National Hispanic Heritage Month is officially here! Every year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, this month celebrates Hispanic culture and acknowledges the numerous contributions Latinos have made to the world.

Growing up as a first-generation Mexican American, there were several moments in my childhood where I was insecure about my culture. Reflecting on that time, there was a lack of Latino representation across industries. Today, Latinos play a significant role in art, music, sports, food, and beyond. Not only have I embraced and learned more about my Mexican culture in Chicago, but I have also learned the history and traditions of other Latino groups through the many institutions, restaurants, and events available throughout the city.

Here are a few of my recommendations for events and restaurants you can visit to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in Chicago, including many things you can do year-round.

National Hispanic Heritage Month events in Chicago

Canto Latino “Creando Mole" choir
Canto Latino “Creando Mole”, photo by Elliot Mandel

This month is packed with fun cultural events — including a theatre festival, a ballet performance, and live music — hosted by local museums, cultural institutions, sports teams, and beyond.

  • Latinx Heritage Month at the Field Museum: From Sept. 15 to Oct.  15, guests can embark on a cultural journey of Latin America through music, dance, and performances from Ballet Folklorico and La Escuelita Bombera de Corazon. Additional activities include bilingual storytime, exhibitions, and stories that showcase Latinx contributions from Chicago to the Amazon rainforest.
  • Destinos Chicago International Latino Theater Festival: Get ready for a theatrical, cultural experience at Destinos. From Sept. 28 to Nov. 12, this city-wide event will showcase the talent of Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S., and Latin America. Immerse yourself in vibrant stories and perspectives that celebrate the richness of Latino theater.
  • Chicago Cubs Hispanic Heritage Celebration: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 19. Wrigley will be filled with live music, cultural cuisine options, and special recognitions of Hispanic culture. This year, fans can purchase an exclusive ticket, which includes a special edition Cubs sugar skull bobblehead, with a portion of the proceeds being contributed to the National Museum of Mexican Art.
  • Hispanic Heritage Night with the White Sox: The Chicago White Sox hosts Hispanic Heritage Night at the ballpark every year. Fans can enjoy Latino music, performances, and food. This year’s celebration takes place on Saturday, Sept. 30. The first 10,000 fans will receive a bobblehead paying tribute to a Day of the Dead cultural icon, La Catrina.
  • Family Event at the Chicago History Museum: Experience the essence of Latinx Heritage Month at a special Family Event at the Chicago History Museum on Saturday, Sept. 16. The celebration will include interactive activities, community connections, and more.
  • Lucha Teotl at the Goodman Theatre: Step into the captivating world of Lucha Teotl, where pro-wrestling takes the stage starting Sept. 29 – Oct. 29. This 90-minute bilingual production promises a night of unforgettable theater that dives into the rich heritage of Lucha Libre through a tale about family, honor, tradition, and redemption.
  • Canto Latino “Creando Mole”: Discover the vibrant rhythms of Mexico’s diverse music styles at Canto Latino: Creando Mole on Saturday, Sept. 30. This outdoor festival in Harrison Park includes live musical performances, food trucks, interactive experiences, and more.
  • Mexican Independence Day Parade: On Saturday, Sept. 16, experience the Midwest’s largest Mexican Independence Day Parade. Taking place in the heart of Little Village for the first time on Mexican Independence Day, this year’s parade theme, “Tu Mexico, Tu Chicago,” will include floats inspired by each Mexican state, creating a kaleidoscope of traditions along the historic 26th street corridor.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month at The Morton Arboretum: Enjoy special activities and engaging programs for all ages that shine a spotlight on the vibrant Latino communities of Chicago. Festivities at the Morton Arboretum include the Celebración de los Árboles on Sept. 16 and 17, featuring music, dance,  food, and bilingual tram tours against the backdrop of nature.

Explore more: Discover Latino heritage in Chicago’s neighborhoods

Latino exhibits and museums

National Museum of Mexican Art

One of my favorite ways to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month is by supporting cultural institutions that empower our communities through art, education, and more.

  • National Museum of Mexican Art: This free museum in Pilsen is bringing back its special Day of the Dead exhibit beginning Sept. 22. Experience this tradition of honoring the lives of lost loved ones through art, photography, and the iconic ofrendas.
  • National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture: The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is hosting a pop-up exhibit titled Resistencia Y Libertá that celebrates the community expression of Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba music through fashion.
  • International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago: The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is always great to visit and experience Latino culture through various art forms. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the center will host film screenings, live music, dance performances, and more.
  • Pilsen Arts and Community House: This non-profit art gallery and community center in Pilsen provides art workshops, exhibits, film screenings, book clubs, panel discussions, music performances, and more to help the community engage with the arts across mediums.
  • UIC Latino Cultural Center: The Latino Cultural Center not only offers free public programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but it is also home to the largest indoor mural in Chicago! Experience the mural tour or join a tour of their heritage garden. This month, you can also attend a poetry reading and an open studio event.

Hispanic-owned restaurants and Latino cuisine

Conchas in Pilsen

One of the best ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month is by supporting Hispanic-owned businesses around Chicago. Here are a few of my favorite restaurants where you can try authentic Latino cuisines.

  • Tanta: Immerse yourself in the enchanting Peruvian culture at Tanta, located in River North. Enjoy their sensational cebiche platters to their signature house cocktails on their scenic rooftop.
  • Rojo Gusano: Rojo Gusano in Ravenswood is the perfect spot to enjoy authentic flavors in a cozy, lively atmosphere that feels just like home. Whether you prefer Chilaquiles with a cafecito or a mezcal cocktail with a variety of tacos, their menu has something to offer everyone.
  • Tzuco: Tzuco, located in the Gold Coast, is a one-of-a-kind dining experience. With an impressive menu selection combining chef Carlos Gaytan’s Mexican roots with French haute cuisine techniques, every dish is a masterpiece.
  • Azul: Azul, located in Chicago’s Goose Island neighborhood, combines the essence of authentic seafood cuisine with contemporary hospitality. The menu showcases a refined twist on classic mariscos dishes and drinks. Accompanied by views of stunning original ocean-inspired artwork, you’re in for year-round vacation vibes.
  • Las Tablas: Established in 1991, Las Tablas is a cherished family-owned and operated gem in Lakeview. Each staple dish, such as Colombian-style empanadas, arepas, and churrasco, is made with unique in-house seasoning, making each platter one of a kind.
  • Takito Kitchen: Takito Kitchen is a modern taqueria in Wicker Park where creativity meets tradition. With a menu that is 100% gluten-free, bursting with unique flavor and fresh ingredients, including handmade tortillas, you will be amazed at their approach to Mexican cuisine.
  • El Solazo: Located in West Elsdon, El Solazo brings a delightful blend of classic Mexican dishes with an innovative twist. With an exquisite food menu and an extensive selection of agave spirits, prepare to embark on a unique dining journey through the regions of Mexico.
  • Mi Tierra: For over 30 years, Mi Tierra has been part of the life and heart of Little Village. Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisines, such as their well-known Parrilladas, drinks, and a space designed to transport you to Mexico without leaving Chicago. On the weekends, it becomes a designation for celebrations, offering authentic Mexican mariachis, live music, and bands.
  • Aztec Dave’s Cantina: Experience the fusion of tradition and innovation at Aztec Dave’s Cantina in the heart of Humboldt Park. Offering mouthwatering favorites such as tacos and burritos made with fresh ingredients and top-quality marinated meats, this food truck and restaurant will transport your taste buds to a new level of satisfaction for Mexican cuisine in Chicago.
  • Artango Bar & Steakhouse: Step into the enchanting world of Argentina at Artango Bar and Steakhouse. From imported steaks prepared with ancestral techniques to Prohibition-era cocktails and a rare wine selection, the rich cultural heritage of Argentina will come alive before you.
  • Amaru: Hands down, Amaru is the best place for pan-Latin bites and craft cocktails in Wicker Park. Offering a unique dining experience, Amaru is the definition of culture, history, and passion all in one space. Not to mention their cocktail Holy Water is a true work of art.
  • Dulce De Leche Cafe: You can never go wrong with crepes for dinner, especially if they are at Dulce de Leche Cafe. This local coffee shop is in Albany Park and serves Latin-American-infused breakfast and lunch items all day long. Also note that their lattes are amazing!
  • Las Tablas On Lincoln: When craving Columbian food, you can never go wrong with Las Tablas, Chicago’s first Columbian restaurant. Founded in 1991, Las Tablas quickly outgrew its original storefront and now has two locations in Chicago. Las Tablas is the only Colombian steakhouse in the Midwest that serves authentic ajiaco soup. Expect nothing less than delicious.