Since the very beginning, Chicago has been known as a city of parks. In the 1830s, the local government adopted the motto “Urbs in horto,” Latin for “City in a garden” — even though it was just a swampy and smelly frontier town of 4,000 citizens at the time. When a formal park system plan was created in 1869, it was mainly to address health and sanitary conditions, and less for beautifying public land. But for nearly 155 years, no other city in this country has had an influential park system quite like ours: The city has more than 600 public parks and almost 9,000 acres of green space. Whether large recreational areas or pocket-sized playlots, I couldn’t imagine Chicago without its many parks. Considering April is World Landscape Architecture Month, I thought I’d share some properties for sale that overlook the city’s outdoor spaces. So let’s go on a journey from Jackson Park on the South Side all the way up north to one of the city’s best hidden gems.
305 W Fullerton Pkwy APT 4W, $2,975,000
Designed by architect Andrew Sandegren in 1916, the historic Aztec building sits at the corner of Fullerton and Lincoln Park West, a location that’s hard to beat. The name of the 16-unit structure comes from Aztec Tennis Club, which used to be on this block. On the market for the first time since 2005, the 5,400-square-foot duplex penthouse with four bedrooms and four full bathrooms has amazing northeast views of Lincoln Park and North Pond. As one would expect for such a spot, it is listed for nearly $3 million with $2,056 monthly HOA fees.
2458 W Estes Ave UNIT 2, $185,000
Let’s turn to a more affordable option available in Park Gables, a cooperative building in West Ridge that overlooks Indian Boundary Park, one of the city’s most underrated outdoor spaces. What makes this park so unique is that its east side flows seamlessly into neighboring apartment buildings with no street interruptions. Listed at $185,000 (and $711 monthly HOA fees), this fully rehabbed two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo comes with a charming indoor pool. It’s no surprise that within a few weeks after hitting the market, the condo is already contingent.
270 E Pearson St APT 303, $1,579,000
Located right between the Museum of Contemporary Art and Lake Michigan’s shoreline is the seven-acre Lake Shore Park that comes with a running track, tennis courts, and a full-size gym. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo recently went up for sale that’s right next to this much-needed outdoor space in the densely populated Streeterville area. All the condos in the Belvedere, a popular luxury mid-rise built in 2005, have south-facing private balconies looking over the park and the lake.
5555 S Everett Ave #5E, $250,000
Jackson Towers, a Spanish Renaissance Revival design built in 1925, was the work of noted hotel designer Walter Ahlschlager. Its opulent brick and terra cotta facade with central tower and wings faces the Museum of Science and Industry and scenic Jackson Park. Listed for only $250,000 but with high HOA fees (almost $1,700 per month), the 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo was put on the market for the first time in 16 years. It’s a timeless look with a traditional layout.
5353 W Belle Plaine Ave, $1,160,000
Spread over 35 acres with two fieldhouses and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, Portage Park is the largest public park on the city’s Northwest Side. Situated directly across the street is a multi-unit building that includes a four-bedroom duplex and a bonus apartment in the basement. Two of the five units come with in-unit laundry as well as private balconies that have views of the park. While the property’s current price is over a million dollars, it could be a great investment.