If you are buying a house in Chicago and considering Noble Square, use this West Town neighborhood real estate guide for an insider's take before you purchase a home. Chicago's
Noble Square is a hot area with condos for sale, duplexes for sale and single family homes for sale.
Locals navigating down narrow side streets amid a network of alleys, one ways and dead ends. Some blocks are tree lined, other bits are bare with buildings butting right up to the pavement. The highway looms in the background, as do the towers dotting the skyline. In Noble Square, quiet residential blocks are tucked away from the main drags. What draws people out here, more often than not, are the restaurants. Vegetarian, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexican — as well as mains like Wild Boar (wild game) or Venison Tataki (Asian-influenced New American) — can be found here. Then evening settles in and all is pretty quiet again — until the sun rises on Eckhart Park and brings on the hustle and bustle of a new day.
This little pocket within West Town is on the outskirts of East Village, Wicker Park and Pulaski Park. Noble Square encompasses Eckhart Park and its community, and is bounded by Ashland Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway, with Chicago Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue serving as the main business districts.
Great for commuters, the Blue Line 'L' Train makes for prime accessibility in Noble Square. Quickly travel downtown or get to O'Hare International Airport with ease on the 24 hour train line. The Chicago station is the most central subway stop, while two stations edge the outer borders of Noble Square: the Division station and Grand station. Several bus lines that service the area include the #9 Ashland, #56 Milwaukee and #66 Chicago bus routes. Being that many blocks hug the Kennedy Expressway, this only adds to the accessibility.
With the expressway in its front yard and downtown at its doorstep, the only reason this 'hood may be lesser known is because it can be hard to outshine its other buzzed-about neighbors. Neither the polished finished product, nor the artistic enclave, Noble Square is a solid compromise. Close in proximity, with a little bit of everything mixed in.
Chicago Avenue has that "thrift shop chic" vibe going with several boutiques spread out across Ukrainian Village, East Village — and with Seek Vintage and Dovetail — also Noble Square. From pretty pocketbooks to colorful scarves to Mad Men-era dresses, these two shops are a secondhand treasure trove.
Vintage takes on a different meaning at another East Village favorite, Lush Wine & Spirits. Grab a bottle to go for the local BYOB restaurant, or get schooled on wine regions and flavor profiles while sipping free samples. A secondary option to bring that wine bottle: Arabia Café & Hookah Lounge. The mood is mellow at this late night gathering place, which has the added benefit of being BYOB.
To mix it up, for families, there's Vittum Theater (the residence of Adventure Stage Chicago) and for the offbeat, there's The Occult Bookstore (billed as "the world's oldest metaphysical shop"... who would argue with that we're not sure).
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The Essentials: Eat & Drink
An eclectic dining scene is what East Village may be most known for. In a neighborhood whose residents no longer have a dominant ethnic identity, the restaurants are an international smorgasbord of cuisines. Nightlife isn't a big draw (especially compared to the lively districts of neighboring Wicker Park) but the few places here hold their own.
Habana Libre: The spirit of Cuba has been cheerfully transplanted to this Michelin Guide-starred storefront cafe
Cafe Central: The family-run Puerto Rican restaurant has been eagerly accommodating its happy customers since 1952 with Jibarito sandwiches and homestyle platters of Guisado de Res (beef stew) and Chuletas de Puerco (fried pork chops)
Frontier: Have no fear while you dine in this modern-day saloon where whole cooked animals (pig to wild boar to alligator) can be served up tableside
Mexique: Chef Carlos Gaytan shares his Mexican heritage with the finesse of French techniques guiding each dish
El Barco: The boat-themed decor is fitting for the sprawling Mexican seafood menu
Ruxbin: Make a reservation to guarantee a spot in the tiny dining room of this acclaimed (Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit, 10 Best New Restaurants in America by GQ) dinner-only eatery helmed by Chef Edward Kim
Taqueria Traspasada: Tacos and burritos, tasty and cheap (tip: cash only and counter service)
Green Zebra: With dishes like Cashew Masala and Fermented Beet Tartare, this meat-free, Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand honoree raises the bar for vegetarian food
Lovely | a bake shop: For when you need coffee, and a cinnamon roll, to start your day
Charlatan: Italian meets inventiveness on this menu — a stellar pasta section includes Elote Agnolotti, Black Kale Spaghetti and Sweet Corn Rigatoni
Flo: New to Sopapillas and Carne Adovada? Get to this funky casual cafe specializing in New Mexican cuisine
Chipp Inn: Think Cheers... neighborhood dive bar and proud of it
Beauty Bar: Where young singles mingle... and ladies get martinis with their manicures
Anchoring the Area
Historically known as the Polish Downtown, the area within Racine, Grand, Kedzie and Fullerton Avenues was the oldest Polish community in the city. One of the proud treasures of that community is the Polish Museum of America. Polish Chicago, sometimes referred to as “Polonia,” has been shaped by at least three distinct immigration waves, beginning as early as the 1850s. This museum tells those stories, examines Polish American history at large, and preserves the art and culture of the homeland for the later generations to connect to their heritage. An anchor of the community, the Polish Museum of America was established in 1935 and was one of the nation’s first ethnic museums. In addition to its collections, you'll find a library and extensive archives also housed here.
With the Polish settlement came the building of a church (in 1906) that is remarkable in its sheer size, but also in its beautiful restoration (beginning in the 2000s), Holy Trinity Polish Mission. Today, while the Kennedy Expressway abruptly cuts across its front yard, Holy Trinity remains a magnificent landmark and is true to its roots: Of the nearly 60 Polish parishes that were organized in Chicago (neighbor St. Stanislaus Kostka in Pulaski Park was the first), Holy Trinity has the distinction of being the only one to hold all masses exclusively in the Polish language still today.
A church with a different yard and a originating from another ethnic immigrant group is only a few blocks north. Germans originally established St. Boniface Church in 1865, though the current church, which stands tall at the corner of Eckhart Park, was built in 1904. With its soaring bell towers, intricately designed stone columns and detailed carvings throughout, it is a majestic work of architecture. While it has been closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1990, it awaits redevelopment, and possibly landmark status.
Back to that park. At 8.12 acres, Eckhart Park — the largest in the neighborhood and West Town as a whole — is a central community hub. The handsome brick fieldhouse and indoor swimming pool (officially dubbed the Ida Crown Natatorium) are prominent features, with the park's baseball diamonds, playing fields, playground, fitness center and boxing gym seeing a flurry of activity year-round.
Locals Who Live Here
For homebuyers that dig diversity, real estate in Noble Square may be for you. Multiple ethnicities and cultures intermix here and are spread out across a combination of housing types.
Outside of the affordable housing cooperative, senior living high rises and a few larger apartment complexes, Noble Square is typically made up of tall, vintage 2- and 3-flat buildings turned into multi-unit condos for sale, and new small-scale developments with modern condos for sale and townhomes for sale. Buyers looking for single family homes for sale will find traditional turn-of-the-century cottages for sale. Home buyers in Noble Square are typically young professionals looking to cash in on the cache of cool neighborhoods nearby, yet still be in a quiet area close to downtown.