Just seven miles north of The Loop lies the Edgewater neighborhood. Edgewater attracted Chicago’s elite and Hollywood celebrities in the late 19th and early 20th century. Today, Edgewater is admired for its eclectic 1920s architecture, antique shops, many beaches and robust theatre scene.
Wealthy Chicagoans first laid down roots in Edgewater in their lakeside summer homes in the 1880s. The community soon became one of the most affluent in the Chicagoland area, lining the lake with mansions and family homes farther inland. At one point, Edgewater claimed to be the only electric lighted neighborhood in Chicago. In recent years, Chicagoans have continued to move farther north as neighboring communities like Uptown and Lakeview become more expensive and crowded.
While still holding on to that “city” feeling, Edgewater overall has less congestion, a wide range of housing prices, easy access to the CTA, a variety of local shops and eateries and great access to the lake. The community continues to welcome a diverse population of people. The eclectic group of residents that make up Edgewater is just one of the reasons it continues to grow in popularity.
Eat, Do, See
You can feel – and see – the history in the Edgewater community, with vintage lamp posts and early twentieth century architecture still lining the streets today. The community’s glamorous past attracted visitors like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the famous “sunset pink” Edgewater Beach Hotel. The resort featured its own private beach and drinks at its yacht club. Today, the remaining part of the hotel has been converted into the Edgewater Beach Apartments, still adorned in its famous pink color.
The Bryn Mawr Historical District is a must-visit in Edgewater. A staple entertainment spot in the Roaring Twenties, today it features local staples amongst the landmarks like Bryn Mawr & Belle Shore Apartment Hotels, 1907 Manor House and the 17-story Renaissance. People from around the Midwest flock to Edgewater’s many antique shops for unique finds.
Residents enjoy spending an afternoon at Chicagoland Games Dice Dijo, where guests are welcome to try out a variety of games for free. They also host a board game night every Wednesday. Follow your game night with a stop at Cookies & Carnitas, a local hotspot that features sustainably conscious and delicious cuisine. Their farm-to-table menu offers must-try meats like pork belly and brisket, old-fashioned cookies and their well-known goat taco.
The theatre scene in Edgewater is a weekend go-to for many residents. The Raven Theatre is nestled on the corner of Clark and Granville, featuring two stages and energetic performances. The award-winning theatre company was established in 1983 and hosts a variety of classic American productions like Suddenly, Last Summer as well as contemporary pieces like Choir Boy. Classes and camps for children are a vital part of the theatre and loved by children and parents alike.
When summer rolls around, Edgewater’s beaches are a must-visit. Beaches closer to downtown are often crowded, but Edgewater is far enough north to easily claim a spot in the sand. Kathy Osterman Beach (formerly known as Hollywood Beach) has a beach house with a concession stand, sand volleyball courts and shallow water making it kid-friendly and a magnet for families. Foster Avenue Beach is also a popular spot and offers a glimpse of the bright pink Edgewater Beach Apartments.
Collection of Communities
Being farther north has its perks, in Edgewater’s case, this means more room for real estate and great public transit. As Edgewater continues to grow, so do the sub-neighborhoods within it. Uptown and Edgewater were once connected but eventually separated as they both grew in size. Today, smaller neighborhoods like Andersonville and West Edgewater make up the diverse neighborhood.
Andersonville is located in western Edgewater and offers diverse culture and cuisine. Many Swedish immigrants were the driving force of Andersonville and their presence remains today with a variety of Swedish-owned businesses, cuisine and traditions. A little farther north, Loyola University Chicago is home to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students and scholars. The campus, settled directly on the edge of Lake Michigan, offers stunning views, a fresh perspective of the city and ample green space.
To house this continually growing community, a variety of high-rise apartment complexes and single-family homes dominate the area. Edgewater is known as a neighborhood with great bang for your buck. The median price of a condo sits around $225,000 and a single-family home’s median price is $670,000. Edgewater’s relatively affordable and diverse housing options are part of the attraction for many north side residents.
Edgewater ranks high in all accessibility areas, with a bike score of 85, transit score of 72 and a walk score of 89, making it the 18th most walkable neighborhood in Chicago. The Red Line Bryn Mawr Stop and bus routes #84, #157 and #151 weave throughout the Edgewater community. Best of all, as is for much of city living, most daily activities can be done on foot.
As families grow and prices rise, the expansion out and up doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Edgewater’s historic past and booming future make it enticing for both singles and families, and with the added perks of easy transportation and robust weekend activities, Edgewater is sure to be a hotspot for Chicago residents for years to come.