Let Me Walk You Down To Chinatown

| February 19, 2009 | 1 Comment

By MJ Tam

I’ve been approached repeatedly by friends wanting to know where and what to do in Chinatown and I am always happy to pitch in my 2 cents. It seems to me that this is also a perfect place to share my favorite picks. So let me be your family guide on this lustrous part of the town – Chicago’s Chinatown.

My radar is set to look for family-friendly facilities with accessibility to strollers, good food, and of course great prices. Even though Chinatown overall can be very challenging for strollers in a lot of these stores and restaurants, it doesn’t mean families aren’t welcome. Families are in fact very welcome in every nook and cranny of this great neighborhood. So if you enjoy trudging along and breaking a sweat while working your way into crowded aisles, then you’ve come to the right place. Because if there is any place in Chicago where you can find a myriad of Asian products, services, and cuisine for a really good price all in one place, it is in Chicago’s Chinatown.

About the Neighborhood:

Chicago’s Chinatown is located in the near south side of downtown Chicago and its main gateway in Cermak and Wentworth. (It is not to be confused with an area sometimes called “New Chinatown”, which is on the North Side around Argyle Street, which attracts a larger number of people of Southeast Asian heritage.) This Chinatown is surrounded by equally bustling neighborhood of South Loop, Pilsen, Bridgeport, and Bronzeville.

Driving into Chinatown can be very hard most especially on weekends when looking for some street parking. But luckily there are 2 big pay parking facilities in the area. There is the Chinatown Parking in the corner Wentworth and Cermak across from the Three Happiness Restaurant and the second one is run by Hunter Parking on Wentworth by 24th St. next to the Pacific Global Bank. Both parking lots are inexpensive and most restaurants validate for the Chinatown Parking.

The El’s Red Line stops right in Chinatown and if you are feeling even more adventurous you can take the Water Taxi from Michigan Ave. to Chinatown.

A little history:

According to the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, the first Chinese owned business in Chicago was a Chinaman’s Tea House on 35 West Madison St. By late 1880s a true Chinatown was established on the Clark area between Van Buren and Harrison. The Chicago Tribune even reported that “Clark and nearby streets had the following Chinese businesses: eight grocery stores. two drug stores, two butchers’ shops, two barber shops, one cigar factory, three ministers, two artists who provided portraits for sending home to relatives in China, one unnamed restaurant, and three farmers whose farms were on Milwaukee Avenue, in Hyde Park, and near Joliet.” And if that wasn’t fascinating enough, just take a look at how much this neighborhood has grown.

So come and tune in every other Thursday for my “Let Me Walk You Down To Chinatown” Series.

A little hint for the next in the series: Have you heard of the Boba Craze yet? Well come back and I’ll tell you more. So the next time you visit Chinatown you’ll know where to go and what to get!

Photo Credit: “Fantasy In A Chinatown Window” by Senor Codo
This is an original Chicagonista article.

MJ Tam is the Founding Partner and Co-Editor of Chicagonista. A busy mom of 3 and a long time resident of Chicago’s Chinatown.  She can also be found writing in her personal blog @  SugarMyBowl.com and FilipinaMoms.com, a site she also founded.  MJ is also a contributing writer for Chicago Moms Blog.

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Category: Cultural Voice

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for TheChicagoMoms.com, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

Comments (1)

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  1. spudart says:

    I can’t wait to read the next installment!

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