History lines the streets in Chicago’s landmark Bronzeville neighborhood.
Dubbed the city’s “Black Metropolis,” this south side community served as the headquarters for African American cultural and entrepreneurial innovation for most of the early 20th century. Just walk down the Bronzeville Walk of Fame to get a glimpse of local resident’s contributions in jazz, blues, gospel, literature, journalism, and beyond.
That legacy is still alive today in Bronzeville, where you’ll find a vibrant array of art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and restored mansions dotting the streets. This is the neighborhood for history and culture fans interested in spending a day steeped in an artsy vibe. Here’s how to spend 24 hours here.
A thriving arts scene in historic Bronzeville
Start out with a stroll to the Monument to the Great Northern Migration, which greets visitors at the entrance to Bronzeville at 26th and King Drive. This bronze statue commemorates the thousands of African Americans who fled the Jim Crow South and arrived in Chicago in search of freedom and opportunities. Clutching a battered suitcase, the statue represent the migrants who built this culturally rich neighborhood.
To dive deeper into Bronzeville’s notable art scene, stop by Gallery Guichard and the Bronzeville Artist Lofts for immersive art that reflects the African Diaspora. Faie Afrikan Art highlights pieces from East, West, Central and Southern Africa and Blanc Gallery stimulates cultural conversations through art exhibits, panel discussions and artist talks.
Cap off your art exploration at the Southside Community Art Center, the oldest African American art center in the country. From June to September, visitors can drop into all of these spots during the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour on the third Friday of each month.
Dining in Bronzeville, from old-school to contemporary
Culinary creativity is a big part of Bronzeville’s legacy. Whether you crave soul food or craft cocktails, there’s something to check out here:
- Peaches Restaurant serves up big doses of Southern brunch classics like salmon croquettes and shrimp & cheese grits, as well as signatures like duck bacon and peach bourbon french toast.
- The hickory smoked barbecue at Honey 1 BBQ attracts a cult following.
- Truth Italian offers an elegant option for gourmet Italian cuisine.
- Foodies travel from all over the city to Yassa for the spicy Senegalese dishes and warm atmosphere.
Bars and nightlife in Bronzeville
If you’re looking for a night out, Bronzeville has plenty of options that showcase its rich musical heritage:
- Head to Some Like It Black Creative Arts Bar for drinks named for classic tunes accompanied by live music or curated beats.
- Toast the evening at the crimson bar at Renaissance Bronzeville.
- Enjoy live jazz and classic cocktails at Norman’s Bistro.
- Catch open mic performers or karaoke at laidback Juke Joynt.
Whatever you do in Bronzeville, the neighborhood’s welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals will always embrace you.