Raquel and I (lead bloggers behind BoriquaChicks.com) are based in Chicago and we love to experience Puerto Rico in Chicago. Lately, we have received many requests from readers on social media who want to know what places they should visit when they come to Chicago.
We’ve compiled a list of upcoming events, as well as places to check out when you visit Chicago or if you live here and want to experience Puerto Rican culture.
Many of the spots featured are affiliated with Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park community, which is a Puerto Rican cultural district on Chicago’s Northwest side. Located 4 miles from the downtown area, this historical area is definitely a place that you should visit if you are interested in experiencing Puerto Rico in Chicago. Paseo Boricua is a 6-block portion of Division Street that spans between two huge, arching, steel sculpture-reproductions of the Puerto Rican flag.
Watch this video about the history of the steel flags that encloses Paseo Boricua.
Even if you don’t have a formal itinerary planned, you should take a walk along Paseo Boricua and support the small businesses or check out the beautiful murals by talented local artists who creatively use art to splash the buildings with images that celebrate Puerto Rican culture, politics, and history.
🇵🇷 Rebecca standing next to a mural dedicated to political leader Oscar López Rivera today at the #Chicago Puerto Rican Day Parade in #humboldtpark. #boricuadiaspora #streetart #oscarlopez #oscarlopezrivera #freeoscarlópezrivera #diaspora #boricua #peace #freeoscar #standup #socialjustice #mural #freedom #libretad #portrait #painting #artist #chicity #latinablogger #boricuasonline #chicagoblogger #chicago #puertorican #quebonitabandera #afrolatinasrock #boriqua #afrolatina
Check out our list of events and places below.
Upcoming Events – Save the Date
AfriCaribe hosts monthly Bombazos, which is a family, community, and musician-friendly Bomba jam session where participants can “experience the African influence in the culture of Puerto Rico through song, drum, and dance.” This event often takes place at the AfriCaribe Cultural Center, located at 2547 W. Division St. Visit their Facebook page to learn of upcoming events.
Three Kings Parade – January 6, 2017
This free event typically includes a toy giveaway and music/parranda. In the past the parade began at Roberto Clemente High School and ended at the Humboldt Park Field House.
Puerto Rican Festival – June 17 – 18, 2017
This annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture takes place in Humboldt Park and features food, lively music, entertainment, arts & crafts, carnival rides and local vendors. Admission is free, but bring money to shop and participate in the carnival rides.
Puerto Rican Parade – June 17, 2017
The Puerto Rican People’s Parade takes place along Division Street, beginning at Division and Western avenues.
Fiesta Boricua – Labor Day Weekend
This annual celebration of Puerto Rican pride takes place “De Bandera a Bandera” on Division Street (between Western and California). The event showcases the best of Puerto Rican artistry, music, dance, and food. Admission is free but bring money to shop with local vendors and at Chicago businesses located along Paseo Boricua.
*Please visit PaseoBoricua.org for current event details and updates.
Places to Visit
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC)
3015 W. Division Street
Chicago, Illinois 60622
The NMPRAC is the “only self-standing museum in the nation devoted to showcasing Puerto Rican arts and cultural exhibitions year-round.” Guests can enjoy community arts and cultural programming, which includes films in the park, an annual outdoor fine arts & crafts festival, hands-on community arts workshops, and visual art exhibitions. Visit the NMPRAC website to learn about upcoming events and exhibits.
Watch this video about why the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is so special to the Chicago community.
Skip to 30:10 to watch “Puerto Rican Museum Celebrates Culture, Embraces New Traditions.”
Lily’s Record Shop
2733 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Over the years, when we needed Puerto Rican trinkets such as flags, plates, key chains, etc., we went to Lily’s Record Shop. If you are in need of Puerto Rican Music, souvenirs, traditional clothing and gifts, this store is a great option for you, as a wealth of Puerto Rican paraphernalia can be found.
La Bruquena Restaurant
2726 W. Division St.
This family-owned restaurant has been in Humboldt Park for more than 35 years. In addition to traditional food, there is a bar and they have live music on some days. You can order specialty items such as coquito during the Christmas season, and they offer a few vegetarian options. I’ve eaten their “Gandules a la Criolla con Arroz Blanco y Tostones (pigeon peas in tomato sauce served with tender white rice and fried plantains)” and it was very flavorful and delicious. See pic below. They can get busy, so if you are in a hurry, visit on a day when you have plenty of time.
Watch this video of La Bruquena Restaurant on the TV show Check Please.
Nellie’s Restaurant & Café (formerly Nellie’s Restaurant)
2458 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
This family-owned restaurant, which has been opened for over 10 years, offers traditional Puerto Rican dishes and is also well known for its breakfast and brunch options. Raquel has eaten their popular “Avena de Coco (coconut oatmeal)” and truly enjoyed it. They are open seven days a week and have begun to offer espresso cafes and baked goods. They note on their website that they are the only restaurant to offer a Puerto Rican breakfast buffet in Chicago.
These are just a few places and events. What else would you add? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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