Mexican culture in Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods is going strong, which is why we’re honoring it here at Navy Pier on March 3 with Celebrate Mexico! We’re partnering up with the Consulate General of Mexico and the Mexico Tourism Board for another Neighborhoods of the World celebration where we’ll delve into the Mexican culture with lots of dance, history, and of course, Mexican food!
Surprisingly, Pilsen and Little Village were not originally Hispanic-heavy neighborhoods. Czech immigrants first inhabited Pilsen, naming it after the fourth-largest city in the Czech Republic. They remained the dominant culture in the neighborhood until the early 1970s when the Mexican community began to flourish there.
Little Village’s story is similar. Initially populated by Eastern European and Irish immigrants during and immediately following the Great Chicago Fire, the area received an influx of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and the culture has only grown since then.
Pilsen and Little Village celebrate their culture every year with holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Day of the Dead, and Mexican Independence Day, which boasts a huge annual parade in September down 26th Street. And of course another great place for visitors to learn more about Chicago’s Mexican culture is at the National Museum of Mexican Art, located in Pilsen. The art on display not only includes the work of a number of famous Mexican artists, but also represents ideas about what it means to be Mexican and what it means to be Mexican-American in Chicago.
But to experience real Mexican culture in the heart of the Midwest,you need to head down to Navy Pier this Sunday for Celebrate Mexico! We’d love to see you at our big fiesta!