My Neighborhood: Family Fun in Edgewater

Written by: Melissa Samuels

NPN connects families in neighborhoods across Chicago.  Get inspired to check out a new part of the city or discover something fabulous just around the corner.  This stop:  Edgewater with Melissa - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods

I’m a big fan of living in Edgewater.  I can happily spend the entire weekend without leaving the neighborhood.  My family – and neighbors - can walk to pretty much anything we want to in this dense, diverse and culturally-rich north lakefront community.  My favorite way to start the weekend is to head to the family-owned Metropolis (1039 W. Granville) for their freshly roasted, expertly brewed coffee.  On cold days my husband and I hunker-down to savor our coffees over the weekend newspaper while our kids play games and do art projects on the large communal tables next to Loyola students cramming for their exams.  Other days we get our coffee to go, and stroll over to one of these favorite destinations…

All along Edgewater’s eastern border are family-friendly beaches and playgrounds.  To the north is Berger Park (6205 N. Sheridan) with a playground, a well-programmed cultural center, and a cafe that serves casual lunch fare with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.  Another option is Osterman Beach (5800 N. Sheridan), which has a new playground on the northern end at Thorndale, a new beach house and links-up with Hollywood Beach and Foster Beach (which has an accessible doggie beach) to its south.   For those days that we want to stay ashore, we go to Senn Playlot & Park (1550 W. Thorndale) to enjoy the sprinkler, the high school’s track and field, and tennis courts.   

Down the street from Senn is the Joel Hall Dance Company (5965 North Clark Street) which has lots of kids’ classes in dance (and theatre, in partnership with Dream Big Performing Arts).  In the winter time, we use the newly renovated Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway) for its amazing gymnastics, soccer, basketball and volleyball programs.  The local gyms are also family–friendly:  Edgewater Athletic Club (1040 West Granville) offers swimming classes and children’s swim team; and Cheetah Gym (5838 N. Broadway) has a “kids club” with active childcare for while parents work out.       

There are over 70 languages spoken in Edgewater.  This is really showcased in the incredible ethnic food options.  For authentic Ethiopian fare we love the combo platters at Ethiopian Diamond (6120 N. Broadway) and our kids love eating with their fingers!   Across the street is Indie Café(5951 N. Broadway) a great BYOB spot for Thai and Japanese.  For brunch we can go new-American style at Henrietta’s(1133 W. Granville)(sister of the popular M. Henry’s), or but we usually visit the British-inspired Bananas Foster(1147 W. Granville) we love their impeccable service and eggs benedicts, and our kids love the home fries and waffles.  Down the street is Moody’s Pub (5910 N. Broadway) with their relaxing outdoor garden, and insanely good burgers and onion rings.  Uncommon Ground (1401 W. Devon) is a great date-night destination with nightly live music.  The kids love touring the roof-top garden that supplies their kitchen with the freshest produce, and enjoy the (sometimes free!) kids concerts.

Ed and Allison Madell offer the best fresh bread and pastries in the city – my husband is a bread snob – at Flourish Bakery(1138 W. Bryn Mawr) located along the historic Bryn Mawr commercial district.  I’m partial to frozen treats, so I don’t need too many excuses to bring my kids to Lickity Split (6056 N. Broadway) for soft-serve frozen custard, sundaes, and “concretes” (envision your favorite toppings mixed with rich creaminess- yum!). For fresh organic produce and just about anything made on this planet that is healthy for humans and for the environment, we visit the True Nature Foods(6034 N. Broadway) store and on summer weekends, it’s happening at the Edgewater Farmers Market with live music. 

Edgewater has a vibrant live theatre scene including the Jeff Award winning Raven Theater (6157 N. Clark) and the tiny black box Redtwist Theater (1044 W. Bryn Mawr).  Both have children’s classes and programming.  

Shoppers will enjoy browsing the 25,000 square feet of the Broadway Antique Market (5550 N. Broadway Avenue) or picking up a new comic book at Third Coast Comics (6234 N. Broadway) Chicagoland Games Dice Dojo (5550 N. Broadway Avenue) has a nice selection of board games and hosts a children’s game event every Wednesday afternoon. 

Edgewater is a hidden jewel with affordable housing right next to some of the best beaches and parks in the country. Add to this mix an ethnic smorgasbord of food and culture, family programming, and friendly neighbors- and I feel fortunate to live here. 

    Insider tips to kid-sized Chicago:  Wow…what an amazing and comprehensive list of neighborhood gems to enjoy with your little ones.  Don’t miss the live music provided by Old Town School of Folk Music every Saturday from 10-10:45 at the Farmers Market. Check out for a list of neighborhood festivals and free events too.  Hereare a few more family-friendly places to eat, play and learn with the wee ones in Edgewater:

Li’l Buds Theatre Company (1210 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) offers wonderful theatre classes and camps for kids of all ages and skill levels.  They are dedicated to enriching the lives of children through theatre and the performing arts.  They produce two fabulous family shows each year, including their popular holiday musical series each winter.  

Pauline’s (1754 W. Balmoral Ave.) is one of our favorite breakfast spots in the city.  It’s been around forever, serves fresh squeezed OJ and have a nice little patio. Plus, we love that they serve good old fashion comfort food.  If you want a great omelet, fast service and a great “old school” vibe, you’ll love Pauline’s.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is playing at Berger Park Cultural Center (6205 N. Sheridan Rd.) as part of the Chicago Park District’s Movies in the Parks on August 20th.  Movie begin at dusk and is FREE.

For more tips on where to go eat, play, learn and shop in Chicago, visit!

Posted on August 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM