The Windy City’s Bridgeport neighborhood offers a burgeoning art scene, great restaurants, and more.

Cities are great because they are made of different neighborhoods, and much of the fun of traveling is venturing out and exploring side streets and meeting the people who make a city work. Located on the South Side of Chicago, Bridgeport is home to a vibrant arts scene and revitalization effort, along with cafes, restaurants, shops, many which are housed in historic buildings that have been reimagined, making it well worth a visit.

Visit  Bridgeport for a blend of old and new. For a taste of Chicago’s past, try Schaller’s Pump, the oldest bar in the city. When you’re ready to take a break from your wandering, Bridgeport Coffee serves fair trade coffee in a 19th century pharmacy and also serves as a retail coffee store.

For a sampling of iconic Chicago food favorites taken to the next level, check out The Duck Inn Bridgeport, named one of the 38 essential Chicago restaurants this winter by Eater Chicago. Fried cheese curds and a duck fat dog are just two of the items on the indulgent menu.

The Bridgeport Art Center is a destination in itself. The industrial space once was the Spiegel Catalog warehouse and is now home to offices, art and design studios, a sculpture garden, and special events space with dramatic views of the Chicago skyline.

The Zhou B Art Center is a must-visit, encapsulating the spirit of artists in its expansive space. The third Friday of every month is free, giving visitors the chance to check out an exhibition and take a peek at art in action during the open studios.

For a hands-on art experience, you might want to venture to the whimsically named Little Kooky Art for a chance to create masterpieces in events like their paint nights

After a busy day of exploring all Bridgeport has to offer, make The James your Chicago home base, where your cultural exploration can continue with the Cultural Collection and our celebrated art collection curated by Monique Meloche Gallery.

*Photo by Zhoub Art Center