Top Things to Do in Jefferson Park

Top Things to Do in Jefferson Park

Jefferson Park is a vibrant suburb northwest of downtown Chicago best known for its Eastern European influences. Many immigrants settled there from Poland and Germany, as well as from Italy, Russia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. These immigrants were tradesmen, artisans, and laborers who helped bring extraordinary ethnic diversity to the neighborhood.

That atmosphere and spirit continue today, making Jefferson Park a great place to live. The community of about 28,000 residents is known for being a quiet place to raise a family and also offers a multi-ethnic vibrancy in the form of varied eateries, festivals, and cultural offerings.

People who have recently purchased a home in this community quickly familiarize themselves with Jefferson Park things to do. There’s something for every member of the family, as well as for all seasons.


While it is primarily a residential neighborhood, there are still many Jefferson Park activities for families to participate in throughout the year. Many of these activities are focused on the ethnic influences that have left their mark throughout the decades.

Taste of Polonia Festival

The Taste of Polonia Festival, held at the Copernicus Civic and Cultural Center, is now in its fourth decade of celebrating all things Polish-American. This four-day festival during the Labor Day weekend is billed as the largest Polish festival in the United States. It features food, beer, live music, and other entertaining activities. There are plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained, including a beer garden, casino, various exhibitions, a kids’ stage, and authentic Polish food and beer.

Four stages feature more than 35 acts ranging from polka to rock, and more than 30 local vendors and merchants sell their food and wares. There’s plenty to keep the adults busy, and the kids will stay entertained and enthralled by Disney characters, clowns, face painters, and fun activities like a climbing wall and bounce inflatables. There are also carnival rides and games.

Copernicus Civic and Cultural Center

The Copernicus Civic and Cultural Center is one of the premier event centers in the entire Chicago area. Located in the former Gateway Theatre Movie Palace, the Copernicus Civic and Cultural Center hosts concerts and theater productions of all sizes and many culturally diverse events and community events such as workshops and other engagements.

The center is unique in that it is anchored by a restored 1,890-seat theater from the 1930s. A modern loft-style annex gives it two great spaces for hosting various entertainment events. The center is supported by the Copernicus Foundation, a non-profit organization that has backed Chicago’s large Polish American community since 1971.

Art Galleries

The Morgan Art Gallery, an internationally-renowned home that showcases masterful art from across the globe, is located on Milwaukee Avenue, which bisects Jefferson Park. On the same street, you’ll also fine Triple R Gallery, which seeks to restore, repurpose, and reimagine art, and JiddGallery.

The Ed Paschke Art Center

Although temporarily closed, the Ed Paschke Art Center plans to reopen soon in a renovated space that will better serve many talented Chicago-area artists and, by extension, the public. The center preserves and displays the art of the legendary Paschke and also serves as a place where local artists can display their works to the public.


Jefferson Park’s charm and uniqueness extend to its lively dining scene with ethnic favorites and upscale restaurants. Among classic Eastern European eateries is long-time favorite Andy’s Deli and Mikolajczyk Sausage Shop, a Polish butcher shop and deli that has been whetting the appetites of locals since 1918. The success of Andy’s Deli’s nationwide shipping program is a testament to its quality. Its specialties include kabanosy, pierogies, Polish cheese, Polish ham, and seasonal items for Easter and Christmas celebrations.

Other favorites include SMAK-TAK! and Smakosz Restaurant. Smakosz is a homey restaurant that relocated to its location on West Lawrence Avenue in 1997. They serve dumplings, kielbasa, and much more. SMAK-TAK! is another Polish eatery set in a wood-beamed chalet serving comfort foods like pierogies, potato latkes, and Polish sausages.

For Jefferson Park fine dining, locals head to Stefani Prime, Sepia, and Shallots Bistro.


Jefferson Park’s prime location in the suburbs means plenty of room for some great golf courses. Among the Jefferson Park golf favorites are the Edgebrook Golf Course and the Billy Caldwell Golf Course, which stretch out in a beautiful open space along the northeast edge of the neighborhood.

Edgebrook Golf Course is set in the heart of the Northern Forest Preserve District, where the lush forest and the Chicago River offer a beautiful backdrop for the 18-hole layout. At just 4,567 yards, this is a perfect course for golfers looking for a quick, fun round.

Billy Caldwell is an excellent course for residents looking to get in nine holes over the 3,029-yard layout. The signature hole is the par-4, 293-yard No. 5, where golfers are challenged by a water hazard and then a sharply undulating green that will test any golfer’s skill.

Nature preserves

Besides the two superb golf courses, the open space on Jefferson Park’s northeast edge also contains the remarkable Bunker Hill natural area, which is part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. This vast space is remarkable, considering it’s practically in the middle of the country’s third-largest city. Bunker Hill comprises several natural areas and groves, including the Sydney Yates Flatwoods, an open savanna, and a floodplain forest. It’s an excellent place for bird watching and picnicking, as well as hiking and walking, since it’s part of the North Branch Trail System. There are natural play areas for the kids and convenient parking.

Living in Jefferson Park

These are the main things to do in Jefferson Park. There are also many attractions and activities throughout the rest of Chicago, such as professional and college sports, shopping and dining downtown, and activities along the Lake Michigan waterfront.

If you are ready to look for homes for sale in Jefferson Park, let Trisha Kannon put her two decades of experience as one of Chicagoland’s top-producing real estate agents to work for you.

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