Chicago has been called a city of neighborhoods. With so much to do in the lively downtown area, it may seem difficult to venture out of the Loop. But do it! Chicago is best experienced by exploring its neighborhoods, and we hope you enjoy your stay in ours.
Andersonville has its roots in Sweden, originating in the late 1800s when immigrants from the country settled in what was once a cherry orchard north of downtown. While you’ll still find Swedish businesses on Clark Street, the neighborhood has grown into a diverse community, supporting cultures of all kinds with its eclectic restaurants and independently-owned small businesses.
How Swede it is! Although many of the Swedish families that once lived in Andersonville have moved on, there’s still a lot of Swedish pride to be found in the area. Even our neighborhood’s water tower is painted with the likeness of the Swedish flag and a large Dala horse is stationed on the corner of Clark and Farragut. Visit in June for Midsommarfest, one of Chicago’s biggest summer festivals celebrating traditions old and new.
Here are a few of the Swedish businesses that operate in the neighborhood:
The Swedish-American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.
From folk music to art installations, this museum showcases Swedish culture in America. Upstairs, the Children’s Museum of Immigration features a fascinating exhibit for kids, presenting the story of Swedish immigrants. But the story of how people left the old world behind to forge new lives in the United States is a universally appealing one, no matter what your age or where you’ve come from.
Svea, 5236 N. Clark St.
Step right up to the coffee counter at this old-school diner (which is only open for breakfast) and ask for a stack of pancakes with lingonberry jam or, yes, even some Swedish meatballs. For those with heartier appetites, try the Viking Breakfast.
Swedish Bakery, 5348 N. Clark St.
A neighborhood gem for more than 80 years, the Swedish Bakery specializes in European-style pastries, like Marzariners and Toska tarts.
From Middle Eastern to Michelin-recognized Belgian dishes, Andersonville has something for every belly.
Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St., is the granddaddy of Chicago beer bars. Opened more than 20 years ago by Michael and Louise, it’s now known as one of the best beer bars in the country. The impeccable selection of Belgian and U.S. craft beers perfectly complements an elevated bar menu of mussels and frites; sandwiches; and seasonal dishes. This hot spot also adheres to a strict no-kid rule (no one under 21 is admitted, not even cute babies), but there are plenty of family-friendly options in the area.
Bongo Room, 5022 N. Clark St., is just a few doors down from The Guesthouse Hotel and is one of the best places for breakfast in the neighborhood, featuring fresh, seasonal food to fuel your adventures for the day. We recommend getting your jumpstart with a plate of pumpkin carrot cake flapjacks.
Anteprima, 5316 N. Clark St. is one of our favorite spots for a true taste of Italy. From antipastos to decadent desserts, this neighborhood gem is perfect for a special occasion or date night. There's even a charming courtyard if you're in an al fresco sorta mood!
Ora Sushi, 5143 N. Clark St., is probably one of the best kept secrets in Andersonville—and maybe even the city. They’re doing dynamite sushi at an affordable price. If you’re feeling adventurous, shimmy up to the sushi bar and ask for the chef’s choice.
Hamburger Mary’s, 5400 N. Clark St., may have its tongue planted firmly in its cheek (visit on Monday nights for cheeky fun at Drag Queen Bingo), but they’re serious about serving up amazing burgers and beer (which is brewed on premise!).
Whether you’re in the mood to chill out or live it up, Andersonville offers plenty of options for sipping and sampling.
Simon’s, 5210 N. Clark St.
Operating since 1928, this tavern got its start as a speakeasy. (If you want all the history, just ask the owner, Scott, for a tour of the place, including the crazy story behind the bar’s mural.) Around Christmastime, the bar serves up gallons of housemade glogg, a traditional warm mulled wine—which then gets Slushy-ified for a brief time during the summer months. Feeling adventurous? Do a shot of Jeppson’s Malört, a wormwood liquor created by a Swedish immigrant back in the 1930s. It’s legendary—and it’s only found in Chicago.
Marty’s Martini Bar, 1511 W. Balmoral Ave., is a little hole in the wall that pours some big cocktails. During the summer months, be sure to pull up a chair on their charming outdoor patio.
In Fine Spirits, 5418 N. Clark St., is easily the one of the best small wine shops in the city. Stop by to find a bottle for dinner at one of the neighborhood’s BYOBs.
Andersonville Wine and Spirits, 5201 N. Clark St., is another great, family-owned (and staffed) neighborhood bottle shop that carries craft beer, locally-made spirits, and affordable wine.
Pop into some of the unique shops lining the streets of Andersonville to browse and buy. You may end up wishing you’d brought along an extra suitcase to carry all of your new treasures home!
You might have to wait a bit to get into brunch at the Bongo Room, but that’s okay! You can wander through Notice, 5028 N. Clark St., as you wait. Notice carries an awesome collection of bags (you can never have too many!), along with boutique jewelry, clothes, candles and even snappy outfits for the kiddos.
Scout Chicago, 5221 N. Clark St., is a meticulous collection of industrial home items—usually one-of-a-kind pieces, so if you fall in love with something here, you better snap it up!
The knowledgeable staff at City Olive, 5644 N. Clark St., are happy to share samples of their extensive olive oil inventory to help you pick out that perfect bottle.
Foursided, 5061 N. Clark St., is a delightful shop filled with all kinds of ephemera, from 1950s maps to old movie theatre lettering. It’s a great place to pick up a unique gift, or just find the perfect card to go with it—Foursided beats Hallmark with its selection of locally-made, hand-printed and letterpress greeting cards.
Check out all the neighborhood happenings by visiting andersonville.org.