O'Hare – Chicago, IL

Residents love the O’Hare neighborhood for its laid-back lifestyle and family-friendly focus. The area lies in a prime location for commuting to the city, sufficiently far from the business of downtown. This area suits people looking to raise a family. While lacking in nightlife, O’Hare provides some great parks and restaurants that give the area a unique personality. Easily accessible via highway or train, O'Hare lies about 14 miles northwest of the Loop in downtown Chicago. Although many people complain about the loudness of O’Hare Airport, residents feel that this small sacrifice results in a comfortable neighborhood experience.

Schools in O'Hare

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Restaurants & Nightlife

The neighborhood includes plenty of affordable dining options. Head to Mac's Restaurant for homestyle breakfast and lunch dishes. As a local favorite, Mac's fills up pretty quickly, but you can take advantage of the carryout option. The owners serve up their dishes old-fashioned and hot, specializing in traditional American breakfast favorites such as homestyle skillets, ham and eggs and Salisbury steak. For a taste of a little something different, try out Maria's Mexican Restaurant. Start your meal with bottomless tortilla chips and endless bowls of salsa. Locals love to stop by on Friday or Saturday for the background music of a live mariachi band to accompany dinner. Maria's golden margaritas come highly recommended by the regulars. O'Hare provides a couple different options for live entertainment in the area. Located between the neighborhood and O'Hare Airport, the InterContinental Chicago O'Hare contains a music venue called the Montrose Room that hosts small acts on the weekends. The venue can hold up to 250 people, so every seat has a clear view to the stage. The Ice Bar just outside the main room serves up some really unique cocktails. Don't forget to get your parking ticket validated before you leave. If you're just looking for the nearest bar to grab a drink with some friends, check out Five Roses Pub. The bar sports an excellent beer selection and serves up plenty of pub favorites such as pretzel bun sliders.

History & Culture

The O'Hare neighborhood began as a small parcel of land given to Alexander Robinson after the Fort Dearborn Massacre. Following the war, the Treaty of Prairie du Chien distributed land to the Potawatomie, Ojibwe and Ottawa tribes, with the O'Hare area given to Robinson and his Potawatomie tribe. A large cultural shift occurred when the Chicago City Council decided to turn the area's Douglas Aircraft center into an international airport. Instead of producing cargo planes for the war, this space would now act as the Midwestern hub of travel. The airport's name honors Edward J. O'Hare, an aviator and war hero from World War II. The construction of the Kennedy Expressway in 1950 brought more suburb-seeking families to the area, as many residents began to commute via car to downtown Chicago. The most unique museum in the neighborhood also happens to dwell inside Terminal 2 of the O'Hare airport. The Kids on the Fly interactive museum and play area provides a great place to wait with kids during your layover. Kids can learn about aviation through interactive exhibits and programs. Though much of O'Hare features areas of commerce, the Rosemont Theater provides a space for people to enjoy theater and the arts as well. The 4,400-seat theater hosts large productions from Broadway, dance shows, musical acts and standup comedians. Popular TV shows such as "America's Got Talent" have hosted episodes at this location to a packed house. If you ever go to a show here, put aside some money for parking for the night, as fees can soar up to $20 for some events. In addition to the Rosemont Theater, the Muvico Rosemont 18 provides a refined take on movie watching with exclusive VIP screening for guests 21 and over accompanied by hot food and cocktails. The North Michigan Avenue Art Festival takes place every year in early July and features artists from all over the region. The one-of-a-kind pieces you find here tend to carry high price tags, but enthusiasts and collectors enjoy seeking out great new works.

Transportation

Although it may go without saying, the O'Hare neighborhood provides the most convenient access to the popular Chicago O'Hare International Airport. However, most residents don't need to fly to work each day, so there's plenty of other modes of transportation through the neighborhood. The CTA transportation network makes its way through the area, with the Blue Line train running right on the northern border of O'Hare. The Blue Line train takes you to downtown Chicago and all the way to Forest Park; making one stop at Cumberland Avenue. If you don't need to travel as far as the city, bus routes service the neighborhood very well. Take the number 69 for east/west travel or the number 64 for a circular route through the area. The Kennedy Expressway serves as the areas primary highway access point and provides a direct road to downtown. Public parking remains prevalent in the area and is free almost everywhere. Most errands require some sort of vehicle, but plenty of residents still enjoy recreational walking on sidewalks and trails.

Cost

Plenty of people find decent prices on one-bedroom apartments in the area. A typical apartment of this size can go for around $900 per month. Apartments cost less than downtown. That being said, other costs of living remain about equal, making the neighborhood more affordable than the big city.

Shopping

When it comes to shopping, O'Hare provides plenty of fun options to keep people browsing. Fashion Outlets of Chicago acts as the central shopping venue for residents of the neighborhood. The mall sits just outside the neighborhood, the vast quantity and variety of stores and restaurants contained inside make it well worth the trip. The outlet contains both high-quality and high-value stores, with everything from Gucci to Gap. Shoppers can park free for the first five hours. For a local taste on sweets, visit Fannie May Candies and drool over the seemingly endless selections of chocolates, cakes and candies. The chocolate box assortments make for a perfect gift and the variety of fillings always keeps you guessing. Fannie May Candies also keeps the non-chocolate lovers in mind, providing options such as English toffee and homemade sugar lollipops. If you're looking for rare items on a tight budget, head over to Thrift & Thrive to find bargain deals on clothes, jewelry and accessories. Thrift & Thrive also sells antique home items and customers love the cleanliness of the store and the quality of the products. Unlike typical thrift stores, the owners of Thrift & Thrive pride themselves on cheap deals for great value. Many O'Hare residents go to City Food & Grocery for all their grocery shopping needs. The small interior packs in a lot of the best prices in the area. Stop by in the mornings to pick up a fresh, homemade dish to go. For a little more variety, go to Produce World and check out the extensive deli selection. While no farmers markets reside within the neighborhood; the market, Amish Farmers, lies just southwest of O'Hare. Specializing in organic produce, this market also features traditional Polish products such as galetka and kiska (blood sausage).

Parks

O'Hare's numerous free parks cater to kids and families seeking outdoor fun. If you're looking to have a picnic, plan a meal at Catherine Chevalier Woods. This park contains plenty of designated spots for families and friends with covered pavilions and picnic tables throughout the grounds. Robinson Woods provides ample area for exercise. The park surrounds the Des Plaines River and includes numerous trails for jogging, cycling and dog-walking. Follow the path along the river long enough, and you reach Catherine Chevalier Woods. To make a day out of it, plan a family bike ride starting at Robinson Woods and take a lunch break once you reach the pavilions at the next park. Grandparents Playlot Park was named appropriately after its primary purpose: to provide a space for grandparents to watch their grandchildren play. This park contains the best playground in the area, with plenty of benches surrounding it for grandparents and parents to monitor the little ones. On Thursdays throughout the summer, head to MB Financial Park for free evening concerts. Located just outside the neighborhood to the northwest, the venue hosts live music and occasional firework shows.
The Pavilion
5441 NE NEast River Rd, Chicago, IL 60656
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