Rogers Park – Chicago, IL

Found in the diverse northwest side of Chicago near the northern border of the city is the bustling neighborhood of Rogers Park. This neighborhood stretches from North Ridge Boulevard to the coast of Lake Michigan, and during the summer many residents of Rogers Park can be found at the beautiful beaches located in the neighborhood, including Columbia Beach Park, North Shore Park, Tobey Prinz Beach Park, and Hartigan Beach Park. Known by many for being the home of the Jesuit university Loyola University Chicago, this neighborhood hosts an array of students and academic scholars from the school and many from nearby Northwestern University. The strong academic influence in the area has created a diverse culture within Rogers Park. More than 63,000 residents speaking more than 80 different languages all come together to live, work, and play within this lakeside community. Located in the northeast portion of the city, Rogers Park provides residents with easy access to the best the area has to offer, while neighboring towns such as Evanston provide Rogers Park with access to plenty of suburban amenities. Nestled between city and suburban life, the unique location of Rogers Park features all the perks of Chicago living along with a small, close-knit community feel. While many Loyola University students live in the community, they are joined by a wide variety of professionals. The village has a higher amount of residents with master's and doctorate degrees than the state average. Rogers Park is not only one of the most educated neighborhoods in the Windy City, but also one of the most culturally diverse.

Schools in Rogers Park

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Rogers Park is home to more than 130 different bars and restaurants ranging from large national chains to small, locally-owned diners and bars. The area offers dining and entertainment options to all types of patrons, but is most known for its cheap eats, late-night diners, and collection of take-out establishments, many of which are geared toward the local college life. In line with the neighborhood's multi-cultural makeup, Rogers Park is also home to plenty of authentic ethnic establishments. Visit the Caribbean American Bakery along Howard Street for the unique flavors of Afro-Caribbean cuisine from jerk chicken to fresh-baked Jamaican-style bread. Along the neighborhood's well-traveled Clark Street, visitors can find a collection of Mexican eateries and bakeries as well. There are several establishments designed to delight both Mexican cuisine enthusiasts and college student budgets. Like any good college town, Rogers Park is home to many bars and a strong nightlife scene. If you're interested in live music, the Heartland Cafe has open mic nights and several live acts as well as a menu of delectable health food dishes and its own gift shop. Pick up a souvenir or t-shirt with the cafe's logo while enjoying a hearty meal and the talents of local artists.

History & Culture

Today, Rogers Park is stitched together by a collection of professionals, families, and college students. However, before this neighborhood became diverse it was Native American owned land. In 1816, through the Treaty of Saint Louis, the federal government gained control of the land, and Irish immigrant Philip Rogers bought 1,600 acres of property in the area in the 1830s. The neighborhood quickly became known as Rogers Park; by 1890, it was home to more than 3,500 community members. Even in its early days, Rogers Park was known for its diverse makeup. The community consisted of a collection of city workers and farmers and had a religiously diverse neighborhood, thanks to the collection of Catholic and Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues. When the Jesuits founded Loyola University in 1906, the city truly began to take off, and Chicago quickly extended their Red Line to include Rogers Park, solidifying the neighborhood as part of the city's makeup. As Rogers Park transitioned to the modern era, several notable museums found their way to this culturally rich Chicago neighborhood. Visit the Loyola University Museum of Art to explore rotating collections of art work, and special displays that honor the heritage of the Jesuit mission and the work of the school. However, in true Rogers Park fashion, the area has more than art museums. The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical society offers tours of the neighborhood's many hidden gems.

Transportation

Often hailed as one of the easiest neighborhoods in Chicago to travel by foot, many Rogers Park residents rely on walking or public transportation to get around. However, Rogers Park's slight removal from downtown Chicago makes it a reasonable driving neighborhood. Visitors have easy access to major roadways such as Lake Shore Drive, which offers easy access to the city and neighboring Evanston. Rogers Park is also conveniently located near the Edens Expressway to the west, which takes travelers outside the city and to the surrounding suburbs. While public parking is more readily available in Rogers Park than some of the other downtown neighborhoods and driving is fairly convenient, the public transportation is particularly well-used in the region. Cabs are plentiful, and many Uber drivers find their way to the area to accommodate the significant number of college students that rely on the service. However, the train systems in Rogers Park are perhaps the most readily accessed for public transit. Both the Yellow Line and the Purple Line, once known as the Evanston Express, start in Rogers Park and act as a gateway to the northern portion of the city. Those who prefer to travel on the L can simply jump on one of the community's four different Red Line Stations: Howard, Jarvis, Morse, or Loyola.

Cost

Living in the Rogers Park area of Chicago comes with a cost of living that is slightly under the Chicago average. While living in Rogers Park means paying more than the national average for daily expenses, prices are quite affordable in terms of Chicago neighborhoods. Due to the neighborhood's close proximity to two major universities, deals on food and entertainment are plentiful around the area. Renters looking for a one bedroom apartment can often find reasonable deals within this area. In most areas of Rogers Park, for example, the typical rental costs for a one bedroom apartment float around $975 per month, which is drastically lower than other areas of the city, such as the Loop, which costs roughly $1,922 per month.

Shopping

Shopping opportunities within Rogers Park are limited and consist mostly of specialty stores. The Glenwood Avenue Arts District is one of the most popular commerce centers in the Rogers Park area. In addition to hosting a number of storefronts and the Greenleaf Art Center, the area located between Pratt and Touhy is one of the most vibrant in the area. The area also hosts the annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fair, a free event that draws attention to local businesses. Find more local shopping along Devon Avenue, where the cultural diversity of the area is put on display. Here, products such as rugs, jewelry, spices, and clothing from India, the Middle East, and beyond are all available for purchase. Don't be afraid to chat up the local shop owners for a completely unique shopping experience. Outside this region of the city, there are several shopping opportunities, including the popular Broadway Antique Market, which is a popular destination for tourists, serious shoppers, and browsers alike. In fact, a majority of the shopping within Rogers Park comes from antique stores and trendy thrift shops. While there are few chain stores or high-end retail shops, those looking for a non-traditional shopping experience can find plenty of unique and specialty stores along the streets of Rogers Park.

Parks

Several lakefront parks dot the Lake Michigan shoreline of Rogers Park. With its prime waterfront location, most of the parks in this area also include beaches. The family-friendly Hartigan Park and Beach near Loyola University provides the perfect backdrop for picnics and family outings thanks to the new playgrounds. This park even connects to the popular North Shore Beach, which ultimately makes this stretch of beach the largest in Chicago. Sports fans in need of the proper facilities for private practices or local organized leagues can pay a visit to Loyola Park and Beach, where visitors can enjoy soccer fields, basketball courts, and even a baseball diamond for all types of extra-curricular activities. Jogging paths and tennis courts dot the beautiful grass-filled park at Pratt Beach, one of the biggest in the neighborhood. Giant concrete sculptures and public art displays give the park a style indicative of the cultural diversity of the Rogers Park neighborhood. However, patrons with four-legged friends may want to take their pets to the public Jarvis and Fargo Beaches. Dogs are allowed off-leash, and a community garden and kayaking make this beach a popular weekend destination for the residents of Rogers Park.
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