Once known as the neighborhood of “smokestacks and steeples,” Avondale’s industrial vibe is just one of the reasons Lonely Planet named it one of the hottest neighborhoods in the country.

Industry has always played an important role in the community. At the start of the 20th century, Avondale’s proximity to the Chicago River and railway corridors attracted industry including Florsheim Shoes, Olson Rug and Dad’s Root Beer.

During the Great Depression, the owner of Olson Rug built a park with a massive artificial mountain and 35-foot waterfall next to his factory, becoming a popular destination and picnic spot for families and a Chicago landmark for almost four decades.

The family-owned Dad’s Root Beer factory eventually was converted to condominiums but its iconic turret is still visible atop the development from the Kennedy Expressway.

Also visible from the Kennedy is one of the neighborhood’s key cultural and architectural sites: St. Hyacinth Basilica, a historic, extraordinarily opulent Roman Catholic cathedral. Thousands of parishioners continue to attend mass there every weekend.

The Northwest Side neighborhood’s chill vibe, tree-lined streets, affordable homes and public transportation have all the makings of a great neighborhood. But Avondale has plenty more to offer including eateries and bars for every taste – from a Michelin-rated restaurant, destination dining and popular taprooms to long-time neighborhood bars and take-out spots with a line out the door.

In addition to bars and restaurants, shopping is plentiful with a mix of large national retailers and unique family-owned shops. For recreation, residents will have access to 312 RiverRun a two-mile recreational path expected to have the longest pedestrian bridge in the city and be as popular as the 606.

Homes along manicured side streets include mostly charming bungalows and two-flats, still affordable and well maintained. Along busier thoroughfares, townhomes and condominiums dominate. Public school students here attend Schurz High School.

The neighborhood has two CTA L stations along the Blue Line including the Belmont station next to the Kennedy Expressway and the Addison station located in the median of the Kennedy. Several CTA bus routes serve the neighborhood; and there’s easy access to the Kennedy as well.

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