10 Bucket List Things to See and Do in Edgewater

Located on the far north side of Chicago, between Uptown and Rogers Park, Edgewater is one of the city’s most scenic communities. 

With gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago — plus plenty of charming vintage architecture all its own — Edgewater has a cozy, laid back atmosphere, which pairs well with its active arts scene and thriving restaurant culture. 

So, what should be on your bucket list of things to see and do in this picturesque Chicago neighborhood? Here are ten of the bucket list experiences that make Edgewater stand out: 

1.) Enjoy a Beautiful Day at the Beach

For decades now, visitors from the city and the suburbs have flocked to Edgewater as a summertime escape. As a result, the community is well-known for its impressive beaches, which offer a perfect place to enjoy a dip in Lake Michigan — as well as some truly impressive views of the Chicago skyline. For a sampling of just what Edgewater has to offer, be sure to visit the pristine sands of Foster Beach, or head a little north to Osterman Beach, named for one of the Edgewater area’s most dedicated public servants. 

2.) Explore the Bryn Mawr Historic District

Looking to get whisked back to the roaring ‘20s? Edgewater can trace its history as a beachy enclave all the way back to the 1800s, and the area became a well-known haunt for local celebrities in the early 20th century. Today, you can get a sense of that magic by exploring the Bryn Mawr Historic District. Stretching along Bryn Mawr Avenue between Broadway and Sheridan, the Historic District is home to some truly amazing old school architecture, including the art deco-inspired Bryn Mawr & Belle Shore Apartment Hotels, as well as the Tudor Revival-style Manor House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll also want to take a look at the impressive Edgewater Beach Apartments complex. This peculiar pink skyscraper dates back to 1928, and was once the playground of stars like Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe, and Nat King Cole. 

3.) See a Show at an Edgewater Theater

Looking to experience the magic of live theater, up close and personal? Whether you’re a serious theater aficionado or you’re just getting to know Chicago’s entertainment scene, Edgewater is the place to be. This historic area is home to some of Chicago’s most well-regarded theater companies and storefront performance spaces, including Raven Theatre, the Jackalope Theatre Company, the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, and Steep Theatre, among others. 

4.) Explore Berger Park

Just a stone’s throw away from Lake Michigan, Berger Park is one of Edgewater’s most iconic destinations. In addition to trails, greenspaces, and a recently built playground, the park is home to the Berger Park Cultural Center, a converted historic mansion that offers an enticing glimpse into Chicagoland’s gilded age past. Throughout the year, Berger Park plays hosts to countless events, from outdoor film screenings to one of the city’s most popular ceramics classes. It is also the longtime home of Waterfront Cafe, a popular restaurant and performance venue housed in a historic landmark coach house, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. 

5.) Sample True Ethiopian Cooking

Edgewater is one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods for foodies, with a wide selection of restaurants serving up tasty cuisine from all across the world. In particular, Edgewater is a hotspot for Ethiopian cooking, thanks to unique spots like Ethiopian Diamond, which offers bold traditional flavors in an elegant, community-focused setting. To continue your culinary tour, be sure to check out the award-winning fare of Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant, and the ample vegetarian menu at Awash Ethiopian Restaurant

6.) Find a Treasure at the Edgewater Antique Mall

Edgewater is a community with a rich, vibrant history — and one of the best ways to experience it is by exploring the treasures of the Edgewater Antique Mall. Nestled under an iconic marquee on North Broadway, the Antique Mall is home to 40 vendors that sell a wide variety of furniture, clothes, and decor from throughout the 20th century.

To learn more about the Edgewater Antique Mall, you can visit its official site, available here

7.) Work Up a Sweat at Broadway Armory

Covering 2.33 acres, the historic Broadway Armory is the Chicago Park District’s largest indoor recreational facility. Originally built as an indoor ice skating facility, the structure was long used as a drilling and training center for the National Guard, as well as a community center for the ever-growing Edgewater neighborhood. Today, this CPD facility houses five gyms, including a gymnastics center and a flying trapeze. Throughout the year, the Armory hosts parties and community gatherings, sporting events, and fitness classes. 

To learn more about the history of Broadway Armory or to plan your visit, you can explore its official Chicago Park District page, here. 

8.) Jumpstart Your Morning With an Edgewater Breakfast

Want to start your day on the right foot? The cozy streets of Edgewater are lined with spots perfect for grabbing a delicious breakfast. For java aficionados, Edgewater is home to plenty of eclectic roasters and coffeehouses, including Rewired Cafe, Chicago Grind, and Metropolis Coffee, to name just a few. In the mood for a hearty brunch? Edgewater is full of adorable early morning staples, including Nookies Edgewater, Alexander’s Restaurant, and Cozy Corner Restaurant & Pancake House

9.) Shop at One of Edgewater’s Local Gems

Edgewater is one of the city’s most eclectic areas. As such, the neighborhood is home to plenty of one-of-a-kind shopping experiences. If you’re looking to discover the perfect offering for your next game night, be sure to check out Dice Dojo, which offers one of Chicagoland’s biggest selections of board games and puzzles. Elsewhere around the community, Bryn Mawr Jewelry Co. is the area’s go-to destination for fine jewels and diamonds. And for the fashion-forward, no trip to Edgewater would be complete without seeing what’s on display at Green Element Resale or Sophie’s Closet Consignment Boutique.  

10.) Grab a Sweet Treat

Edgewater has no shortage of spots to satisfy your sweet tooth. For fans of cakes, pastries, and other baked goods, Edge of Sweetness and pHlour Bakery & Cafe should be high on your list of Chicago bakeries to try. If frozen treats are more your speed? Edgewater is an ice cream lover’s dream, thanks to unique destinations like Lickity Split Frozen Custard and Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars.

Want to Keep Exploring Edgewater?

To discover all that Edgewater has to offer, visit our official guide to the area’s real estate market, available here.

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