Little Italy was once a real slice of ethnic Chicago, filled
with Italian families and the shops and restaurants that served
The neighborhood, on Taylor Street near the University of
Illinois at Chicago, has changed a lot since then. Now Indian
and Thai restaurants are interspersed with Italian bakeries and
trattorias, lending a more multicultural mix to this classic
Chicago neighborhood. But it's worth a trip and can make a fun
afternoon with the kids, especially if you have a teen or tween who
My recent visit started with lunch at Pompei, at 1531 W. Taylor
St. For less than $15, my teen son and I enjoyed a filling lunch of
hand-rolled pizza and pizza strudels, with a tasty salad and
drinks. Order at the counter of this casual restaurant and it's not
long before the waitress brings out your meal.
For an even quicker meal, we've also stopped at Conte Di Savoia,
1438 W. Taylor St. You can grab a sandwich at this Italian grocery
and deli and enjoy it at the nearby piazza, with bronze sculpture
and fountain, dedicated to Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio.
Next, visit the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
This museum is open daily and features the sports equipment of
famous Italian athletes such as female hockey great Cammi Granato
or legendary boxer Rocky Graziano. In addition to their equipment,
each area also has small digital screens and buttons to press to
see videos about the sports greats. After you're done checking out
the exhibit halls, head up to the fourth floor for spectacular
views of the skyline and the surrounding city. The museum is
small-your entire visit will likely last less than an hour.
Parking was easy along Taylor Street and there are more
attractions if you venture west on Taylor Street, including Al's #1
Beef and Mario's Lemonade.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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