A Guide to Chicago’s Andersonville Neighborhood

The northern neighborhood of Andersonville is chock-full of bookstores, antique shops and delicious eating. Established by Swedish immigrants in the 1800s, Andersonville still has a strong Swedish presence with the Swedish American Museum, Swedish bakery and taverns selling glogg. Andersonville also has a thriving gay and lesbian community and a diverse array of Middle Eastern restaurants. Visitors in Andersonville will find fantastic shopping opportunities and plenty of enticing eating.

1541 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
For a homey little neighborhood bar, Little Bad Wolf has a delightfully sophisticated menu. Order items as diverse as Asian bao filled with Japanese BBQ pork or steak-shitake pate, Mexican-style elotes with tempura avocado, jumbo fried shrimp or a charcuterie board. This diversity extends to LBW’s bar where their cocktails are hand crafted, the beer list goes on for several pages and they have hard root beer on tap. Little Bad Wolf has a beautiful breezy atmosphere with a shiny copper bar and cobalt glassware, an ideal location for a late afternoon snack or an evening cocktail.
1511 West Berwyn Avenue
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirts, Members Only jackets, Beavis and Butthead outerwear, Max Headroom sunglasses… oh yes, these are all the droids we’re looking for. Visitors on the hunt for totally tubular leg warmers, an acid-washed jean jacket, and a Michael Jordan bobblehead need look no further than Rad Vintage, supplying all the vintage toys, clothing, videos, and accessories that our inner kids could ever dream about. It’s one of the biggest vintage stores in Andersonville; the merchandise is in spectacular condition, and the prices are reasonable. It’s rad, man.
1513 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Adam and Skye Rust admit that they have a thing for taxidermy. And bones. And teeth. Adam has even made an animated sculpture where taxidermied mice circle and dance à la “Three Blind Mice.” They travel the globe to find the strangest and most visually impactful specimens to fill the motionless zoo and touch-friendly museum that is Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities. Brussel Sprouts, the real two-headed calf (from Brussels); a ceremonial Odd Fellows skeleton; vintage medical tools; and old apothecary bottles all share space in this retail wonderarium. Not everything in Woolly Mammoth is a curiosity, but if it’s the unusual you’re seeking to buy, you’re bound to find it here.
5219 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Brimfield specializes in antique glassware, vintage signs, custom upholstered chairs and plaid blankets, pillows and furnishings of every conceivable style and design. The owners began collecting antiques in the UK in the late 1990s and opened their shop in Chicago about 8 years ago. Brimfield continues to be family owned and operated and they promise unique finds to all their customers.
5234 North Clark Street
Up in the Andersonville neighborhood, home of many an antique store, Brownstone Antiques holds a primo spot on Clark Street just down the street from the Swedish diner, Svea. It’s more of a junk store than an antique store with a crowded jumble of antique furniture, piles of vintage jewelry, stacks of paintings and odds and ends on every surface. It’s a little dusty and a lot interesting.
5236 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Up in Andersonville Svea has served genuine Swedish sausages, meatballs and pancakes in giant portions for decades surrounded by exactly the same blue and gold decor. They don’t have a website, they’re cash only and you’ll definitely have to wait for a table on the weekends but go anyway. Order the “hamburger” made of Swedish meatballs or share the Viking breakfast (the picture above is just one half of the meal) and finish up with an order of thin delicious Swedish pancakes covered in melting butter and lingonberry sauce. They also serve rye limpa bread, lutefisk and pickled herring if you crave those Swedish delicacies. Svea’s one of my favorite old school diners in Chicago and I love that it hasn’t changed a whit in 20 years.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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