North by Northwest (Highway)

| June 16, 2009 | 1 Comment

cindys

One thing you may not know about Chicago is that there is life northwest of the Edens/Kennedy split. We didn’t believe that ourselves until we moved to Norwood Park almost 4 years ago, but now we are convinced. In turn, let me take you on a personalized virtual tour of the heart of the northwest side, Northwest Highway, running on a diagonal from Nagle (called Narragansett in the rest of the City) to Touhy Ave in Park Ridge (essentially following the Metra Tracks on the UP Northwest line). This will be a three-part series, one each for Norwood Park, Edison Park and Park Ridge.

First up is Norwood Park. At the corner of Northwest Highway and Nagle is Natalie’s Drive-In (formerly Bill’s Drive In). Don’t worry about any calories you might add after a meal there, because you can walk to Curves just down the street on the left hand side of NW Highway. Or perhaps I can interest you in a townhouse in one of the new Zitella complexes at about the 5900 block.

Starting around Raven Street you will find the famous Abell Animal Hospital and a coming-soon Zitella shopping and condo complex, both directly across the street from the Roden Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Roden is a very small branch without a lot of room for reading, but the children’s department is bigger than that of many other CPL branches and worth checking out. Next to the new complex and Abell is the new and improved Norwood Park Metra Station, complete with Northwest Café. The Café is next to the tracks so you and your child can sit and watch the trains pass by. There are comfy chairs, books and some board games to keep you occupied. Grab yourself a hot cup of tea or a sandwich and pull out your Metra schedule. Just a bit farther northwest of the station is Chill Outz, a new ice cream and shake joint, perfect for those hot summer nights and owned by a Norwood Park resident.

There are also some other local shops right along the Norwood Park Northwest Highway strip, including the Norwood Restaurant, Amish Custom Kitchens and Chicagoland Hobby Inc. You can buy your next car or have your old one serviced at several locations, and do your banking at some of the branches along the way. Get yours nails done at any one of the number of salons and even book your next vacation at Janus Travel.

Just before you hit Harlem Ave, there is the Norwood Park Post Office. I know no one says this, so this might be a first: the staff at the NPPO is fantastic; I have never had anything but prompt, attentive and friendly service there. I recommend them should you ever find yourself in a stamp drought. My only complaint is that they don’t have an outside box to drop off packages being sent via Priority Mail–Powers That Be if you are reading this, it’s just a suggestion that would greatly improve my life with a toddler who doesn’t always like to get in and out of the car on errand days. However, it’s a great end to an errand day when I can stop by the brand new Norwood Park Farmers Market, at the corner of Harlem and NW Highway. It’s located in the parking lot of the Century 21 McMullen condo complex. Starting its inaugural season just last month, the Farmers Market will run the last Saturday of each month, 8 am till noon, through August.

And with that, we come to the end of Norwood Park’s section of Northwest Highway. Next time, it’s Edison Park. Come hungry, this is where restaurants reside.

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About the Author ()

Cindy La Greca is a part-time children’s librarian and full-time mom. She writes to you from the Chicago’s northwest side.

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