Strong Sense of Community,
Combined with Culture & Diversity
If you are buying a house in Chicago and considering Humboldt Park, use this neighborhood real estate guide for an insider's take before you purchase a home. Humboldt Park is a hot area with condos for sale in all prices, as well as single family homes for sale and multi-family buildings for sale.
A park so large that it has its own beach, its own boat house, a lagoon, a river, a museum and even a mini Wrigley Field stadium. Spending time together here are large extended families, neighbors and friends. Their baseball leagues take over the diamonds each summer, the kids swim to their hearts content, soccer teams play on the regular and seasoned bicycle club members gather on weekends. In Humboldt Park, there is a strong tie to nature and the outdoors, but even greater is the sense of community.
The half mile span along Division Avenue between Western and California Avenues is the lifeblood of the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The namesake park, and Humboldt Boulevard (Sacramento Avenue) which cuts through it, is another central feature of the area. Busy North Avenue is the main thoroughfare with storefront shops, produce markets and convenience stores that serve residents nearby.
Public transportation is largely by bus in Humboldt Park. CTA bus service runs along major streets, and also connect to the 'L' train stations that are outside the neighborhood: #73 Armitage, #70 Division, #66 Chicago, #53 Pulaski and #49 Western Avenue are busy routes.
Many residents travel by car since garage and free street parking is more prevalent here than in other areas. Biking is another option, though note that bike lanes are on streets with heavy, faster moving vehicle traffic.
An infusion of Hispanic culture is visible throughout the Humboldt Park neighborhood: splashed on outdoor murals, in the language overhead in the streets, in the music playing from open windows and in the food. On Division Street, the colorful stretch that forms Chicago's Puerto Rican cultural district has been designated Paseo Boricua. Paseo meaning "passageway" and Boricua signifying "Puerto Rican" with reference to the indigenous Taíno name. Here mom-and-pop restaurants reign and among their neighbors are a mix of locally-owned businesses, from barber shops to small grocers.
Forming a gateway on each end of Paseo Boricua, a pair of Puerto Rican flag monuments welcome visitors to the neighborhood. Standing at 59 feet tall, each steel flag forms an archway over the street and is a proud testament to the first waves of immigrants who came to the city starting in the 1940s to work in the steel industry.
Take a look down at the sidewalks — large bronze medallions honor famous Puerto Ricans (including Roberto Clemente, Willie Colon, Eddie Palmieri and Rosie Perez) along the Paseo Boricua Walk of Fame. And a scan of the street corners show where brick and concrete become canvases — of the 60 or so area murals maintained through the Humboldt Park Mural Art Program, several can be found here.
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The Essentials: Eat & Drink
From traditional island eats to emerging dining districts, this neighborhood is a blend of old and new. Division Street boasts the greatest concentration of Puerto Rican restaurants in the city, with menus filled with favorites like tostones, alcapurrias, mofongo, and arroz con gandules. For a taste of a Chicago original, try the jibarito sandwich (a local creation that uses fried green plantains in the place of bread).
More recent additions to the scene emanate from the corner of Augusta and California, where a cluster of cool new restaurants and bars are adding to the local color.
- Papa’s Cache Sabroso: Calling this block of Division Street home since 2002, this family-owned Puerto Rican restaurant touts two signatures: a homemade green chile hot sauce and Pollo Chon (marinated rotisserie chicken)
- Nellie's: Locals will tell you to get the Avena de Coco; what you really need to know is the best way is via the brunch buffet so you can fill your bowl with the coconut-flavored oatmeal as often as you want
- Café Colao: Quick service and cheap prices are the hallmarks of this Puerto Rican bakery/sandwich shop
- La Plena: Sidewalk seating shaded by a thatched roof and murals covered in tropical scenes transport you to the island
- Café Marie Jeanne: An all-day corner cafe offering croissants and cappuccino by day, steak tartare and sparkling wine by night
- Boeufhaus: One of the best 50 new restaurants in America according to Bon Appetit, it caters to the carnivore
- The California Clipper: When this tavern got the reboot from successful restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (it was first established in 1937), it kept its character... comfy booths, dim red lighting and a neon sign out front that is a beacon for barflys
- Spinning J Bakery and Soda Fountain: Take a joyride through nostalgia (and sugar!) at this retro hangout that tempts with its tasty fresh-baked pies, malted shakes and creative soda combos created at the circa 1928 soda fountain bar
- C.C. Ferns: What's your fix... caffeine, booze, smokes, sweets? Let this hip coffee house help you with their strong brews, boozy steamers (i.e. Cuban Latte with rum, caramel and espresso), a case full of cigars and Doughnut Vault doughnuts
- Sportsman's Club: A back patio for the outdoor months, and for every other month of the year, a pared-down cocktail menu that rotates daily
- Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar: Come to imbibe but also come hungry as the cheese, charcuterie and small plates are perfect for sharing
- Roeser's Bakery: THE neighborhood bakery since 1911, getting a cake here has been a tradition for generations of families
Anchoring the Area
One of the city's great parks, Humboldt Park boast 219 acres of green space and amenities for all types of outdoor adventures. It's also party central for the many neighborhood festivals and parades.
Exploring the urban trail known as The 606 takes you up onto what used to be elevated cargo train tracks. Perch yourself on the overlook that crosses Humboldt Boulevard for a chance to survey the park stretching out in the horizon.
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is the only one of its kind, and its Queen Anne-style building is truly unique. Originally a horse stable that was built in 1895, the landmark has been turned into gallery spaces and a community event center.
Locals Who Live Here
Outside of the busy thoroughfares like North Avenue or Division Street, leafy-green side streets are full of single family residences. This has traditionally been a working class neighborhood with a diverse Hispanic population; many Mexican and Puerto Rican families have proudly raised generations here.
Newer residents count the affordable prices as reason to move to Humboldt Park, particularly compared to trendy neighboring areas like Wicker Park and Logan Square. Modest brick homes for sale and vintage frame homes for sale can still be had at a good deal, as can multi-unit buildings for sale and renovated condos for sale. Residents and prospective home buyers enjoy the energy The 606 has brought here, making this neighborhood one of the hottest for real estate in Chicago for couples and growing families, as well as single investment buyers. Vacant lots for sale are being developed, with contemporary condos for sale and townhouses for sale added to the mix of new construction, for home buyers with higher-end budgets and the goal of getting a great value.