Pilsen Spotlight

Pilsen Spotlight

  • Matt Shrake
  • 06/11/24

Pilsen Spotlight

Pilsen, on Chicago’s lower west side, has a rich history and a bright future as Chicago’s current capital of cool.

A historic district and one of the few neighborhoods with buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Pilsen was named by Czech immigrants of the 19th Century. Hardly stuck in the past, though, Pilsen has welcomed a diverse population ever since and is today one of the top neighborhoods in the city.

In 2018 it was named one of the 12 coolest neighborhoods in the world by Forbes magazine, and just this year, Pilsen’s cultural center – 18th Street – was named one of the 30 coolest streets in the world by Time Out Magazine.

Real Estate

With all that hype, it’s not surprising that homes in March 2024 are selling at more than 99% of list price, according to realtor.com. But the median sales price of $453,000 places it below some of Chicago’s other top neighborhoods. And it’s currently rated a buyer’s market because the supply of homes for sale in the neighborhood exceeds demand.

Still, you probably don’t want to wait much longer to buy in Pilsen. While it’s true that home values in Pilsen have dipped slightly below 2022 highs, according to Zillow, homes here are still a great value compared to elsewhere.

18th Street

What makes 18th Street so cool? It’s definitely the neighborhood’s colorful murals. But according to the tastemakers at Time Out, it’s also the restaurants, bars, art galleries, and other businesses along with being the heart of Chicago’s Mexican-American community.

Some of the highlights mentioned: local favorite Pilsen Community Books, cocktails at Punch House, or The Alderman at Pilsen Yards, and Mexican carnitas at Carnitas Uruapan or Don Pedro Carnitas. Finally, they called out one of Pilsen’s best examples of old-made-new: popular music venue Thalia Hall, built in 1892.

More To Do

But we’ve got even more recommendations, of course, including Martin’s Corner, The X Pot, S.K.Y, HaiSous, Azul18, La Vaca, and Pilsen Yards.

And we also feel the need to mention Pilsen’s bakeries such as Panaderia Nuevo Leon, the colorful coffeehouse, Café Jumping Bean, a Pilsen staple for more than 20 years. Plus, Karaoke at Simone’s.

Old-school Pilsen cool has has had a home for almost 100 years at local family-owned Burdeens on Cermak Rd, (22nd St), where you can catch New Era’s new releases and Burdeens’ custom exclusives, up-to-the-minute apparel, and the best selection of Liga Mexicana de Beisbol caps.

And come October you don’t want to miss Dia de los Muertos at Harrison Park.


The thriving arts scene of Pilsen is more than the neighborhood's many murals, which have their epicenter at 16th Street. A seven-block stretch of lofts, studios, galleries, and stores has become known as the Chicago Arts District with a signature event on the 2nd Friday of every month.

A few other arts highlights are the Pilsen Arts Community House and the National Museum of Mexican Art.


Pilsen is served by both CTA and Metra trains. The Pink Line, part of CTA’s “L” train system has Pilsen stops at the Damen station and the 18th Street station. For Metra, the BNSF Railway has its Halsted Street/U.I.C. station serving the neighborhood at 16th/Halsted.

Eight CTA bus lines traverse the Pilsen neighborhood: #9 Ashland, #X9 Ashland Express, #18 16th/18th, #21 Cermak, #50 Damen, #49 Western, #X49 Western Express, and #60 Blue Island/26th.

Get Your Piece of Pilsen with Matt

Nobody knows Chicago real estate like Matt. So if you think you’re ready to become a property owner in Pilsen – or anywhere in Chicago – let him help you make the right move. 

Call Matt Shrake at 773-294-2667, or email him at [email protected].   




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