Chicago's Pilsen is known as one of the largest Mexican neighborhoods in the city. Originally, however, the area was settled by German and Irish immigrants who came to Chicago to work in the factories and infamous union stockyards.
Pilsen actually gets its name, though, from its second wave of immigrants--Czech and Bohemian immigrants--who had a profound impact on the neighborhood's architecture. Pilsen is the name of the 2nd largest city in Bohemia, Czech Republic.
In the 1950s, the neighborhood became a center for Mexican immigrants. To this day, Pilsen and Little Village to the west remain the heart and soul of Chicago’s Mexican community.
On this 2 1/2 hour walking tour, you will:
- Discover and interpret a number of murals throughout the neighborhood
- Visit St. Adelbart Church, a Polish style cathedral from 1874
- Explore the National Museum of Mexican Fine Arts
- View an array of interesting architecture, reminiscent of the old Eastern European country infused with a Mexican flare
- Check out local shops
- Pop into a Mexican panaderia
What Is Not Included?
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Yes, tickets must be purchased in advance. Tours often sell out so we suggest purchasing your tickets early to guarantee your desired tour day. Tickets may be purchased either online or by phone with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
- Is the tour suitable for children? What type of ticket should I purchase for a very young child?
- While children are welcome on the tour, please keep in mind that tours are 2 1/2-hours long and we walk approximately 2 - 2 1/2 miles. Parents, who know their children best, should assess whether a 2 1/2-hour walking tour is appropriate for their own child’s attention span and stamina. All children 6 years and older are required to have a ticket. Children under 6 can attend free of charge, but please let us know if you plan to bring children when purchasing your tickets.
- How much walking is involved and what is the pace?
- The tour covers approximately 2 - 2 1/2 miles over a 2 1/2-hour period. We walk at a leisurely pace and stop frequently to discuss interesting points along the way. We do recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. Keep in mind that you are on your feet for all 2 1/2 hours.
- Where does the tour take place?
- This tour will venture into Chicago's fascinating Pilsen neighborhood. Beautiful murals, St. Adelbart Church and the National Museum of Mexican Fine Arts are just some of the things you will explore! Your guide will be introducing you to some of the history and culture of the area.
- Do we go inside any buildings?
- During the tour, we will stop in a local Mexican panaderia (a bakery). We may not have time to go to every shop that you want due to the limited duration of the tour, however, you can always return and explore your favorite locations at another time! The tour ends with an introduction to the National Museum of Mexican Art.
- Does the tour start and end at the same place?
- The tour ends about a couple blocks away from the starting location, at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Your tour guide will be more than happy to give directions for public transportation or point you in the right direction for your next destination.
- What about inclement weather?
- Tours will run rain or shine. We ask that you check the weather forecast and dress accordingly if inclement weather is predicted.
- Are there bathrooms along the way?
- Restrooms are available near the meeting location. There is also the possibility for a restroom stop at a corresponding location along the way.
- Will locals enjoy the tour as well or is it mostly for tourists?
- Absolutely! While you may be familiar with our route and some of the stops, you will also have the opportunity to discover new things about the wonderful city you live in! Additionally, this tour is an excellent way to entertain out-of-town guests, celebrate a special occasion or encourage professional team building.
- Are the tours conducted in English only?
- Yes, at the moment we can only offer tours in English, but you are welcome to arrange for an interpreter. Please note that if you are accompanied by an interpreter, that person will need a full priced ticket.
- Is there anywhere to buy food or drinks along the way? Can I bring my own?
- Sure! While no food or drinks are included in the ticket price, feel free to pack light snacks and drinks or purchase them along the way.
- Are cameras allowed on the tour?
- Yes, cameras are permitted and we encourage you to take photos!
- Does the tour guide accept gratuities?
- Gratuities are not included in the ticket price. While not required, gratuities are accepted and always appreciated by the tour guides.
- Is the tour wheelchair and stroller accessible?
- Unfortunately we do not recommend the tour for those with wheelchairs or strollers as there are some stairs and narrow pathways involved along the tour. Although it's not recommended, we can sometimes accommodate guests with wheelchairs. Please contact Joyce Walks Chicago directly by clicking on the "Contact WalksChicago" link to the left of the page, if you have more questions about wheelchair accessibility.
- Is there public parking available nearby?
- There is a parking lot within a 2 block radius of the meeting location. Street parking is also available but limited. Please read all signs when looking for street parking to avoid getting ticketed. Specific parking and public transportation directions will be included in the meeting location details after purchasing tickets.
- Can we shop during the tour?
- While we will be pointing out some local hotspots for shopping, we ask that you refrain from shopping during the tour. It is important that we stay on schedule, so be sure to take note of the shops you would like to revisit after the tour ends.
- Are dogs/pets allowed on the tour?
- All pets, with the exception of trained service dogs, are prohibited on the tour.
- Is smoking allowed on the tour?
- Although our tours are outdoors, we request that smokers step far enough away from our groups so no one in the group is affected by smoking.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! Gift certificates are available for purchase and make great gifts for family and friends. If you have any questions about purchasing or redeeming gift certificates, please click on the “Contact WalksChicago” link on the left side of this page.
- Do you offer private tours?
- Yes, private tours are available. To inquire about booking a private tour, please click on the “Contact WalksChicago” link on the left of this page.
Joyce Walks Chicago
You haven’t really seen Chicago if you haven’t ventured into one of our amazing neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a distinct history and offers visitors a unique look at the city’s diversity. When you visit Chicago’s neighborhoods, you will see and learn about the heart and soul of the city. You will experience Chicago like a Chicagoan!
Joyce Walks Chicago came about because owner Joyce LOVES CHICAGO. Let’s walk through one of Chicago’s amazing neighborhoods–Chinatown, the Gold Coast, Old Town, Kenwood, Pilsen, Graceland Cemetery, and more–interact with locals, see where people live, enjoy the local restaurants, and learn how each neighborhood’s unique history shaped its culture, art, and architecture.
Joyce guides you through the streets of Chicago, teaching you the history and culture that has shaped each individual neighborhood while offering a unique perspective and point of view as a Chicagoan.
Walk with us and catch our passion for Chicago!