Celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day with a tour of Polish Chicago
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Make the most of Illinois' own pet holiday with a kid-friendly
tour of the Milwaukee Avenue's "Polish Corridor," starting with a
sweet treat at the famous Pasieka Bakery.
Dan Pogorzelski, vice president of the Northwest Chicago
Historical Society and the son of two Polish immigrants, says
there's plenty for kids to love about Polish culture. He shared a
few area hot spots.
A tour of Polish Chicago in a larger map
A sweet treat
Your first stop is one of the traditional Polish bakeries along Milwaukee Avenue, just south of Belmont in the Avondale neighborhood. Try a paczki, or traditional Polish filled pastry, for less than a dollar at Pasieka Bakery.
3056 N Milwaukee Ave., 773-278-5190
Kurowski's Sausage Shop
If you thought all Polish sausage was the same, you're in for a real treat at this Chicago classic, which offers dozens of varieties, from traditional to turkey, and even vegetarian "sausage." If you're not in the mood for savory, try a sweet cheese pierogi - a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, even for the pickiest of kids.
2976 N Milwaukee Ave. (773) 645-1692
No celebration is complete without tchotchkes, so pop into one of the souvenir shops along Milwaukee for a small flag, snow globe or other cultural token.
The Polish Store, 3069 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 478-0752
Casilia Gift Shop, 3029 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 227-3268
984 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago (773) 384-3352
Head down Milwaukee to the Polish Museum of America. It's definitely not a children's museum, but the Hall of Kings is cool for kids and a horse-drawn sleigh in the shape of a giant fish
is also worth checking out. There's free parking next to the museum.
If you're out and about on Pulaski Day itself, meet Mayor Daley and Gov. Quinn at the museum's celebration at 10 a.m.
984 N. Milwaukee Ave., (773) 384-3352
This area of Avondale has two parks to choose from, so this is a pick-your-own-adventure stop. To stick with the Polish theme of the day, you'll want to pop into Kosciuszko Park, named for Thadeuz Kosciuszko, a Polish patriot who aided in the American Revolution. The fieldhouse is beautiful, and there's plenty of running room, but for a better playground experience, you might want to check out Kilbourn Park and Organic Greenhouse, a short walk west of Milwaukee at Roscoe. The greenhouse is warm and inviting, with plenty for kids to see and touch. The park, with a cheery and well-maintained playground, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends.
Kosciuszko Park, 2732 North Avers Avenue (312) 742-7546
Kilbourn Park, 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave. (312) 742-5039
St. Hyacinth Basilica
Even if you're not Catholic, this breathtaking basilica, at the corner of Addison and Wolfram and serving a parish still known as "Polish Village," is worth stopping by. It's known for its doors that depict the history of the church. If you're there around 12:30, stop in and listen to the Polish mass for a trip around the world without leaving town.
3640 W. Wolfram St., (773) 342-3636
There are plenty of Polish touches outside of the Northwest side. You know those strange headless bronze legs on the southern end of Grant Park? The artwork is called "Agora" and is the work of Polish-American artist Magdalena Abakanowicz and were cast in Poland before being installed in 2006.