20 Reasons Chicago Is Home To So Many Latinos
Guys, Chicagoan Latinos are booming. We’ve officially become the largest minority group in the city of Chicago. Some of the iconic Mexican or Puerto Rican neighborhoods, however, are suffering from gentrification. While the Latino population is growing, Pilsen and Humboldt have lost 30,000 Latinos.
So here’s mitú’s guide to why Chicago is home.
1. Chicago is the #3 hub for Latino Americans. (read: it’s lit)
There are more than 1.9 million Latinos in the Chicago area, and 1 in 5 Chicagoans are Latino, ay oh! Basically, it’s one giant family reunion.
2. They’re ? living their best life. ?
The average household income for Chicago Latinos is $42,000 and more than half are homeowners. Coming to you live from Los Angeles, and not holding my breath to ever own a home.
3. The vast majority of Chicago Latinos are Mexicano.
Of all Chicago Latinos, the three largest groups of origin are Mexican (79.2 percent), Puerto Rican (9.6 percent) and Guatemalan (2.1 percent.) Prepare yourself for all the food.
4. “La Villita” is the Mexican neighborhood of Chicago.
There are so many neighborhoods that are hella Latino in Chicago, but Little Village is nicknamed the “Mexico of the Midwest,” and you don’t have to go far for proof. Behold.
5. The streets are covered in murals like this one.
The National Museum of Mexican Arts helped bring us the Pilsen Murals, which range from glass tile mosaics, to graffiti art and enormous depictions of Frida Kahlo. You get to see the neighborhood’s renown artists as you stroll through.
6. The art at the National Museum of Mexican Arts is on point.
The community in Little Village truly is alive with Mexican arts of the past and present. What do you think this one means? The artist is hush hush.
7. Even the restaurants in Chicago are beloved for it’s wall art.
Lincoln Square’s Los Nopales Authentic Mexican Restaurant has been open since 2005, and has been thee spot to bring your family of 12, and never run low on margaritas. Plus, their tilapia tacos are Chicago-famous.
8. Mexican food has been served here since 1962.
Nuevo Leon Restaurant is an iconic landmark in the Pilsen neighborhood and probably the most popular restaurant there. They’re most well known for their Filete Nuevo Leon, which is a New York style steak dish.
9. You can find almost any dish here.
For a taste of Colombian food (remember, this is the Midwest), go to Las Tablas. They’re famous for their skirt steak, plantains and empanadas.
10. Want Puerto Rican food?
May St Café offers Mexican food inspired by Puerto Rican and Cuban Caribbean flavors. They offer brie and pear quesadillas alongside burgers with chipotle ketchup. Plus, they often have a DJ and that patio is bumpin’ with merengue moves.
11. Humboldt Park is the home of “Little Puerto Rico.”
The city erected a pair of enormous, 60′ high Puerto Rican flags in “Paseo Boricua” in 1995. Boricua pride runs deep in this community, so when the wind is freezing you to your bones, you’ll still feel like home.
12. And it’s got it’s own public works art project.
Notice anything familiar about this mural?
Hint: it’s the giant metal, Puerto Rican flag waving in the background. That’s Chicago for you. :’)
13. Plus, dessert is served daily in Chicago.
Kristoffer’s Café & Bakery is the drool-worthy destination for Tres Leches. They actually distribute them to other stores and Mexican restaurants, they’re that popular.
14. Chicago is home to the world’s largest free outdoor food festival, called the Taste of Chicago.
Truth: Chicagoans love their food. You know there’s going to be avocado art there. There is no escape, gracias a Dios.
15. Randomly, Chicago River is the only river in the world to flow backwards.
And on St. Patrick’s day, they dye the whole river green. It’s a strange town, you guys, but some call it home.
16. Barack Obama is a major part of Chicago.
Remember when we had DACA? And a friendly relationship with Mexico? And no “border wall”? *cry*
17. An average of 35 million visitors flock to Chicago each year.
People come for the food, but they all come to The Bean, formally known as Cloud Gate. The City of Chicago opened up a design competition that Sir Anish Kapoor won. It was completed in 2006 and is made up of 168 stainless steel plates!
18. Chicago has 15 miles of bathing beaches.
It’s no wonder so many of us live here. We’re here for the food and we’re here for the beaches. I have no idea where we go during the 6 months of windy winters.
19. In 1924, the first gay rights group in the U.S. was created in Chicago.
Henry Gerber, a German immigrant, moved to Chicago and was shocked at how LGBTQ+ people were treated. He was even committed to a mental institution because of his sexual orientation. The very first gay rights group in the U.S., “The Society for Human Rights” was disbanded in 1925 after they were all arrested, but the members just moved to other parts of the country and started their own advocacy groups.
Last year, Chicago Pride had over 1,000,000 people in attendance. :’)
20. Chicago was technically the birthplace of soap operas.
Created by Irna Phillips, later known as “Queen of the Soaps”, “These Are My Children” was the very first daytime soap opera on air in the U.S. The show only aired for 24 days before being cancelled, but it paved a path, and proves that Latinos have a permanent home in Chicago.