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How to use transit to enjoy Hispanic Heritage Month in the Chicago region

September 15, 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month Blog 1110x545 1

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15-October 15 to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans. There are plenty of ways to celebrate throughout the Chicago region, from street festivals, to museums, to must-visit neighborhoods, and more. To get you in the spirit, the RTA has curated a list of activities you can access via CTA, Metra, or Pace.

MULTICULTURAL NEIGHBORHOODS

Pilsen

Pilsen is one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods, known for its murals, shops, and restaurants—and, of course, its deep history as a strong Latino community. Spend a day exploring the 16th Street murals, the Pilsen Arts and Community House, and the free National Museum of Mexican Art. Swing down to 18th Street to enjoy locally owned shops and restaurants, including some of the best tacos you’ll ever have.

How to get there:

  • CTA Pink Line (18th Street stop)
  • CTA Bus Route #18 (between 18th Street & Ashland and Halsted & 16th Street stops)
  • CTA Bus Route #9 and #X9 (Ashland & 18th Street stop)
  • CTA Bus Route #8, #18, and #62 (Halsted & 16th Street stop)
  • Metra BNSF line (Halsted Street stop)

Little Village

Just a few stops farther west along the Pink Line is Pilsen’s neighbor, La Villita (or Little Village). Be sure to check out the 26th Street arch, designated an official landmark earlier this year and marking the gateway to what is often referred to as the “Mexican capital of the Midwest.” Walk along 26th Street to enjoy one of the most vibrant retail districts in all of Chicago, including locally owned shops, restaurants, bakeries, and more.

How to get there:

  • CTA Pink Line (Western, California, Kedzie, or Central Park stops)
  • CTA Bus Route #60 (between 26th Street & Kostner and 26th Street & Washtenaw stops)
  • CTA Bus Route #82 (between Central Park & Ogden and Central Park & 31st Street stops)
  • Metra BNSF line (Western Avenue stop)

Humboldt Park

If you’re looking to take in the best Puerto Rican culture Chicagoland has to offer, follow the giant flags. Division Street between Western and California avenues is known as Paseo Boricua and is bookended by nearly 60-foot-tall steel Puerto Rican flags, which were landmarked earlier this summer. You’re sure to see countless Puerto Rican flags along this corridor waving from cars, in windows, and on the stretch’s many vibrant murals. The energy is palpable, and the food is not to be missed.

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus Route #70 (between Division & Kedzie and Division & Western stops)
  • CTA Bus Route #94 (between California & North Avenue and California & Division stops)
  • CTA Bus Route #49 (between North Avenue & Western and Western & Division stops)
  • Metra MD-N, MD-W, and NCS lines (Western Avenue stop), then take CTA Bus Route #49 north to Division Street.
  • Metra UP-W line (Kedzie stop), then take CTA Bus Route #82 north to Division Street.

CULTURAL EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Hispanic Heritage Month Festival: Convivencia

Enjoy and learn about Latinx culture at the 2022 Convivencia in Oak Park, hosted by the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. This free event is filled with fun, food, and resources for the whole family. Convivencia means “living together,” which has been the mission of the Housing Center since 1972: cultivating integrated, diverse, and inclusive communities. This year, the organization advances this mission in the form of a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

When: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, September 17

Where: Taylor Park, 400 Division Street, Oak Park, IL

How to get there:

  • CTA Green Line (Ridgeland stop), then walk 1 mile (20 minutes).
  • Metra MD-W line (Galewood stop), then walk 1.2 miles (23 minutes).

Learn more

Joliet Latino Music and Food Festival

Celebrate Hispanic culture in downtown Joliet with the Latino Music and Food Festival. Enjoy performances by Dareyes de la Sierra, Sangre Norteña, El Miguelon, Tamanaco Tambor, ChiOax, and more. The festival is $20 and free for kids 11 and younger. Staff from the RTA will also be at this event to hear from community members about the future of transit as part of developing the region’s next transit strategic plan.

When: 4-11 p.m. Saturday, September 17

Where: Van Buren Street Plaza, Joliet, IL 60432

How to get there:

  • Metra Rock Island line (Joliet stop), then walk 0.3 miles (7 minutes).
  • Pace Bus Routes #501, #505, #507, or #832 (Joliet Union Station/Scott St. & Jefferson St. stop), then walk 0.1 miles (3 minutes).

Learn more

Naperville Hispanic Heritage Festival

The Naperville Sister Cities is hosting their second annual Hispanic Heritage Festival, featuring a South of the Border Marketplace, Taste of Latin America, and music in Central Park. Other events will be held downtown including a scavenger hunt with a chance to win a $50 downtown Naperville gift card, bilingual story time, and art projects, Loteria, cooking classes, and more. Participating downtown stores are also featuring special events and food specials.

When: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, September 17 for the main event, other events taking place at various times September 9-30

Where: Central Park, 104 E. Benton Ave.

How to get there:

  • Pace Bus Route #530 (Washington St & Benton Ave stop), then walk 0.2 miles (3 minutes).
  • Metra BNSF line (Naperville stop), then walk 0.4 miles (9 minutes), or take Pace Bus Route #530 south to the Washington St & Benton Ave stop.

Learn more

Fiestas Patrias

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day at Fiestas Patrias in Aurora. You’ll find fun and entertainment for the entire family—from carnival rides, games, rollercoasters, and slides to face painting, bouncy houses, crafts, and a riding bull. Enjoy folkloric dances, authentic food, live music, a parade of nations, and more. General admission is $10 each day.

When: September 17-18

Where: River Edge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL

How to get there:

  • Pace Bus Route #802 (Aurora Transportation Center Bay 5 stop), then walk 0.1 miles (3 minutes)
  • Pace Bus Route #533 (Aurora Transportation Center Bay 4 stop), then walk 0.2 miles (4 minutes).
  • Pace Bus Route #530 (Aurora Transportation Center Bay 3 stop), then walk 0.2 miles (4 minutes).
  • Pace Bus Route #524 (Aurora Transportation Center Bay A stop), then walk 0.2 miles (4 minutes).
  • Metra BNSF line (Aurora stop), then walk 0.2 miles (4 minutes)

Learn more

Salsa Dance Class at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

Enjoy an evening learning to dance Salsa at the National Puerto Rican Museum in the Chicago neighborhood of Humboldt Park. A professional dance instructor will teach you the basic steps and have you dancing before the night is over. Bring a friend to partner up! This lesson is free, but registration is required.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29

Where: National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus Route #70 (Division & Humboldt stop)
  • CTA Bus Route #82 (Homan & Division stop), then walk 0.4 miles (9 minutes) or transfer to CTA Bus Route #70 (Division & Humboldt stop).
  • CTA Bus Route #94 (California & Division stop), then walk 0.4 miles (9 minutes) or transfer to CTA Bus Route #70 (Division & Humboldt stop).
  • Metra MD-N, MD-W, and NCS lines (Western Avenue stop), then take CTA Bus Route #49 north to Division Street and walk 0.8 miles (17 minutes) or transfer to CTA Bus Route #70 (Division & Humboldt stop).
  • Metra UP-W line (Kedzie stop), then take CTA Bus Route #82 north to Division Street and walk 4 miles (9 minutes) or transfer to CTA Bus Route #70 (Division & Humboldt stop).

Learn more

Volver

Volver is part of the Latino Music Series by Evanston’s International Latino Cultural Center. Featuring world renowned musicians and dancers from Argentina and Uruguay, Volver by Tango Lovers is the story of Tango dancers, musicians, and singers who travel the world together and return to their place of origin to transmit their art and endless stories through different characters who take center stage during the show. Tickets for the performance are $45.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, October 14

Where: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 60201

How to get there:

  • CTA Purple Line (Dempster stop), then walk 0.3 miles (6 minutes)
  • Pace Bus Route #213 (Chicago Avenue & Lake stop)
  • Metra UP-N line (Davis Street/Evanston stop), then walk 0.3 miles (6 minutes)

Learn more

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