Our History


Since 1925, the building at 4251 W. Irving Park Rd. has represented a leading role among the many branches of the YMCA organization. Over the years, Irving Park YMCA has maintained a solid foundation of programs promoting activity, social development, and character building. The various features of the YMCA such as the pool, gymnasiums, and fitness centers have been improving the health and well-being of generations of families.

Irving Park YMCA has a unique history with the organization. During the early1960s through 1971, the Chicago Bears called the Irving Park YMCA their home for weight training and conditioning. Bears Hall of Famers such as Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, Doug Atkins, and Stan Jones kept in shape here. Our swim team, the Iguanas, has produced many national YMCA champions and each year is host to one of the biggest swim meets in the Midwest.

You don’t have to be an athlete to participate in programs or activities at the YMCA. Children, families and adults have improved their health in one of our many fitness centers. Others have taken a swim in the pool or played basketball in one of our two gyms. The Bears Den, in honor of the past Chicago Bears who conditioned here, is one of the largest free-weight rooms in the area. Our summer camps are nationally accredited and provide wholesome all-day care to hundreds of children each year.

Fitness, sports and child care are not the only services offered at the Irving Park YMCA. We have a residential facility with 212 single-occupancy rooms available. The YMCA provides affordable housing to a variety of single men. College students to seniors have made their temporary home on Irving Park Road, between Kildare and Tripp streets.

As you can see, we are quite a diversified organization. However, the most unique quality that sets our organization apart from others is that the YMCA will never refuse membership to those who cannot afford it. Every year, the Irving Park YMCA raises money to provide scholarships, affording everyone the same opportunity to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. Everyone at the Irving Park YMCA is proud of our commitment to raise money to help fund our most cherished program. So there you have it. A building, a program and institution dedicated to improving the community in which it resides. I do hope you come in and see us, and witness first hand the great things that are happening at your YMCA.