Roscoe Village Chicago

Sonia Figueroa
Sonia Figueroa
Published on December 6, 2018

ROSCOE VILLAGE:

The “Village Within the City” Continues to Grow While Retaining

a Strong Sense of Community

WHERE IS ROSCOE VILLAGE?

Part of the larger North Center neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side, Roscoe Village is bisected by the vibrant Roscoe Street commercial district, the hub of life in this “Village Within the City.” It is bordered on the north by Addison Street, the south by Belmont Avenue, the east by Ravenswood Avenue, and the west by the Chicago River.

Served by both the Paulina and Addison stops on the CTA Brown Line as well as multiple bus routes, Roscoe Village is quickly and easily accessible from downtown. Wrigley Field is just over a mile away, and playgrounds and parks abound -from Clark Park and its new architecturally-acclaimed boathouse on the Chicago River to the always bustling Fellger Park playground to the baseball diamonds, dog park, and swimming pool of Hamlin Park.

FROM RIVERVIEW TO REVIVAL

For generations of Chicagoans, Roscoe Village was primarily known as the gateway to the late, great Riverview Amusement Park, which sat on what is now Clark Park and the Riverview Shopping Plaza with its Mariano’s Fresh Market, Jewel-Osco, Toys-R-Us and other retailers.

In order to ease the traffic caused by waves of excited families flocking to Riverview, the city erected the hulking Western Avenue Overpass above Belmont Avenue in 1961, only to have the amusement park close its gates forever in 1967. Fortunately, the city demolished the crumbling overpass in 2016, leading to a rejuvenation of that stretch of Western Avenue.

The decades that followed the closure of Riverview saw the neighborhood lose some of its luster. Starting in the early 1990s, however, Roscoe Village began catching the eye of savvy home buyers, families, and young professionals, creative and trendsetting business owners and restauranteurs, and folks from parents to singles who loved living in the city but were attracted to a strong sense of community and a neighborhood feel.

As new boutiques and dining options joined early neighborhood stalwarts such as The Village Tap and Four Treys Tavern, and as new residents and families joined the community that sense of a “Village in the City” only grew stronger. Today, Roscoe Village is one of the city’s most welcoming and diverse neighborhoods, continuing to attract new construction, new businesses, and new residents.

A TRUE COMMUNITY

In a city of 3 million people, in can be hard to foster a feeling of belonging to a community; a sense of pride and active participation in the neighborhood. Roscoe Village has that in spades.

Roscoe Village Neighbors, one of the largest and most active neighborhood organizations in Chicago, is a lynchpin of that sense of community, hosting events throughout the year such as the annual Halloween parade down Roscoe Street, which has grown every year to now include thousands of costumed kids and their sometimes-costumed parents showing their stuff and trick-or-treating at Village businesses.

Of course, RVNs annual “Retro on Roscoe” street festival is one of the city’s best summer neighborhood festivals, raising money for community projects and neighborhood schools and charities, as residents volunteer, families enjoy the kid’s area, artists, and food vendors, and everyone rocks out to an always-stellar lineup of bands.

Similarly, the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce supports the neighborhood’s thriving business community and puts on great events of their own such as the Roscoe Village Burger Fest.

Just walk down Roscoe Street on a warm Saturday afternoon, or sit down at one of the street’s outdoor cafes and you’ll see pretty quickly why this charming neighborhood continues to be one of the most desirable in Chicago.

AWARD-WINNING NEIGHBORHOOD AND SELECTIVE ENROLLMENT SCHOOLS

Roscoe Village’s sense of togetherness and community can also be seen in the way it supports and works with the neighborhood’s outstanding public schools. Audubon Elementary, in the heart of Roscoe Village, is one of the city’s top-performing neighborhood schools, recently winning the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence.

Active parents, residents, and supportive businesses work closely with outstanding teachers and administrators to make Audubon a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse environment, with graduates regularly moving forward to highly competitive selective-enrollment high schools.

One such selective-enrollment high school is Lane Technical College Prep High School, located in Roscoe Village. One of Illinois’ top-ranked high schools, the “School of Champions” has been an anchor of the neighborhood for over a century, attracting Chicago’s best and brightest. Lake View High School, Roscoe Village’s neighborhood high school, has become a highly attractive option for parents and students as well, with innovative STEM programs, abundant AP classes, and an ambitious staff supported by the community and its local alderman.

VIBRANT BUSINESSES, DIVERSE DINING AND DRINKING, AND GREAT SHOPPING

The options for shopping, dining, and nightlife in Roscoe Village abound, attracting residents and visitors alike. From the antique shops and studios on Belmont Avenue to the thriving business district on Roscoe Street, what you’re looking for is most likely within walking distance:

  • Diverse Dining: Fine Turkish dining at Turquoise Café; fun and famous brunches at Kitsch’n, Orange, and Victory’s Banner; Classic and innovative Italian at Piazza Bella; Vietnamese food at Banh Mi, and Cuban cuisine at 90 Miles Café and Cuba 312; and deep-dish from Bartoli’s Pizzeria (recently ranked best in Chicago!) are just a few of the dining options that are a stroll away.
  • Coffee: You won’t lack for a caffeine fix or a place to set your laptop with Starbucks, Hero’s Coffee, and Bow Truss Coffee Roasters lining Roscoe Street
  • Craft Beer, Fine Wine, and Rock ‘n Roll: The Village Tap, Commonwealth Tavern, Riverview Tavern, and the Roscoe Village Pub offer great craft beer and innovative pub fare, while Volo Wine Bar and Lush are great places to enjoy fine wine and delicious food pairings in a casual atmosphere. The Beat Kitchen on Belmont, celebrating its 25th anniversary, continues to showcase awesome live music from bands on their way up.
  • Businesses and Boutiques: Fashions for kids, expectant moms, and everyone else at Little Threads, Crush, the Denim Lounge and Cinnamon boutiques among others; fitness studios, salons, independent book sellers, unique gifts, and dry cleaners; new businesses serving almost every need imaginable continue to open in Roscoe Village on a regular basis.

ABUNDANT HOUSING OPTIONS

Roscoe Village offers a wide range of housing options. The tree-lined side streets are filled with both elegant new construction and charming older homes. Condos and lofts can be found all along Roscoe and Belmont, from the trend-setting Pencil Factory Lofts to newly-built or converted units in mixed retail-residential properties.

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