The northern district is composed of Novaliches and Fairview and is primarily residential. The La Mesa Dam Watershed occupies the eastern portion. The La Mesa Dam supplies much of northern Metro Manila's water supply. Adjacent to the watershed is the La Mesa Eco-Park, where one can stroll and unwind at Metro Manila's only forest space. Also located in the park are convention centers, picnic areas, swimming pools, an orchidarium, and a large lagoon for boating activities. It was also the site of the rowing and dragon boat events for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. Rowing is regularly done here. Also located here are two big malls: SM City Fairview and Robinsons Place Novaliches.
Novaliches town proper is the site of Metro Manila College, Quezon City Polytechnic University (not to be confused with the PUP - Commonwealth Campus), and a century-old church built by the Susano family.
The Fairview district is home to the Far Eastern University - Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, the National College of Business and Arts, and Novaliches Cathedral (Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd), the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Novaliches.
The name Novaliches probably came from the name of a village outside Valencia, Spain. In the 1800s, the district was known as Hacienda Tala to settlers who cultivated the land and considered it a star ("tala") from heaven. The haciendero, Marquez de Novaliches, was given the title due to his services in the Carlist Wars of the 1800s. Novaliches was also a gathering-place for the Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution; a tree where Andres Bonifacio reportedly sought shade is still standing in the campus of the Novaliches High School.
The town was once part of Rizal province before being ceded to Quezon City in the 1940s. During World War II, the La Mesa Dam and Balara Filters were prime targets for Japanese and American attacks, being the water sources for most of the northern part of Manila and Rizal.
This district is among the largest in the city, having shared boundaries with the two sections of Caloocan City, Valenzuela City, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan and Montalban, Rizal. The oldest part of the city is in the town center, aptly named Novaliches Bayan. But because of population growth the density of people gradually widened reaching up the edge of the La Mesa Reservoir (Lagro and Fairview).
The population growth started when the National Housing Authority started housing projects in the outskirts of Novaliches and along Tandang Sora; Fairview and Lagro, on opposite sides of the La Mesa Watershed, were developed as housing projects by the Government Service Insurance System.
The studios and broadcast antenna of ABC/TV 5 are located along Quirino Highway, in Barangay San Bartolome.
In 1999, a plebiscite was held among the voters of Quezon City to determine the cityhood of Novaliches. The proposed creation of "Novaliches City" would have resulted in the secession of 15 barangays from Quezon City. At the plebiscite's end, votes that were against the separation heavily outnumbered those that were in favor.