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Little Village

DNC Guide: Hispanic & Latino Culture

Dive into Hispanic Heritage in Chicago

Chicago is proud to welcome visitors from around the world to our great city for the Democratic National Convention 2024. While you’re here, we invite you to come experience what makes Chicago a city like no other — and why we’ve been named the Best Big City in the U.S. for an unprecedented seven years in a row.

Chicago is home to some of the most dynamic Hispanic and Latino communities in the country. That’s where you’ll find top cultural institutions like the National Museum of Mexican Art, colorful street art created by renowned artists, and excellent cuisine that includes traditional fare and new fusions of flavor. Here’s where you can experience some of Chicago’s Hispanic/Latino culture.

We’ve created these Chicago guides with five specially curated activities to help DNC visitors experience different aspects of our great city. To delve deeper and make the most out of your time in Chicago, keep exploring with our guide at the link below.

 

Explore our Hispanic/Latino history guide to Chicago

 

1. Visit vibrant communities

A woman drinks a margarita on the patio at La Vaca Margarita Bar
La Vaca Margarita Bar

Rich in Latino culture, Pilsen is a neighborhood that overflows with music, art, and culinary tradition. It’s home to award-winning restaurants, a thriving community of artists, bustling nightlife, and sensational murals as far as the eye can see. It’s no wonder that it’s frequently named among the world’s coolest neighborhoods.

In Humboldt Park, you can feel the residents’ pride in their Puerto Rican heritage everywhere you turn. Along the neighborhood’s cultural corridor, the Paseo Boricua, you’ll find a wide variety of family-owned restaurants serving traditional dishes, colorful murals created by local artists, and so much more.

If you’re looking for an authentic slice of Mexican life in Chicago, Little Village is the place to be. Spend an afternoon exploring the “Mexico of the Midwest” with the neighborhood’s many traditional bakeries, family-owned restaurants packed with locals, burgeoning arts scene, and colorful shopping.

2. Explore fascinating museums

National Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Mexican Art; photo by Graham Chapman

The National Museum of Mexican Art is home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 7,000 pieces from ancient Mexico to the present. The free museum, located in the Pilsen neighborhood, strives to showcase Mexican identity and artistic expression from both sides of the border through textiles, folk art, photos, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more.

Showcasing the best of Puerto Rico’s rich art and history, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is a one-of-a-kind Chicago institution. Located in a historic building in Humboldt Park, the museum celebrates Puerto Rican culture and identity through permanent and rotating exhibits, community workshops, and public events.

3. Admire colorful public art and murals

Puerto Rican Flag sculpture in Humboldt Park
Puerto Rican Flag sculpture in Humboldt Park; photo by Lucy Hewett

Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods are known for their colorful and innovative street art, from massive murals to intricate mosaics.

Pilsen has long been a destination for muralists, turning the neighborhood into a vibrant urban canvas. The Pilsen murals, many of which are concentrated along 16th and 18th Streets, feature Mexican icons and symbols representing the community’s deep cultural roots.

Humboldt Park’s mural collection includes dozens of incredible works, including some of the oldest murals in the city, that proudly showcase the area’s rich Puerto Rican culture. And you can’t miss the pair of enormous metal Puerto Rican flags that serve as gateways into the community. 

4. Taste a rich culinary heritage

La Catedral Little Village
La Catedral Little Village

Just venture into our neighborhoods for an authentic taste of the rich culinary traditions of Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, and beyond.

Rooted in the culinary traditions of Guadalajara, La Catedral Cafe & Restaurant in Little Village has locals lining up for their chilaquiles and beyond. Another local favorite is Mi Tierra, a father-daughter-run business serving classic Mexican cuisine for three decades.

For cocktails, old-school speakeasy vibes meet modern Mexican mixology at family-owned Osito’s Tap. On tap at District Brew Yards, Casa Humilde Cerveceria is the city’s first Mexican-owned brewery. 

You’ll also find plenty of delicious options in our bustling downtown. Jaleo serves an array of Spanish tapas from an acclaimed chef, Tanta offers refined Peruvian cuisine on an intimate rooftop terrace, and Tzuco blends Mexican and French traditions.

5. Attend a cultural event

Mexican Independence Day Parade
Mexican Independence Day Parade; photo courtesy Little Village Chamber of Commerce

These local favorite events are worth planning another trip for. In Humboldt Park, the annual Puerto Rican Festival and Parade draws more than a million people each year, making it one of the highest-attended Latino celebrations in the country. 

Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Pilsen, when Harrison Park is filled with colorful ofrendas, live music, and family-friendly activities. Other popular Pilsen events include music festivals like Fiesta Del Sol and Miche Fest and culinary celebrations like Tacos y Tamales and Mole de Mayo.

If you’re looking to get your culture fix, plan to attend the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival and the Chicago Latino Film Festival, both long-running staples.

And the city goes all out for Mexican Independence Day, including a beloved parade through the heart of Little Village. This year, the festivities will include Grito Fest in downtown Grant Park.

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