Pilsen Murals, Chicago: Experience the Art of the People

Are you a fan of the arts? Are you a traveler on a budget? Furthermore, are you heading to Chicago? If you answered one of these questions with a “YES”, then I’ve got a destination for you! Have you ever heard of the Pilsen Murals in Chicago? Most of the people I asked said “no”. I don’t blame anyone really, because the Pilsen Murals haven’t been exposed too much at this very moment (maybe, that could be a good thing). But, after visiting and exploring the murals myself, I believe that they deserve more attention. So, ladies and gentleman, give it up for the murals in the Pilsen neighborhood, Chicago!

History behind the Pilsen Murals


The Pilsen Murals are basically wall arts in the Pilsen neighborhood. The Pilsen neighborhood is a well-known Mexican neighborhood in Chicago, and almost every shop has signs in Spanish. You really won’t feel like you are strolling the streets in Chicago anymore, but then again, Chicago has many local neighborhoods to explore and Pilsen is one of them. Anyways, back to the murals. The Pilsen Murals was a project initiated with the Chicago Urban Art Society for local artists to show their arts on the brick walls around the area. This was mainly to stop street vandalism and gang graffiti, and it seems to have worked. Instead of having illegal graffiti and markings, the walls are now covered in different art works that also represent the voice of the society.

Reasons to visit the Pilsen Murals


From all the destinations in Chicago, you might be wondering why I’m suggesting the Pilsen Murals. Well, I can think of a few reasons:

  • It’s free. You can walk around the neighborhood and enjoy art without pulling out your wallet.
  • You get to see another side of Chicago
  • Visiting Pilsen Murals means appreciating local art
  • You can get there with public transportation
  • Witness a more local lifestyle
Getting to the Pilsen Murals
Art work at the CTA station

You’re convinced that you want to go? Good. Now, let me tell you how I got there. Since Chicago has a good public transportation system and trains called CTA, I didn’t have to fuss about getting there. Here’s the steps I took to get there:

  • I bought a single ride Ventra Card which costs me 3 USD. Psst! You can use this card for multiple rides during the first 3 hours.
  • From the Loop, I took the Pink Line train. You will have to change trains depending on your location.
  • I got down on 18th (that’s the name of the CTA station). If you look up the map on Google, there will be a few stops that you can get down at.
  • Tip: I asked the staff at the CTA stations for recommendations. This helps since I had no idea where I could go first.
  • There are more people on the weekends, so try exploring early mornings and during weekdays. When I visited, it was raining and no one was taking shots. However, I still decided to take photos and no one seemed to be around (worth it!).
Go and enjoy the Pilsen Murals in Chicago

I’m a student, and I always love it when I discover free things to do in a pretty high-budget city like Chicago. The Pilsen Murals was definitely one of the best sights I’ve seen in the city, and I also loved it all because there weren’t a lot of people around taking pictures as well. So, if you do end up in Chicago, I suggest that you stop by, especially during the week days. Stroll around a little bit and enjoy the murals in Pilsen neighborhood. Happy travels!



P.S.: Do you know a place like this in your city? If you do, please share in the comments below!

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  1. I love art and especially street art. In fact sometimes i just go out for a leisurely walk around with my camera and capture these street arts no matter where on earth i am staying. I loved the staircase it just adds more colour to this everyday mundane object.

  2. Really loved your post and as a matter of fact, it gives me some inspiration today as I wonder what to do here in Chiang Mai – after reading this checking out the local street art here comes to mind 🙂

  3. The murals are really beautiful and nicely done. I am not much into street art or any art for that much but I do like to appreciate when I get a chance

  4. Yaaaaaas! I love street art! There’s something utterly charming about local art decorating a community, free and open for public viewing by anyone that walks by. Lovely!

  5. I missed the neon art festival last year but, caught up with all my local street art on my own. I even found some tucked away in alleys off the beaten track!

  6. wonderful street art… its a good initiative to have this Pilsen murals to have the artsy talents showcased and not wasted to vandalism…
    Hoping to explore this neighborhood…

  7. I am in love with this place..absolutely. I paint. Whenever I see dirty or empty soulless walls, I wish I could paint or doodle on them and turn them into something better. I guess that is exactly what the people here have done.

  8. Love the colours in these murals, and on the steps. I think street artists can be really talented – these guys are! Looks like a fun neighbourhood to walk around.

  9. I love murals! They always say some story. Last time I saw some in Gdansk – polish city, there was a huge area with murals everywhere. I think I spent there an hour and it was so reflective! I’d love to see these ones!

  10. I never saw this when I was in Chicago, it looks like a great place to visit. When I lived in Bogota, Colombia I did a graffiti tour which was really interesting and saw loads of great street art 🙂

  11. Chicago was already on my bucket list and now I have added Pilsen murals as a must-visit when there. they look lovely. Also looks like it easy to get there and the fact that its a free attraction, is always nice for the pockets 🙂

  12. Chicago is such a vibrant city! These murals are amazing, and I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them (even when I visited Chicago). I will definitely check them out next time I visit.

  13. I’ve been to Chicago lots of times and have never heard of the Pilsen murals. I guess I’ll have to try and find them next time I’m around! Thanks for sharing!

  14. That looks like something I definitely need to see in person. I love the vibrant colors of the murals, and I’m sure seeing them in person is even more moving.

  15. Lovely graffitis, perfect for your OOTD shoots! We also have lots of graffiti works here in BGC, and it continuous to grow, making my city a colourful spot.

  16. Those murals are beautiful just stunning the local artwork is amazing! I especially love those stairs! how cool just to know how much thought and effort was put into creating something beautiful out of something ordinary. What a different perspective.

  17. I absolutely love the staircase, it is quite beautiful. You have inspired me to go art hunting on my next trip as I usually skip looking for street art and go to the typical tourist sites. Would make for some really cool insta photos 😉

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