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Cicero carries a proud role as being a significant contributor to Chicago's contemporary identity. A history of organized crime blended with economic prosperity and social diversity has produced an iconic Chicago neighborhood that serves as an ideal compromise for newcomers who want to immerse themselves within Chicago's rich history of entertainment and culture, while giving established families a slow-paced home base.
Wedged between the Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway and following South Cicero Avenue in Cook County, Cicero possesses a unique spirit separated from the fast-paced lifestyle of downtown Chicago. The town features slow-moving streets with sociable residents always searching for someone to talk to. The high-energy drive of the big city also makes a firm mark in Cicero, where business opportunities and innovation shape the professional landscape.
Cicero remains one of the premier tourist stops in Chicago due to its historic relationship with infamous criminals during the Prohibition Era and the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and '60s. This has also spurred cultivated real estate developments and an influx of intellectuals and artists.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Cicero, IL is $639 for a studio, $715 for one bedroom, $935 for two bedrooms, and $952 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Cicero has increased by 1.4% in the past year.
A history of Italian settlement to the area has produced an abundance of authentic Italian cuisine and European-style coffee houses frequented by both tourists and residents. Yet residents can enjoy an eclectic local dining scene where Southern classics blend with international delights.
The most prominent example of the Italian culture's impact on Cicero comes from Freddy's Pizzeria. The moment you walk in the door of this quaint red-brick building near the corner of 16th Street and South 61st Avenue, you are greeted with the aromas of pizza cooking in old-style wood-fired ovens. As if you were at a restaurant in Salerno or Naples, pork legs and Italian sausages hang from the ceiling. The sights and smells represent half of what Freddy's has to offer. Named the fourth best restaurant in Chicago by Chicago's Best and featured many times in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, Freddy's attracts new customers and retains fans with its Neapolitan style margherita pizza and Sicilian pies. Try some rich and creamy gelato on a hot summer day, or enjoy an aperativo complete with Italian meats and cheeses for a pre-dinner snack. Before leaving, you must take home some pig roast or insalata di mare from the adjoining grocery store.
Non-locals to the area typically overlook the Americana, 1950s style restaurants found along Ogden Avenue. Capturing the spirit of Route 66, Henry's Drive-In serves Cicero residents interested in the best Chicago-style hot dogs throughout the city. Look for the '50s era green sign located outside depicting a massive hot dog to find what has been heralded as one of the last traditional Chicago hot dog stands around. They have been serving up freshly cut french fries and Vienna beef for over 60 years. Tourists may make this restaurant an essential stop on their Route 66 tour, but residents can consistently enjoy hearty helpings of tom tom tamales and iconic mid-century milkshakes.
As far as nightlife goes, Al Capone and his gang of mobsters turned Cicero into the original vice-paradise of Chicago. Reflecting on this history, weekends in Cicero can be as wild or as low-key as you prefer. Victoria's on West 31st Street presents the atmosphere of the Las Vegas Strip with idyllic slot machines and high-end entertainment for the entire family. Catch a masquerade party and enjoy daily drink specials, or head over on Friday night for the Fabulous Friday DJ. Keep on the lookout for upcoming costume parties or holiday events, and take advantage of the bar's free parking and $1 pool tables.
This characteristic neighborhood remains proud of its rich history steeped in organized crime and social progress. A contrast formed by race riots, Al Capone's criminal empire and civil rights have shaped this neighborhood to become one of Chicago's leading curators of art and culture.
Due to low taxes and the merging of several railroads, Cicero received an influx of industry in the first two decades of the 20th century. Prospects of good-paying jobs and a healthy economy brought the first population booms in the area, but in the 1920s Al Capone took his empire to Cicero and changed everything. Most of the central Al Capone sites have been razed, including the infamous Hawthorne Inn, but pleasant strolls down South Cicero Avenue remain ideal for historians. Make sure to visit the Cicero Town Hall, where you can almost picture Al Capone slapping the town president, and just remember that at one time, if you smelled gunpowder in the air, you knew you were in Cicero.
Sports and racing fans can still find refuge in Cicero at the historic Hawthorne Race Course. Ranked as the eighth-best race course in the United States by the Horseplayers Association of North America, this race course boasts interactive family events and high-stakes races. A comprehensive wager system makes it easy to lose little and win big. January remains the only month without racing, and in the spring and fall months, you can experience daily thoroughbred races from Wednesday to Sunday.
Cicero stands as much more than the gambler's second home, as a history of struggle and perseverance has formulated a strong culture of art. A short five-minute drive north of Cicero presents the birthplace of one of literature's most profound names, Ernest Hemingway. Take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park and check out Hemingway's childhood home. Every month also presents book signings from local and national residents, and make sure to enjoy the permanent exhibits that explore the artist's life.
South Cicero Road splits through Cicero from the Stevenson Expressway in the south to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway in the north. This famous route introduces you into the charm and culturally diverse identity of both Cicero and the greater Chicago area. Ogden Avenue also presents the start and end of historic Route 66, showcasing exemplary images of contemporary Americana.
Travel by car to the Chicago Loop and to the scenic Illinois countryside quickly and conveniently by taking advantage of the neighborhood's prime position nestled between two major interstates. I-290 and I-55 make your daily commutes and road trips much easier, while Ogden Avenue presents a straight shot to the North Branch Chicago River. Head southwest along Ogden and you can continue cruising along Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles.
For more convenient long distance trips, O'Hare International Airport rests 20 miles northwest of the Cicero neighborhood. Take a 303 Taxi from the Cicero Station, and you can catch your flight at O'Hare in about 30 minutes. Additionally, Chicago Midway International Airport is situated just four miles away from Cicero on South Cicero Avenue.
The BNSF Railway from Aurora to Chicago services the entire Cicero neighborhood, allowing residents to travel to Union Station in less than 30 minutes. Access the BNSF line at the intersection of South Cicero Avenue and West Ogden Avenue. If you prefer the bus, CTA 54 and 54B port residents to downtown Chicago and throughout the Cicero neighborhood. Bring your bike, as most CTA buses feature bicycle racks that riders can use for free.
Most residents enjoy abundant parking space throughout residential streets in Cicero, but Cicero automobile owners must display a vehicle sticker on the lower right passenger side windshield. This sticker provides full use of residential parking space. Handicapped residents can apply for Cicero's Handicapped Parking Program.
Life in Cicero carries a lower cost of living with affordable housing options and cheaper staples than you would find closer to downtown Chicago. Combining growing immigrant communities with a history of tax policies separated from Chicago politics, this neighborhood emphasizes a cultivated economic culture with lower rents and costs. The cost of leasing an apartment or home remains quite attractive for young families and budding professionals. Luxury apartments located along Morton Park hold much higher rental prices, costing around $2,000 a month. For more affordable housing, search for apartments along 50th Avenue, where the cost of a one-bedroom stands around $700. Overall cost of living in Cicero remains below national averages.
Shopping in Cicero presents an eclectic mix of affordable department and grocery stores with hundreds of mom and pop shops. Upgrade your wardrobe at Target, grab some paint for your new home at Home Depot and stock up on bulk groceries at Sam's Club, all without leaving the comprehensive Cicero Marketplace between 26th and 31st Street. To avoid the populated mall scene, the corner of Cermak Road and Cicero Avenue presents a more convenient shopping experience without the crowds. When looking for that elusive record or CD, Shuga Records stands as the largest buy-and-sell record store in the greater Chicago area. Sell your old vinyl records, CDs or music memorabilia, and then browse through a collection of over 5,000 vintage vinyls and CDs in excellent condition. For a more boutique shopping experience, check out Seguin Garden & Gifts on West 31st Street. This not-for-profit organization emphasizes handcrafted jewelry from local artisans while offering hundreds of different plant species from its sprawling greenhouse. Turn your home into a relaxing refuge with locally-made candles and exotic teas, or attract various Midwestern birds to your backyard with a selection of artisan birdhouses. Cicero residents can buy their groceries at Sam's Club at the Cicero Marketplace, which provides bulk kitchen staples at bare-minimum prices. A vibrant Mexican population in Cicero promotes several Mexican grocery stores in the area, packed with ethnic spices and traditional culinary favorites you cannot find in standard grocery stores.
Within a gridlock of residential neighborhoods and city streets, Cicero still provides several opportunities to get outside and enjoy active, healthy lifestyles. Area parks cater to visitors of all ages, while trips to the beautiful Lake Michigan shore take only about 30 minutes via car or train.
Clyde Park stands as the ideal local park presenting Cicero's natural splendor and values for active lifestyles. Bring your dog for a peaceful walk through the park's cultivated green space, and make sure to bring a basketball or a tennis racket, as you can often pick up a game with the locals.
The Cicero Park District also encourages youth sports activities. Sign up your kids for the Kids First Basketball Program or the Kids First Soccer Program, where trained instructors give aspiring athletes a comprehensive eight-session training program in a fun-filled atmosphere.
When winter rolls around and snow covers Clyde Park's volleyball and basketball courts, grab your skates and a winter hat and head on over to the Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink on 34th and Laramie. Even if you do not have skates, the helpful staff at this rink provides affordable skate rentals, and feel free to join in on local hockey games. Make sure to grab a hot chocolate in the heated recreation building.
Apartments for Rent Under $900 in Cicero, IL
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