[Feature Photo: Eckhart Park, at the center of the neighborhood, offers expansive green space, as well as baseball fields and an indoor pool.]
Bordering East Village, Pulaski Park, and River West, the Noble Square neighborhood is a great value in West Town. Its borders are Division Avenue to the north, Grand Avenue to the south, Ashland Avenue to the west, and 90/94 to the east.
Named for the square shape of Eckhart Park as well as the street it sits on, Noble Square offers many of the amenities of nearby neighborhoods at lower price points. While some label Eckhart Park as a separate neighborhood, for this article we’re going to be referring to the whole area as Noble Square. Just like the nebulous “West Town,” which also encompasses much of this neighborhood, the boundaries are a constant source of dispute, but for simplicity and clarity, we’re going with Noble Square.
Presided over by the towering (and sadly empty) St. Boniface church, Eckhart Park offers phenomenal green space, along with a classic fieldhouse and a Mid-Century Modern indoor pool house. Whether walking your dog or participating in one of the many softball leagues that use the diamonds, Eckhart Park is a great community meeting space for all of Noble Square.
Centered around Chicago Avenue, where new restaurants, bars, and galleries sit side-by-side with legacy businesses in the neighborhood for generations, the Noble Square neighborhood offers an array of classic Chicago worker housing, with single-family homes and three-flat condo buildings lining the streets. On the north side of Chicago Avenue, the streets tend to be narrower, often without parkways, while the south side of Chicago offers a more traditional streetscape.
As a reminder, I believe the best residential streets enjoy these characteristics:
- They are one-way to limit traffic
- They are narrow, both for traffic limitations and to be less accommodating for trucks
- The sidewalks are narrow and don’t fit large equipment, and the curbs are low as they do not need to withstand truck loads
- There are green parkways on both sides of the street with large trees that form a great tree canopy
While not all of Noble Square’s streets meet these criteria, pricing often reflects any shortcomings. For buyers on a budget, giving up some exterior beauty can sometimes pay off in the ability to afford a better home.
Noble Square is primarily composed of vintage workers’ cottages and three-flat condo buildings. Because the streets are narrower and the sidewalks generally lack parkways, particularly on the north side of Chicago Avenue, green space is limited, making views of Eckhart Park itself a desirable amenity. The highway, forming the eastern border of the neighborhood, also creates some striking views of the downtown skyline.
Flo: As one of the older restaurants in the neighborhood, Flo has earned its longevity with amazing Southwest cuisine. Best known for brunch (but open all day), I’m a huge fan of their Chorizo Chilaquiles. As a tip, order them “Christmas style” to experience both their red and green salsas!
Jeong: One of the newest additions to the Chicago Avenue scene, Jeong brings highly acclaimed fine dining with Korean influences. As one of the more reasonable prix fixe meals, it’s a relatively affordable way to celebrate a special occasion.
Seek Vintage: An eclectic and fun vintage store where the 70s and 80s live again. Find vintage fashion, housewares, and games, and be sure to watch their Facebook page for information about their legendary parties.
Dovetail: An expertly curated collection of vintage high fashion and housewares with a decidedly Mid-Century Modern flair.
Noble Square neighborhood businesses and residents are both well-served by established organizations representing their interests. For businesses, the West Town Chamber of Commerce offers services and champions their interests. Residents are served by the Eckhart Park Community Council, and residents between Ashland and Milwaukee between Chicago and Division are also free to join the East Village Association as voting members.
With access to the Blue Line at Chicago and Division, Noble Square is well-served by public transportation. The 66 Bus on Chicago and 9 Bus on Ashland offer commuters access to most other train lines, as well as convenient north/south service. For car owners, access to major highways is easily accessible. The neighborhood is also easily walkable to Wicker Park, East Village, and River West, significantly expanding the amenities that Noble Square residents can enjoy.
Unlike its nearby neighbors in East Village and Wicker Park, Noble Square has been largely untouched by the wave of new construction that occurred in those neighborhoods. The area’s industrial roots show in the lack of parkways on many streets and worker’s cottages mingling with three-flat apartment buildings. The neighborhood enjoys easy access to all of the amenities of Wicker Park and East Village at value pricing while offering a tremendous community asset in Eckhart Park. If you want to learn more, call Ask Nagel – we know Noble Square!