The historic area of Andersonville offers the perfect balance between quaint, small-town comfort and urban sophistication, making it ideal for singles and young families alike. Reminiscent at times of an old-timey Swedish village, Andersonville has maintained much of its heritage with gems such as the Swedish American Center Museum and traditional European-style cafés and bakeries that serve up the best Swedish pancakes and lingonberry jam this side of the Norwegian Sea. Shop the global bonanza of boutiques and galleries along Clark Street and entertain your fondness for festivities at Andersonville's full schedule of community events and celebrations that span the calendar year. The neighborhood's Midsommarfest is an homage to Scandinavian dance, music, trinkets and food that attracts visitors from around the city and beyond.
Location: 5 miles north of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lakewood-Balmoral, Bowmanville
Boundaries: Bryn Mawr Avenue to the north, Glenwood Avenue to the east, Foster Avenue to the south and Ravenswood Avenue to the west.
Then and Now
Starting in the 1850s, when Andersonville was a far north, outlying area of Chicago, immigrant farmers began moving there from the city. The land itself was less expensive, and it was cheaper to build there because residents were legally allowed to construct wooden homes, even when they were banned in the city after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Many of these farmers were Swedish, so when they settled they opened small businesses with a distinctly Scandinavian flavor that were concentrated around what is now the intersection of Clark Street and Foster Avenue. And within a decade, what had once been a large cherry orchard was transformed into a bustling network of suburban commerce, centered along the Clark Street corridor.
In the early 1920s there was a surge in Chicago industry, spurring massive waves of European immigrants to come to the city for work. Many Swedes found their way north to join the growing base of northern European culture, including German, Polish and Jewish immigrants who were establishing themselves in the nearby neighborhoods. The number of businesses grew to support the increased population, and in 1921 the Uptown Clark Street Business Men's Association was founded to further strengthen local commerce.
After the depression, and particularly after World War II, there was a great exodus of families from the city to the burgeoning Chicago suburbs, which precipitated a slow decline in the neighborhood. In the early 1960s the Uptown Clark Street Business Men's Association renamed itself the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to buy up the identity and culture of the surrounding community. Then, on October 17, 1964, Andersonville was rededicated in a ceremony attended by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and Illinois Governor at the time, Otto Kerner, securing the neighborhood's future as a viable, and permanent, Chicago community.
In 1976, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, attended the opening of the first Swedish American Center Museum (5211 N. Clark St, 773-728-8111) in the country, which was sited for Andersonville because of the strong Swedish heritage present there. The museum was merely a modest storefront log cabin that showcased Swedish family histories. Over the years the institution has grown and diversified. Since it opened, the museum has moved, added gallery space, and recently constructed a grand staircase to the second floor as well as a children's museum. With concerts by Swedish singers, fine art exhibits focusing on Swedish culture, and Swedish language classes, the Center remains a quintessential Midwest spot to explore the unique customs and traditions of this European nation.
During the 1980s a renewed interest in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood hit as young working adults began to recognize the benefits of the neighborhood, a quick 20-minute 'El' ride to the Loop being one that attracted many who needed to commute downtown. Today, Andersonville is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, with a thriving shopping and dining district along Clark Street, parks for families with children, and easy access to the lakefront and city beaches.
Andersonville has a few small neighborhood parks, and is a short bike ride from Lincoln Park's lakefront path and beaches. The parks and beaches are the perfect place to escape the heat on a stuffy summer's day. Or in the winter, take to the trails on a pair of cross-country skies.
Andersonville Playlot Park, at the corner of Ashland Avenue and Farragut Avenue, is a small playlot with playground swing sets and slides for the little ones. Further up Ashland Avenue, at its corner with Bryn Mawr Avenue, is Mellin Playlot Park which was the first 'baby park' in the city. Dedicated in the 1930s, this was the first park in Chicago designed specifically as a place mothers could bring their young children to play. Improvements have been made over the years, and now the park has a soft surface under the playground equipment to prevent cuts or bruises from falls toddlers tend to take with frequency.
In the 1950s Foster Avenue Beach was created as an extension of Lincoln Park. E.V Buchsbaum designed the original beach house for the site, which was constructed between the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1990s, a new beach house provided improved amenities, including bathrooms and concessions. Today the beach has a wide strip of beautiful sand, and provides a great spot for a summer outing.
Andersonville Real Estate
Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood is filled with lovely residential streets, lined with shade-providing trees and an assortment of housing options. Typical residences include a mix of two- and three-flats, condo conversions and single-family homes. In addition, there are some fantastic Victorians that have been restored to their vintage prime. The limestone work on dozens of walk-ups has been incredibly restored, and even a few gargoyles can be spotted peering out from the corners of 19th century buildings.
Single-family private homes in the area are mainly a hodgepodge of two-story brick walk-ups and two-story traditional houses complete with covered front porches and freshly painted siding. There's a lot of newly constructed real estate in Andersonville, but a lot of the older homes have been renovated and fitted with upgrades so residents get all the amenities of modern living.
This Chicago neighborhood really caters to people from all walks of life with a range of homes and prices. Vintage courtyard condos and multi-unit brick apartment buildings provide affordable one- and two-bedroom places.
Check out our Andersonville home sales statistics [here] to get an idea of the real estate market trends in this neighborhood.
What's on the Menu?
Great restaurants in Andersonville are as plentiful as the cherries that used to grow on the trees in the nearby orchards over 150 years ago. Classic Swedish restaurants still dot the area, but the neighborhood now flourishes with the tastes of cultures from Lebanon to Korea.
For a taste of Japan, check out the soothing cuisine of Sunshine Cafe (5449 N Clark St., 773-334-6212). Residents rave about its udon noodles that are both delicious and medicinal during cold Chicago winters. And it's affordable too! Full meals average $10.
If sushi is more your Japanese thing, stop by Ora (5143 N Clark St., 773-506-2978) for an intimate dinner with your loved one. The restaurant is known for its Western spin on traditional sushi preparations, adding bacon to the wasabi tail and offering favorite American side dishes such as sweet potato fries.
As a growing culinary hot spot, Andersonville also has a few high end restaurants to choose from. As an interesting spin on the traditional scene, Elizabeth Restaurant (5110 N Ashland Ave. Suite 2, 773-598-0602) aka Iliana Regan invites you to her home for a taste of Michelin Star quality dishes.
If you're looking to eat as well as socialize, come by Vincent (1475 W Balmoral Ave., 773-334-7168). The restaurant offers what's considered "New American" cuisine that includes refined dishes such as a lamb burger and meaty mussels but also prides itself on offering a variety of wines and beers to choose from.
For more international taste, don't miss Cosina Grill (1706 W Foster Ave., 773-271-7103) for fresh and affordable Mexican food and Taste of Lebanon (1509 W Foster Ave., 773-334-1600) for a relaxing and long Middle Eastern dinner.
The list of international restaurants and innovative American cuisine keeps growing and with too much to mention here, Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood is worth a trip for dinner even if you don't choose to live here.
Best Shopping Stops
It's easy to spend hours strolling Clark Street dipping into diverse bookshops or trying to find that perfect gift for someone special. Just like your restaurant excursions, shopping in Andersonville takes you around the globe with its variety of storefronts and boutiques selling everything from a colorful Turkish hookah to a Buddhist statue offering abhaya mudra, the gesture of protection.
If you've just moved to the neighborhood, the Andersonville Galleria (5247 N Clark St., 773-878-8570) will make it easy to transport that new house into a home. With great wall art that's affordable and sometimes even local, you can deck those walls with creativity. Tons of interesting bags, scarves, and specialty items make this the perfect place for gifts.
To beautify that garden, stop by Guthsemane Garden Center (5739 N Clark St., 773-878-5915) to stock up on flowers, plants, and unique finds that'll make your backyard stand out. And while your browsing, grab a glass of wine or coffee at the bar for a refreshment.
If you have kids, don't miss Green Genes (5111 N Clark St., 773-944-9250) that offers eco-friendly children's clothes as well as toys made out of repurposed materials. With a savvy owner, the concerned parent will get all his or her environmental and safety questions answered.
The green lifestyle continues at GreenSky (5357 N Ashland Ave., 773-275-1911) with home decor as well as kitchen and bath needs that are re-used, recycled, and sustainable. Unique items, such beer bottles make into tumblers, make great gifts for friends and family.
Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood isn't the Magnificent Mile for clothes shopping, but it offers unique thrift shops and boutiques that'll make you stand out in the crowd instead of blend in with the same shirt that everyone got at Gap. Check out Mr. and Mrs. Digz (5668 N Clark St., 773-447-8527) for a well maintained collection of used and vintage clothing. Milk Handmade (5137 N Clark St., 773-234-7053) is an affordable women's boutique that offers unique items and a helpful staff.
Much more shopping await you on Clark Street in Andersonville. Stop by for a unique shopping experience, whether you live here or not.
Night on the Town
In this north side Chicago neighborhood, Clark Street is the hotspot for evening entertainment and active nightlife. Lined with dozens of bars and even a few nightclubs, Andersonville residents know where to go once the night falls and are ready for the fun to begin.
Gary or straight, Marty's Martini Bar (1511 W Balmoral Ave., 773-454-0161) is one of Andersonville's favorite hang out spots. The bar bites are not your usual fried grub. The menu features interesting selections such as blue cheese stuffed olives. For dessert, go for a chocolate martini that comes in different types of chocolates. Residents especially enjoy the outdoor patio during summers that's great for people-watching.
For a more active evening, stop by Mary's Attic (5400 N Clark., 773-784-6969) for a fun night of karaoke. The shy customers can go for a game of giant Jenga or Connect Four instead. Or just relax with your drink on one of the couches and if you dare, lie down on the bar's bed.
Bring your partner or friend for an intimate night out at Joie De Vine (1744 W Balmoral Ave., 773-989-6846). Hang out at the outdoor patio or experiment with the mixologist inside. A long list of wine is available but the beer selection is fantastic was well.
If you're on a tight budget, you can still go out. Come by Simon's Tavern (5210 N Clark St., 773-878-0894) for cheap drinks and Juke Box filled with your old-time favorites. During Christmas, residents make a special trip to the bar for their glogg.
More bars and restaurants on Andersonville's Clark Street offer sports on a big screen, a wide selection of craft beers, and vegetarian goodies with a twist.
In the mood for dinner and a show? With so many restaurants within a small area, it's easy to make a unique night out on the town come to life on-the-fly in Andersonville. The neighborhood is teeming with art and culture, so it's no surprise that this part of town is home to a one-of-a-kind production company.
The Quest Theatre Ensemble (1609 W. Gregory St., 312-458-0895) creates completely original productions using large-scale puppets to bring engaging fantasies to life. Quest claims to be the 'People's Theatre of Chicago'. We often find ensemble cast members out on the streets in the summer performing at outdoor events and pumping a bit of imagination and fun into the typical neighborhood festivals. The idea is to create a magical spectacle that will 'Inform, Delight, Inspire and Unite.' From what we've seen, they've done it!
Mark Your Calendar
Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood has a fun, lively attitude, and this is apparent during almost every month of the year, when the streets come alive with various neighborhood festivals and celebrations.
Everybody loves the summer, and a particularly wonderful kickoff to the season is the annual Midsommarfest, held every June. Each year, nearly 40,000 people gather along Clark Street from Foster to Balmoral for two days of music, dancing and delicious food. Regional vendors sell Scandinavian-themed trinkets, as others like them did 150 years ago. Ethnic dance troupes and modern-rock musicians provide the entertainment.
Transforming the neighborhood's retail shops into wine tasting destinations, the annual Wine Walk offers participants over 30 wines to try! Chose between two routes and make your way through the pouring locations with your specially printed glass. This event raises funds for the non-profit organization Andersonville Development Corporation that fosters "sustainable community and economic development." When fall days start to get shorter, and the trees begin to look barren, the Andersonville Dessert Crawl breaks through the gloom. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a taste of sugary goods offered by the neighborhood's bakeries and restaurants. Kick off the holiday season with this event and figure out what to get grandma for Christmas this year.
Andersonville is a relatively small Chicago neighborhood that lends itself to foot traffic. The residential side streets boast well maintained, shady sidewalks, perfect for an afternoon or evening stroll, or a quick commute to the shops and eateries concentrated along Clark Street. This commercial district is large enough to offer variety, but small enough that everything is within walking distance. If you have a bicycle, you can get from one end of the neighborhood to the other in a matter of minutes (like five) and portions of Ashland Avenue and Clark Street have designated bike lanes for your safety.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line train has stops at nearby Berwyn and Bryn Mawr avenues, just to the east of the neighborhood about four blocks (the ride to the Loop takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the time of day, day of the week and any given construction issues). CTA buses also do their part to make sure Andersonville residents can use public transportation to get around quickly and easily. The neighborhood's main routes are the #92 which runs east/west along Foster Avenue and the #22 which heads north/south on Clark Street. The #50 is also a handy bus which cruises through Andersonville on Ashland Avenue.
If you have a car of your own as your main mode of transportation, parking in Andersonville can be hectic on weekends but it is usually relatively easy to find a metered spot along Clark Street during the week.
Most of the side streets are open parking (i.e. no permit required), so if you are willing to walk a few blocks, it's not too hard to find a spot.
As you know by now, Clark Street is the neighborhood's major thoroughfare, and Ashland Avenue is also a busy street used by motorists in the area. But if you want to go downtown, we wouldn't recommend trying to take either street all the way into the Loop because stoplights and traffic can make those routes downright maddening. Instead, we take Foster Avenue east over to Lake Shore Drive. This multi-lane highway runs along the shoreline and will get you to Chicago's city center in no time flat, as long as there are no backups from rush hour congestion.
School's in Session
Despite its small size, Andersonville has a good selection of public and private schools within its neighborhood borders. In addition to the following list, you can find more information on Chicago area schools at our our Chicago Guide Schools page..
Peirce Elementary - 1423 W Bryn Mawr Ave. - (773) 534-2440
St. Gregory's High School - 1677 W Bryn Mawr Ave. (773) 907-2100
Trumbull Elementary School - 5200 N Ashland - (773) 534-2430
From shopping to stamps, we compiled a list of places in Andersonville that cover all your basic, everyday needs.
Hamburger Mary's - 5400 N Clark St. - (773) 784-6969
M. Henry - 5707 N Clark St. - (773) 561-1600
Vincent - 1475 W Balmoral Ave. - (773) 334-7168
Acre - 5308 N Clark St. - (773) 334-7600
A Taste of Heaven - 5401 N Clark St. - (773) 989-0151
Pauline's - 1754 W Balmoral Ave. - (773) 561-8573
Ann Sather's Restaurant - 5207 N Clark St. - (773) 271-6677
Big Jones - 5347 N Clark St. - (773) 275-5725
Sunshine Cafe - 5449 N Clark St. - (773) 334-6214
Jin Ju - 5203 N Clark St. - (773) 334-6377
Noodle Zone - 5427 N Clark St. - (773) 293-1089
Ora - 5143 N Clark St. - (773) 506-2978
Polygon Cafe - 5204 N Clark St. - (773) 275-1234
Swedish Bakery - 5348 N Clark St. - (773) 561-8919
Middle East Bakery & Pastry - 1512 W Foster Ave. - (773) 561-2224
Isabella Bakery - 1659 W Foster Ave. - (773) 275-5237
La Baguette Bakery - 5712 N Clark St. - (773) 878-8556
Marty's Martini Bar - 1511 W Balmoral Ave. - (773) 454-0161
Mary's Attic - 5400 N Clark St. - (773) 784-6969
Joie de Vine - 1744 W Balmoral Ave. - (773) 989-6846
Simon's Tavern - 5210 N Clark St. - (773) 878-0894
Vincent - 1475 W Balmoral Ave. - (773) 334-7168
Farraguts on Clark - 5240 N Clark St. - (773) 728-4903
@mosphere - 5355 N Clark St. - (773) 784-1100
Edgewater Lounge - 5600 N Ashland Ave. - (773) 878-3343
The Coffee Studio - 5628 N Clark St. - (773) 271-7881
Kopi Traveler's Cafe - 5317 N Clark St. - (773) 989-5674
Metropolis Coffee - 5545 N Clark St. - (773) 338-4904
Starbucks - 5300 N Clark St. - (773) 728-2777
First Slice Pie Cafe - 5357 N Ashland Ave. - (773) 275-4297
Anteprima - 5316 N Clark St. - (773) 506-9990
Calo Ristorante - 5343 N Clark St. - (773) 271-7725
Diamante Azul - 5661 N Clark St. - (773) 334-5665
Cosina Grill - 1706 W Foster Ave. - (773) 271-7103
Los Arcos - 5525 N Clark St. - (773) 334-6450
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Taste of Lebanon - 1509 W Foster Ave. - (773) 334-1600
Reza's Restaurant - 5255 N Clark St. - (773) 561-1898
Erickson's Delicatessen - 5250 N Clark St. - (773) 561-5634
Svea - 5236 N Clark St. - (773) 275-7738
Wikstrom's Gourmet Foods - 5217 N Clark St. - (773) 275-6100
The Neo-Futurists - 5153 N Ashland Ave. - (773) 275-5255
Democracy Burlesque - 5400 N Clark St.
Quest Theatre Ensemble - 1609 W Gregory - (312) 458-0895
Swedish American Museum - 5211 N Clark St. - (773) 728-8111
Edgewater Produce - 5509 N Clark St. - (773) 275-3800
La Primera Fruit Liquor & Meats - (773) 784-5544
Middle East Bakery & Grocery - (773) 561-2224
Urban Orchard - 5212 N Clark St. - (773) 754-7235
Kru Strength + Fitness - 5121 N Clark St. - (773) 944-1570
B&W Gym - 5920 N Ridge Ave. - (773) 561-9692
Cheetah Gym - 5248 N Clark St. - (773) 728-7777
Gordono Pharmacy - 5501 N Clark St. - (773) 561-3671
Walgreens - 5440 N Clark St. - (773) 596-5022
Post Office (Uptown)
US Post Office - 4850 N Broadway - (773) 561-1720
Andersonville Galleria - 5247 N Clark St. - (773) 878-8570
Green Genes - 5111 N Clark St. - (773) 944-9250
Gethsemane Garden Center - 5739 N Clark St. - (773) 878-5915
GreenSky - 5357 N Ashland Ave. - (773) 275-1911
Windy Knitty - 5653 N Clark St. - (773) 800-9276
Scout - 5221 N Clark St. - (773) 275-5700
Mr. and Mrs. Digz - 5668 N Clark St. - (773) 447-8527
Milk Handmade - 5137 N Clark St. - (773) 234-7053
The Haymaker Shop - 5507 N Clark St. - (773) 681-0798
Turley Road - 5239 N Clark St. - (773) 878-0097
The White Attic - 5225 N Clark St. - (773) 907-9800
Toys et Cetera - 5311 N Clark St. - (773) 769-5311
Akira - 5228 N Clark St. - (773) 275-3664
Wooly Mammoth Antiques, Oddities, & Resale - 1513 W Foster Ave. - (773) 989-3294
The Brown Elephant - 5404 N Clark St. - (773) 271-9382
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Andersonville offers homeowners a wide range of real estate. Andersonville homes include lofts, condos and townhomes, to name a few. In addition to Chicago real estate, you can get detailed neighborhood information from our comprehensive online Chicago neighborhoods guide. With features like dining, shopping, entertainment, and resources, we've done all the leg work already to make your home search that much easier. Now, when a listing in Andersonville catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without leaving your computer.