5 Things to Do in…Little Italy!

The Jane Addams Hull House Museum is one of Little Italy's historic attractions. From Al’s Italian Beef to tributes to Joe DiMaggio and Nobel Peace Prize-Winner Jane Addams, there’s so much to see and do in Little Italy!

  • Follow DiMaggio to Olympic Gold: Statues of important Italian figures are seen around Little Italy’s main stretch along and near Taylor Street on Chicago’s West Side. A statue of famed baseball player Joe DiMaggio in a beautiful piazza (at 1430 W. Taylor St.) where you can sit and listen to fountains burble on bright sunny days. The piazza is adjacent to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (1431 W. Taylor St.), where you’ll find sports memorabilia from the hall of fame’s 200 inductees, including Mario Andretti’s Indy 500 racecar, swimmer Matt Biondi’s Olympic gold medals.
  • Grab a meal to stay or go: There’s nothing the restaurants and shops in Little Italy do better than feed you a great meal. Head down Taylor Street and select an Italian restaurant that suits you for lunch or dinner and get ready to be stuffed with delicious food. If you’re on the go, stop in at one of the many Italian delis in the neighborhood, like Conte Di Savoia (1438 W. Taylor St.), which has operated in the neighborhood since 1948. There you can buy traditional Italian meats and cheeses, or put them all together in a huge sandwich or salad, all at reasonable prices and with great customer service
  • Enjoy a dipped Italian Beef: One of Chicago’s best-known meal creations isn’t pizza, it’s the Italian Beef sandwich, which originated here in the 1930s at Al’s Italian Beef. Al’s allows you to decide how you’d like your Italian Beef sandwich as you sample these delicious (and often quite messy) meaty sandwiches. Head to Al’s #1 Italian Beef at 1079 W. Taylor St. and ask for one “dipped” (or even “double dipped”) if you like the authentic experience of this sandwich’s true almost fall-apart nature. Be careful as you eat to not end up with too much juice on your shirt (or your shoes)!
  • Catch a concert at the pavilion: UIC (the University of Illinois at Chicago) has its sprawling campus just beside Little Italy and you will often see students and professors walking to and from classes along with tourists sightseeing. One of the best ways to enjoy the campus, without enrolling, is to visit the vast UIC Pavilion at 525 S. Racine Ave. for a concert, sporting event, or special attraction any time of year. Whether it’s a rock show, a roller derby bout, or a college basketball game, you’ll have loads of fun!
  • Tour Hull House: Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum is a dynamic monument to Jane Addams, the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Addams was famous (or even notorious in some circles at the time) for her political activism. Hull-House was a place where immigrants of diverse communities gathered to learn, to eat, to debate, and to acquire the tools necessary to put down roots in their new country. The Museum offers historical exhibitions, but also continues Addams’ legacy by inviting visitors to tour their working urban garden, “borrow” seeds from an heirloom seed library, and have a conversation about contemporary social issues over a hot bowl of soup. Guest farmers, artists, poets and musicians teach free workshops on urban horticulture and canning, poetry and art, and on writing your own protest chants (bring your own kazoo).

For more information on neighborhood, including detailed attractions, shopping, and dining listings, check out our printable neighborhood guide and interactive Google map. Explore Little Italy on a guided Chicago Neighborhood Tour on August 27, or on a tour of Greektown, Chinatown and Little Italy throughout the summer.

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