Set in a forested area on Chicago’s far Northwest Side, Norwood Park is a scenic neighborhood known for its green landscape and mix of residential architecture. These homes enjoy larger lot sizes with mature vegetation that provides not only beauty but privacy between property lines. The neighborhood is actually quite popular among city employees and public defense officers. Many of Chicago’s police force, firefighters and municipal workers have settled in the area and call Norwood Park home.
In the middle of Norwood Park is a triangle-shaped sub-neighborhood known as Old Norwood Park (the historical district). This distinct section of the community has long curving roads, beautiful single-family houses and a great park with wide open space for picnicking, playing, athletic activities and public gatherings. A number of annual events take place here, such as the Shamrock Shuffle, Easter egg hunt, Valentine’s ice cream social, Halloween party, plus a visit from Santa during the holidays. In the summer, locals lug lawn chairs and blankets out to the park for outdoor movie screenings. The public pool is also popular this time of year, especially since it’s the only one on the North Side with a waterslide!
Old Norwood Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It was first settled by farmers in the 1830s and was incorporated as a village in 1874. Then in 1893 the village was annexed to the City of Chicago. It’s where you’ll find the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House, which doubles as the Norwood Park Historical Society Museum and community center. Built in 1833, the southern wing of this mansion is considered by many to be the oldest standing residential structure in Chicago. The original building was added on to and updated as it changed ownership over the years, and was eventually awarded Chicago Landmark status in 1988.
Much of Norwood Park’s commercial development is situated along the main thoroughfares of Northwest Highway, Higgins Avenue and Harlem Avenue. There is a concentration of fast-food joints at the intersection of Higgins and Harlem avenues and another cluster of eateries up where Northwest Hwy meets Harlem and Devon Ave. Although it doesn’t have what you’d call a happening nightlife, there are several traditional pubs and neighborhood bars in Norwood Park that serve up cold brews and a friendly atmosphere. Some watering holes feature live music on weekend nights and there’s sure to be a game on the TV if a Chicago team is playing.
Even though Norwood Park is on the outskirts of town, it is easily accessible because the Kennedy Expressway (I-90) runs right by the southern edge of the neighborhood. It is approximately 13 miles from the downtown Loop and—depending on traffic—only takes about 20 minutes to drive to the city center. Public transportation is another great option for commuting from Norwood Park to the Loop. The Blue Line “L” is a straight shot to Washington Avenue and the Metra Union Pacific North also follows basically the same route into Union Station.