A vibrant neighborhood situated on the city’s Lower West Side, Pilsen is one of Chicago’s oldest communities. Weathered stone castles, colorful turrets, and ornamental accents harken back to the area’s Bohemian roots. Building on its working-class roots, Pilsen has become a destination for the arts in Chicago—striking murals and vivid mosaics can be found throughout the neighborhood. Pilsen is home to a variety of galleries and museums, such as the National Museum of Mexican Art, one of the most prominent institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. Multi-generational mom and pop shops sit side-by-side some of the city’s finest dining. From off the beaten track locales to hip eateries, Pilsen offers a wide variety ideal for all. Vintage shops, independent cafes, and offbeat markets add to the neighborhood’s charm.
Pilsen is a classic Chicago neighborhood story of modern-day gentrification: a flux of immigrants establishes a home, artists move in to take advantage of low-rent and finally, developers (attracted to the 'hipness') tear down the old to make way for condos and newly constructed single-family homes.
Although Pilsen's history originally began as a port of entry for Irish and German immigrants in the 1800s, it wasn't until the second wave of inhabitants immigrated that the area received its name. This fresh group of residents came from Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic) and christened their new Chicago home after Plzen, a major city in their distant homeland. Along with Czechs, other groups hailed from Central and Eastern Europe including those of Polish, Austrian, Slovakian, Croatian, Swedish, Dutch and Lithuanian heritage.
As well as the namesake, the neo-bohemian baroque style architecture that characterizes the area and gives the neighborhood its Old World charm is another stamp we can thank the Czechs for. Those precious gems of the past are being put to good use as the Mexican-American Catholic residents (who now make up a large percentage of Pilsen's population) use the Cathedrals today.
While the evidence of an Eastern European cultural foundation is still present in Pilsen, following the establishment of the University of Illinois at Chicago to the north a sizeable Mexican population drifted south to the neighborhood in the 1960s, dominating the area ever since. Nowadays the myriad grocerias (Mexican grocers), taquerias (taco stands) and bric-a-brac shops will transport visitors 'south of the border.'
Pilsen's proximity to the Loop and access to low-rent housing generated a thick artist community. Now lofts and storefront galleries dominate this row, where hip youth mingle with art-collectors. Additionally, the area just to the north of the 16th and Halsted Street underpass is enjoying an explosion in real estate development of contemporary condominiums and new-construction townhomes, which is sneaking south in spurts, resulting in a hike in real estate values in east Pilsen in recent years.
As Chicago neighborhood experts, Dream Town has successfully sold properties in Pilsen. Dream Town holds a well-earned reputation for its impressive sales volume and dedication to personal, attentive service. Benefit from the Dream Town advantage when selling your Pilsen home. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, Dream Town drives more sales than any other Chicago brokerage.