Bridgeport is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Chicago. With its roots in the city’s industrial past, Bridgeport has been home to a diverse array of residents for more than 200 years, including five different Chicago mayors.
Today, Bridgeport is known for blending Chicago’s storied past and vibrant, artistic present. Just steps away from Chinatown, Pilsen, and Armour Square, home of the Chicago White Sox, Bridgeport is a destination for artists, foodies, and sports fans alike.
Whether you call it home or you’re visiting for a day, Bridgeport has plenty of unique sights and experiences to sample. Here are ten Bridgeport staples to add to your bucket list:
1.) Sample Delicious Chinese Cooking
Located just south of Chinatown, Bridgeport puts you in a prime position for some of the tastiest Asian restaurants in Chicago. The Bridgeport neighborhood is a hotbed for cutting edge and classical Chinese cooking in its own right. The area boasts spots like Homestyle Taste, which serves up Northern Chinese cooking, as well as A Place By Damao, an innovative spot serving up Chengdu classics with a modern spin. Nearby, the counter at Xiao Mei Xing presents street food that blends rustic Chinese and Korean techniques to create dishes that critics and diners love.
2.) Sip and Snack at Marz Community Brewing Company
Chicago has long been a destination for craft beer lovers, with bustling breweries and taprooms all over the city and into the suburbs. But there’s something special about Marz Community Brewing. Maybe it’s the fact that all of its brews are artisanally made, using a small batch process and sustainable techniques. Maybe it’s the cavernous size of the taproom, full of communal tables and eye-popping colors. Or maybe it’s the delicious, filling food, with options ranging from cheesy sandwiches to endlessly shareable snacks.
For more on the menu and mission behind Marz, you can visit the brewery’s official site, here.
3.) Discover Local Vendors at the Sunday City Market
Hosted in the parking lot of Antique Taco, a Bridgeport community staple in its own right, the Sunday City Market is held weekly during the summer months. This regular event brings together locals to mix, mingle, and shop with a wide array of vendors, including farmers, artisans, artists, vintage collectors, and florists, all usually with a band providing live tunes in the background.
To see a schedule for Sunday City Market events, you can visit Antique Taco’s website, here.
4.) Snag Fresh Coffee Beans at Bridgeport Coffee Company
Bridgeport Coffee Company is the type of place that announces what it’s all about the second you step inside. Housed in a former pharmacy, the Bridgeport outpost of this South Side coffee roaster is full of warm wood paneling, smiling baristas, and the unmistakable aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Stop in for a snack, a tailor-made espresso drink, or a bag of some of the finest beans you’ll find anywhere around.
For more on Bridgeport Coffee Company and its flagship coffeehouse, read on at the company’s official web page, here.
5.) Take in Local Art at a Bridgeport Gallery
The Bridgeport area has long been a popular haven for artists, who flock to the community looking to get creative and, when the time is right, display their wares at one of the neighborhood’s famous gallery spaces. There are plenty of unique studio and gallery spaces throughout Bridgeport that should be on every art lover’s must-see list, including the spacious Bridgeport Art Center, the Zhou B Art Center, and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. In addition to displaying the works of local artists, all of these spaces also host live events, parties, and special exhibitions throughout the year.
6.) Go Beyond Home Cooking at Nana
Bridgeport has long been a draw for serious Chicagoland foodies, and Nana is one of the crown jewels in the neighborhood’s dining scene. This family-owned restaurant serves up locally sourced, organic breakfast and dinner options, all made fresh in a cute, cozy space lined with charming artwork. With fare ranging from sweet french toast and pancakes to hearty plates of meat and seafood, there’s sure to be something to please everyone’s palette at this Bridgeport institution.
For menus, reservations, and more, you can check out Nana’s official site, here.
7.) Browse the Stacks at Let’s Boogie Records and Tapes
For generations, passersby on Halsted Street have ducked under the bright yellow sign that hangs above Let’s Boogie, stopping inside this spot to take a look at its impressive collection of tapes, records, and musical collectibles. Let’s Boogie has been a go-to destination for serious vinyl collectors, music buffs, and curious shoppers for more than four decades, and not much has changed in that time — and that’s a good thing. With vintage posters lining the walls and knowledgeable staff behind the counter, this Bridgeport haunt is a great look at the past, present, and future of Chicagoland record stores.
For more, you can check out reviews and information about Let’s Boogie on Facebook, here.
8.) Relax in Nature at Palmisano Park
Brought to life on the former site of Stearns Quarry, Henry Palmisano Park is an oasis of green space in the heart of the Bridgeport community. Over the years, this land has transformed numerous times — from coral reef site, to working quarry, to landfill, and, finally, to the lovely park it is today. Full of wetlands, trails, and dramatic views of the pond and the cityscape beyond, Palmisano Park is a great place to go to soak in some of the beauty of nature.
To learn more about the history of this special park, you can visit its official Chicago Park District listing, available here.
9.) Grab New Gear at Blue City Cycles
Whether you’re already an experienced biker or you’re just looking to get started, Blue City Cycles in Bridgeport is a great place to go for bicycling gear, gadgets, and accessories. Since opening its doors in 2009, Blue City has become a go-to spot for Chicagoland cyclists, known for its prime selection of equipment and the crack team of mechanics who work out of the shop.
For more on all that Blue City Cycles has to offer, you can visit the store’s official site, here.
10.) Try a True Chicago-Style Hot Dog
There are few foods more closely associated with Chicagoland than the classic hot dog, served up with a “garden” of fixings and condiments on top. If you’re looking for this local classic served up Chicago-style, then look no further than Bridgeport. Running through the south end of the neighborhood, 35th Street is home to some of the most famous hot dog joints around, including Morrie O’Malleys, Johnny O’s, and 35th Street Red Hots, which is just steps away from Guaranteed Rate Field.
Want to keep exploring Bridgeport? Be sure to check out our guide to this legendary neighborhood’s housing market, available here.