Illustration by Ian Dingman


Average house price: $332,214
Transportation * * * (out of 4) Quick access to Metra, CTA Blue Line, and Kennedy and Edens expressways
Schools * * * A good public (Ebinger) and private (St. Juliana) grade school—and a great park for after class
Shopping * * * Restaurants and pubs on Northwest Highway; most other shopping needs can be met in neighboring Park Ridge, Niles, and Lincolnwood.
Plus: Locals gather for bowling and pizza at the Edison Park Inn (6715 N. Olmsted Ave.; 773-775-1404), a social hub that reflects the community’s old-fashioned roots.

On the far northwest side of the city are the streets that make you say, “Oh.” Olcott, Oleander, Oliphant, Olympia, and others among the “O” avenues off Northwest Highway offer a winsome assortment of homes in American four-square, colonial, and bungalow styles. And thanks to alley garages, even the few oversize new houses from the prerecession building boom don’t stick out too badly.

A freestanding village until Chicago annexed it a century ago, Edison Park still feels like a self-contained community. It’s got a Metra stop; a small downtown whose popular restaurant cluster on Northwest Highway could be called Very Little Italy; churches nestled into some of the residential blocks; good public (Ebinger) and private (Saint Juliana) elementary schools; and a recreation and sports hub at the well-outfitted Olympia Park.

Ann Hetzel Gunkel, a Northwest Side native who teaches at Columbia College, and her husband, David, a professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, moved to Edison Park eight years ago from Ukrainian Village when prices there were climbing out of reach. “It’s got that combination of friendliness, walkable amenities, and classic Chicago houses that are still affordable,” Ann says. The Gunkels’ neighbors include city employees, tradespeople, and others in a mix of working class and affluence. “That’s way more Chicago than my old neighborhood,” Ann notes.

Dennis tours Edison Park with Rochelle Vayo Adkinson of WGN and CLTV’s HomesPlus.


Illustration: Ian Dingman