Pilsen

Pilsen is a neighborhood nestled in Chicago’s Lower West Side.  In the late 19th century, Pilsen was inhabited by Czech immigrants who named the district after Plzeň, the fourth largest city in what is now the Czech Republic.  The Pilsen we know today is rich in Latino culture.  

Pilsen is a neighborhood that overflows with music, art, culinary traditions, and nightlife.  It is home to award-winning restaurants, iconic music venues, and interesting murals as far as the eye can see.  Pilsen offers a wide variety ideal for all.

A quick Google search will quickly reveal the top attractions in Pilsen, such as Dusek’s Board and Beard (a Michelin star restaurant) attached to Thalia Hall (a concert venue) and Punch Bowl (a hidden basement bar with a vintage air) completes the trio on the corner of 18th and Allport.

Reviews will tell you to go to the National Museum of Mexican Art, Simone’s (an eco-friendly bar with recycled decor, DJ-spun tunes, craft beers, and Mexican inspired food) La Vaca (a margarita bar) and Honky Tonk BBQ (a Memphis-style dry-rubbed barbecue joint a with a hearty lineup of live music).

Take a stroll down Pilsen’s 16th Street for the must-see 16th street murals.  The murals showcase the works of artists on a public platform.  They helped transform the strip’s vandalized and abandoned brick walls into art that locals and visitors alike enjoy.  The murals reflect the history of Pilsen, its residents, and their passion.


“16th Street Murals” Foto de viajero enviada por jbjo13 (jun. de 2019)

In the summer months, Pilsen is host to numerous street festivals, including Mole de Mayo, Fiesta Del Sol, and Taco and Tamale Fest.  The celebrations are a great way to experience the restaurants of Pilsen all in one place.  

The great debate in Pilsen is who has the best tacos, and the answer is, it depends on who you ask.  From Los Comales to 5 Rabanito’s to El Milagro to countless others, you will surely have a great time exploring these taco joints in search of the perfect taco.   

Pilsen is the heart of Chicago, and 18th street is the heart of Pilsen.   Follow 18th street from Halsted to Damen, where you will find consignment stores such as Knee Deep Vintage and Pilsen Vintage and Thrift.  Go back in time and visit a vinyl record store such as Pinwheel Records, and 606 records.  18th street is also home to bookstores like Pilsen Community Books and The Pilsen Outpost (an artist-run retail shop showcasing handmade products, custom toys, special edition prints, books, and artwork).

If you are in search of a great cup of coffee, Café Jumping Bean’s menu rivals Starbucks and includes non-fat, skinny, soy, or almond milk coffee creations at half the cost.  What is a great cup of coffee without sweet bread?  

As you walk down 18th street, your nose will lead you to Panaderia Del Refugio.  Del Refugio bakes concha’s (a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll) and coffee cakes.  The cakes bake throughout the day in round 8-inch pans then they are placed on cooling racks around the store.

Along 18th street, you will also find many bodegas (corner stores).  Los Jasminez, is on the corner of 18th and Carpenter.  They sell everything from fresh produce, to toiletries, to lotto tickets.  In Pilsen a bodega can be found every few blocks.

As certain as a bodega is a staple of any Latin neighborhood, the tamale street vendors are a staple of Pilsen.  On the Facebook Pilsen Page, locals will often pose the question, “Who has the best tamales?”

The place in Pilsen where you will feel a real sense of community is the St.Procopius Catholic church.  Last year, the church introduced The Lunada, an outdoor party held on the front lawn of the church.  The Lunada features live music, food, and drinks.  Proceeds from the festival help support the local food pantry.

St.Procopius Catholic church.

Pilsen has everything you need in a neighborhood, great food, art, nightlife, small businesses, and a sense of community. 

Pilsen’s proximity to the Loop makes this neighborhood a real estate developers dream.  The area north of the 16th and Halsted Street underpass is booming with real estate development of condominiums and new-construction townhomes, resulting in a hike in real estate values.  The newly built condos are impressive in size and command a higher asking price than single-family homes. 

If you are considering buying in Pilsen, you have to consider your needs.  A condo or townhome are more readily available than single-family homes, and often single family homes in Pilsen come with more wear and tear.

According to Redfin and Chicagomag.com, the median sale price of homes in the area is $450k-$500k.  Virtually every property is closing at sellers’ asking prices. 

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Pilsen is the place where the number of sales rose and the average time that properties spent on the market fell.

The time to buy is now.  There are still great, affordable properties available.  For expert advice, contact an agent at Realty of Chicago, Pilsen.