Age-old beauty and a rich history give Bridgeport an edge over many Chicago neighborhoods. Built on the backs of Irish, German, and Norwegian immigrants, Bridgeport is a stronghold of elegant working-class culture. Welcoming an even more diverse mix of residents today, the shopping, dining and culture here overflow with options for amazing international cuisine, independent boutiques and global festivals. And who could forget, Bridgeport is where the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox play their home games. (So don't expect to see many Cubs fans around these parts!) Any time the Sox hit a home run, fireworks shoot out from the stadium as the roar of the crowd serenades the colorful display.
Location: 3 miles southwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Bronzeville, Near South Side, McKinley Park, Back-of-the-Yards
Boundaries: Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to the north, the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) to the east, Pershing Road to the south and Ashland Avenue to the west
Then and Now
The year 1836 saw the ground breaking of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This man-made endeavor created a connection between the Chicago River and the Illinois River, 96 miles apart. Immigrants flooded the area for construction jobs at the canal site and as a result, Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood was born. Irish, German and Norwegian canal dredgers made their homes along Archer Avenue named for William Beatty Archer, who oversaw the waterway's construction. In 1848 the canal was finished and opened for business. Suddenly Bridgeport was a bustling community of lumber yards, industrial factories and meatpacking plants. Archer Avenue became the main strip, and meatpacking industries became the major employer of the immigrant residents.
Although the population was diverse, each ethnic community built its own enclave. The Irish, German, Poles, Czechs and Lithuanians all constructed their own parishes, which became the moral center of each sub-neighborhood. Around these churches, two-flat houses and quaint brick cottages were built. Such a stable development led to strong businesses and soon enough, saloons, schools, and small retail, grocer, and industrial merchants came onto the scene. In the 1880s streetcars appeared on Halsted Street, boosting it to main drag status over Archer Avenue.
Today industry continues to thrive in Chicago's Bridgeport area. For over 150 years, this neighborhood has given Chicago and the surrounding areas some of its strongest workers. Not to mention some of its most influential. Five Chicago mayors have either come from Bridgeport or made it their main residence over the years.
Even though U.S. Cellular Field is absolutely key to big time fun in Bridgeport, no one can watch baseball all the time. So when the stadium is quiet, or we just feel like stretching the legs, one of our favorite things to do is stroll around Bridgeport's parks and maybe even play a little baseball ourselves. A visit to the park in the summer brings pleasant shade and walking trails, while the fall bursts with gorgeous yellows, reds, and browns of autumn leaves.
At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago architects were beginning to realize the importance of green spaces within the concrete limits of cities-and Bridgeport lucked out with a bunch of new parks that lure us with activity and serenity throughout the year. McGuane Park (2901 S Poplar Ave, 312-747-6497) was founded in 1905 and named after John F. McGuane, a former World War I vet and a member of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. Here you can toss the old ball around the bases at one of the baseball diamonds, or get a work out at the fitness center or tennis courts. When weather permits, enjoy outdoor concerts, swimming, and plenty of walking trails.
Wilson Park (1122 W 34th St, 312-747-7002), named after former alderman John P. Wilson, occupies 1.6 acres of Bridgeport land and is truly a gem to this Chicago neighborhood. The consistently good family programming is what keeps us coming back. There's a sports camp, a play camp, and even holiday activities throughout the year.
One of the biggest parks in Bridgeport, and the most popular, is Armour Square Park (3309 S Shields Ave, 312-747-6012). Do you remember that ditty, 'Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs. What kinds of kids love Armour hot dogs?' Well, Armour Square Park was named after the Armour brothers who owned the biggest meatpacking plant in Chicago. Armour and Company became one of Chicago's most important businesses and the brothers grew insanely rich. In short time, the Armour family developed into Chicago philanthropists and the creation of the park in 1905 was intended to honor the Armour family and help relieve the tensions and architectural claustrophobia of tenement housing. Armour Square Park was designed in part by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed the Chicago World's Fair. Today Armour Square Park has walking trails, basketball courts, a fitness center, baseball diamonds, a community meeting room, tennis courts, and even swimming facilities. A park with a hot dog history and lots of fun going on? Sounds good to us!
Bridgeport Real Estate
Bridgeport is a neighborhood for the average Joe with an elegant edge. Its vibrant personality shines brightly through generations of hard work and rich history. Tall, leafy trees dot the streets, and wide open parks are scattered between the concrete blocks. Old churches still stand from the original immigrant settlers, and young families walk the same avenues their grandparents did. Bridgeport is a Chicago community of long-standing roots and new buds. A recent kick of modernization and round of respectable rehabbing has added a contemporary twist to an old school neighborhood.
Bridgeport's real estate includes condominiums, apartments, low-rise flats, and two- and three-story walk-ups. A variety of smaller houses and private homes are also available, all examples of the blend of contemporary to classic building styles represented in this south side Chicago neighborhood. Bridgeport residences are being rehabbed left and right, many with sturdy brick facades that have stood the test of time (not too much aluminum siding here!).
What's on the Menu?
There's a cuisine for every palate and every schedule in Bridgeport restaurants, from on-the-go-meals to fine dining and multi-course menus. The only problem you might encounter is making enough room in the agenda to sample all the restaurants found in this Chicago neighborhood.
Want a good pastry to fill you up? Check out Pleasant House Bakery (964 W 31st St, 773-523-7437). This place definitely gives you the cafe feel with dishes that won't disappoint. The bakery is known for their British style pies that are amazingly flaky and delicious. Stop on in and BYOB to enjoy some wonderful pastries.
When you are in the neighborhood, head over to Punky's Pizza and Pasta (2600 S Wallace St, 312-842-2100), a place frequented by cops and city workers on their days off. Why? Maybe it's because when Punky's says a large pizza, they mean a pizza so big it'll take five grown men to finish. When you step foot in the place, we always have this comfortable feeling that we're in an episode of 'Cheers' when we go to Punky's. Everybody is so darn nice all the time. After trying it, you too will become a Punky's junky.
If you want something a little more standard but still adventurous, Potsticker House (3139 S. Halsted St, 312-326-6898) has some of the best Asian cuisine in Chicago. The shao long bao (soup dumplings) are divine. Each dumpling has a small amount of soup trapped inside its crust so when you bite into the dumpling you get a taste of the soup-and believe us, the flavor is unbelievable! Our vegetarian friends can't get over their eggplant wedges. Basically eggplant is fried to a crisp and then covered in a sweet hot sauce.
Maybe you are interested in a little Mediterranean cuisine. In that case, Zaytune (3129 S Morgan St, 773-254-6300) is the place for you. This restaurant prides itself in going with traditional Mediterranean recipes and making the freshest of meals. Their flatbreads and meats are prepared on a daily basis to give that fresh taste. While you're there, don't forget to try their falafel.
Night on the Town
The nightlife in Bridgeport definitely fosters a laid back sensibility rather than a hyperactive club scene. Most bars are local dives that serve up cold beer, friendly smiles, good conversation and a darn fine jukebox.
Bernice's Tavern (3238 S. Halsted St, 312-813-3215) is one of those places, family owned and run since 1965. You're more likely to find a good bottle of Jameson and shots going at the bar than fancy cocktail mixing. That's the charm. Many patrons go to Bernice and John's to grab a PBR, catch up on sports, and throw in a few gripes about politics while here.
Moving on to another family-owned joint, Schaller's Pump (3714 S Halsted St, 773-376-6332) has been around since 1881. Bridgeport has never really existed without Schaller's and there isn't anything fancy to the success. Just canned beer and simple bar burgers to munch on. It does have that historical atmosphere with a speakeasy door with the peep hole they had during the Prohibition. This bar is a great place to grab a drink and dive into some good 'ole Chicago history.
Mitchell's Tap (3356 S Halsted St, 773-927-6073) hasn't been around quite so long, but this neighborhood fixture is getting the bar scene right as it survives by the motto 'If you're thirsty, we'll see you there.' Southsiders can grab an Old Style, rally over the Sox games, and have an occasional homemade buffet of the best meatballs this side of U.S. Cellular Field.
Mark Your Calendar
Every Chicago neighborhood has signature special events and Bridgeport is no different.
Oftentimes we wander down to U.S. Cellular field to find that, not only do we get to see the White Sox play some heavy-hitting baseball, but there's also a festival awaiting fans as we exit the stadium!
The Croatian Fest, also known as Velika Gospa, at St. Jerome's Parish (2823 S Princeton Ave, 312-842-7668) is one of Bridgeport's more unique community get-togethers. Every year on August 15th thousands of people of Croatian decent-and every other ancestry-gather together to commemorate Velika Gospa. Velika Gospa is a celebration of the Heavenly Assumption of the Virgin Mary and has been celebrated at St. Jerome's Parish for over 100 years.
To put this celebration in perspective, just think about how important it is to the Irish folks-and non-Irish folks-to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, and you'll get an idea of the spirit and meaning behind this longstanding Croatian festivity. For nine days, thousands attend prayers leading up to the Assumption when a small parade marches through the neighborhood surrounding St. Jerome's Parish and a crowd of hungry Bridgeport residents dig into traditional lamb dishes and other festival food served up by the parish.
Probably the most notable, and long-lasting, special events in Bridgeport are the major league baseball games. For literally half the year, the World Champion White Sox play at U.S. Cellular Field (333 W 35th St, 312-674-1000) enticing hundreds of thousands of fans to come experience America's time-honored classic sport. There's not much better than being in the stadium on a sunny afternoon with a hot dog in one hand and an ice-cold beer in the other. Whether winning or losing, the White Sox take the field like true champions and give their fans a game to remember. And when the ninth comes to a close, fans know how to keep the good times rolling by hitting up the friendly pubs and grills just outside the stadium to rejoice, or lament, their team's performance.
Car owners will adore Bridgeport's easy transportation options. There are two major highways connecting the neighborhood not only to Chicago, but to the outer reaches of suburbia. The Stevenson Expressway (I-55) borders Bridgeport on the north, while the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) lines the neighborhood to the east.
If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, Bridgeport has plenty of public transportation options to get you where you need to go. Take one of the many CTA busses that cross through the neighborhood. The Halsted #8 and the Ashland #9 will carry you directly downtown, while the #35 bus down 35th Street connects passengers to Bridgeport's Red Line train stop and beyond. If you don't quite know where you're going, the Pershing Road #39 bus is a good bet, as it leads pretty much everywhere in Bridgeport.
The CTA elevated train, or 'El,' is a convenient transportation resource for folks in Bridgeport as well. The Red Line runs straight through the neighborhood stopping next to the White Sox's stadium, and will take a rider north all the way into East Rogers Park at the tip of the city or way far south down to Princeton Park. The Orange Line runs along Bridgeport's northern border, with stops at Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue. This line takes passengers north to the Loop, or south to Midway Airport.
Bridgeport is more spread out than most Chicago neighborhoods, which makes walking to work or entertainment more of a workout than a leisurely stroll, but biking is still easily doable and our preferred mode of transportation-especially in the warm weather months.
School's in Session
If you're looking for a good assortment of educational options for the student in your life, Bridgeport school offer the perfect location. There is a wealth of private, parochial and public schools in this Chicago neighborhood that span from elementary education to high school level. For more information on surrounding academic institutions please visit our Chicago Guide Schools page.
Bridgeport Catholic Academy - 3700 S Lowe Ave - (773) 376-6223
Charles N Holden Elementary School - 1104 W 31st St - (773) 535-7200
De La Salle Institute - 1040 W 32nd Pl - (312) 842-7355
James Ward Elementary School - 2701
S Shields Ave - (773) 534-9050
McClellan Elementary School - 3527 S Wallace St - (773) 535-1732
Armour Elementary School - 950 W
33rd Pl - (773) 535-4530
Healy Elementary School - 3010 S Parnell Ave - (773) 534-9190
Sheridan Math & Science Academy
- 533 W 27th St - (773) 534-9120
St Barbara Grammar School - 2867 S Throop St - (312) 326-6243
St George Armour Branch School - 911 W 32nd St - (773) 535-7298
Bridgeport is one of those Chicago neighborhoods where it's actually easy to get your errands done. There is a mix of businesses with plenty of parking to fulfill your dining, entertaining and extracurricular needs. Here's a good start on everything Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood offers its residents.
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
Kevin's Hamburger Heaven - 554 W Pershing Rd - (773) 924-5771
Maxwell St Depot - 411 W 31st St - (312) 326-3514
Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs - 3501 S Union Ave - (773) 247-2700
Polo Cafe & Catering - 3322 S Morgan Ave - (773) 927-7656
Rocky's - 234 W 31st St
- (312) 842-9200
Han 202 - 605 W 31st St - (312) 949-1314
Home Style Taste Chinese Restaurant - 3205 S Halsted St - (312) 949-9328
Northern City - 742 W 31st St - (312) 842-9677
Potsticker House - 3139 S Halsted St - (312) 326-6898
Ace Bakeries - 3241 S Halsted St - (312) 225-4973
Bridgeport Bakery - 2907 S Archer Ave - (773) 523-1121
Bruno's Bakery - 3341 S Lituanica Ave - (773) 254-6376
Impallaria Bakery & Deli - 2952 S Wallace St - (312) 842-2146
La Baguette Bakery - 3251 S Halsted St - (312) 326-3858
Pleasant House Bakery - 964 W 31st St - (773) 523-7437
Bacardi At the Park - 320 W 35th St - (312) 674-5860
Bernice's Tavern - 3238 S Halsted St - (312) 813-3215
Cork and Kerry at the Park - 3258 S
Princeton Ave - (312) 842-0769
Mitchell's Tap - 3356 S Halsted St - (773) 927-6073
Schaller's Pump - 3714 S Halsted St - (773) 376-6332
Shinnick's Pub - 3758 S Union Ave - (773) 376-3525
Zhou B Art Lounge - 1029 W 35th
St - (773) 523-7777
Coffee Shops and Sweets
Bridgeport Coffee Company - 3101 S Morgan St - (773) 247-9950
Dunkin' Donuts - 749 W 31st St - (312) 567-9212
Jackalope Coffee & Tea House -
755 W 32nd St - (312) 888-3468
Freddie's Pizza & Pasta Parlor - 701 W 31st St - (312) 808-0147
Punky's Pizza and Pasta - 2600 S Wallace St - (312) 842-2100
Ricobene's - 252 W 26th St - (312) 225-5555
Goodie Tacos - 1117 W 31st St - (773) 247-2355
Pancho Pistolas - 700 W 31st St - (312) 225-8808
Tacos Erendira - 3207 S Halsted St - (312) 567-0202
Taqueria La Mexicana - 815 W 35th St - (773) 890-1090
Taqueria San Jose - 3253 S Halsted - (312) 225-7386
Croation Fest at St. Jerome Parish - 2823 S Princeton Ave - (312) 842-7668
Cermak's Fresh Market - 3033 S Halsted St - (312) 460-3460
Martinez Supermarket - 3301 S Morgan St - (773) 254-4048
Lance's Gym - 1200 W 35th ST - (773) 294-1550
Mercy Medical - 2837 S Halsted St - (312) 842-2327
Midwest Physician Center - 3201 S Wallace St - (312) 326-1615
Monastery of the Holy Cross - 3111 S Aberdeen St - (773) 927-7424
U.S. Cellular Field - 333 W 35th St - (312) 674-1000
Zhou Brothers Arts Foundation - 3302 S Morgan St - (773) 523-0200
Daley Public Library - 3400 S Halsted St - (312) 747-8990
Bridgeport Pharmacy - 3201 S Wallace St - (312) 791-9000
CVS Pharmacy - 741 W 31st
St - (312) 567-9044
Voss Pharmacy - 3303 S Halsted St - (773) 523-5314
Walgreens - 3000 S Halsted St - (312) 225-0607
9th District (Deering) - 3120 S Halsted St - (312) 747-8227
Augustine's Eternal Gifts - 3327 St Halsted St - (773) 843-1933
Blue City Cycles - 3201 S Halsted St - (312) 225-3780
Bridgeport Comics & Games - 3323 S Halsted St - (773) 475-6214
Hardscrabble Gifts - 3333 S Halsted
St - (773) 696-9574
Henry's Sports & Bait - 3130 S Canal St - (312) 225-8538
Let's Boogie Records & Tapes - 3321 S Halsted St - (773) 254-0139
Unique Thrift Store - 3000 S Halsted St - (312) 842-0942
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Bridgeport offers homeowners a wide range of residential properties. Bridgeport 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 Bridgeport Chicago catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without setting foot in the neighborhood.