Bridgeport Neighborhood Chicago
The Southside neighborhood of Bridgeport is a family-oriented community with historic Irish roots and filled with old churches and beautiful brick two-stories. Bridgeport is frequently, and inaccurately, said to be home to Guaranteed Rate Field where the Chicago White Sox play. Former Mayor Richard J. Daley called Bridgeport home during most of his life.
Originally known as Hardscrabble, then Cabbage Patch, the neighborhood was finally called Bridgeport because of its proximity to the Ashland Avenue Bridge on the Chicago River. The bridge was too low to allow safe passage for cargo ships, so they had to stop and unload their goods. Many of the residents of Bridgeport were attracted to living in this area because of its affordable housing and proximity to work (usually in the Loop).
Bridgeport’s Irish history dates back to the 1830s, when hundreds of Irish immigrants settled in this working-class neighborhood. The South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which began in 1979 and attracted a crowd of 300,000 in 2009, was discontinued in 2010 because it had become unmanageable. Smaller events will take its place and South Side Irish Rugby is going strong.
Although Bridgeport’s residents are typically known as the Southside Irish, many ethnicities occupy the community, including Polish, Lithuanian, Mexican and Chinese. In 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times listed Bridgeport as one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago.
Visitors shouldn’t miss Bridgeport’s beautiful churches. One of the best is Saint Mary of Perpetual Help. Its Shrine Altars from 1890 were restored by the Art Institute of Chicago, which is also renovating the church’s stained glass windows, painted ceilings and rotunda. The cultural diversity of Bridgeport is evident at Saint Jerome Croatian Catholic Church, where the services are held in both Croatian and English.
U.S. Cellular Field
A common misconception is that Guaranteed Rate Field is located in Bridgeport, but the park is actually in the Armour Square community along with Chinatown. However, because the town of Bridgeport is just down the street, and Chinatown is a few minutes’ drive away, most people consider U.S. Cellular Field to be in Bridgeport, and the Southsiders just roll with it.
Don’t worry if you don’t have tickets for the ball game. There are plenty of places where you can enjoy the White Sox, throw back a few brews and munch on some great food. And the grub at these places is probably cheaper than the stadium prices. Just six blocks from U.S. Cellular Field, Catcher’s Inn has great drink specials. And when the Sox aren’t on the TVs, the bar boasts live bands, as it’s the only live music venue in the neighborhood.
If you’re not feeling like a bar, then Ricobene’s is a great place to go for some pre-game or post-game eats. Choose between Italian favorites, famous Chicago-style hot dog or the restaurant’s famous breaded steak sandwich. The Bridgeport neighborhood is serviced by the CTA Red Line train, which stops at Sox/35th Street.