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Little Village

A terra cotta arch inscribed with the words “Bienvenidos a Little Village” marks the entrance to this colorful bastion of culture located on the southwest side of Chicago. Donated by the Mexican government and installed in 1991, this unmistakable portal is a conspicuous testament to both the largely Mexican-American population of the neighborhood, and the authenticity of its offerings. Given this history, and the demographics of the community, there is little wonder as to why Little Village has come to be affectionately known as La Villita. At every turn along a two-mile stretch of 26th street, the neighborhood’s major artery, Mexican-American culture comes to life. There are taquerias hawking made-to-order tacos prepared with fresh-made tortillas, panaderias offering hot out-of-the-oven pastries and baked goods, and restaurants and cantinas serving tantalizing Mexican specialties and cocktails. Of particular note is Osito’s Tap, a newer neighborhood bar in the vein of a classic Chicago speakeasy, notable for its Latin infused craft cocktails and enclosed, cube-shaped pods for outdoor dining. Finally, the art in Little Village is definitely worth a gander. While The Open Center for the Arts showcases work by emerging and aspiring local artists, Manuel Perez Memorial Plaza is a small park swathed in vivid murals and mosaics that also happens to be a popular gathering spot for locals. Both are not to be missed.

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