Whether you're just visiting this colorful neighborhood with Swedish roots or you live and breathe Andersonville every day, it doesn't take long to realize this 'hood has a lot to offer in the way of great shops in addition to all of its cool restaurants and bars. You'll find ample opportunity to make thoughtful purchases on items to add to your book collection at one of the best bookstores and find plenty of decor to outfit your home.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Andersonville
Vintage furniture shoppers might recognize Julie Fernstrom from her former Portage Park shop, English Cottage, or the various Chicagoland antique markets she traveled to every weekend. These days she’s staying in one spot: Andersonville. While helping out at a sidewalk sale at Scout, Fernstrom discovered a vacant neighboring space, where she opened Brimfield. Named after her favorite plaid, the store is “Ralph Lauren meets a Paris flea market,” she says. The shop features repurposed and found objects for every budget—and since the store is named after a checkered pattern, the space wouldn’t be complete without a “plaid wall,” featuring blankets, tin boxes and more. The shop also offers reupholstering services, so you can get a custom slice of Brimfield that is truly unique.
It's as if the two Lakeview outposts (one featuring custom frames, the other greeting cards and gifts) have morphed into the ultimate home-design general store. Yes, frames and greeting cards still make up a big chunk of the shop, but we're all about the prints (including vintage maps and medical charts) and other cheeky art, such as reproductions of weathered flash cards.
This Andersonville plant mecca is known for its warm, quiet nursery, where you can commune with nature by strolling among the vibrant cyclamens, orchids and begonias, and the fountain filled with colorful koi. The store also offers a variety of outdoor furniture made of weather-resistant materials, such as cast aluminum, wrought iron, resin wicker, teak, hardwoods and tubular steel. Plus, you can even custom-design your own cushions and pillows here.
Oenophiles and amateurs alike should feel at home in this Andersonville shop, where the staff always seems to come through with surefire, affordable suggestions and where the focus is on under-the-radar varietals and limited-release, Midwest-centric craft brews and spirits. Their best asset though might be the customer database—in case you forget the name of those wines and/or beers you downed and then smashed over your head and/or yacht.
Scout is one of those stores that, when you were a child and your mother shopped for chairs, you ventured off pretending this was your house—that you did homework at the wooden desk and ate family dinner from the set of clay bowls. Luckily, as an adult, you are free to do more than imagine and actually buy that desk and take home those bowls. Stop by the Andersonville shop to get lost in home decor heaven.
Don’t be fooled by the store’s name; though the Andersonville shop has a definite feminist slant (and is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country), any and all can find something here. The store stocks more than 30,000 books by and about women, plus children's titles, and it's considered one of the city's best sources for lesbian and gay fiction and nonfiction. It's also an active location for author readings and community events, and it's the endearing inspiration for Portlandia's Women and Women First bookstore sketch.