50 Wards: Ward 39 is a Chicago Hidden Gem

Yep, 50 Wards is back! You didn’t really think I gave up on this project, did you? Because the 50 Wards are in Chicago, I had to take the winter off. Today, though, I explored Ward 39 (Alderman Margaret Laurino) which covers a large part of Chicago – Devon (north) to Belmont (south) to the Chicago River (east) to Cicero (West).  When I asked the Alderman’s office for suggestions last year, they gave me a huge list including:

  • The Korean businesses and restaurants on Lawrence Avenue, from Kedzie to Pulaski (Seoul Drive) and the Korean Street Festival in August
  • North Park Village including The North Park Village Nature Center
  • The Bohemian National Cemetery – one of only two cemeteries in Chicago that has received a national historical designation.  It is final resting place for Anton Cermak, one of Chicago’s Mayors.  They recently added a new section to the cemetery named Beyond the Vines, the final resting place for eternal Cubs fans.
  • Foster Avenue (3200-3400 West) with a number of small shops and restaurants and North Park University
  • Not to be missed, is Tre Kronor, 3258 W. Foster

Jeff and I were going to wait to do this ward in August but we did that last year and didn’t make it so we decided not to wait around for the Korean fest and began the tour of the ward. We have gone through the Korean area and along Foster Avenue many times (it’s near our house) so we headed over to the North Park Nature Center.  WOW – what a hidden gem! After parking the car, we went in the nature center and saw a turtle demonstration (if you have kids, you MUST visit this place!) and then hit the trails. Even though we were surrounded by busy streets all around us, we never knew it because it felt like we were in the middle of secluded woods. From the wildflowers to the lily pads and the unexpected sighting of a deer (really!), a walk through the North Park Nature Center gives Chicagoans an escape from the city chaos – in the city! My only complaint? The trail is not a long one so you may need to go around twice – but it’s worth it!

As you drive into the Nature Center, don’t be put off by the many buildings – you are in the right place.  You’ll find the Bohemian Cemetery right next door to the Nature Center, too. We didn’t actually drive in – the place is HUGE – but I see a return visit in our future. Oh, and the Alderman’s office is right – Tre Kronor is not to be missed – yum, yum, yum.

I’m looking forward to a return trip to the North Park Nature Center in the fall – I’m sure it will be magnificent! Thanks to the folks at the 39th Ward Alderman’s office for the tips!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!  Please share with friends – I’m not sure what happened but the number of readers suddenly dropped – remember to share!



  1. Hi Jen:

    Thanks for this review of the 39th ward…I don’t live too far from there, but really like the area around North Park University. Your post also reminds me of the North Park Nature Center…I can’t remember the last time I was there. Some good ideas here, thanks!

  2. The park was truly an oasis within the city limits. Very informative for kids and very relaxing for adults. Seeing the turtles, birds, butterflies and a deer was cool as well. A must see for any explorer of our great city!

  3. Hey, great post about the 39th ward. I will definitely check out the Bohemian National Cemetery- haven’t gone yet!

    Also, sorry to be knit picky, but the map you posted is actually the 17th Police District, which the 39th ward is in. The 39 Ward ends around Irving Park, with the bottom triangle including Independence Park. (Ald Laurino’s site is confusing)

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