12 fun places to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with kids

It’s the last week of National Hispanic Heritage Month in Chicago, and luckily, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. The celebration might end on Oct. 15, but honoring heritage is an everyday thing.

I encourage you to let this week be an introduction to different cultures or a further immersion in understanding your heritage! In Chicago, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the positive ways in which hispanic generations have enriched the U.S. and the world.

For our family, this celebration presents the perfect chance to be proud of our Latino roots and learn even more about the history of our heritage. I know I’ll be enjoying some traditional music from Ecuador and eating ceviche, a delicious shrimp cocktail. Because after all, what’s a celebration without food?

So let’s start there …

Immerse yourself in a melting pot of flavors

One thing Chicago is known for is its wide array of food options, of course, that represent cultures from all over the world.

Enjoy some delicious beef empanadas at Argentinian spot Las Pampas, or head over to Cafe con Leche’s sidekick, D’Noche—home to a colorful menu of Cuban, Mexican and South American dishes. Their Ropa Vieja—a traditional Cuban plate of shredded braised flank steak served with tostones (fried plantains) on the side—will definitely win you over. And do not forget to enjoy some tacos at La Cabaña, a Mexican restaurant serving such hearty food that even your pickiest eater will want to try something new.

Get a little history lesson

Although Hispanic Heritage Month is a more recent event in this county’s timeline, there’s no better way to learn about a culture than going back as far as possible into its history. With The Field Museum’s The Ancient Americas exhibition, you will travel back as far as the Ice Age and meet the characters and artifacts of those times. With its vast collection, there’s no better tool for reimagining the life hispanic ancestors had and feel proud of those roots.

At the National Museum of Mexican Art, every day is a celebration of art, history and hispanic heritage. This culturally-rich museum is currently hosting the Sor Juan Festival, dedicated to Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of Mexico’s great poets and philosophers. Enjoy live poetry reading, music and plenty of art. There is no better place in Chicago to learn about the history of Mexico, then and now, than by visiting this gem that your kids will definitely enjoy. Check the calendar on the museum’s website for family-friendly events.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture offers programming for the entire family such as art workshops and a film series. A visit to the museum will make you walk out a little bit smarter and more cultured.

Have a hands-on experience

As part of its Hispanic Heritage Month Programming, Chicago public libraries are hosting multiple fun and educational events.

Bilingual Books at the Lincoln-Belmont Library will delight children with story time, rhymes and just enough songs for them to pick up some Spanish vocabulary along the way on Oct. 9.

Abra Kadabra! at the Rogers Park Library presents Pocket Circus, the world’s smallest circus, on Oct. 10. Filled with the perfect dose of mystery, this bilingual magic show is a must!

North Austin Library hosts Mexican Animal Stories, a series of fantastic tales with magical and mythical creatures as the main characters on Oct. 14. A big plus of this celebration is that you can create your own animal figure to take home!

Dance your heart out

Who doesn’t enjoy the mellow sounds and deep emotions produced by an acoustic guitar? Both you and your little musicians still have a couple of days left through Oct. 10 to enjoy The 5th Latin American Guitar Festival, taking place in various locations. Without a doubt, this festival will transport you into a unique world-class musical journey through the sounds of renowned and emerging artists.

The International Latino Cultural Center hosts the 10th Latino Music Festival, a series of concerts from artists around the world, now through Nov. 22. Delight yourself with a mix of sounds—everything from folk and baroque style music to jazz and rumba.

If you want to go all-out in celebrating hispanic culture, Instituto Cervantes is the place to go. Perhaps the kiddos and you will enjoy taking Spanish lessons from native speakers, or if dancing is more your thing, why not invest in taking Flamenco classes? Offered for both adults and kids, the rhythms of Spain will make your hearts dance. Check the calendar of events on the website.

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