If you are looking to spend a weekend exploring and celebrating the rich heritage and creativity of Chicago’s Latinx communities, this guide from a local’s perspective has everything you need. Venture through museums, events, dance performances, and public art installations that embody the diversity of Latinx culture in Chicago.

Hispanic art and culture in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood

National Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen

Start your cultural exploration in the Pilsen neighborhood, where you can walk through Harrison Park and step into a world of vivid colors and cultural richness at the National Museum of Mexican Art. See the work of notable Latinx artists like Carlos Cortez, Angela Aguilar, and Pedro Linares in the museum’s ever-changing exhibits and the impressive permanent collection. Admission to the museum is free, allowing all visitors to explore its extensive collection of Mexican art, spanning centuries of history and tradition.

Next, make your way down 18th Street and head to the Pilsen Arts and Community House where you can experience the creative pulse of Pilsen. This art center is a dynamic hub of cultural events and exhibits committed to nurturing local and international artists. While admission to the gallery spaces may vary depending on the exhibition, many events and activities are often free to the public. Check out their event calendar for current exhibitions and hours.

Before heading to dinner, lose yourself in the vibrant streets of Pilsen, where every corner is adorned with striking murals that celebrate the neighborhood’s cultural heritage. Walk down 16th Street and zig-zag down the many viaducts where you’ll see some of the oldest Pilsen murals. On the corner of Wolcott and 19th, you’ll find the newest addition to Pilsen’s tapestry of murals, The Fight to Stay, honoring community members fighting against gentrification.

Puerto Rican art and culture in Chicago

National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts
National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts; photo by Abel Arciniega :: @tequilagraphics

If you’re looking to enjoy some Puerto Rican food and immerse yourself in Taino culture, you can marvel at the stunning street art that fills the neighborhood.

Murals from the 1970s through the present adorn El Paseo Boricua (the area’s main cultural corridor) and many of Humboldt Park’s streets, depicting the community’s history, survival, and the struggle for equality.

Make sure to visit the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture with exhibitions that offer a glimpse into the Puerto Rican experience of resistance. Admission to the museum is free, offering visitors the chance to discover exhibitions highlighting Puerto Rican art, history, and traditions.

Hispanic cultural events in Chicago

Director Sándor Menéndez and actress Ana Santos-Sánchez at the world premiere of “La Gran Tirana: Descarga Dramática” by Rey Andújar that opened on October 14 as part of the fourth annual Chicago Latino Theater Festival, Destinos, and run through November 21, 2021

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Latino theatre during the Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, featuring a diverse lineup of performances. The event is typically held at theatres throughout the city from September through November. The Destinos team also hosts several events celebrating Latine playwrights throughout the year.

Experience the best of Latine cinema at the Chicago Latino Film Festival. This premier showcase features a curated selection of films from across Latin America, including over 50 groundbreaking films and 35 shorts, along with insightful discussions. The festival kicks off its 40th year in mid-April with screenings held at select theaters across the city.

Hispanic dance companies in Chicago

Experience the ancient rhythms and vibrant costumes of Aztec dance with the Xochitl-Quetzal Aztec Dance Company. Founded in 2015, the company is committed to sharing the traditional dances of the Aztec and Mexica people. Catch their mesmerizing performances at various cultural events and venues throughout the city.

Ballet 5:8 and Ensemble Español are two dance companies creating innovative and traditional performances grounded in powerful storytelling. Ballet 5:8 is a female and minority-led ballet company led by Mexican American Artistic Director Julianna Rubio Slager with performances at the Harris Theater. For more traditional Spanish dance performances, Ensemble Español is a renowned company dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich traditions of Spanish culture, with events and performances throughout the year.

From world-class museums and electrifying dance performances to breathtaking public art installations, each encounter offers a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Latine life in Chicago.