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8 Jun - Local Guide to Pilsen

Chicago

Take a cab or bike ride from River North and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Chicago’s esteemed Lower West Side.

The vibrant district is home to a cluster of eccentric neighborhoods and diverse cultural institutions. Nestled on the border of Little Italy and Little Village, you’ll find the quaint town of Pilsen – a highly sought out destination for budding students, artists and creatives alike. The eclectic neighborhood serves up a perfect combination of Mexican culture, delicious taquerias and immaculate street art murals. We’re putting Pilsen on your radar with a few handpicked favorites from the Freehand crew:

TO DO

Pilsen Art Walk – Every Second Friday of the Month

The Chicago Arts District hosts 2nd Fridays Gallery Night, the monthly opening receptions at the galleries and artists studio’s centered around South Halsted and 18th Streets in Chicago. The event begins at 6:00pm and run until 10:00pm.

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LACUNA Artist Loft Studio
2150 S Canalport Avenue, Chicago, IL

LACUNA Chicago is an events venue and shared work space that highlights Chicago’s dynamic and diverse creative sector housed in the foundation, pillars and vast hallways of what once was the world’s largest macaroni factory.

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Thalia Hall
1807 S. Allport St., Chicago, IL

Thalia Hall is neighborhood landmark that offers a public space for performing artists and small businesses. Founded by John Dusek in the late 1800’s, it’s become a staple to the Pilsen artist community.

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TO EAT

Nightwood
2119 S Halsted St., Chicago, IL
$$

Farm-to-table, new American expertly crafted dishes off an inventive seasonal menu that’s constantly rotating; the warm, modern space is date night friendly, and if inside gets too noisy there’s always the patio.

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Dusek’s
1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$$$

Imaginative pairings of high-end pub grub and specialty beers offered in a funky historic building.

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Pl-Zen
1519 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$$

Named for the Czech translation of the funky neighborhood, this budget-friendly Pilsen Eclectic doles out locally sourced, globally inspired gastro pub fare (think wild boar meatballs and burgers from a Kuma’s alum); it also offers artisanal cocktails and lots of craft beers in a casual space decorated with colorful murals.

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TO GRAB A CUP OF JO

Café Jumping Bean
1439 W 18TH St., Chicago, IL
$

Comfortable café and gallery for local artists that serves a wide variety of coffees, sandwiches and soups. The artwork changes monthly.

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La Catrina Café
1011 W 18th St., Chicago, IL
$

Espresso drinks & light café fare in a chill, mural-covered coffeehouse featuring local art & music.

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Nitecap Coffee Bar
1738 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$

Nitecap Coffee Bar is a full-service espresso bar and BYOB café featuring a varying selection of local, small-batch roasters..and doughnuts (plus other delicious flakey pastries)! Every Sunday they host live jazz sessions.

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TO DRINK

Simones
960 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$$

Eco-Friendly bar with recycled decor, DJ- spun tunes, craft beers and Mexican-inspired pub grub.

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Skylark
2149 S. Halsted St.,Chicago, IL
$$

Cash only bar with craft beer, pub food and live music amid retro rec-room décor (and a photo booth!)

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Punch House
1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$$

Down a metal staircase from Dusek’s Board & Beer in Pilsen’s Thalia Hall, this subterranean watering hole features a full bar highlighting the namesake drink in four forms (glass, carafe, bowl or growler); the retro rec room setting features wood paneling, tufted leather barstools, aquarium and taxidermy fish.

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TO SHOP

Modern Cooperative
1215 West 18th St., Chicago, IL
$

Located in Pilsen’s historic Thalia Hall in the vintage shopping district,  Modern Cooperative hand picks and fully restores vintage modern home furnishings from the 60’s and 70’s. They also showcase more than 75 local artists and designers.

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Knee Deep Vintage
1425 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$

Cozy spot to dig through the racks of second hand clothing and housewares plus modern and retro furniture.

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Pilsen Vintage
1430 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL
$

Quirky, vintage boutique dealing in men’s and women clothing, furniture, shoes and fun local crafted goods.

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