North Center is bordered on the north by Montrose Avenue, on the south by Diversey Parkway, on the west by the Chicago River and on the east by Ravenswood Avenue. The Chicago L has its Brown Line stops at Addison, Irving Park and Montrose.
North Center was settled in the latter part of the 19th century as well as early in the 20th century largely by Germans who worked in what is known as the industrial corridor along Ravenswood Avenue, and the large industrial plants along the Chicago River to the west. Recently, skyrocketing real estate value and gentrification threatens the industrial and manufacturing contingent along the Chicago River as residents are seeking valuable riverfront property.
The “heart of Chicago’s north side" has grown since the 1870s when the area was only accessible by the Chicago River and Little Fort Road (now known as Lincoln Avenue). Northcenter is considered a vibrant neighborhood with an eclectic mix of retailers, restaurants, live music, live theater, and service-oriented businesses. Northcenter’s history is deeply rooted in European cultural influences, and that history can be seen in the architectural charm of the homes and buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Also during this time, the Selig Polyscope Company produced some of America's earliest motion pictures and was based in Chicago. Along Byron Street near Oakley Ave and Western Ave, historic production buildings of the company are still standing and being used as residences and retail businesses. The neighborhood continues to grow and become more culturally diverse. The neighborhood includes bowling alleys, three city parks, a nearby library, a nearby movie theater complex, and Town Square. The Northcenter Chamber of Commerce also hosts free family and community events throughout the year. Many believe Northcenter’s greatest appeal to be its small-town atmosphere, which it preserves while still nested in the middle of a world-class city. This also may explain why so many families have remained in Northcenter for multiple generations. Perhaps this is also why Northcenter is frequently referred to as one of “Chicago’s best-kept secrets.”