With its turn-of-the-century architecture, murals and public art, and vibrant dining scene, Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood is brimming with culture. Whether you live in the city or are just visiting us, The James Chicago can guide you to all this up-and-coming Southside neighborhood has to offer. So hop on your bike, the Pink Line, a bus, or the expressway, and start exploring Pilsen.

What to See & Do

An art lover’s paradise, Pilsen has  a wide variety of museums, galleries, and public art. But it’s also a great place to catch a concert or even take a walk in the park. Here are some of our favorite things to do..

Chicago Arts District. A multi-block stretch of spaces that host more than 30 artist lofts, galleries, and retail spaces. Don’t miss: exploring the area through a self-guided walk during the monthly 2nd Fridays Gallery Night.

Murals. Pilsen is known for its public art, including murals at the Cooper Dual Language Academy, (1645 W. 18th Street) and tiled mosaics at Orozco Community Academy (1645 W 18th Place). Don’t miss: the colorful murals at the Pink Line’s 8th Street station.

National Museum of Mexican Art. An 8,500-piece permanent collection, rotating exhibits, and performance art at one the country’s largest Latino cultural organizations. Don’t miss: the folk art collection, which includes.

Thalia Hall. Late-19th century space that houses one of Chicago’s best live music and performance venues. Don’t miss: the hall’s three onsite dining options—Dusek’s Board and Beer, Punch House, and the Tack Room. Catch a well-rounded variety of upcoming acts, from indie artist St. Lucia to comedian Bob Saget to musician Henry Rollins.

Harrison Park. Almost 18 acres of green space, including tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, athletic fields for football or soccer, a playground, and community garden. Don’t miss: the field house, which contains gymnastics center, indoor swimming pool, and computer lab.

Where to Eat & Drink

From Pabst Blue Ribbon to posole, the Pilsen neighborhood has a selection of food and drink to satisfy every appetite.

DeColores. Sophisticated Mexican restaurant that doubles as a gallery—enjoy your meal amid a well-curated collection of art. Try: the mole poblano; guacamole; hibiscus flower iced tea.

Simone’s. Environmentally friendly bar with an extensive drink menu, bar bites, DJ booth, live music, and art shows. Try: the nachos; melon martini; ’46 old fashioned.

Kristoffer’s Café and Bakery. Quiet, unassuming café that’s known for its Mexican desserts. Try: tres leches cake; horchata latte; Intellientsia espresso.

Honky Tonk BBQ. Premiere destination for Memphis-style barbecue that hosts live music on weekends. Try: bacon candy; St. Louis ribs; beans with pork.

Skylark. Speakeasy-inspired space that sports a fun photo booth and live jazz. Try: $2 PBRs; mac n’ cheese; tater tots.

Where to Shop

Whether you’re shopping for gifts or treating yourself, shopping in Pilsen offers something for everyone.

Modern Cooperative. Furniture and home goods store that contains a mix of vintage and new repurposed pieces. Look for: mid-century modern chairs; retro coasters and glassware; handmade pillows.

La Casa del Pueblo. Five-decade-old family grocery store that stocks standard supermarket fare as well as a wide range of spices, seasonings, and sauces. Look for: novelty gifts, including organic soaps and handcrafted piñatas.

Comet Vintage. Casual sportswear for men and women, separates with sophisticated prints, and dresses—all centered on the theme of 1960s and ’70s Americana. Look for: vintage swimwear; casual dresses; furniture; home goods.

Open Books Pilsen. This warehouse-style store stocks a huge selection of books especially suitable for families and educators and also features books starting at $1. Look for: Special sale events tied to neighborhood celebrations like 2nd Friday and the Pilsen Flea Market. 

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