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Andersonville, Chicago, Travel Guide

Martha Stewart Living, July 2012

A hundred years ago, Chicago's Swedish population was second only to Stockholm's -- and its stronghold was Andersonville, the vibrant neighborhood seven miles north of downtown. Today, there remains a very robust Scandanavian presence -- from a blue-and-yellow water tower that resembles the Swedish flag to bottled lingonberry syrup. But mixed in with the old-country feel is a palpable sense of being in a small town: Young families settle here, independent stores and cafes open, and the result is one of those rare main drags -- here, it's North Clark Street -- where you'll find something that appeals to every generation of the family. As well as a pair of clogs for a doll.

Swedish American Museum

Track the Swedish immigrants' journey from their homeland to the U.S. in dioramas in the museum's permanent exhibit. The children's museum upstairs is worth a trip on its own. The gift shop has Swedish finds rarely seen on these shores. A Swedish-flag-painted water tower sits on the roof of the Swedish American Museum, next to Ann Sather, a local diner.
5211 North Clark Street, swedishamericanmuseum.org

Ann Sather

Start with waffles at this old-fashioned Swedish restaurant, a beloved Chicago chainlet. Take home some lingonberry syrup.
5207 North Clark Street, annsather.com

Brimfield

The owner of this adored antiques shop, Julie Fernstrom has an eye for everything tartan, even thermoses. She makes homewares with vintage fabrics (chairs upholstered in Hudson Bay stripes).
5219 North Clark Street, brimfieldus.com

Woolly Mammoth

Husband-and-wife owners Adam and Skye Rust display a mix of Americana, taxidermy, curios, biological specimens, and vintage books with a big dose of humor.
1513 West Foster Avenue, www.woollymammothchicago.com

Foursided

Todd Mack's frame-and-gift shop overflows with an extraordinary collection of vintage word-card primers, flash cards, and letter tiles.
5061 North Clark Street, foursided.com

Hopleaf

A local watering hole known for serving mussels, Hopleaf also offers hearty fare, such as an organic Montreal-style brisket platter and Nueske's ham on pumpernickel with fries. All of which goes well with its vast selection of beers.
5148 North Clark Street, hopleaf.com

Scout

Owner Larry Vodak, a former advertising executive, features local start-up designers and antiques in his spare, utilitarian shop.
5221 North Clark Street, scoutchicago.com

The Coffee Studio

You can't have a truly cool main street if you don't have a serious coffee shop, and this place takes its brews seriously, stocking cult-favorite Intelligentsia beans. The owners have backgrounds in design, so the cafe looks as good as its coffee tastes.
5628 North Clark Street, thecoffeestudio.com

Hotel 411

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

In the tony Gold Coast area, this property (formerly the Elysian) is on the high end of the spectrum, but the service, details, and restaurants are superb.
From $415 per night, 11 East Walton Street, waldorfastoria3.hilton.com

Longman & Eagle

This Logan Square hot spot is a restaurant and a small modern inn. The restaurant specializes in regional fare, with a great selection of whiskey. The six rooms have quirky touches, such as cassette recorders and local quilts.
From $85 per night, 2657 North Kedzie Avenue, longmanandeagle.com

Shops

Haymaker

The locally made merchandise in this home decor store offers unique items that are also usually made by hand and sustainably sourced.
5507 North Clark Street, haymakershop.com

Room Service

This urban boutique is the place to go for midcentury modern furniture, decorative objects, and art.
5438 North Clark Street, roomservice-chicago.com

Roost

Owner Daniel Malone features unique finds from estate sales and auctions for this home furnishing shop. He sells everything from vintage dishware to antique farmhouse tables and hutches.
5634 North Clark Street

Milk

This new boutique for women features high-quality handmade clothing and accessories. You can even schedule after-hours shopping for yourself and a group of friends.
5137 North Clark Street, milkhandmade.com

Restaurants

Big Jones

Try the Southern heirloom cooking here in summer when you can sit on the outdoor patio. Bourbon enthusiasts can join the Big Jones Bourbon Society and get a stamp on their bourbon passport each time they sample a new bourbon or whiskey.
5347 North Clark Street, bigjoneschicago.com

Anteprima

With an ever-changing menu based on seasonal ingredients, the Italian home-style food is served with wines that come in quartino carafes in case you'd like to sample a few.
5316 North Clark Street, anteprimachicago.net

Vincent

Don't miss the three-course chef's farm tasting at this Dutch bistro, with a new farm featured each week. When the weather's nice, customers are welcome to bring their pooch and eat on the dog-friendly patio.
1475 West Balmoral Avenue, vincentchicago.com

Middle East Bakery and Grocery

This beloved bakery and grocery has a variety of spices, dried fruits and nuts, tasty dips and meze, baked feta pies, and falafel sandwiches.
1512 West Foster Avenue, middleeastbakeryandgrocery.com

Comments (8)

  • ChiPhilly1 18 Oct, 2014

    If you are visiting Andersonville, I highly recommend this fun ethnic food tour! http://www.zerve.com/ChiEthnicFT/Aville

  • KatrinaEB 7 Jul, 2012

    Every year my family & I would set aside time to visit Andersonville. Being a Swedish-American family, we loved visiting the shops, eating all the great food & enjoyed a little bit of Sweden. Unfortunately, I see you have only listed only 2 Swedish places... Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that people have thriving businesses, but the town has lost 90% of it's Swedish-ness. Svea's, Tre Kronor, Sweden Shop, The Swedish Bakery, Swedish Museum, & Erickson's are a few things left that I would recommed.

  • Cannanie 9 Jun, 2012

    Growing up in Chicago our Swedish family visited Andersonville on a weekly basis. I can't believe you didn't include the Swedish Bakery in your review. It is THE BEST bakery on Clark St.

  • So Different 7 Jun, 2012

    P.S. In 4 years living there and amongst all the "neighbors" I met, I discovered I was the only one that ever even visited the Swedish History Museum (or even knew it was there).

  • So Different 7 Jun, 2012

    Hilarious. My first day waking up in this "neighborhood" (I didn't have to be up before 1pm either) was to her show with special guest Patti Labelle. Martha asked Patti a question. Her response? "Oh, that happened while you were, oh well, let's just say.....'away'". (i.e. in the clink). Hilarious

    They absolutey deplore Donald Trump here in this "neighborhood" though. What gives "aware" and "cool" people?

  • breiss 6 Jun, 2012

    Also, you hit the nail on the head for the Middle East Bakery and Grocery. They have the BEST spinach/lemon pies you will ever have and it is so affordable!

  • breiss 6 Jun, 2012

    Got my copy of the new Living in the mail today and was SO excited to see a spread on the neighborhood that I live in! Andersonville is full of wonderful shops, tasty eats and a plethora of things to do. I was very surprised that you left out one of the best parts about our neighborhood though...Gusthemane Garden Center and their Wild Pansy Gift Shop! Not only can you get all of your plants, etc., there, but you can also pick up amazing gifts. It is a must for any visitor to the area!

  • Gary Zasuwa 5 Jun, 2012

    Good summary of an exciting neighborhood