Talk of The Town: May 2023

GO GLOBAL. STAY LOCAL!

Chicago is truly a world-class city where you can experience an international variety of ethnic traditions, heritage and culture. From downtown to the suburbs, there are festivals, restaurants and museums that will have you traveling around the world—without a passport or visa!

FESTIVAL SEASON IS HERE!

With summer almost upon us, Chicago’s 2023 festival season is kicking into high gear. International food and music are highlighted by these events, but you can experience a rich variety of other global traditions including dance, arts and crafts, and more.

Skokie Festival of Cultures | May 20-21 | Oakton Park, 4701 Oakton St, Skokie: Celebrating its 32nd year, this popular annual event showcases the music, dance, and arts and crafts of more than 30 cultures from around the world including Armenian, Belizean, Filipino, Laotian, Norwegian, and Tibetan.

Mole de Mayo Festival | May 26-28 | Ashland Ave & 18th St, Chicago: Enjoy the nuanced flavors of mole, prepared by local chefs and explore the open-air mercado with Pilsen merchants and crafters. Along with 2 stages of music and dance, the Lucha Libre wrestling ring offers thrills and fun for all.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest | June 2-4 | St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 N. Sheffield Ave, Chicago: Benefitting the historic 100-year-old St. George Greek Orthodox Church, this lively annual event features authentic Greek food, music and dancing.

African/Caribbean International Festival of Light | July 1-4 | Washington Park, 5531 S. King Dr, Chicago: Celebrate the traditions and cultures of the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. You can expect plenty of live cultural entertainment along with the International Marketplace and Food Court.

Chinatown Summer Fair | July 29-30 | 2200 S. Wentworth Ave, Chicago: Started in 1979 as the “Taste of Chinatown,” this fun, all-ages event now features a lion dance procession to open the festival and a full weekend of food, art, music, and dance.

Taste of Polonia | September 1-4 | Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago: First held more than 40 years ago, the Taste of Polonia is now one of the largest Polish heritage festivals in the country. It’s a genuine cultural experience with live music, dance, and plenty of Polish food and beer.

German-American Oktoberfest | September 8-10 | Lincoln Square, Lincoln & Western Aves, Chicago: Enjoy stage performances from traditional singing and dance groups, carnival games, two large hospitality tents—and, of course, lots of German food, beer and wine.

DINING TO SATISFY YOUR WANDERLUST

Everyone has their favorite ‘old standby’ restaurants in Chicago, but it’s great to try something new! Try one of these diverse restaurants with cuisine from all over the world.

Sayat Nova | 157 E. Ohio St, Chicago: The evocative, lantern-lit dining room is the perfect place to savor authentic Armenian dishes based upon traditional recipes from the founders’ grandmothers.

Cabra | 200 N. Green St, Chicago: Helmed by acclaimed chef Stephanie Izard, this chic and airy rooftop restaurant offers shareable plates inspired by the bold flavors of Peruvian cuisine.

Khmai | 2043 W. Howard St, Chicago: Available by reservation only, this fine dining Cambodian restaurant offers a regularly evolving menu created by executive chef Mona Sang.

The Gundis | 2909-11 N. Clark St, Chicago: With a culinary team of Kurds from Syria and Turkey, Executive Chef Juan González use traditional methods of Kurdish cooking to prepare an eclectic menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods.

Kabul House | 2424 Dempster St, Evanston: Along with tempting vegetarian dishes, you’ll find an extensive menu of Afghan cuisine including Kabuli Pulao, a traditional favorite featuring rice, lamb, caramelized carrots and raisins.

CHICAGO’S CULTURAL HERITAGE MUSEUMS

With so many world-class cultural institutions, it’s no surprise that Chicago offers numerous museums devoted to the people and cultures that have enriched our city. Here are a few to explore…

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art | 2320 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago: Founded more than 40 years ago, the Institute offers a robust schedule of exhibitions, films, musical and literary events, and gallery talks.

National Hellenic Museum | 333 S. Halsted St, Chicago: Set in a striking glass and limestone building, the museum showcases Greek culture and history, as well as the contributions of Greek Americans.

Haitian American Museum of Chicago | 4410 N. Clark St, Chicago: Since 2012, the museum has hosted an array of programs and exhibits showcasing Haiti’s rich culture and art as well as its complex history.

Polish Museum of America | 984 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago: One of the country’s oldest and largest ethnographic museums, this Polish museum offers permanent and temporary exhibits as well as lectures and concerts.

National Museum of Mexican Art | 1852 W. 19th St, Chicago: A significant permanent collection of Mexican art is enhanced by visual and performing arts programs, lectures, classes and workshops.