Deemed “a quaint village in the middle of a world class city” by its Chamber of Commerce, this neighborhood that was once a haven for Swedish immigrants in the mid-19th century still retains a small-town feel amid the vast expanse of the nation’s third-largest city. Today, however, it represents a much more diverse ethnic community. Shops, restaurants, bookstores and art galleries represent the changing face of Andersonville, a number of which line the town’s main avenue, Clark Street. This area is easily accessible by the Red Line, via the Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stops.
5347 N. Clark St.
Though occupied by many restaurants bearing the influence of the ethnic community, Clark Street also hosts a local favorite more akin to something you might find on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. This Southern eatery offers Lowcountry dishes, like smoked pork shoulder, red beans and rice, and – for the more adventurous – a chicken liver po’ boy. Big Jones has an extensive brunch menu, which can be enjoyed Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
5348 N. Clark St.
This unassuming little bakery, sparsely decorated and white-walled, is surprisingly one of the things the community of Andersonville is most known for. It offers a number of Scandinavian delicacies, like the marzariners (almond tarts) and Swedish drommars (coconut cookies), as well as a number of traditional bakery favorites, like turtle cheesecake and petits fours.
Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark St.
An impressive building adorned with the patriotic colors of blue and yellow, the Swedish American Museum allows visitors to see the origins of the town’s most prominent European settlers. It also traces their declining presence, which began during the Great Depression and has continued ever since. Established in 1976, it was opened to Andersonville and the public in a ceremony attended by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden.
Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
A feminist bookstore run by business partners Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen for the past 30 years, Women & Children First has been a fixture in the Andersonville neighborhood since 1990. Though it obviously specializes in books for women and children, it offers a number of books catering to the surrounding LGBT community, which is the second-largest in Chicago after Boystown.
5247 N. Clark St.
A swanky, three-story gallery, it might appear from the outside like an expensive, high-brow establishment. Not so. It features a number of quirky and unique gifts from over 90 independently-owned booths. With a number of handcrafted goods from nearby vendors, its products represent the “keeping it local” mentality of many in Andersonville. Come to browse its jewelry, home décor, and photography and connect with neighborhood artisans.