Visiting Chicago? If you’ve already been to the Bean, museums and Navy Pier, try something new and step off the beaten path and into one of the city’s 77 unique neighborhoods.

Each has one-of-a-kind places to shop, eat and explore. Need a little guidance? No problem.

This week’s spotlight: Pilsen

Summary: Located three miles Southwest of the Loop, Pilsen has become the Latin-American hub of Chicago, known for its bold street murals, vintage shops and some of the city’s most authentic Mexican food.

Pilsen 2

(Map Via WikiTravel)



5 Rabanitos| 1758 W. 18th St.

There’s no shortage of Mexican food in Pilsen, But Chef Alfonso Sotelo (whose resume includes stints with celeb chef Rick Bayless at Xoco and Topolobampo,) is earning rave reviews for his tasty tacos that will set you back just $2.25 each.


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Cafe Jumping Bean | 1439 W. 18th St

This cozy coffee shop is a great for a quick bite or to curl up with a good book. The hot chocolate will leave you swimming in a pool of rich, creamy cocoa — a must try.

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Honky Tonk BBQ | 1800 S. Racine Ave.

The city’s center of Mexican food also hosts a Memphis-style, dry-rub barbeque joint. The brisket is a favorite on the menu, as well as candy bacon.

honkey tonk


La Casa Del Pueblo Taqueria | 1810 S. Blue Island Ave.

The tamales are considered a local favorite. Just beware of the pico de gallo… it packs some serious heat.

la casa del pueblo


Taqueria El Milagro | 7501 W. Cermak Road

It may be in the food court of River North Mall, but the joint offers some of the biggest tacos and most popular tortillas in the city. Try the carnitas with tangy cabbage slaw.

el milagro 2  el milagro

(Photos via Mark G. and Elv A.)

Dia De Los Tamales | 939 W. 18th St.

Offering a fresh take on traditional Mexican, the eatery serves tamales stuffed with barbeque chicken, coconut chicken curry and Cuban pork.

dia de los tamales


Carnitas Uruapan | 1725 W. 18th St.

The concept is simple — guests get carnitas by the pound with nothing but a side of tortillas and salsa — the essentials for build-your-own tacos.

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Birreria Reyes de Ocotlan | 1322 W. 18th St.

It has a full menu, but the star here is the goat stew. It’s packed full of juicy goat meat and veggies, offering a new experience.


(Photo via Anthony N.)

Dusek’s Board and Beer | 1227 W. 18th St.

This rustic elevated Michelin Star bar is known for their oysters, mussels and one tender burger affectionately called the Juicy Lucy.

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Xocoatl Churros | 2214 S. Wolcott Ave.

The churros take the cake! They’re fried and rolled fresh to order, and there are creative filling options such as peanut butter, Nutella and fruity pineapple or guava.



Kristoffer’s Cafe & Bakery | 1733 S. Halsted St.

Tres leches. Eggnog tres leches. Tiramisu tres leches. There’s many versions of this creamy, delicious treat on this cozy cafe’s menu.




Don Churro | 1626 S. Blue Island Ave.

The churros are hand-rolled in cinnamon sugar and stuffed with a variety of classic fillings, with caramel being the most popular. Cash only!

don churro

(Photo via Marissa G.)



Thalia Music Hall | 1807 S. Allport St.

This turn-of-the-century landmark is newly revamped. Enjoy a drink and live music in the historic venue.



National Museum of Mexican Art | 1852 W. 19th street

Standing as one of the largest Latino cultural organizations in the country, come enjoy its 6,000 piece permanent collection and the various rotating exhibits throughout the year.

national museum of mexican art


Art Walk | South Halsted and 18th St.

Every 2nd Friday of the month come enjoy access to over 30 Pilsen art galleries and take in the thriving creative scene in the area.

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Punch House | 1227 W. 18th St.

This basement bar is made for groups to gather and dance the night away. Try some strong punch to fuel the night, such as Space Juice for Jered, a sage-and-black-pepper-laced tequila punch.

punch room punch house 2


Del Toro | 2133 S. Halsted St.

This place is known for its Spanish small plates and an extensive tequila menu. Margarita-drinker should sample the signature Del Toro Margarita, the coconut margarita or even the berry jalapeno variety.

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Skylark | 2149 S. Halsted St.

The dive bar serves one heck of burger, crispy tater tots and cheap craft beers. Don’t leave without snapping a few pics in the photo booth.


(Photo via Diana J.)



The Shudio | 1021 W. 18th St.

The space is part retail store, part metal-smith studio. Shop for great modern clothes, handmade jewelry and cute home decor. 



Knee Deep Vintage | 1425 W. 18th St.

Browse for thrifty finds in this unique shop overflowing with vintage pieces.

knee deep