The Chicago Chinatown is a fascinating neighborhood that offers what is essentially a slice of China in the heart of the Midwest. While not a large neighborhood, the Chicago Chinatown is packed with interesting things to both see and do, which makes it a popular stop on many itineraries for Chicago vacations. You'll find the Chicago Chinatown on the near South Side, and because there is a metro stop here, it's easy to get to. You can also hop on a bus or hail a cab to make your way to Chinatown in Chicago, and if you have a rental car and prefer driving, parking is relatively easy to come by. Bring your walking shoes and your appetite with you on your Chinatown Chicago visit, and prepare for a culturally rich experience that is sure to please.
Some 70,000 people call Chinatown Chicago home, and these residents are proud of their cultural identity. Even for most Chicago residents of Chinese descent who don't live in this neighborhood, it is still an important part of their overall identity. Many come down on a regular basis to stock up on things such as groceries, medicine, and newspapers. Of course, dining out in Chinatown is reason enough to visit, regardless of your cultural heritage. There are more than 60 restaurants in the Chinatown area, and many can be found on either Cermak Avenue or Wentworth Avenue. These two avenues comprise the heart of Chinatown Chicago, and in addition to savory restaurants, they are also home to grocery stores, medicine stores, gift shops, banks, and various service-oriented businesses.
When you're not shopping and dining out during your visit to Chinatown in Chicago, you can also stop by the neighborhood's various attractions. Among the most renowned landmarks here is the Chinatown Gate, which is found at the corner of Wentworth and Cermak. A fairly simple architectural piece, the Beijing-inspired Chinatown Gate manages to make quite a statement nonetheless, as it looms large over Wentworth Avenue. Visitors know they are in the heart of Chinatown Chicago when they come upon the Chinatown Gate. More impressive in design, the Nine Dragon Wall is also a landmark you won't want to miss when visiting Chinatown in Chicago. This ornate wall depicts nine main dragons and hundreds of smaller ones. It was modeled after a wall in a Beijing park, and a great effort was made to make it as sophisticated as the original.
Other great attractions that beg inclusion on your Chicago Chinatown agenda include the Ping Tom Memorial Park and the Chinatown Mural. Families who are looking for things to do in Chicago will love the Ping Tom Memorial Park, which spreads out over twelve acres near the heart of Chinatown. This city park, which is home to bamboo gardens, a playground, and a riverfront pavilion, is a great place to hang out when the weather is nice. Visit in the summertime, and you might catch one of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce dragon boat races. As for the Chinatown Mural, it is located at the Chinatown Square, which is a popular shopping and dining area. This mural, which features some 100,000 pieces of hand-painted glass, centers on Chinese culture, with special attention being paid to the history of Chinese immigrants in the United States.
The Chinatown Gate, The Nine Dragon Wall, Ping Tom Memorial Park, and the Chinatown Mural are just some of the attractions that make Chinatown Chicago such a fascinating place to visit. There's also a small Chinese-American museum here that deserves some of your time, and you'll definitely want to take note of the sculptures of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac that can be found in the Chinatown Square. Before or after you visit Chinatown in Chicago, you might look to hit one of the other more interesting South Side neighborhoods, which include Hyde Park and Pilsen. Time should also be reserved for a tour of the Loop and a visit to North Side neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park and Old Town.