Edgewater is a beautiful lakefront community first developed as a summer home for Chicago’s elite. The vast Lincoln Park with its seven miles of waterfront stretches through, almost to downtown, bounding Edgewater to the east. It now boasts a great balance of residential areas and commercial businesses. The eastern area along the water is dubbed Edgewater Beach and to the west is called Andersonville; each identifying as individual communities. Edgewater Beach is characterized by its density of high-rise apartment buildings jockeying for views of the lakefront, many built in the late 1950’s through early 1970’s. Moving inland, Edgewater and Andersonville are comprised of low and mid-rise family homes and rentals as well as progressively lower-cost apartments. Many lovely one-bedroom apartments are available for less than $1,200 per month. Edgewater has historically quiet neighbors to the west in the beautiful Rosehill Cemetery.
Edgewater was born as part of the Lake View Township, when developers began buying up orchards and farms with plans to clear them and make way for the developing community. In 1885 the northeastern section of Lake View was given the name Edgewater by the prominent developer and tobacco salesman, John Lewis Cochran. The allure of the area drew an exponential influx of new residents through 1889 when the township was annexed to Chicago to accommodate the growing need for public services.
By the early 1900s, Edgewater was regarded as one of Chicago's most prestigious communities. Mansions dominated the lakefront, while large single-family homes spread inland. Just a few of these mansions remain today: The Sacred Heart School for girls, as well as two belonging to nearby Loyola University. Nearly all of the rest were razed to make way for the high-rise buildings that you see today.
Edgewater’s close proximity to the Chicago lakefront and easy access to the Red Line elevated train brought plenty of new residents here over the past twenty years, many of them hailing from the Horn of Africa and former Yugoslavia. Rising rent prices in nearby Lincoln Park also attracts residents looking for a reasonably priced apartment with easy access to one of the several public beaches. Loyola University just north of Edgewater means plenty of students as well as student-minded businesses. The Chicago Tribune ranks Edgewater in the safest 25% amongst the other community areas of Chicago.
The streets of Edgewater have a family atmosphere; one can see women in traditional African dress and grandmothers walking with their grandchildren, while the middle generation is taking advantage of the economic opportunities that Chicago presents. According to the 2010 census, Edgewater had a higher percentage of Asian American than the average for Chicago. The census also showed the area to have a much higher than average percentage of same-sex couples (about 8% versus the average of 1%) and this number continues to grow.
For a day at the beach, check out the lesser-known Berger Park and Playground, then stop into ‘Lickity Split’ for amazing ice cream as well as homemade candies and cupcakes. Indie Café is a wallet-friendly BYOB Thai and Japanese fusion serving sushi, cocktails and other mouthwatering dishes. If you haven’t left your apartment, you can order out some great Thai food from Jin Thai or Ben’s Noodles & Rice. Moody’s Pub has been popular year-round since 1959, with a great outdoor patio beer garden, fireplaces inside, and yummy bleu cheese burgers you can enjoy in either. Pick up your favorite libations on the way to the pH Comedy Theater for hilarious improv and BYOB.