Neighborhood Guide: Bienvenidos a Pilsen

Neighborhood Guide: Bienvenidos a Pilsen


Welcome to Pilsen!  This is your inside source to the cool, unique and artful neighborhood of Pilsen in Chicago. Pilsen was originally settled by Irish and German immigrants, who came to work at the factories and stockyards nearby. In the 1960s, the construction of the University of Illinois at Chicago displaced the Mexican community living in the West Side area, many of whom resettled in Pilsen.


Ok, enough with the history lesson. Let’s talk about the important stuff: what to expect when you visit Pilsen and where to go.  In recent years Pilsen has become the “Soho of Chicago,” a cool place where young artists live, work and exhibit their work.


Pilsen street art


Pilsen is a neighborhood full of history and inspiration. The walls of Pilsen are colorful as muralists have left their mark, and many of the murals tell the story of the people of Pilsen.  Take a break and enjoy the scenery.  The beauty of Pilsen is found in the streets on the outside walls of local business or houses, however many local artist have studios open to the public. Prospectus Art Gallery located off the 18th street Pink Line is one of the neighborhood’s best galleries. There you’ll find breathtaking Latin American traditional and contemporary art. If you plan on attending make sure to call in advance to RSVP.


Another must see is the National Museum of Mexican Art – after visiting this museum you’ll have a better understanding of the Mexican culture. This is the only museum in the county solely focused in the Mexican culture; entry is free.


Not into art? No problem, Pilsen has great food too! The neighborhood serves up not only Mexican food, which you’ll find the best of in Pilsen, but also great local cafés. When visiting Pilsen you must stop at Café Jumping Bean, located just few blocks off the 18th street Pink Line. This café lives up to its name as it always has a crowd. Don’t let that fool you, this café is one of the most inviting neighborhood coffee shops around. Try the Mexican Hot Chocolate with an espresso shot and you’ll experience the perfect balance of flavors.


Cafe Jumping Bean


Not in the mood for coffee? How about some cocktails? We have just the place. Simone’s, located near the Halsted Orange Line, offers good food and beer. Try the Pilsen Burger: jalapenos, guacamole and chihuahua cheese – absolutely mouthwatering. Simone’s is best known for their beer selection, they have a spectacular selection of craft beers.  Enjoy your favorite beer or try a new one while listening to your favorite tunes at Simone’s.


If you continue to walk west on 18th street, you’ll encounter Honky Tonk BBQ. You must try their pulled pork sandwiches, the meat is spiced to perfection. Honky Tonk BBQ provides excellent service to their guests, and the servers and bartenders are extremely friendly. This is type of place you go for the food and stay for the music and atmosphere. Next time you’re in Pilsen make sure to stop by one of these awesome places!


Honky Tonk BBQ


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