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

September 7, 2023

22 RTA 0666

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 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 in 2022. 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 2023 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: 12-4 p.m. Saturday, September 23

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

Naperville Hispanic Heritage Festival

The Naperville Sister Cities is hosting their 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 cooking class, art project, coloring contest, story time for kids, Loteria, and more. Participating downtown stores are also featuring special events and food specials.

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, September 16

Where: Central Park, 104 E. Benton Ave., Naperville, IL

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 the 11th annual 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 tickets are between $5-20 each day to help raise scholarship funds for college-bound Latino Aurorans.

When: 12-9 p.m. Saturday, September 9 – Sunday, September 10

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

Chicago Latino Dance Festival

The first ever Chicago Latino Dance Festival hosted by The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a four-week celebration of the rich variety and versatility of Iberoamerican dance and of Chicago’s thriving dance scene. Thirty-seven local groups will participate, offering varieties of bomba, plena, indigenous, flamenco, tango, contemporary dances and more. The festival will be held from September 17 to October 12 in four separate venues. Admission is free but those interested are encouraged to RSVP.

Date #1: Sunday, September 17, 2-8 p.m.

Where: Logan Center of Arts, 915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637

How to get there:

  • CTA Green Line (Cottage Grove stop), then walk 0.4 miles (9 minutes)

Date #2: Saturday, September 23, 12-3 p.m.

Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

How to get there:

  • CTA Brown Line (Western stop), then walk 0.3 miles (5 minutes)
  • CTA Blue Line (Montrose stop), hop on CTA Bus #78 (Montrose & Lincoln stop), then walk 0.2 miles (6 minutes)
  • Metra UP-N line (Ravenswood), then walk 0.7 miles (16 minutes)

Date #3: Saturday, September 30, 1-6 p.m.

Where: Global Peace Picnic in Humboldt Park, 1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60622

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus #72 (North Ave & Humboldt stop)
  • CTA Bus #70 (Division & Humboldt stop)
  • CTA Bus #94 (California & Hirsch stop)

Date #4: October 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Where: Segundo Ruiz Belvis Center, 4046 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60639

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus #73 (Armitage & Karlov stop)
  • Metra MD-N line (Healey), then hop on CTA Bus #53 (Pulaski & Armitage stop) and walk 0.1 miles (3 min)
  • Metra MD-W line (Cicero), then walk 0.2 miles (4 minutes) to hop on CTA Bus #73 (Armitage & Karlov stop)

Learn more

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