A Day in Bridgeport

Authors: Sarah Chan, Ridgley Knapp, Luke Pluta-Ehlers and Rouqi Yan

Although 24 hours is not nearly enough time to explore the unique offerings of Bridgeport, we have got a locally designed itinerary to help you make the most of your trip to this Chicago’s near South Side working-class neighborhood full of historical and art significance. We hope you enjoy!


7 am – Rise and Shine: How to get to Bridgeport

While a 7 AM start is highly unfavorable to the average person, an early beginning to your day will be highly worth it. Easily accessible through most modes of transportation, one can reach Bridgeport through CTA (the Orange Line “L” train to Halsted, Red Line “L” Train to Sox/35th, Bus #62 to Archer, and Bust #24 to Wentworth). In addition, Bridgeport is located off the Stevenson Expressway, as well as the I-90 if one is driving. Estimated travel time is only 16 minutes from downtown (an approximated $15.00 taxi fare if you’re feeling particularly sleepy)! There’s a lot to do today, so get started!

7:30 am – Rowing on the River


A recent addition to Bridgeport is the Eleanor Street boathouse, located in Park #571 at the northwest corner of the community area, where Bubbly Creek splits off from the south branch of the Chicago River. The boathouse, an ambitious project by the city designed by Jeanne Gang – of North Residential Commons fame – opened in December of 2016, and since then has become the home of several community rowing and fitness programs.

While competitive programs like St. Ignatius High School & our own University of Chicago crew train out of the Eleanor Street Boathouse, community programs that serve Bridgeport and the great Chicago community also share the space. One such program, Recovery on Water (ROW), is a rowing team specifically dedicated to helping survivors of breast cancer stay fit in a social environment. Yoga and general fitness classes are also offered – whether you’re on the water or stretching inside, start your day off right at Eleanor Street!

9 am – Much Needed Morning Brew: Bridgeport Coffeehouse

Next stop: coffee. Just a 10-minute walk from the docks is Bridgeport Coffeehouse, located on 31st Street and Morgan. The South Side of Chicago is where this wonderfully cozy cafe roasts and serves its directly imported fine coffees – with locations in Bridgeport, Hyde Park, South Loop, and Michigan and Jackson. Open 6am-9pm Mondays through Fridays, one can do some light work and enjoy a peaceful start to your morning.

Source: http://www.chicago-coffee.com/2014/05/bridgeport-coffeehouse.html

10 am – Bridgeport Art Center

Located in the former Spiegel Catalog Warehouse, Bridgeport art center is a visually breathtaking place with high ceilings, exposed brick and big windows of impressive city views. The historic building of raw industrial style defines raw urban elegance and serves as a resource for imaginative minds.

Bridgeport art center is a multidisciplinary place for creation, displays and events, which features three curated Art Galleries, artist studios, the Fashion Design Center, Chicago Ceramic Center, the Skyline Loft and a multitude of unique businesses. It has attracted a lot of artists and designers to work, create and share inspirations with peers. And the local residents are coming to studios for community art classes. Bridgeport Art Center also boasts two stunning event venues as the ultimate space for special events such as weddings, corporate meetings, parties or fashion shows. (Take a 360˚ tour to view the art center now.)

Source: Bridgeport Art Center Event Space

The artworks on display manifest the racial and ethnic diversity of Bridgeport. From the gallery on the third floor, there are paintings with Asian elements and Spanish title, which is a reflection of the population structure in this area.

The paintings with Asian Elements                                         The painting with Spanish Title ALMA

Overall, this art center is embracing diversity in different forms and will always be a home to the emerging and evolving Chicago area art scene.


12 pm – lunch (Carbón)

There’s nothing more satisfying after a morning of exercise or strolling the art gallery (or both!) than some solid Mexican food, courtesy of Cárbon Live Fire Mexican Grill. While it’s location (under the elevated Stevenson at 26th and S. Princeton) may frighten off the faint of heart, Cárbon has the vibe you want in your local take-out place. And there’s even outdoor seating, protected from the view of the Stevenson – impressive as it might be – with a bright orange balcony!

Even though they opened up a second shop in West Town seven years ago, this Carbón is still the one folks know. If you think you can handle it, I’d recommend a Mother Clucker (that’s a burrito with half a chicken’s worth of meat) and horchata. You’ll hardly be able to walk afterwards, but in the best possible way. For the less ravenous, I’d recommend the steak burrito – the Tribune named it one of the 20 best in Chicago!

2 pm – Palmisano Park: An Unconventional Gem

Visitors hoping to find unconventional natural beauty in an urban setting will be happy to explore Palmisano Park.  Located on South Halsted and 29th Street, Palmisano Park is near the athletic facilities at McGuane Park and a variety of restaurants. Visitors climb up a steady incline past freely-growing plants to reach a clean-cut, green plateau.  Once at the top, visitors can enjoy a quiet meadow, isolated from the bustling street, with stunning views of downtown Chicago.  Surrounded by unpaved rock paths and wild stretches of tall grass, the park is its own unique place within Bridgeport.

The two sides of Palmisano Park, the wild passages and clean-cut meadow

Descending the north side, visitors traverse winding paths to reach a striking pond in a quiet corner of the park.  This pond’s rock face back wall originates with its 140 year-history as a limestone quarry.  Eventually discontinued as a quarry and used as a landfill, the pond was finally cleaned up in the 1990’s, and now serves as a destination for fishing while facilitating wildlife in the adjacent wetland.

The pond that was formerly Stearns Quarry, now welcomes visitors to enjoy its unique structure.

Community efforts to remake Stearns Quarry helped clean out the lake and build a new hill populated with native plants. The result is Palmisano Park one of the most innovative and special green spaces in Chicago, and Bridgeport’s own ecological gem.

3 pm – Afternoon Snack: Bridgeport Bakery!

After your long stroll in the park, enjoy a warm coffee paired with the best of Bridgeport’s delicious baked treats as a pick me up. Located at 2907 S. Archer Avenue, you can find this neighborhood favorite and Polish shop known for its maple bacon donuts. Described as “Real humans running a delicious operation,” it goes without saying that this petite and quaint bakery is anything but sterile and a true local spot to visit.

Source: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140303/bridgeport/bridgeport-bakery-expects-record-crowd-for-paczki-day/


7pm – Let’s Play Ball!

Last but not least, head over to the Guaranteed Rate Field, just a 15-minute walk East at most to see Bridgeport’s beloved White Sox play! Although the stadium is not within the formal constraints of Bridgeport’s community area, Bridgeport residents have had a long history and support with the White Sox, and in fact, it is the neighborhood that the baseball players have most identified with. Whether it’s grabbing some cracker jacks or a hot dog, sit down and enjoy an evening full of spirit and excitement!

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_Rate_Field

If by the end of this fun-filled, action-packed day you’re still not convinced of the wonders of Bridgeport, then you must come back and keep on exploring. Bridgeport is not only a part of a vibrant artistic movement on the South Side, but it is also a growing culinary and social hotspot. While there are many developments to look forward to, one should visit this community area to reminisce in a small neighborhood that continues to house industrial and political importance.

Bibliography / Resources:

Bridgeport Transportation

Bridgeport Coffee

Bridgeport Art

Bridgeport Bakery


Recovery On Water (ROW)

White Sox Help Out in Bridgeport

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