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Jefferson Park

It wasn't until the 1990s that this late-blooming area staked its claim to Chicago neighborhood fame. And for this, we can thank the local volunteers who pushed to develop the quaint community and family-friendly residential neighborhood. Now Jefferson Parkis lovely little enclave of reasonably priced homes, excellent recreation grounds, active social groups and a modest injection of commercial business and restaurants.

Jefferson Park(the park, not the neighborhood) is a prime spot for all kinds of athletics and leisure interests. With tons of green space for relaxed strolls, picnics, Frisbee tossing and whatever else you like to do, this centrally located public commons has become a popular summer hangout among Jefferson Parkresidents. Sporty types will enjoy the baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and volleyball area. And inside the park's old-fashioned fieldhouse you'll find a fitness center, auditorium and stage, conference rooms and more. When the kids are out of school, Jefferson Parkalso hosts all sorts of day camps, including a play camp (for the youngsters).

For more organized fun, take a walk over to Ken-Well Park (situated near the north end of the neighborhood's eastern border), where there are roughly 20 camps and programs to keep Jefferson Park families busy. Ken-Well even has a toddler camp, so parents can unload the kiddies for a couple hours and enjoy some time to themselves. Like many popular outdoor spots in Chicago, Ken-Well participates in the city's "Movies in the Park" series during the warmer months. Bring along a blanket and some good friends and you've got yourself an entertainment-filled evening that won't cost a penny!

Despite its small size and relatively short existence, Jefferson Parkhas a solid core of dining establishments, with a strong showing of Mexican-inspired eateries. There are a number of tasty taquerias serving up all the traditional menu items: burritos, tacos, flautas, enchiladas, guacamole, etc. Cousin's Grill is a Puerto Rican place, offering slightly different fare than its Latin-American counterparts. And while fast food chains have a presence in Jefferson Park, many residents head to the neighborhood's down-home diners like Cozy Corner Diner and Pancake House for a daily dose of edible Americana. Speaking of good old American grub, let's not forget about those good ol' Chicago-style pizzerias like Antino's and Roberto's Boys.

Aside from packing in restaurants and family-friendly parks, this Chicago neighborhood offers home buyers a diverse housing market with many types of homes to choose from. Beautiful houses with comfortable porches sit on perfectly manicured lawns surrounded by wrought-iron fencing. Towering trees shade the properties, giving Kevlyn Park the feel of a mature neighborhood, even though it is less than two decades old. Brick bungalows, small frame houses and two-story abodes line the residential streets in Jefferson Parkwith a number of low-rise apartment buildings and courtyard condos tossed into the mix. A three-bedroom detached home in Jefferson Parktypically costs around $300,000 while attached properties (meaning condominiums) have an average sales price in the upper $100,000s.