Park Ridge is a modern suburban community with a distinctive small-town charm.
Residents love the community’s top schools, lovely neighborhoods, and the recently redone Uptown shopping area. Rounding out the area are great local restaurants and picturesque parks. An attractive place to settle down, buyers and renters alike appreciate the variety of lovely, yet affordable homes.
Located 15 miles from Chicago’s Loop, commuters can reach downtown via the CTA Blue Line, the Kennedy Expressway, and two local Metra stops.
Park Ridge Living
Easily within reach of the excitement of Chicago, the community offers plenty of its own. Whether seeing a film at the historic art-deco Pickwick Theater or trying one of the area’s great restaurants, Park Ridgers take pride in their village.
Whether you’re looking for fine dining for date night or a quick meal on the go, you can find it at a Park Ridge restaurant. With a range of restaurant styles and cuisines, eating out in Park Ridge is a pleasure. Local favorites include Maki Sushi, a stylish sushi place near the Pickwick Theater, Affresco Pizzeria & Lounge, a family Italian place with great thin-crust pizza, and Wally’s Gyros, a classic Chicago hot-dog dive.
Uptown Park Ridge
At the heart of the community around the Metra Station, Uptown Park Ridge is a walkable mixed-use area of homes and businesses. Centered around the historic Pickwick Theater, the area offers grocery stores (Trader Joe’s), restaurants, famous name stores, and local boutiques. The area, called “the largest redevelopment project in generations”, has quickly become a local gem.
In addition to the Uptown area, the area offers other shopping and dining centers including the South Park, Village Green, the Dee Park centers. Favorite shops include Chico’s, a women’s fashion boutique, Hill’s Hobby & Collector’s Shop, and Burke’s Books.
From theater performances to farmer’s markets, Park Ridge residents enjoy the area’s cultural and community events. A local favorite is the Park Ridge Music Concerts, a series of free Friday night concerts held in front of the city hall. And the Pickwick Theater isn’t just for seeing movies, the main theater seats 1,400 and serves as a venue for plays and other large community gatherings and special events.
The area also offers a number of local festivals. Taste of Park Ridge gives attendees the ability to taste all the best food the area has to offers, the festival also offers raffle prizes and children’s activities. Saturday’s all summer long give residents access to fresh food at the Park Ridge Farmers Market. In July, the annual Sidewalk Sale is a fun way to spend an afternoon and the July 3rd fireworks at Maine East High School. Kids love the trick-or-treating on Halloween.
The Park Ridge Park District maintains 22 lovely parks and over 130 acres of total parkland. Parks range from small grassy areas and dog parks to the sprawling 15-acre Centennial Park offering sports fields, jogging trails, and even a sledding hill. The Park District also offers a number of facilities including a fitness center, several public pools, a driving range, and a recreation center.
Park Ridge History
First Settlers and “Brickton”
Euro-American settlers first reached the area in the 1830s. Coming from New England, they honored their heritage by naming the area the Maine Township. Primarily a farming community, the first industry came in the form of a brick factory in the 1850s.
The community expanded significantly with the arrival of the Chicago & North Western rail line (today the Metra). Originally named ‘Brickton’, when the brick pits closed, the community was renamed ‘Park Ridge’. In the following years, village planners sought to emulate a traditional New England town. Accordingly, the village was zoned with large homes, wide lots, and tree-lined streets. Apartment buildings and large commercial developments were banned.
Early 20th Century
Park Ridge grew steadily in the early 20th century. From 1910 to 1950, the population grew from 2,000 residents to over 40,000 in 1970. The area’s first major building boom occurred around the turn of the century as the trains made commuting to the city convenient. This first boom stalled with the Great Depression.
Modern Park Ridge
After World War II, widespread suburbanization and the construction of nearby O’Hare Airport and Kennedy Expressway restarted growth in the area. Many new housing developments and Maine East High School were built. Graduating from the new high school’s inaugural class (1965) was the future senator and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Other notable residents have included actor Harrison Ford and “Go Cubs Go” singer Steve Goodman.
Today, Park Ridge remains a vibrant and charming suburban community. Known for its lovely parks and top schools, Park Ridge looks to the future with new developments like the recently revitalized Uptown district.
Park Ridge Homes
The area offers a variety of housing options. Single-family houses in a number of architectural styles make up the majority of the market, but a number of condo’s, townhomes, and apartments are also available. After its redevelopment, Uptown Park Ridge has quickly become a favorite for renters and buyers. The area, with its condos, lofts, and row houses, puts you steps away from shopping, dining, and the Park Ridge Metra Station.
With great schools, lovely parks, and easy access to Chicago, Park Ridge is a great place to settle down. Come check it out!