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On Division Street, stop by La Palma Puerto Rican Restaurant. La Palma, which has fed the Humboldt Park neighborhood for 15 years, serves comida criolla, or Creole food — a combination of African, Spanish, and Amerindian flavors. Favorites include beef stew, steak sandwiches, fried plantains, and Puerto Rican rice. This combination of flavors is a reflection of not only the Humboldt Park area’s diverse roots, but of Puerto Rico’s cultural history.
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is located in the Humboldt Park. The National Museum works to preserve Puerto Rican culture by housing some of the finest art by Puerto Rican artists. Past exhibitions have included art focused on the Puerto Rican experience both on the island and in the United States. The National Museum rotates exhibitions through its two galleries, art classrooms, and performance space, so there’s always something to see. Admission to the museum is free.
The California Clipper is a bar like no other in Chicago. Originally established in 1937, the California Clipper has, despite recent renovations, maintained its old school charm. The lounge is flooded in a haze of deep red lights and 1940s décor. The Clipper features live music almost every night and most drinks are under $10.
The California Clipper, 1002 N California Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 384 2547
Over a stretch of six city blocks, the best of Puerto Rican culture is on display in the Paseo Boricua. Restaurants, family-run stores, and murals line the paseo. Flanking the area, between California Avenue and Western Avenue, are two 59-foot-tall steel Puerto Rican flags. Professional tours are also available.
Paseo Boricua Tours, 2459 W Division St, Chicago, IL, USA + 1 773 782 0454
Right off the Paseo Boricua is Papa’s Cache Sabroso, famous for its jibarito: a steak sandwich with cheese, vegetables, and fried green plantains in place of bread. Papa’s is also famous for its smaller dishes like cassava, sweet plantains, and rotisserie chicken marinated in savory spices. Papa’s Cache Sabroso is perfect when you’re looking for a quick and filling Puerto Rican meal after strolling along the Division Street promenade.
Papa’s Cache Sabroso, 2517 W Division St, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 862 8313
In 2005, the Urban Theater Company was founded by a Latin American group ensemble to provide a creative outlet for the Humboldt Park community. Since its opening, the Urban Theater Company has been a center for communities of color to engage in the arts. Currently, it is presenting productions of Adoration of the Old Woman by Jose Rivera and Lolita de Lares by Migdalia Cruz, so stop by and get your tickets.
Your trip to Humboldt Park would not be complete without visiting the neighborhood’s namesake, Humboldt Park, a Chicago Park District main attraction. The park is 219 acres of nature and recreational space and houses baseball fields, tennis courts, and playgrounds, plus a jogging pathway and acres of nature. Humboldt Park also holds numerous outdoor and indoor events throughout the year, such as the Puerto Rican Festival and the Latin Jazz Festival.
Humboldt Park, 1400 N Sacramento Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, + 1 773 742 7549
Visit Humboldt Park in the summer and catch the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. It is one of the largest and most popular Latin American events in the country, dedicated to celebrating Puerto Rican heritage. The parade has dozens of floats, live music, performances, and food. The four-day-long event is a lively gathering of the community, with visitors from across the Chicago area.
Looking for something adventurous, or just a fun night out in Humboldt Park? Head to Division Street and try out the Dance Academy of Salsa & Modern Latin Dance. Founded in 2002 by a professional with over 22 years of experience, the Dance Academy offers lessons in Latin dance of all kinds. Don’t be intimidated by mirrored walls and glossy hardwood floors. This place is for everyone, from beginners to advanced dancers. Learn salsa step-by-step in the one hour drop-in classes. Whether you go with a partner or go alone, it’s an enjoyable experience.
Located in the vast Humboldt Park District is the Humboldt Park Boathouse. The Boathouse provides a serene alternative to the athletic facilities and playgrounds. Known for its prairie-style architecture, the Boathouse is a place to experience nature. You can take a walk along the lagoon or enjoy lunch in the Boathouse Café. The multiple gardens, historic statues, and park pathways offer a deep contrast to the busy, urban environment of the city.
Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N Sacramento Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 742 7549