Chicago is known for how much of a diverse city it is and the rich history that the city has. The neighborhoods of Chicago represent culture and the unique personality that they bring to the city. The pride that Chicagoans have for the city runs very deep. But when it comes to neighborhoods people are from, you’ll see the amount of love that they have for them. Every community is worth visiting, but here are my top 5 that you should visit while you’re in the city.
Pilsen is located in Chicago’s lower west side being known for art, food, and rich Latinx culture. The neighborhood has been traditional for years with an increasingly diverse crowd. The street art you’ll see in Pilsen is beyond beautiful. But, if you’re looking for more traditional art, The National Museum Of Mexican Art is a great place to go to really learn about the culture through art.
Let’s not forget about the food!!! Pilsen is a predominantly Mexican neighborhood so you know you’ll get the best there. If you’re looking for Mexican style tacos there’s so many to choose from, but you should try Taqueria Los Comales. Known for their diner style, but they’re quick when it comes to making their food.
One of Pilsen’s oldest landmarks, Thalia Hall is a great place to see live shows from music to comedy. After the show you can go to the basement of Thalia Hall, there’s a bar called Punch House. Punch House serves alcoholic drinks and food. I recommend getting there early to find a table if you come with a large group.
Located in the South Side, Bronzeville has been the historic center for African Americans since the 20th century. Booming with diverse businesses, the Bud Billiken Parade, and the history that’s within the community. If you’re looking for that southern feel when it comes to food, Pearls Place is the place to go. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner in buffet style with the best quality service. Pearls Place is always making sure that they are giving back to the community where they’ve been around for 30 years.
While you’re in the neighborhood take a look at the Bronzeville Walk of Fame. Starting at 26th and King Drive, you’ll see the plaques of historic African Americans who have made contributions to Bronzeville. You see names such as Ida B Wells, Sam Cook, Louis Armstrong, Gwendolyn Brooks, and so much more.
Also, Blanc Gallery is a great place to check out local artist work. They have panels, host events for nonprofits, and get the Chicago African American community more connected with the arts.
In the South Loop right off the Cermak red line stop is Chinatown. This is a very popular area for people to go and spend their day. Like many places there’s a shopping area that many like to go to. Chinatown Square is the place for many to go and visit. Opened in 1993, the two story outdoor mall has always been the place for many to shop and eat when they visit Chinatown.
When it comes to food there’s so many options you can choose from. There’s restaurants, mom and pop shops, small eateries, etc.… but a great start would be Chi Cafe. They’re known for being opened for almost 24 hours with a menu that has plenty of options for everyone to choose from.
Last but not least, if you’re looking to have a great time with some friends PopKTV is the place to be. One of the newest additions to Chinatown is this karaoke bar. There’s private rooms that hold about 15 people for just $38 an hour. Now you don’t have to be embarrassed to sing in front of everyone when you’re intoxicated.
Rich in Puerto Rican roots, you’ll know when you’re in Humboldt Park when you see the Puerto Rican flag monument. Humboldt Park has history, community ties, and roots that are so strong in Chicago. When you come to Humboldt Park you have to try Puerto Rican food. Papa’s Cache Sabroso is a great place to go, they’re known for their jibarito ( A sandwich made with fried plantains) and other delicious foods on the menu.
If you’re looking for a bar with an old school charm but has cheap drinks, The California Clipper is the place to be. Established in 1937, The California Clipper has been one of many Chicago staples. They have live bands/ DJs come and play a variety of music. Even though they’ve renovated throughout the years, it still has that old school vibe and feel.
Finally, if you come to Humboldt Park in the summer time you have to check out the Puerto Rican Day Parade. One of the most popular events for the Latinx community celebrating Puerto Rican heritage. Many visitors come, visit, and have the greatest time. You’ll see performances, live music, floats and so much more.
Greektown may not be as big as some other neighborhoods, but the small knit community has plenty of culture and history to make up for it. If you want to know more about Greek culture, I recommend going to the National Hellenic Museum. Opened in 2011 on Halsted Street. The National Hellenic Museum highlights Greek Americans contributions to America. There’s over 20,000 artifacts, books, photos, and much more displayed for the public to see.
After learning about the history of Greek Americans, you’ll probably be hungry. At Santorini, you’ll get that authentic feel from the dining to the food. They’ve been serving Greektown with the best food for over 30 years. Plus, there’s outdoor seating during the amazing summer weather.
If you’re still looking for things to do in Greektown, the Taste of Greektown you’ll get a bit of everything. Around August the event is held throughout the weekend for guests to enjoy. You’ll see live performances, music, activities for the family, and Greek cuisine to eat. Plus, vendors and Greektown businesses will be there too for you to check out.
By Raven Palmer