Thanks to Little Italy, Chinatown, and Pilsen, the Lower West Side is a go-to for exceptional ethnic cuisine, captivating street art, and culture. Among these Chicago neighborhoods, Pilsen is particularly noteworthy— there is a reason it made Forbes' list for "12 Coolest Neighborhoods Around the World". It is not only the main neighborhood in the area, but it is rooted in Mexican heritage that is reflected in everything from the one-of-a-kind businesses and boutiques lining W 18th St to the variety of colorful street murals influenced by Mayan and Aztec culture.
This proud neighborhood 3 miles southwest of The Loop has become a hub for art of all disciplines. It is home to one of Chicago's largest art districts, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art on W 19th St. This free museum will connect you to the diversity of Mexican culture through an exploration of masterful works spread throughout the 10,000-piece permanent collection. Then there is always performing arts. And you certainly can't pass up live theatre or a concert at one of the most historical venues in Chicago— Thalia Hall on S Allport St. Prefer a hands-on experience? Mana Contemporary on S Throop St doesn't just offer rotating performances and exhibitions, but workshops as well.
Of course, Pilsen is more than just art. For those who crave a connection with nature, there are many parks, including El Paso Community Gardens, which offers plots for planting, yoga, meditation, potlucks, and other community events. If you're looking for greenspace with an abundance of room to roam, Dvorak Park on W Cullerton St is also an option with its 5.6 acres that include a community pool, splash pad, and community center. And the action doesn't stop in this historic area once the sun sets since it offers many places to enjoy a night on the town. Whether that means sharing a drink with friends at a trendy bar, enjoying a meal at an award-winning restaurant, or indulging in a musical production, Pilsen has something for everyone!
The CTA Pink Line and multiple bus routes make coming and going from Pilsen a cinch. However, if you are an entrepreneur, you can cut your commute time with co-working spaces nestled near this neighborhood's north side. These include Lobi Space and Studio on Blue Island Ave and OFFIX Pilsen on W 18th St.
This neighborhood offers a unique glimpse of Chicago, Illinois' past with the historic architecture that went untouched by The Great Chicago Fire. This translates to a mix of old and new housing options in the area, namely townhomes, family homes, and apartments. Pilsen apartments for rent include private rooms with shared accommodations like Common Racine on S Racine Ave. However, for those craving a bit more privacy or a dash of that historic charisma that makes the neighborhood so unique, a 1 bedroom apartment like The Otis is a go-to.
Formerly the Otis Elevator Company, The Otis is a brick apartment building that blends modern amenities with vintage charm. It retains its industrial heritage with brick walls, timber beams, and poured concrete floors while offsetting them with contemporary touches like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Whether you choose one of the 1 or 2-bedroom apartments in this building or are lucky enough to scoop up one of the spacious 3-bedrooms, you will have access to the many amenities it offers. These include a rooftop lounge, courtyard, fitness center, bike storage, and high-speed internet access.
A hotspot for good eats, delectable treats, and flavorful cuisine, Pilsen has something to please every palette. Below are a few of our favorite Pilsen restaurants.
Coffee & Sweet Treats
For more restaurant recommendations, be sure to check out our detailed Pilsen Neighborhood Guide.
The former historic site of the Otis elevator company, these brick and timber beam lofts offer unique architectural details with ample building amenities. A roof deck with lounge city, grills, and dining tables is the perfect spot for a summer party with a lounge and kitchenette that extends indoors. Additionally, the building has a gym with weights and cardio machines, bike storage, garage parking, and a lobby lounge.