Logan Square's recently become one of the city's hipper enclaves, as evidenced by the many stylish coffee houses, restaurants, and craft beer bars that are popping up almost daily. Complementing this recent influx, though, is a long-standing community that has successfully held on to its Latin American character.
Brasil Fest Chicago (August 23-25)
The park-like setting of Logan Boulevard makes it a great location for one of the last outdoor Latin festivals of the summer, Brasil Fest Chicago (Brasil is not a typo. It's the way Brazilians spell it in Portuguese). If you've been anticipating the excitement of the World Cup or the Olympics, always wanted to go to Carnaval in Rio or just can't get "The Girl from Ipanema" out of your head, Brasil Fest will satisfy your longings.
The weekend will be packed with music, dancing and family activities. Brazilian food will be served by area restaurant Taste of Brasil and include pastéis (meat and cheese filled pastry shells) and Guaraná, a soft drink made out of an Amazonian plant.
Chicago is home to some of the best Brazilian musicians in the U.S., including Paulinho Garcia, Dill Costa, Swing Brasileiro and Chicago Samba. DJs will be spinning Carioca funk, a propulsive sound originating in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, all weekend long. Don't worry if you can't dance the samba. Lessons are provided before the bands take the stage.
Brazil is home to an intricate and exciting dance form/martial art called capoeira, so be sure to catch one of the many demonstrations. Kids' activities include face painting and crafts plus percussion and soccer workshops. The festive weekend closes with a Carnaval parade starring glittering, colorfully plumed dancers and a massive bateria drum corps.
Logan Square is full of things to do before and after the fest. The Boulevard stretches almost a mile from the distinctive eagle monument and is lined with mansions dating back a century. One of Chicago's best farmer's markets takes place on Sunday morning. It has several food stalls to satisfy your late morning hunger pangs, including Cherubs, serving delicious tacos for carnivores and vegetarians alike. If you get to the neighborhood early on Saturday, drop by Café con Leche, 2710 N. Milwaukee, for Cuban-style coffee, pastries, and Latin-flavored breakfast specialties. Remember that address, because later in the day the café morphs into D'Noche, a lively, music-filled restaurant and bar that stays open until 1:00am on Friday and Saturday. Another good late night choice is El Cid, 2645 N. Kedzie, a Mexican eatery that has both an outdoor patio and upstairs lounge.
And the hipsters? The Boulevard Festival takes place the same weekend just west of Brasil Fest.
Written By Don Macica / Arte y Vida Chicago
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