The Rogers Park community is one of the most diverse enclaves in the country, boasting over 70 nationalities, and a variety of ethnic restaurants and culture. It is also home to Loyola University, one of the nation’s largest Jesuit Catholic universities, which gives the community’s east side a predominantly college town atmosphere. It is also one of more affordable places to live in Chicago, which is quite noteworthy given its proximity to the shores of Lake Michigan.
Located on Chicago’s Far North Side, bordering the city of Evanston, Rogers Park sits adjacent to the Lake Michigan shoreline. With over 1 mile of public accessible beaches – most buffeted by strips of green space – much of the neighborhood is literally a barefoot trek to the sand.
No other lakefront community in Chicago has as many beaches (10), not even the trendy neighborhoods of Edgewater or Lincoln Park immediately to its south. If you love the outdoors then there’s no better place to live in Chicago than in the community of Rogers Park, with its extensive lakefront green space, unique street-end beaches, and incomparable morning sun rises over the lake.
One of the original settlers in the area in the early 19th century was a trader by the name of Phillip Rogers, the community’s namesake, who purchased considerable government land which would become the basis for the neighborhood’s boundaries. Indian tribes, notably the Pottawatomi for which a park is named today, settled from time to time in the region that would eventually become incorporated as a village in 1878. It wasn’t long after that it was annexed to the city in 1893 but it remained a rather quiet “bedroom” community until well into the late 20th century. The architecture, primarily of the single-family homes, reflects this fact and that many wealthy business people built their houses here in the early 20th century.
Later the community would see recurring influxes of immigrant populations and to this day the population of Rogers Park reflects the diversity of those various migrations, many who remained in the community. In Rogers Park it’s not uncommon for people to express their time in the community in generations rather than years.
Today the community is populated by families with kids, young professionals, college students and active seniors, while boasting a broad economic and political diversity.
Though located 10 miles from downtown, the commute to Chicago’s CBD is quick with many options. Public transportation is extensive, given easy access to both a number of bus lines (151 Sheridan, 147 Express, and 22 Clark Street are just a few) and rail lines (Red Line, Purple Line and Metra), all of which connect to downtown. Lake Shore Drive is a mere few minutes away for those opting for travel by car and the Lakefront Trail is only 2 miles away, with bike lanes to get you there if you’re an avid cyclist.
Also, the Red Line terminus at Howard provides access to numerous Pace buses into the suburbs as well as the Purple Line into Evanston and Wilmette and the Yellow Line into Skokie. And of course the Metra provides transportation as far north as the Wisconsin border.
A healthy mix of public, selective enrollment, charter and private schools provide numerous options to families with children. Active participants in the local school councils have been successfully improving public schools, two charter schools provide an option to district run schools and finally a handful of private schools in the area give parents yet another alternative.
Rogers Park was the model for the launch of Chicago’s community policing program in the early ’90s and thus has a long history of police and resident cooperation as well as responsiveness in addressing issues of public safety. Though affected by crime, as any urban neighborhood will be, it’s the civic engagement of citizens through their CAP’s (Chicago Alternative Policing) beat meetings and numerous block club initiatives that insures that crime, when it occurs, is mitigated quickly and thoroughly.
Why Live Here?
If all this weren’t enough to lure you, consider this. On any given day a walk through its largest beach front park – Loyola Park – will inevitably mean hearing numerous languages spoken, musicians playing, parents strolling along with their children, or a simple encounter with dozens upon dozens of residents out walking their dogs.
Oh, yes, did we mention that Rogers Park is one of the most dog friendly communities around? In fact, many of the canine caretakers refer to the area as “Doggie Heaven”. The art community is one of most vibrant anywhere, with art galleries, music venues, theater groups and the annual Glenwood Arts Fest – a weekend event hosting artists from all over Chicagoland as well as the Midwest.
Then there’s the coffee house scene, with dozens of coffee houses throughout the community where on any given morning you can strike up a conversation from the economics of Ayn Rand to the politics of Che Guevara. Some have referred to Rogers Park as “Berkeley East.”
Cost of Living
Being one of the more reasonably priced neighborhoods in Chicago, both rental and purchase, you would be hard pressed to find a community anywhere along the Great Lakes, much less Chicago, that is so affordable along such a beautiful and tranquil shoreline.
Though situated along Chicago’s popular lakefront, Rogers Park remains a much less dense and certainly less populous neighborhood than its neighbors to the south—approximately 53,000 residents in a 1 ½ square mile area. You will also find the single-family homes occupy larger lots (typically 25-30’ x 150-175’) than lots throughout the rest of the city. And apartments, both rental and condominiums, tend to be larger. It’s not unusual to find 3-bedroom apartments or condos that are over 2,000 square feet – and compared to the rest of the city, the average rent in Rogers Park ($1,199) is quite affordable ($1,943 for the city).
Renting in Rogers Park
There are numerous courtyard buildings in Rogers Park, distinctively characteristic of the early to mid-20th century at which time many of them were built. In addition, there are a few mid-rise buildings that were also built in that era.
Apartment Spotlight: Farcroft Park
Located at 1337 W. Fargo Ave, only steps from a secluded street-end beach, this early 20th century architectural gem, has both one- and two-bedroom units. Recently this building was historically renovated (spring of 2013), so all units have central heat and air, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. In addition, this 12-story building has a turn of the 20th century lobby area and outdoor patio area for entertaining guests, as well as 24-hour exercise facility off the main lobby.
Make Rogers Park Your New Home
With the convenience of lakefront access to beaches and parks, great public transportation, shopping and entertainment, there’s little not to like in this Far North Side community. Find your ideal place in Rogers Park at www.rentcafe.com today!