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ABOUT LITTLE VILLAGE

If you start on one end of 26th Street, it might take you a while to get to the other. This commercial district that anchors the Little Village neighborhood (known as La Villita in Spanish but also more formally as South Lawndale) stretches an impressive two miles. It's an authentic slice of home for the Mexican-American community that resides here and is a port of entry for many incoming Latinos.

Amid colorful murals, you'll find just about every kind of small business on this street: ethnic grocery stores, mouthwatering bakeries, a delightful candy shop, plus storefronts filled with everything from dazzling quinceañera party dresses to leather Western wear.

But for those who pass under the terra cotta Bienvenidos a Little Village archway looking for a true taste of the "Mexico of the Midwest," you won't be disappointed. Follow your senses and you may pick up the jingle of the passing paletero (push cart vendors selling fruity ice cream bars) or maybe the sweet smell of fresh tortillas from El Milagro Tortilleria. Once that has duly whet your appetite, stop into one of the many taquerias serving up made-to-order tacos or just grab a bite to go from the food carts that line the street.

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