green grass lawns give the area more of a small-town feel than an urban air. There is some multi-unit real estate in the neighborhood, mostly 50-year-old mid-rise condominium and apartment buildings located on Dunning’s main streets.
Tucked in the far reaches of Chicago city limits, Dunning remains a quiet homestead on the outskirts of cosmopolitan life. The Loop is only 13 miles away, making it a very commutable locale that gets the best of both urban and suburban worlds.