Welcome to the neighborhood that is home to many other neighborhoods, Balmoral, Edgewater Glen, Andersonville, Edgewater Beach, and others. Chicago is odd in that sense. This neighborhood predates Uptown, and yet, it was once part of Uptown and the very last of 77 Chicago neighborhoods to get recognition. Built as a posh lakefront suburban community, Edgewater takes up a great location right on the water, 7 miles from downtown. It literally is on the edge of Lake Michigan. Grand-planned community of the late 19th century, the first of its kind, it was built for Chicago’s wealthy.
The Edgewater Beach Hotel – a grand pink building recognizable by anyone who drove on Lakeshore Drive – was finished during the roaring 20s and quickly became a favorite among the elite. Nat King Cole, Merilyn Monroe, and presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Eisenhower were among the guests of this beachfront resort. It used to have water access. Once Lake Shore Drive was built. However, the hotel lost its luster.
Walking the streets of Edgewater today, you will still see the grandeur of times past. Beautiful mansions and apartment high-rises line The Bryn Mawr Historic District. Peek into the lovely landscaped courtyard of the dreamy Manor House for the view of a fountain with a stone statue. A friendly neighbor will inform you that one of the duplexes is currently for sale. Who wouldn’t want to own a piece of history in this castle-like Tudor Revival landmark home?
Nearby is a hard-to-miss 8-story Belle Shore Hotel, clad in rich green and cream terracotta and with Egyptian-like Art Deco designs. Designated a Chicago Landmark 20 years ago, it is now an apartment building.
A short walk west, in the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District, you will find a concentration of residences, many dating to the late eighteen hundreds, in Chicago’s classic styles – two-flats and three-flats and cottages. Unlike the mansions of Edgewater Beach, these were built as middle-class homes.
Today, Edgewater is one of the city’s more socially and economically diverse neighborhoods. Home to many immigrants, the neighborhood embraced global cultures and styles. Here you will find ethnic eateries, authentic delis, and specialty grocers.
Locals will proudly tell you of the new CTA station among the many conveniences. With the Red line train and many bus routes, including the LSD express, downtown Chicago is just 20 minutes away. But you may never need to go downtown. There is so much to do right in the neighborhood. Antique shopping, restaurants, indie theatre production, and fantastic beaches can all be found here in Edgewater. At the first signs of spring, the lakefront parks fill with locals biking, running, or simply relaxing by the water.
If you want to learn more about the area, check out our website for a neighborhood profile and featured properties. This month we are also featuring Edgewater on our social media. Follow us on Instagram for local listings and market updates, and don’t miss our agent and Edgewater local, Stephanie, showing you around her favorite places.