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Chicago's NeighborhoodsWhile you're visiting Chicago, you'll see evidence everywhere of the immigrants who poured into the city to find work in factories or to help build its railroads and canals. Many neighborhoods are ethnically diverse, and there are a few interesting pockets to explore that are in close proximity to the downtown area.

Chinatown: You'll find dim sum and other authentic culinary fare in this area adjacent to the South Loop, centered in the vicinity of Wentworth Avenue and Cermak Road. This is the site of the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, a flurry of color and activity punctuated by marching bands, vibrant floats, lion dances and menacing dragons. The area's shops entice souvenir hunters with an eclectic assortment of bric-a-brac, including lanterns, teas, herbs and traditional clothing.

Greektown: This nook in the West Loop neighborhood is primarily situated along Halsted Street between Van Buren and Washington. If you're craving some Greek food, this is where to eat—you'll come across a cluster of bakeries, gyro stands and reasonably priced restaurants. During the summer, the streets come alive with the Taste of Greektown, a culinary celebration enhanced by belly dancing, Greek music and other entertainment.

Little Italy: Head to this small enclave along Taylor Street just southwest of Greektown to satisfy your appetite at Italian restaurants running the gamut from pizza and sub shops to fine dining establishments. You can also visit the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, which showcases the impressive careers of such greats as Mario Andretti, Charles Atlas and Vince Lombardi. Stroll over to Piazza DiMaggio, graced by a sculpture of “Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio, or visit Arrigo Park to view a statue of Christopher Columbus.

Pilsen: The epicenter of this sizable Mexican-American community is at Halsted and 18th streets. You'll discover a plethora of art galleries and shops interspersed with bakeries and casual Mexican eateries. Peruse art and cultural exhibits at the neighborhood's National Museum of Mexican Art, also the location of concerts and special events. A couple of miles west at Little Village, marked by the “Bienvenidos” arch at Albany and 26th, you'll encounter more taquerias and other local restaurants along with stores touting traditional goods—a parade here in September celebrates Mexican Independence Day.

Polish Triangle: In the West Town neighborhood, this district is defined by the junction of Milwaukee Avenue, Division Street and Ashland Avenue. You'll see sites paying tribute to Polish heritage and culture, such as Division Street's Chopin Theatre and Milwaukee Avenue's Polish Museum of America, showcasing art exhibits and featuring occasional lectures and concerts. Traveling north to the Avondale area, you'll find a strong concentration of Polish groceries, bakeries, shops and places to eat near the intersection of Milwaukee and Belmont.

Ukrainian Village: Just west of the downtown core, this area has served as a hub of Ukrainian life since the early 1900s. This rich culture is reflected in restaurants, shops, youth centers and churches, including the handsomely spired St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral and the gold-domed Sts. Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church. In addition to housing an archive and library, the Ukrainian National Museum displays more than a thousand items relating to folk art, music and agriculture.

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Chicago, IL

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Travel Information

City Population

2,695,598

Elevation

673 ft.

Sales Tax

Illinois sales tax is 6.3 percent; cities and counties impose additional increments. The Chicago area has a lodging tax of 17.4 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

311

Hospitals

Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, (312) 567-2000; Northwestern Memorial Hospital, (312) 926-2000; Resurrection Medical Center, (773) 774-8000; Saint Anthony Hospital, (773) 484-1000; The University of Chicago Medicine, (773) 702-1000; University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, (866) 600-2273.

Visitor Information

111 N. State St. (lower level) Chicago, IL 60602. Phone:(312)781-1000

Air Travel

O'Hare International Airport (ORD)—17 miles northwest of the city—is served by major domestic and foreign carriers. Midway International Airport (MDW), though smaller and serviced by far fewer carriers than O'Hare, is closer to the Loop—only 8 miles southwest of downtown.

Rental Cars

Chicago is served by major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip; your local AAA club can provide this assistance or additional information. Hertz, (312) 372-7600 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Chicago Union Station, 225 S. Canal St., is the city's main train depot and Amtrak's local hub. Trains run to both coasts and well into the South, with stops at most major cities along the routes; phone (800) 872-7245.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc. has its station at 630 W. Harrison St.; phone (312) 408-5821 or (800) 231-2222.

Taxis

Taxis are readily available in Chicago.

Public Transportation

Transportation by train and bus is available in Chicago.

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