Chicago’s Chinatown is a neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois centered on Cermak and Wentworth Avenues. Over a third of Chicago’s Chinese population resides in this ethnic enclave, making it one of the largest concentrations of Chinese people in the United States. The present Chicago Chinatown formed around 1912 after settlers moved steadily south from near the Loop where the first enclaves were established in the 19th century. Chinatown is confused with an area on the city’s North Side sometimes referred to as “New Chinatown”, which is centered on Argyle Street and is somewhat of a misnomer given that it is largely populated by people of Southeast Asian heritage.
Looking to escape the anti-Chinese violence that had broken out on the west coast, the first Chinese arrived in Chicago after 1869 when the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed. Aside from ethnic violence, governments on the west coast had begun to systematically target Chinese, such as an 1870 San Francisco ordinance that taxed laundrymen who used horseless wagons for their deliveries. This discrimination on the west coast, in tandem with poor economic conditions at the time, led to intense Chinese migration to other areas of the United States. Further aiding this rapid migration was the fact that many Chinese lost their jobs after the completion of the transcontinental railroad, as they had made up 90% of the workforce for the Central Pacific Railroad.
At first, the Chinese in Chicago was largely welcomed by their fellow Chicagoans of all races. As early immigrant Moy Dong Chow would later state, “the Chicagoans found us a peculiar people to be sure, but they liked to mix with us.”The willingness of Chinese Chicagoans to accept Christian missions in Chinatown also helped to ease tensions between the two groups. By 1909, there were two Christian missions in old Chinatown, and eight other missions dedicated to serving ethnic Chinese by 1909. Pest Control Chicago
Chicago’s century-old Chinatown transports you straight to eastern Asia. As soon as you set foot in this historic neighborhood, you’re in for the best kind of sensory overload. Stroll through elaborately adorned streets filled with traditional specialty shops, ornate architecture, storefronts packed with colorful wares and souvenirs, and family-owned restaurants with dishes you’ll be craving long after you’re home.
Restaurants and Pubs
- Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp is located at 2120 S Canal St, Chicago, IL
- Mary’s Taqueria is located at 1901 S Canalport Ave, Chicago, IL
- Jack’s Place is located at 618 W 18th St, Chicago, IL
- Streeter’s Tavern is located at 50 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Check out other neighborhoods like Hyde Park