Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood has seen plenty of immigrant groups come and go. The first to arrive were Irish and Germans, followed by... more » Poles and Czechs, who named the area after their hometown capital, Pilsen in West Bohemia. By the 1950s, Mexicans began arriving in large numbers, and today the neighborhood is a thriving hub of Mexican art and culture. The main drag is 18th Street from Damen to Racine.
Though a recent wave of artists and hipsters have given the area a new sheen, it's still a largely working-class neighborhood with three generations sharing many of the two- and three-flats. Safety is not the issue it once was, but it's still best to stay aware of your surroundings.
To get there you can drive, take the Pink Line (this tour suggests you start at the Damen Avenue station and return downtown via the 18th Street Station) or take a taxi, but it's much easier to take a cab to the neighborhood than to find one that will take you back downtown. From the Damen Avenue Pink Line, walk east along 19th Street to the entrance to the National Museum of Mexican Art, the starting point for this tour. less «