While Boystown is the Windy City’s best-known LGBTQ enclave, Chicago has another gay-friendly area. On the city’s far-north side, Andersonville has been home to a large lesbian community since the ’80s. Today, the neighborhood is famous for its food, shopping and inclusive attitude, which make it a perfect gay getaway.

Eat

Experience Andersonville’s Scandinavian roots at Svea, a breakfast spot that’s known for its Swedish pancakes. For lighter morning fare, try La Colombe. The hip coffee chain, famous for its draft lattes, has an awesome Andersonville location.

There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Andersonville. One of the neighborhood’s most beloved options is Hopleaf, a gastropub that’s been in the area for nearly three decades. Hopleaf offers upscale bar food, like its cashew butter and fig jam sandwich, as well as dozens of draft beers.

Just up the street is Hamburger Mary’s. The LGBTQ-themed burger joint has great sandwiches and beers brewed on site. For something a little fancier, try Anteprima, which offers fresh Italian food in a trendy setting.

Hit up First Slice Pie Café for dessert. With four locations throughout Chicago, First Slice is a non-profit restaurant and meal subscription service, created by an LGBTQ chef, which raises money to support the city’s homeless.

The hip coffee chain, famous for its draft lattes, has an awesome Andersonville location.

Stay

There aren’t many hotels in Andersonville proper, so when looking for a place to stay, Airbnb and other homestay websites are the best place to start. There are many apartments available in the heart of the neighborhood. Look for something near North Clark Street, which is Andersonville’s main thoroughfare.

Fortunately, Andersonville’s only full-service hotel is also one of Chicago’s top-ranked accommodations. The Guesthouse Hotel offers lovely one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, which come with a full kitchen and balcony. The hotel is dog friendly and within walking distance of Andersonville’s hot spots.

Outside of Andersonville, Chicago has scads of hotels from which to choose. Lakeview’s LGBTQ-friendly City Suites Hotel is just 15 minutes away from Andersonville by taxi or Uber.

Andersonville is accessible via Chicago’s red and brown “L” lines, so be sure to stay near one of those trains if you plan to travel around on public transit to take in the sites of Chicago.

Instagram image courtesy of avillechamber

Play

Andersonville’s lesbian population started growing around the same that that Women & Children First moved into the neighborhood. Women & Children First is an independent bookstore offering more than 30,000 titles written by and for women. The store, which holds regular readings and events, also has a large LGBTQ selection.

In addition, Andersonville is known for its antique shops, including Scout, which features stylish home décor, and Wooly Mammoth, which specializes in quirkier finds.

Outside of shopping, Andersonville has plenty of other entertainment options, including a vibrant bar scene. Above Hamburger Mary’s is Mary’s Attic, a bar and theater that hosts popular events.

Just a short walk from Andersonville is Big Chicks. Technically located in Uptown, Big Chicks is the city’s most popular lesbian bar. It has a welcoming atmosphere, and DJs and dancing on the weekends. Also in Uptown is About Face Theatre, which focuses on LGBTQ storytelling.

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