My Neighborhood - Family Fun in Independence Park and Old Irving Park

NPN connects families in neighborhoods across Chicago.  Get inspired to check out a new part of the city or discover something fabulous just around the corner.  This stop:  Independence Park & Old Irving  Park with Cyrus - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods

When my wife and I moved to the Independence Park neighborhood 4 years ago we had yet to start our family and weren’t sure how easy it would be to transition to a new part of the city so far removed from our previous stops in Lincoln Park and Uptown but we have been pleasantly surprised with the neighborhood, local attractions and proximity to public transportation and the expressways

Once of the best things we did was join our neighborhood group,the Greater Independence Park Neighbohood Association (GIPNA), and also the neighborhood group for Old Irving Park, the Old Irvnig Park Association(OIPA).

Two great parks in the area are Independence Park (3945 N Springfield) and Athletic Field Park (3546 W Addison).  Independence Park has an indoor pool and both have an outdoor spray area.  Also, the Disney II School (3815 N Kedvale) has a very nice playground and grassy field.

The area also has several dining options with more popping up each month.  If you want really good BBQ then Smoque (3800 N Pulaski) is the place!  Smoque was profiled on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives as part of a show called “Real Deal BBQ".  I usually am the designated line-waiter, equipped with cell phone so I can call my wife to let her know when to come so we all don’t have to wait.

Hot Woks Cool Sushi (3930 N Pulaski) is a family favorite for great Asian food.  The location isa  little tricky for parking so it’s usually easier to find parking on a side street.  It’s super close to the expressway so you can also take the blue line.  They have opened additional stores which I take as a true testament to their great food! 

A must for old-school Italian food is Sabatinos (4441 W Irving Park).  This is a great place if you want to get a feel for what Chicago was like back in the 1950’s. The food is outstanding with generous portions. 

Also, if you like to buy fresh fish, you’re not far from The Fish Guy (4423 N Elston) – they have specials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I’m looking forward to trying the new Filipino style tapas at Thirteen Pins and Tapas Bar (4202 W Irving Park).  It’s a great new addition to the neighborhood and looks promising!

If you haven’t been to the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N Knox) you really should!  They have fun events and activities for the whole family, including a great Friday night fish fry during the Lenten season.

Another huge perk of the neighborhood is that it’s very easy to jump on the Blue Line, a bus or one of the two Metra lines in the neighborhood to get where we need to be…in addition to the easy access we have to the Kennedy and Edens Expressways.  Stop by and visit, you'll be glad you did!

  Insider tips to kid-sized Chicago:  In addition to the great suggestions above, here are a few more family-friendly places to shop, play and learn with the wee ones in Independence Park:

Independence Park Farmers Market is a fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning.  You stroll through the vendors, and teach your city kids a thing or two about where our food comes from.  The market is held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays from 9am-1pm through October 9th.

Independence Library (3548 W. Irving Park Rd.) offers a host of great family events.  Even better, most of them are free.  Check out their Children’s Summer Reading Program for singing, dancing and stories.

The Chicago Park District is hosing two movies at Independence Park and two at Athletic Field Park.  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will be playing on August 12th, and Toy Story 3 will be playing on September 16th at Independence Park.  The Wiz will be playing on July 29th, and Tangled will be playing on September 9th at Athletic Field Park. All are FREE, and begin at dusk.

For more tips on where to go eat, play, learn and shop in Chicago, visit!

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 9:38 AM