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Lying south of the downtown area, Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood serves as a vibrant haven for many of the area's residents from a diverse range of backgrounds. An important part of the Windy City's history, Chinatown rivals the surrounding neighborhoods when it comes to cultural importance and the sheer number of shops and eateries.

This busy hub lies south of 18th Street, north of 23rd Street, west of State Street and east of the Chicago River. Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue run through Chinatown. The distinctive architecture and designs set this neighborhood apart visually.

Community spirit stands out as the biggest draw of the area for many people who live, work and play in Chinatown. Serving as home to over 60,000 residents, this neighborhood keeps a strong sense of its heritage at its heart. Festivals, organizations and events bring neighbors together to celebrate the beauty of Chinese culture and help everyone feel truly welcome.

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94 Walk Score® Walker's Paradise
78 Transit Score® Excellent Transit
88 Bike Score® Very Bikeable

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Parks

Chinatown doesn't have an overabundance of greenery in the neighborhood, but what it does have stands out. Ping Tom Memorial Park proudly bears the name and memory of a civic leader who helped transform the Chinatown neighborhood, most notably with the creation of Chinatown Square. Though he died in 1995, Ping Tom would be proud of the park that still stands in his beloved neighborhood. A leisurely, scenic oasis, the free public park invites visitors to wander the paths (possibly with a dog or a stroller in tow), or relax beneath the pagoda-style pavilion.

Kids work out their energy on the welcoming playground equipment, including monkey bars and swings. Nestled along the Chicago River, Ping Tom Memorial Park also gives locals a peaceful spot to go fishing. The foliage and careful landscaping of Ping Tom Park serves as an urban sanctuary surrounded by an industrial area. A fieldhouse with a swimming pool, as well as space to play soccer or exercise in the fresh air, keeps you feeling fit.

Shopping

When you head to Chinatown for an afternoon of shopping, prepare by bringing cash; not all stores here accept credit cards. An ever-changing supply of unique trinkets and treasures turns Chinatown shopping into an exciting excursion, ideal for those who enjoy poking into various shops to come up with amazing bargains.

The Chinatown Bazaar on Wentworth tends to steal the limelight as a one-stop destination packed with shop-until-you-drop potential. Although the wares may carry a slightly higher price tag, the great quality, packed shelves and accommodating staff turn this bazaar into a beloved staple of the neighborhood. Find vivid paper lanterns, sunglasses, shoes and souvenirs that include teapots and sake sets. The clothes can run smaller, with a more limited size range compared to mainstream clothing stores.

For take-home bakery items, you can't go wrong with Saint Anna Bakery & Cafe on South Archer Avenue. From sweet, custardy egg tarts to savory barbecue pork buns, this bakery serves up fresh pastries that typically cost less than a dollar each.

Multiple grocery stores and markets in the area attract locals and visitors from other neighborhoods who need hard-to-find, completely authentic Chinese ingredients. Try Hong Kong Market on South Wallace for a massive selection of candies, snacks, drinks and produce. Inexpensive sushi and ingredients for Asian fare, including rice cooker mixes and meats sliced thinly enough for hot pots, make this market a staple. A large, private parking lot serves as the cherry on top.

Cost

Chinatown's popularity as a place to live includes a reasonable cost of living. The average cost of rent hovers below the Chicago average, at about $708 per month. The overall cost of living in Armour Square, the general area that includes Chinatown, stays very close to the overall Chicago average. Chinatown has comparable prices to the rest of the city but since Chicago can be more expensive than the national average, prices here can be more than the rest of the country. However, with opportunities for inexpensive goods and meals nearby, you can find space to create your own budget.

Transportation

One of the many charming features of Chinatown, the Water Taxi, provides a novel way to get around. Most active during the summer months, these bright yellow boats can cost as low as $4 to ride one way. During the autumn, the Water Taxi Chinatown stops only operate on weekends, but during most of the year, traveling to the Ogilvie/Union, Mag Mile, LaSalle/Clark or North Avenue stations provides a cheap and scenic way to get from Point A to Point B in Chicago.

Two paid parking lots provide space for you to park and walk. You can locate street parking, though spaces may go fast. Bring coins for meters. Chinatown's efficient size results in a neighborhood with a pedestrian-friendly vibe, letting you see the whole place on foot or on your bike.

The Chicago Transit Authority's L system serves the area via the Cermak-Chinatown station. The rapid transit system's Red Line stops here, making it simple to hop on the L and see the rest of Chicago. The Cermak-Chinatown station on Cermak Road also connects to CTA bus routes, including the #21, #24 and #62.

Restaurants

Chinatown serves up authentic and unforgettable cuisine. When you want Chinese food, don't overlook Chicago's most reliably tasty source of dishes.

Cai, located on South Archer, has everything to satisfy your cravings for Cantonese delicacies. Profiled on Serious Eats as the best spot for dim sum brunch in Chicago, this fine dining establishment also serves a variety of seafood dishes. Cai lets you sample a wide variety of dim sum, and the dumpling fillings range from seafood and asparagus to fried green chives. Share your choices with your dining companions, and remember your favorite dim sum choices for your next visit. Don't let the small sizes fool you; some menu items at Cai, such as the creamy egg yolk buns, pack major richness.

Evergreen Restaurant on Wentworth stands out as a hidden gem. If your favorite part of a Chinese meal is the egg rolls, then you can't miss a stop at Evergreen. Many diners agree that the egg rolls here snag top honors as the tastiest in the city. Since you can't make a meal out of egg rolls alone - though you may be tempted to do so - try the crispy chicken skin and shark fin soup to round out your order.

Become a true star over the weekend at the Sakura Karaoke Lounge, located on Cermak. Quirky decor, refreshing lychee martinis and a swanky, laid-back ambiance help you overcome your stage fright. If you still feel shy, book a private room for you and your pals. A touchscreen system lets you choose your song and belt the lyrics against a video background, perfect for late nights in Chinatown.

History

Chinese immigrants have had a strong presence in Chicago since 1870s, forging fulfilling lives for their families despite adversity. Fleeing hostility in the Pacific Northwest and having trouble finding work after completion of the Central Pacific Railroad, adventurous Chinese immigrants looked to the Midwest to find a more welcoming home.

In the early 20th century, the Chinese population of Chicago again faced challenges in the form of prejudice and steeper rent. Cermak and Wentworth acted as a safe neighborhood for immigrants and Chinese-American citizens to rebuild their community. Over the course of many generations, Chinatown has remained in the same general area of Chicago, building an ever stronger and more enduring presence.

If this history sparks your attention, drop into the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. This cultural center breathes life into the stories of Chinese residents making their mark on the Windy City. Though a modest space, the museum boasts a private parking lot and a beautifully renovated interior. Volunteers run and curate the exhibits; you'll experience a true labor of love inside these walls. Changing exhibits reveal insights into the lives of Chinatown residents and display traditional toys and treasures from the past.

Festivals play a huge part in keeping the community connected. Most renown is the Chinatown Summer Fair where thousands of attendees gather to check out martial arts moves, purchase authentic arts and crafts from vendors and participate in contests held throughout the day. Traditional Chinese music and dance demonstrations introduce you to a lasting legacy of performing arts.

Chinatown also hosts annual parades that include the Lunar New Year parade in the late winter and the Double Ten Parade during autumn. A creative and spirited celebration of Chinese independence, the Double Ten Parade features many of the iconic moments that you may associate with Chinatown, including a gorgeous dragon that stretches for over 100 feet. Lion dancers, marching bands and more prove that Chinatown residents know how to party.

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Apartments for Rent in Chinatown, Chicago, IL

Lying south of the downtown area, Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood serves as a vibrant haven for many of the area's residents from a diverse range of backgrounds. An important part of the Windy City's history, Chinatown rivals the surrounding neighborhoods when it comes to cultural importance and the sheer number of shops and eateries.

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