Mini Tour Before Dinner:
Pilsen has always been a neighborhood of immigrants. The Irish arrived in the 1840s to do the back breaking work of building canals, roads and railroad tracks. They were followed by waves of immigrants from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Italy, among other places. The Czech population dominated, as thousands fled the Austrian Empire seeking political and religious freedom. A popular, nostalgic Czech Bohemian hangout, a restaurant named At the City of Plzeň, gave the neighborhood its name.
Pilsen’s current dominant immigrant culture is Mexican and this influence is what gives the area its charm. Colorful Murals are everywhere. Our highlight to tour before dinner is the wall of Murals along the railroad embankment between Halsted and Ashland called the 16th Street Murals.
This is a one mile stretch to meander. You can drive, stop and look closer as different paintings catch your eye. It is easy to pull over and park along the side of the road as you drive down it. If you are really organized, you can Google “16th Street Murals Pilsen” or “Pilsen Murals” and find an abundance of articles and videos about the murals, their history and information about the artists. I included the location of some of our favorites on the map.