Family Neighborhood Guide: Pilsen

Pilsen is filled with architectural beauty, including a great food and environment for families.

As a historic Chicago neighborhood, Pilsen is filled with architectural beauty, including buildings constructed before the Great Chicago Fire that spared this part of the city.

The South Side neighborhood is located within the northernmost border at West 16th Street and as far as Cermak and Blue Island Avenue to the south. From east to west, Pilsen stretches from South Halsted to Western Avenue.

Pilsen is now world renowned not for its history but it’s β€œcoolness,” as national publication Time Out named it one of the 10 coolest neighborhoods in the world in 2019. Residents of Pilsen know the area for its rich Latin and Mexican culture, with the National Museum of Mexican Art located on 19th Street in the neighborhood.

With a visit, families can enjoy great food, festivals that bring the neighborhood’s rich cultural past together and a community of art and architecture.

Eat

Frida Room

Come for the food and stay for the ambiance. In addition to a menu full of fantastic Mexican-based recipes for breakfast, brunch and lunch, your whole family will enjoy being immersed in all things Frida Kahlo.

Taqueria El Mezquite

Taqueria El Mezquite offers a great kid-friendly environment with plenty of traditional Mexican dishes on its menu. It also has outdoor seating if you want to dine al fresco.

Kristoffer’s Cafe and Bakery

This local bakery claims to have the best tres leches cake in town with a variety of flavors available. You have to try it to believe it! It also offers regular food like quesadilla, tamales, burritos and more if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat. 

Shop

Open Books

Your book lovers of all ages will spend hours in this non-profit for awesome previously loved books. The program provides thousands of books each year to families and readers in need all across the city.

Irv’s Bike Shop

If your family is into bike rides lately, Irv’s Bike Shop has been serving the community since 1972. You can stop by to see what bikes are in the shop or take a look at new helmet or bike gadget for you family.

Mestiza

This small shop offers a variety of Latinx products including some from local artists. It even has a children’s collection featuring books, face masks, bibs and more.

Play

Pilsen Fest

Held Aug. 14-15, the festival draws artists of all kinds β€” painting, metal work, musical, hand crafted and more β€” together with families to highlight and celebrate diversity and unity. The fest is known for its family-friendly activities ranging from games to hands-on art to artist demonstrations and more.

ChiTown Futbol and Movies

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, ChiTown Futbol got creative and set up its own drive-in movie theater. It continues to run movies at the Pilsen location with plenty of family flicks to entertain your kids.

El Paseo Community Garden

Take a walk around this green space that serves as a connecting ground for Pilsen neighbors. Not only will you find growing food, but the area is surrounded by art as well.

Explore

Pilsen Mural Tour

  • Where: Across the neighborhood, many on 18th Street

Check out the art of the neighborhood on your own personal mural tour. Your family will see paintings by Hebru Brantley (who created 2019’s Nevermore Park in Pilsen), images of Mexican and Latin culture and a mosaic mural as part of the J-DEF Peace Project.

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art features exhibits focused on folk art, textiles and more. It also offers family-friendly events to help children learn and interact with Mexican art.


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