The Mexican area of town has great restaurants, galleries and a world class art museum.
The National Museum of Mexican Art: One of the top cultural institutions in the city with an emphasis on Mexican art and folk art. It celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012. Check out their current exhibitions. In the Fall they always have great altars for Day of the Dead and often bring in Mexican folk artists for special markets and demonstrations.
La Cebollita: Stop in for pozole on weekends at this casual Pilsen spot. You will feel like you are in Mexico! They have good tamales also along with hot chocolate. 1807 S. Ashland.
Cafe Jumping Bean: At 1439 E. 18th St., this a funky, local coffeehouse and cafe that is well-worth the visit. Since 1984, it was Pilsen’s first coffeehouse/gallery featuring many local artists. The healthy menu features soups, salads, sandwiches and vegetarian options.
Nearby you can visit Nitecap Coffee Bar at 1738 W 18th, Creperia Nuevo Leon at 1636 W. 18th, a new Bow Truss Coffee Roasters at 1641 W. 18th., Paleteria las Tarascas at 1806 W. 18th for ice cream bars and Panaderia Nuevo Leon at 1634 W. 18th for traditional Mexican pastries and sweets.
The new Pilsen hot spot is Dusek’s located in the historic Thalia Hall that was built in 1892. Dusek’s, opened in 2013, has a farm-to-table menu created by Michelin starred Chef Jared Wentworth, of Longman and Eagle, with beer pairings in mind. Before or after dinner make sure to visit Punch House, a dark and cozy bar downstairs, that in addition to other drinks, features 8 house made, draft punches daily by the glass, carafe or bowl. A great concept! 1227 W. 18th St.
Pleasant House Pub: Pleasant House Bakery in Bridgeport has moved north to Pilsen and taken over the former Nightwood restaurant at 2119 S. Halsted. You can stop in for coffee and a pastry or sweet or enjoy one of their famed meat or royal pies. I enjoyed a Sunday brunch and loved the chicken Balti Pie made with all-natural chicken in fresh-ground curry spices with tomato and Nigella seeds along with buttered peas in mint. It is a perfect spot to eat while visiting the National Museum of Mexican Art or one of the local galleries nearby.
Drive through the neighborhood as the street art and murals are well-worth the visit.