Experience culture in chicago: Pilsen

Written by: Marcie Wolbeck

Cultural Care Au Pair is teaming up with NPN to take you and your family on an international adventure without leaving the city limits! This is the first in a series of monthly blog posts highlighting cultural experiences in the city. 

I love Chicago for so many reasons, the warm people, the delicious food, but most of all the special neighborhoods that honor different cultures and heritages.  I can’t get enough of Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown and more!  Here in Chicago, we have the luxury of exposing our children to foreign cultures and traditions without the cost and hassle of an international flight! 

Exposing children to an array of different ethnicities and traditions not only educates them on the rich history of foreign cultures but also encourages them to imagine faraway lands and foreign places.  So take your child on an adventure, open their mind to new places, sights and sounds and help them to appreciate and accept the rich diversity that surrounds us in the Windy City!

Mexican Adventure in Pilsen:

In the late 1960’s Mexican immigrants began settling in Pilsen and enriching this neighborhood with their passion for Mexican art and food.  Earlier this month on Sept. 16th, Mexicans all over the city recognized the Mexican Independence Day, a major celebration of Mexico’s independence from Spain.   In honor of Mexico’s Independence Day, grab the kids, hop on the Pink Line and enjoy a day experiencing the thriving Mexican culture in Pilsen. 

Things to do:

1)    Mexican Murals:  Your little ones will love the beautiful and intricate Mexican murals lining the streets of Pilsen.  These gorgeous masterpieces line the streets surrounding the Pink Line stop and will continue until you reach the National Museum of Mexican Art. 

2)    National Museum of Mexican Art:

1852 W. 19th Street

Chicago, IL 60608

Kids will love the brightly colored art displays and parents will love the cost- FREE!

3)   Chayote Mexican Grill

2007 S. Damen Ave

Chicago, IL 60608

After visiting the National Museum of Mexican Art, enjoy some of the local cuisine at nearby Chayote Mexican Grill.  Your kids will love this family friendly restaurant featuring a large selection of tortas, burritos, tacos, sopes, enchiladas, tostadas and quesadillas.

4)  If you and your little ones can’t get enough of the Mexican culture, we invite you to make Mexican yarn art, a craft native to the Huichol people of Mexico. They are famous for their “yarn paintings”— small tablets covered with a mixture of beeswax and pine resin into which threads of yarn are pressed. These paintings are brilliantly colored designs featuring spiritual ideas about themselves—they typically include likenesses of animals, birds, plants and people.


  • Mexican yarn art template (download below)
  • downloadable template
  • Piece of poster board or cardboard
  • Different colored pieces of yarn
  • White glue


Choose an important idea you would like to represent in your painting (friendship, love, family, etc.) or choose some typical Mexican symbols to copy. Sketch your design first in pencil and then glue yarn on top. Use additional pieces of yarn to outline your design until the whole page is filled in.

Marcie Wolbeck is a Local Development Director with Cultural Care Au Pair and lives in the West Town Neighborhood with her husband and two sons.Cultural Care Au Pair is the leading provider of intercultural childcare in the United States. Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has placed more than 90,000 au pairs in welcoming American homes. A U.S. Department of State regulated program, Cultural Care Au Pair is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, with their own extensive network of recruitment, screening and orientation offices worldwide and more than 600 local coordinators across the U.S. For more information, visit www.culturalcare.com or call 800-333-6056.

Posted on September 03, 2013 at 8:10 AM