Culture thrives in Pilsen and invites you to explore the treasures that wait around every corner. Here bold murals have blossomed in the most unexpected places — on the fronts of homes, along railway overpasses, and wrapped around train platforms. The artful vibe continues within storefront galleries and studios, as well as in the colorful collections of the National Museum of Mexican Art, a highly-regarded cultural institution.
It’s a neighborhood that pulses with a youthful spirit and is ever evolving. For over 150 years, Pilsen has been a port of entry for immigrants. Early on it was waves of Eastern Europeans, which later shifted and became predominantly Latino. Now blended in the close-knit Mexican-American community is creative types and students. Thanks to this diversity, you’ll find offbeat vintage shops, independent coffee houses and quaint cafes alongside bodegas, panaderias, and restaurants serving authentic Mexican cuisine.
Adding to the multicultural mosaic is the neighboring area Heart of Chicago, anchored by several old-school Italian restaurants. But whether you’re on 18th Street or Oakley Avenue, it’s the strong cultural heritage and rich working class legacy that are the backbone of Chicago’s Lower West Side neighborhoods.