6 Ways To Explore Chicago's African American Heritage

The DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, Illinois
The DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, Illinois | © Panoramic Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Elizabeth Newhart

Chicago’s history and black history go hand in hand; from museums to comfort food and nightclubs, Chicago is what it is today because of countless powerful African American leaders. Learn more about the important ways African Americans have shaped the Windy City, and celebrate and honor their contributions, with a mini-tour of landmarks.

1. DuSable Museum of African American History


There’s no better place to start in on African American history than the DuSable Museum on the South Side. It’s named after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian man who in 1779 ‘established the trading post and permanent settlement which would become known as Chicago.’ The museum has preserved and celebrated the rich history of African Americans in Chicago for more than 55 years with its collection of art and historical material supplemented by lectures, programs, and temporary exhibits.

2. African-American Cultural Center

Library, University

Take a trip to the campus of University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to visit their African-American Cultural Center (AACC). It’s been open for over 25 years and hosts ‘innovative programs and initiatives that relate particular African-American and African Diaspora traditions, creative practices, and experiences to broader frameworks of thought, feeling, and action.’ The center features rotating exhibits and houses a research library on African American topics.

3. Pearl’s Place

Restaurant, Family style, American

In between all the museum-hopping and culture-soaking, settle in for a big bite to eat at Pearl’s Place. It has all the southern comfort food you could possibly want, including catfish, fried chicken, seafood gumbo, and shrimp and grits. Tuck in to this relaxing dining experience and completely forget you’re still in the city.

5. Monument to the Great Northern Migration

Historical Landmark

The Bronzeville neighborhood pays tribute to African American history with public art. In the first half of the 20th century, over six million black Americans moved from the rural South to the industrial North and West in what became known as the Great Migration. Chicago was a major destination during this movement, and that is immortalized in Alison Saar’s bronze statue of a traveling man. It sits on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and is an inspirational reminder of all the great Chicagoans the city gained during this time.

6. The Green Mill

Music Venue

Head north for a nightcap at Chicago’s most famous and longest-operating jazz club. The Green Mill is steeped in rich history and has seen all the greats play its stage. Settling in for a few cocktails and an evening of music is like taking a step back in time to when jazz, soul, and the blues ruled the Chicago music scene. Shows happen every night and the performers usually play until dawn, making it a spot on the town you just can’t miss.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article