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Entrance to Portage Park | © Orestek/Wikicommons
Entrance to Portage Park | © Orestek/Wikicommons

The Best Things To Do And See In Portage Park, Chicago

Picture of Alyssa Reyes
Updated: 9 February 2017
In the early 20th century, the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago’s far Northwest side became home to thousands of European immigrant families. Today, the neighborhood has one of the largest Polish communities in the city. Aside from its historic ties, the neighborhood also boasts charming shops, family-run restaurants, and plenty of entertainment. Here is Culture Trip’s guide to exploring Chicago’s Portage Park.

Portage Park

Portage Park is a popular neighborhood attraction, offering activities for people of all ages. Once a host site for the 1959 Pan American Games, the park is now utilized as a multipurpose space for the community. The 30+ acre park is home to tennis courts, five basketball courts, and an Olympic-sized pool, among other facilities. Take part in the various indoor and outdoor activities or spend time at the Portage Park Nature & Wildlife Garden.

Portage Park, 4100 N Long Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 685 7235


Portage Theater

In its early days, the Portage Theater was an extravagant theater known for showcasing new film releases. Today it is a modern events venue for live music of all types. The regular schedule for the theater also includes occasional film screenings and comedy shows.

Portage Theater, 4050 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 283 7244

Outside of Portage Theater | © Marc Heiden/Wikicommons

Outside of Portage Theater | © Marc Heiden/Wikicommons


National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum first opened in 1981 and has since transformed into a space exclusively dedicated to showcasing the work of veterans-turned-artists. The museum aims to tell the stories of war in a tangible way for non-veterans to understand. Over 2,500 works of art are featured from more than 200 artists. 

National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312 326 0270

Polonia Bookstore

Polonia Bookstore in Portage Park is centered on Polish literature. From historical novels and autobiographies to Polish fairy tales, the Polonia Bookstore has it all. Visitors can prolong their visit by unwinding in the in-house café.

Polonia Bookstore, 4759 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 481 6968


Patio Theater

The Patio Theater is the partner theater of the Portage Theater on Milwaukee Avenue. The Patio Theater offers an experience more reflective of the building’s legacy as a former film house. The theater was originally built in 1927 and is decorated with ornate fixtures, reminiscent of an opera house. For film buffs, catch the upcoming BANFF Film Festival and the Sci-Fi Spectacular event. Seeing a film at the Patio Theater will make anyone feel like an Old Hollywood star.

Patio Theater, 6008 E Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 283 7244

Patio Theater | © Craig Finlay/Flickr

Patio Theater | © Craig Finlay/Flickr


Filament Theatre

Filament Theatre in Portage Park is backed by an ensemble of talented actors and writers. In its ninth season, the Filament’s lineup is sure to please with clever writing and interactive shows. Upcoming performances at the Filament Theatre include Pinocchio: A Folk Musical, Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Portage Park, and The Van Gogh Café. Later this year, the Filament Theatre ensemble will incorporate Portage Park residents in Crossing Six Corners, which will tell the stories of the area’s residents.

Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 270 1660

Stage lights | © Dan Brady/Flickr

Stage lights | © Dan Brady/Flickr


Six Corners District

If you’re looking to experience the Portage Park area like the locals, then head towards the Six Corners district. The area is lined with spots for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy dining options like the 6 Corners Bistro, Lomas Verdes, and Las Tablas. A variety of shops like Foxwill and Rasenick’s are also featured. 

Six Corners District, near 4041 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773 685 9300

Six Corners District | © TonyTheTiger/Wikicommons

Six Corners District | © TonyTheTiger/Wikicommons