Signature Student Experience

Discover Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood

Female holding a Popsicle with strawberries
Students with Lucha Libre Masks

Lucha Libre Masks – A Mexican wrestling tradition

Group of students standing by food cart

Mexican Elote Cart


Tasty Paletas – Mexican popcicles

There’s no better place in Chicago to get a taste of Mexican American culture than in the Pilsen neighborhood. Situated just south of UIC, it is full of brightly colored murals and delicious smells from local restaurants. In the heart of Pilsen is the Mexican Museum of Art where we learned about the Day of the Dead, Mexican folklore and the struggle of migrant workers in the United States. From here we traveled from one food stop to another, sampling a variety of traditional Mexican eats. Our first stop was from a food cart and was the most popular: Elotes which are made with corn, mayonnaise, butter, cheese and chili powder. We visited a popular restaurant for Tortas, Mexican sandwiches; our favorite was the chicken Milanesa with avocado, black beans and cheese. Everyone had their top choice for which beverage was the best. We sampled Horchata (sweetened rice milk with cinnamon), Jamaica (Hibiscus tea) and Agua Fresca (made with freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice). A trip to Pilsen wouldn’t be complete without Paletas, flavored popsicles made with fresh fruit inside, and the sugared fried dough filled with cream called Churros. Overall student impressions… #ElotesForLife.

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