The Mexican Heritage Museum in Pilsen, Chicago

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Tucked away into the southwest side of Chicago is the Pilsen neighborhood. Throughout its roughly 150-year existence, this neighborhood has been home to Eastern European, Irish and Italian populations. During the 20th century, the neighborhood became home to a vibrant Latino population.

The neighborhood is accessible from downtown Chicago via public transportation and it offers a wide range of things to do, including vintage shopping, cafes and restaurants. Many of these are found along 18th Street, the main thoroughfare of Pilsen. You can also visit local grocery stores to find your favorite coffee infused with cinnamon and chilies.

A little out of the way, though not far from restaurants and the L train, is The National Museum of Mexican Art. This museum is open Tuesday–Sunday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and is free of charge. They display regular exhibits that promote Mexican culture and history, while also offering temporary exhibits such as the yearly “Day of the Dead Exhibit.” Its curation philosophy embraces the idea of existing without borders and they illustrate this through ephemera, folk art, photography, paintings and textiles. This museum is only enhanced by the Pilsen neighborhood.

If you are in Chicago, consider getting away from downtown and exploring Pilsen for a day. Stop by the National Museum of Mexican Art and explore some of the most vivid public art in the city in the form of Pilsen’s murals.

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