Reality: Chicago’s Chinatown is likely one of the most enigmatic, vibrant, and rich areas in our city. It’s the rationale why so many people love to go to its bustling streets. Then again, Chinatown may also be a tad intimidating for many who aren’t in the know. You’ll have your go-to dim sum place, however lots of its regional restaurants, small eateries, mom-and-pop outlets, and cultural landmarks can seem out of attain. How are you going to go deeper into this necessary slice of Chicago’s thriving and numerous group?
That is where we are available.
We’re here that will help you push previous the obstacles and dive deep into the guts of this superb neighborhood. In this guide, you’ll discover some of Chinatown’s most intriguing cultural sights, mesmerizing annual occasions, and superior culinary spots. Read on to find the 22+ greatest restaurants, shops, landmarks, parks and adventures that only locals find out about (and tourists completely miss!).
- 1 Beyond Chop Suey: Best Locations to Eat in Chinatown Chicago
- 1.1 #1 Don’t Settle for Less with a Chinatown Food & Tradition Tour
- 1.2 #2 No Matter the Hour, Get Some Dim Sum at Triple Crown
- 1.3 #3 Attempt Hearth Chinese language Meals at Lao Sze Chuan
- 1.4 #4 Sink Your Tooth into the Best Dumplings in Chicago at Qing Xiang Yuang Dumplings
- 1.5 #5 Discover Korea By way of Chicago’s Chinatown at Ahjoomah’s Apron
- 1.6 #6 Discover the Different Flat Bread at Xi’An Cuisine
- 1.7 #7 Take a Journey at the Chinese language American Museum of Chicago
- 1.8 #8 See the Different Great Wall of China – In Chicago
- 1.9 #9 Amp Up Your #Bookstagram at Chinatown’s Public Library
- 1.10 #10 Enter the Previous by means of the Chinatown Gate in Chicago
- 1.11 #11 Search Serenity at Ping Tom Memorial Park
- 2 Goodbye Trinkets, Hey Treasure: The place to Shop in Chinatown
- 2.1 #12 Bulk Up at Aji Ichiban Sweet Store
- 2.2 #13 Discover Every thing You Need (and Every little thing You Don’t) at Aj Housewares and Presents
- 2.3 #14 Make Your Day Sweeter at Chicago Chinatown’s Best Bakery
- 2.4 #15 Go Au Naturel at Yin Wall City
- 2.5 #16 Embrace the Lunar New Yr at Chinatown’s Chinese New Yr Parade
- 2.6 #17 Decide a Workforce at the Annual Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Races
- 2.7 #18 Be Over the Moon at Autumn Moon Pageant
- 2.8 #19 Flip the Heat Up at Chinatown’s Summer time Truthful
- 3 Lights, Lanterns, and Late Hours: Best Chinatown Spots at Night time
Beyond Chop Suey: Best Locations to Eat in Chinatown Chicago
Visitors often come to Chinatown with one aim in thoughts: discover the perfect Chicago Chinese language food with out having to get on a aircraft. There isn’t one single Chinese cuisine, though, but an unlimited variety of regional dishes, secret specialties, and unique eats which are value devouring. Listed here are some of our picks.
#1 Don’t Settle for Less with a Chinatown Food & Tradition Tour
You’ve gotten restricted time. Your hungry is huge. And also you need to attempt all of it. What’s one of the simplest ways to deal with Chinatown?
Straightforward. It’s by way of a Chicago food tour.
Chicago Food Planet’s Chinatown Journey Food Tour is a unbelievable solution to get a chew out of every little thing Chinatown has to supply. Our professional guides will show you a few of the hidden gems that the neighborhood has to supply and will train you the historical past behind each dish. Between full parts of Hong Kong dim sum, spicy Szechuan noshes and traditional Chinese pastries, you’ll additionally study the stories behind some of Chinatown’s most famous landmarks while getting schooled in the artwork of Chinese meals pageantry and customs.
#2 No Matter the Hour, Get Some Dim Sum at Triple Crown
A Chinatown fixture for over twenty years, Triple Crown is cherished for its commitment to day-long dim sum. Meaning you’ll be able to fulfill your cravings for shrimp dumplings, fried sesame balls, and puffy egg custard tarts right at 9:00 am or at 2:00 am, before the restaurant lastly closes.
That’s not all.
Triple Crown additionally presents day by day lunch specials and a classy menu that highlights their Cantonese and Hong Kong roots.
Insider Tip: The seafood gadgets listed here are particularly value a attempt. On our meals tour of Chicago’s Chinatown, we advocate the salt and pepper mushy shell crab, the pan-fried oyster with egg, and their seafood trio in chook’s nest.
#3 Attempt Hearth Chinese language Meals at Lao Sze Chuan
Acclaimed Chef Tony Hu has acquired international approval for his expertly executed Sichuan dishes at Lao Sze Chuan. The unique spot that launched his culinary empire continues to be buzzing along on Wentworth Avenue, the place you’ll discover his signature three-chili hen, mapo tofu, and extra. Recognized for flavorful sauces, dry roasted chilis, and fiery spices, this regional-style of cooking is certain to satisfy probably the most adventurous palates.
Be warned although that the must-try dishes we talked about above are majorly spicy—so come bodily and mentally ready. When you be a part of us for our Chinatown Journey Meals Tour, we’ll information you through the levels of spicy, spicier and the-spiciest-you-never-even-knew-was-possible.
Insider Tip: Lao Sze Chuan is such a fixture in Chicago’s food scene that we’ve dubbed its Dry Chili Hen as one of many city’s signature dishes. For the entire record, take a look at 20+ Chicago Signature Meals You Must Attempt on Your Next Visit.
#4 Sink Your Tooth into the Best Dumplings in Chicago at Qing Xiang Yuang Dumplings
For too many of us, the dumpling experience has been relegated to an affordable, quick snack served in Styrofoam. Chicago Chinatown’s Qing Xian Yuang Dumplings, though, elevates the mighty and tiny dumpling to an artwork type. Each wrapper is crammed with the freshest components, the juiciest of broths, and ingenious blends. Servings are made to order and may be both steamed, fried, or boiled.
And for the true dumpling fanatic, the restaurant presents a free—yes, FREE—one-hour dumpling making class, with a most number of 4 members per session. It could be your first step to mastering this ubiquitous but difficult Chinese language dish.
#5 Discover Korea By way of Chicago’s Chinatown at Ahjoomah’s Apron
Through the years, Chinatown has welcomed the culinary traditions of its Asian neighbors, making it probably the most thrilling foodie destinations in Chicago. In addition to Chinese language delicacies, guests can discover Mongolian, Malay, Japanese, Vietnamese and many more ethnic eats.
Ahjoomah’s Apron was one of the first Korean restaurants to open within the neighborhood, providing basic dishes that each Koreans and non-Koreans alike will respect. For those who’re a newbie, its friendly employees and accessible menu will make sure that your first experience with Korean food isn’t the last.
#6 Discover the Different Flat Bread at Xi’An Cuisine
If your superb vision of a Chinatown eatery is small, genuine, and right here to knock your socks off with one signature dish, look no additional than Xi’an Delicacies. The décor is sparse, the drinks are BYOB, and the TVs are all the time on.
This all issues very little though when the flavors are so massive. Xi’an focuses on flat breads, a regional road food consisting of thin, pita-like breads full of quite a lot of meats and vegetables. Don’t sleep on the cumin lamb. Additionally they serve hand-stretched noodles, specialty soups and an assortment of small plates that may maintain you snacking for hours.
#7 Take a Journey at the Chinese language American Museum of Chicago
Chicago is residence to the only museum within the Midwest that focuses on the Chinese immigrant expertise. The Chinese American Museum of Chicago tells the tales of those that came by way of their everlasting exhibit, “Great Walls to Great Lakes,” and their many events, video archives, and collections.
The museum is open each day except Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
#8 See the Different Great Wall of China – In Chicago
Proper on the corner of Cermak and Wentworth, you’ll discover a breathtaking wall adorned with nine giant dragons and over 500 smaller ones painted in pink, blue, and gold. That is Chinatown’s 9 Dragon Wall and one in every of its most famous landmarks.
Modeled after a glaze-tiled wall in Beijing’s Forbidden Metropolis, Chicago’s wall is considered one of solely four other replicas, and each design factor is supposed to symbolize luck and prosperity.
#9 Amp Up Your #Bookstagram at Chinatown’s Public Library
Modern and imposing, the Chicago Public Library Department in Chinatown is tough to miss. Although the constructing is completely trendy, it’s also completely Chinese-American. The 2-story building encompasses a partially-covered green roof, Feng Shui-influenced interiors, and awesome views of the skyline.
There’s additionally more to it than books (though we love these too).
The library hosts a ton of events on Chinese language tradition like Tai Chi courses, arts & crafts periods, Cantonese Opera nights, and each English and Chinese language-language lessons for freshmen.
#10 Enter the Previous by means of the Chinatown Gate in Chicago
Looming over the busy streets of the neighborhood, the long-lasting Chinatown Gate greets residents and visitors to the world. Additionally it is the gateway to Previous Chinatown, the place you’ll see more densely packed streets, eating places and companies than the more orderly Chinatown Sq. and Archer Avenue.
Worry not, those who enter: An array of thrilling sights, senses, and smells await.
#11 Search Serenity at Ping Tom Memorial Park
Situated on what was an previous rail yard, Ping Tom Memorial Park is likely one of the most peaceable parks in the metropolis. Nestled alongside the Chicago River, the inexperienced area has been reworked by means of Chinese language panorama traditions and it boasts a number of the most unobstructed views of the Chicago skyline. The lawn could also be some of the romantic spots within the city too—simply in case you happen to be with a particular somebody. Wink, wink.
Insider Tip: Chicago Meals Planet’s Chinatown Adventure Food Tour makes for a fantastic date night time and features a stop at Ping Tom Memorial Park. For different date night time options, learn our guide on the most effective date nights in Chicago.
Goodbye Trinkets, Hey Treasure: The place to Shop in Chinatown
Whether or not you have got your eye on a waving Lucky Cat, lovely teacups, or that hard-to-find medicinal herb, Chinatown is a enjoyable buying destination that gives greater than anticipated. Listed here are our picks for favorites stores in the area.
#12 Bulk Up at Aji Ichiban Sweet Store
Fulfill every child’s dream by heading to Aji Ichiban Candy Retailer, Chicago’s very own offshoot of the popular Hong Kong chain. Bin after bin of Asian candies, dried fruits, and savory snacks await and are there for the taking.
Goodies are bought pre-packaged, however we advocate buying by bulk, which will provide you with a chance to taste every little thing from Inexperienced Tea Package Kats to crunchy seaweed. Seize a bag, go to city, and embrace the inevitable sugar high.
#13 Discover Every thing You Need (and Every little thing You Don’t) at Aj Housewares and Presents
The answer to a buying listing that includes one neon stress ball, a pearl necklace, and a high-volume wok? Aj Housewares and Presents.
Some say it’s overwhelming; we name it complete:
With floor-to-ceiling shelves of house goods, toys, presents, equipment, kitchenware, crops, décor, lighting, clothes, scroll artwork, and nunchuks—yes, nunchuks—there’s no means you’ll depart empty-handed.
#14 Make Your Day Sweeter at Chicago Chinatown’s Best Bakery
Opened in 1986, Chiu Quon Bakery can lay declare to being the oldest Chinese language bakery in Chicago’s Chinatown. The rationale they’ve remained a neighborhood staple might have something to do with their delectable steamed buns, traditionally-flavored cookies and fluffy cream muffins.
One other factor to notice: They serve up a number of the greatest dim sum in Chicago too. Their number of meat dumplings, steamed rice crepes, and marinated hen ft is a wonderful strategy to start off a day of journey in Chinatown.
#15 Go Au Naturel at Yin Wall City
Herb, teas, and powders have been utilized in Chinese language drugs for centuries and it’s only just lately that the West has caught up to their pure properties. In the event you’re interested in delving deep into the therapeutic powers of ginseng or just want superior loose-leaf tea, Yin Wall City must be at the prime of your record.
It has all of the makings of a standard apothecary and their pleasant employees will do their greatest to reply your questions.
The nook of Cermak and Wentworth is the guts of Chinatown and of Chicago’s Chinese group. It’s right here that you simply’ll discover most of the annual celebrations, parades, and festivities that hold their new and previous traditions alive.
#16 Embrace the Lunar New Yr at Chinatown’s Chinese New Yr Parade
The Lunar New Yr is China’s largest holiday and the Chinese language-American group use the date to rejoice their wealthy heritage right here in Chicago. Although there are a selection of occasions around the city, the most important parade of all stays the Lunar New Yr Parade in Chinatown.
In addition to marching bands and floats, you’ll see Chinese people dancers, dragon boats, and ornate displays showcasing symbols of excellent luck. Get there early: Over 300,000 individuals attend this colorful, vigorous pageant.
#17 Decide a Workforce at the Annual Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Races
Chinese dragon boat races are over 2,000 years previous and Chicago is fortunate enough to have its own annual competitors each summer time. 32 groups race up the Chicago River in elaborate dragon boats, with one objective in mind: to win money for charity.
Every group is made up of eighteen paddlers, one drummer to keep the rhythm going, and one flag catcher answerable for pulling the flag on the end of the finish line. The festivity additionally consists of cubicles, entertainment, and actions for youngsters.
Insider Tip: Want different superb concepts for making summer time in Chicago even higher? Read our 18+ Good Chicago Activities for the Summer time.
#18 Be Over the Moon at Autumn Moon Pageant
The second most necessary vacation in China is probably not as splashy because the Lunar New Yr, nevertheless it still is a delightful celebration of family, meals, and enjoyable. The Chinese American Museum of Chicago hosts an evening of music, storytelling, and more at their location.
Not to be missed: the mooncake, a standard Chinese dessert consisting of a thick pastry full of pink bean or lotus seed paste.
#19 Flip the Heat Up at Chinatown’s Summer time Truthful
Earning its slot in the busy summer time pageant season, Chinatown’s summer time truthful distinguishes itself from the remaining by starting off with a lion dance procession.
The remainder of the day is a dizzying journey for the senses, with cubicles offering samples of a few of the neighborhood’s tastiest dishes, distinctive cultural reveals, and even a kung fu demonstration.
Lights, Lanterns, and Late Hours: Best Chinatown Spots at Night time
The solar could also be setting in Chicago, but that’s no cause to say goodbye to Chinatown. The neighborhood continues to be an ideal place to take pleasure in a night because of fabulous eateries, lovely views, and the ready-to-party karaoke scene.
#20 Toast with One other Sort of Bubbly at Pleasure Yee Chinatown
Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink consisting of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca—and at Pleasure Yee, they’ve put their own spin on it. Fans of the cult-favorite will rejoice at their lengthy boba menu, which incorporates basic variations as well as freezes, smoothies that include the tapioca pearls.
That’s not all.
Pleasure Yee additionally gives scorching meat dishes, slurpy noodles, and sufficient shareable plates to make it a well-liked spot for a gaggle outing. The restaurant stays open till 10:30 pm too, making it an awesome place to either begin or end the night time.
#21 Sing Your Shinzo Out at Sakura Karaoke Bar
In case you’re on the lookout for a ruckus of a superb time, Sakura Karaoke Bar is strictly where you’ll find it. This legendary Japanese-style karaoke bar features a stage, a dance flooring, two separates bars and eight VIP lounges, for many who favor to serenade their associates in personal.
With over 100,000 of America and Asia’s biggest hits, you’ll be capable of reside out each your rock star and k-pop goals.
#22 Marvel at Chicago’s Breathtaking Magnificence on the Chinatown Water Taxi
You’ll be able to take the Pink Line to Chinatown, but right here’s a tip we inform our Chinatown Adventure Meals Tour friends.
The very best strategy to get to Chinatown in the course of the summer time is Chicago’s Water Taxi. What it lacks in velocity, it more than makes up for in beautiful beauty.
The route takes passengers alongside the Chicago River and in plain view of a few of the most well-known architectural landmarks. It’s an exquisite view any time of day, but an absolute showstopper at night time when the town lights glide you again downtown.