Chicago’s Chinese Culture: Landmarks and Celebrations in Illinois’ Flagship City
The cosmopolitan Midwestern hub of Chicago, Illinois, is home to one of the largest and oldest Chinese communities in the USA.
Chinese immigrants began arriving in Chicago in the 1880s. Since then, this cultural enclave has grown into its own distinct neighborhood with hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents. Throughout this bustling district, visitors will find traditional architecture, community centers, parks, businesses and annual events teeming with activity.
Chicago's Chinatown is centered around Cermak and Wentworth Avenues just south of Chicago’s city center. Browse the independent shops along historic Wentworth Avenue and stop for a bite to eat; there are many Chinese restaurants selling Cantonese dim sum. Take a photo at the Chinatown gate, modeled after a wall in Beijing.
North of Wentworth Avenue is Chinatown Square. In addition to excellent restaurants such as Tony Hu's Lao Sze Chuan, consistently rated among the best in the USA, you'll find public art including a stunning mural by Yan Dong and Zhou Ping. This iconic work depicts the history of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush and was made from 100,000 individually cut and hand-painted glass tiles.
Nearby, visit Ping Tom Memorial Park. Situated along the Chicago River, the park is a hub of activity. In the summer, you can rent a kayak or take the water taxi that travels between the park and downtown Chicago. Attend the Dragon Boat Race in July to watch traditional dragon rowboats race in the river.
Exploring the Ping Tom Boathouse next to the Chicago River at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown
Chinese New Year in Chicago
With a continuous influx of Chinese immigrants, Chicago is proud to have an active community with a vibrant, traditional heritage. Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the most important holiday season and the entire city takes part in this Chinatown-based celebration. Beginning with the first day of the Lunar New Year, the celebration lasts about a month and features parades, concerts, dining events and special offers from local businesses.