No rolling up the sidewalks every night in Park Ridge—maybe it’s the location adjacent to Chicago, but Park Ridge has developed an urban-style vibrancy that brings its residents out for community activities all year long. The Uptown area is crowded with people nearly every night—seeing a show at the art deco landmark Pickwick Theater, taking in a lecture at the public library, or stopping for ethnic food at a neighborhood restaurant.
The annual Taste of Park Ridge brings even bigger crowds each July, and on summer Saturdays, the Farmers Market attracts visitors with music and entertainment as well as fresh food. Free summer concerts are held on the steps of City Hall, courtesy of the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society—one of several active volunteer groups that give this city of 37,000 residents its exceptional community spirit. The pace doesn’t slow down much when the weather cools. Winterfest, the city’s Holiday Open House, takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and a Christmas Housewalk, benefiting the Maine Center, allows homeowners to show off their most festive decorations.
The old days of the dusty baseball field and rickety playground are long gone; Park Ridge Park District facilities include a driving range, batting cages, four outdoor pools and a skate park—plus dozens of well-maintained ball fields and playgrounds kids will love.
Working out at the state-of-the-art fitness facility, taking a cooking or painting class at the Leisure Center, practicing your double axels or goaltending at the Oakton Ice Arena—whatever you like to do, the park district is the place to do it.
When it comes to housing, Park Ridge has something for everyone, from friendly neighborhoods of small starter homes to multi-million-dollar lakeside mansions. The Old Park Ridge area features renovated Victorians on winding streets, while ranches and tri-levels built in the 1950s are found farther from the center of town. Multi-family housing was not permitted in Park Ridge until the 1960s, but now a good selection of condos and townhomes is available at all price points, including newly built luxury condos in the Uptown area.
Park Ridge commuters can choose from a number of options for traveling to Chicago. CTA busses make the short trip to the Jefferson Park Transit Center, connecting with the rapid transit system and a quick trip to the Loop. Metra trains from the Union Pacific Northwest Line make the trip to the downtown Ogilvie Transportation Center in as little as 25 minutes. And for those who must drive, easy access to the Kennedy Expressway means the 15-mile trip can be made in as little as 20 minutes. Traveling farther afield? O’Hare Airport is just minutes away.
Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
The newly developed Shops of Uptown have brought national retailers to downtown Park Ridge, including Chico’s, Trader Joe’s and a number of casual dining restaurants, joining long-time local merchants such as Pine’s Menswear. Locals like to gather at neighborhood spots such as the Pickwick Restaurant and Colonial Coffee Shop. Additional dining options can be found just across the border in Chicago’s Edison Park neighborhood, where Zia’s Trattoria is a favorite. For special occasions, the upscale hotels around O’Hare offer a variety of elegant restaurants and lively nightspots.
The elementary and middle schools of District 64 serve the students of Park Ridge and nearby Niles. High School students attend either Maine East, on its beautiful old campus built in 1929, or Maine South, opened in 1964. Three private schools are also located in Park Ridge.