This past summer I tagged along on a Family Adventures tour of Pilsen. While our day didn't go quite as planned due to rain, we still were able to visit the National Museum of Mexican Art, eat lunch at Los Comales and buy Mexican candies at Dulcéria Lupitas. But while you'll have to wait until next summer to take a Family Adventures tour, your family can still explore Pilsen on your own this fall.
Make sure to stop by the National Museum of Mexican Art, which has free admission every day. With more than 6,000 objects in its permanent collection, the museum has one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the country. Take a look at indigenous outfits and weavings or learn more about artists like Carmen Lomas Garza and Diego Rivera.
After visiting the museum, head over to one of Pilsen's many restaurants for lunch, most of which are within walking distance of the museum. Los Comales is a family-friendly restaurant sure to please both young and old. It offers authentic Mexican food and kids' meals for a low price. Also nearby: Taqueria Cardonas (1451 W. 18th St.), Nuevo Léon (1515 W. 18th St.) and El Taqueria Milagro (1923 S. Blue Island Ave.).
After stuffing yourself with authentic Mexican cuisine, it's the perfect time to walk around Pilsen and discover what makes this neighborhood different from others in Chicago. Use Mobile Neighborhood Tour on your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm or Windows Phone by visiting tours.lisc-chicago.org in your phone's browser. This tour will guide you to some of Pilsen's most historic and famous areas. Listen to audio at each stop, plus get directions to other must-see attractions.
As you walk, make sure to keep your eyes open for all the murals found throughout Pilsen, like Jeff Zimmerman's on 19th Street, west of Ashland Avenue. Pack a sketchbook and crayons so your kids can create their own masterpieces.
Also available for download is a scavenger hunt from Explore Chicago that will guide you through Pilsen. After completing the hunt, upload your pictures to Explore Chicago's Flickr page and see how other families stack up. Scavenger hunts are available at explorechicago.org. Search "scavenger hunt."
End the day at one of Pilsen's many bakeries or candy stores. The amount of candy available at Dulcería Lupitas will impress everyone in your family and you'll find all of your favorites, along with traditional Mexican candies. If you're feeling adventurous, try rebanadas de mango con chile, or dried mango slices covered in chili powder. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth at Panaderia Tortilleria Nuevo Leon (1634 W. 18th St.), Don Churro (1626 S. Blue Island Ave.) and El Nopal Bakery (1844 S. Blue Island Ave.).
Anna Carlson is an intern at Chicago Parent.