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Neighborhood Guide: Pilsen

When you think of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, you likely think of a selection of bars and restaurants, public art, and so much more. The home of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen boasts an assortment of additional art galleries for both emerging and established artists to show their works. If you’d like to learn more about the neighborhood, then keep reading; here’s a guide on what to do and where to go. To get to Pilsen, take the Pink Line of the “L” and disembark at the Damen station.

History Of Pilsen

According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, Pilsen's population grew in the 1860s when the Irish and Germans settled in the area. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the Polish and Czechs moved in, with the neighborhood's name deriving from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. The population in the neighborhood changed, and  WBEZ notes that Pilsen became mostly Latino in the 1960s. Today, the neighborhood is considered a historic district with a thriving and vibrant art scene. Walking tours are available to help visitors and residents alike learn more about the neighborhood.

Eat And Drink:

1227 W. 18th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851

From a hearty brunch to a late-night dinner, Dusek’s offers an assortment of meals and sides. Tuck into pastries, an omelet, salad or chicken and waffles for breakfast, complete with an assortment of cocktails fitting for brunch. Lunch and dinner options include sandwiches and other delights, while the late-night menu includes stuffed pretzels and even a Juicy Lucy. If you want to wash down dinner with a beer, then feast your eyes on Dusek’s selection. From local favorites including Moody Tongue Brewing Company and Off Color Brewing to selections from all over the world, Dusek’s has an assortment that will whet your appetite.

Del Toro
2133 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 733-7144

With a menu that includes tacos, burritos and tortas, there are plenty of options at Del Toro. If you’re looking for a restaurant that has late hours, then keep Del Toro in mind, as it’s open until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. On the drinks side, Del Toro offers a number of signature margaritas, including fresa, passion fruit, guava and jalapeño, and seasonal margaritas include mandarina and melon. Sangria, tequilas and imported and craft beers are also on the drinks menu.

Hot Spot: Thalia Hall
1807 S. Allport St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851

You won’t have to go far to see a live performance in the Pilsen neighborhood. Thalia Hall hosts an eclectic mix of performers representing a wide range of musical genres, as well as comedians and even podcasts. Old Crow Medicine Show, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, and comedian Jenny Slate are among upcoming acts on the venue’s schedule. Keep in mind that some of the shows held at Thalia Hall have age restrictions, too.

Area Art And Festivals: Art First Fridays In Pilsen

Pilsen is known for the artwork of its residents, so why not celebrate that heritage? Through Art First Fridays in Pilsen, you can. The art walk includes more than 15 workshops and studios, including Hoofprint Workshop, Hector Duarte Studio and Pilsen Art House. Held on the first Friday of every month, the event’s next upcoming dates include June 3, July 1 and August 5, with the full schedule for 2016 posted online. Although the event is held from 6 to 10 p.m., the art walk’s website notes that galleries may keep their own hours.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at


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