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  1. United States
  2. Illinois
  3. Chicago

Old Polonia & Wicker Park Walking Tour with Food

Product ID: 67147
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On this tour, you will explore the past and present of the people, architecture, and foods of these vibrant and changing neighborhoods of Noble Square and Wicker Park.
About this activity
Duration 2.5 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:

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Experience

Highlights
  • Step inside a dazzling Catholic Church
  • Walk by gilded age mansions on “Beer Baron Row”
  • Eat Polish food like grandma used to make
  • See writer Nelson Algren’s home
  • Step inside a bank vault, now a pharmacy
Full description
On your walking tour of the Noble Square and Wicker Park neighborhoods, you will explore the past and present of the people, architecture, and foods of these vibrant and very much changing communities. Studied by sociologists around the world for its rapid transformation in the ’80s and ’90s, the Wicker Park neighborhood had previously been home to gang bangers, drug addicts and prostitutes. Today it is often ranked in lists of “Coolest Neighborhoods” in America, and now neighboring Ukrainian Village and Noble Square are going the same direction, too.

This food tour means that beyond just eating, you are going to really learn. To have a more meaningful connection with the places you visit, stories on this walking tour range from the voyage of Polish immigrants to the “bard of the down-and-outer” of Nelson Algren, to the “Die Yuppie Scum” graffiti of gentrification.

The walking tour starts at the former “Polish Broadway” with a visit inside a stunning Polish Catholic Church, filled with paintings, gold leaf details, and sweeping arches. The walk around the neighborhood reveals clues to incredible contrasts of old and new, like a taqueria in a building from a 1930s hamburger joint or one of Chicago’s last newspaper stands. Over ahuitlacoche quesadilla with home-made tortillas, one considers Mexican immigration to Chicago and Ashland Avenue’s “taco row.” Then you sample home-style Polish food in a restaurant that feels just like going to visit your Polish grandmother.

You take the CTA up to the Damen stop to stroll through the blooming park of Wicker Park (guests bring their own train cards). In this vibrant park you begin to see the neighborhood mix of people, before wandering down “Beer Baron Row” to see massive 19th century mansions. For this Wicker Park walking tour, you’ll hear the history of the Turkish Baths, which often peeks interest from Blue Line riders. You consume the new school vibe of the hip neighborhood with a gourmet doughnut from Stan’s Donuts. And your tour concludes by the massive gears of a bank vault, now a Walgreen’s Pharmacy. 
Includes
  • Expert guide commentary
  • Special gifts
  • Tastings at top-rated restaurants
What’s Not Included
  • CTA train fare (you must bring your own Ventra card for one train ride)

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

1118 N Noble St. Look for the guide with the name tag and clipboard.

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