Andersonville Chicago, a north side neighborhood, is sometimes considered part of Edgewater. But Andersonville has a unique identity and history of its own. Andersonville is known for its Swedish roots. Sometimes called “Little Sweden,” the neighborhood is home to one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States. The Swedish American Museum has been headquartered in the heart of Andersonville, on Clark Street, for over 40 years. Clark Street is the urban epicenter of the area and many local and independent businesses have storefronts on this main drag. Historic architecture abounds here and throughout the neighborhood.
Finally, Andersonville has one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations in Chicago and is a community known for its commitment to equality.
Read on for a deeper dive into what it’s like to live in Andersonville Chicago.
While you’re shopping, you must try out some of the great local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Andersonville isn’t widely known throughout Chicago for its food — which is to the locals’ benefit. There are so many under-the-radar gems here: a Korean restaurant with fresh takes on traditional dishes; a cozy bistro known for its mussels and drinks menu; a Belgian-inspired gastropub with a huge beer list, where they focused on craft beer well before it was cool; a Southern restaurant with a large offering of whiskey and bourbon; a gluten-free bakery (with options for other dietary restrictions, as well); and the list could go on and on.
Notably for food lovers who enjoy dining in as much as out, the Andersonville Farmers Market operates on Wednesdays from May through October with stalls set up on Catalpa Ave between Clark and Ashland.
Andersonville is also home to tons of annual events and celebrations, with the following standouts:
Before Swedish farmers began to move to Andersonville in the 1850s, it was a cherry orchard. More Swedish immigrants moved to the neighborhood after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when building with wood was outlawed in the city, so they could build wooden houses and businesses along Clark Street.
Simon’s Tavern is one of the longest standing Swedish establishments in Andersonville. Opened in 1934, the basement was a speakeasy in the handful of years leading up to the bar’s post-Prohibition official opening. Rumor has it that Simon’s has been haunted by the ghost of a married woman who was having an affair with Simon’s son, Roy.
One of the sparks that drove more LGBTQ+ Chicagoans to Andersonville was the relocation of Women & Children First bookstore to the neighborhood in 1990.
Ever the champion of supporting local businesses, Andersonville’s eponymous “Andersonville Study,” which showed that money spent in a local business recirculates in the community more than money spent at a chain store, was published in 2010.
Finally, in 2010 Andersonville was named a National Commercial Historic District.
If you’d like to learn more about living in Andersonville, I recommend exploring the following resources:
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