Humboldt Park Neighborhood Guide
Humboldt Park is a large Chicago neighborhood about six miles northwest of the downtown Loop. Right in the center of the community is its namesake park, which is one of the largest inland parks in the city. Surrounding the park are many residential streets and a few pockets of restaurants and local taps. Historic Humboldt Boulevard is a double-wide thoroughfare on the neighborhood’s north side with a grass-covered median that leads right to the sprawling 200-acre central park. The grounds were part of Chicago’s original parks and boulevard system, which was modeled after the grand promenades in Paris. The plans also incorporated themes of the American Prairie style, resulting in the creation of its winding “prairie river.”
During the summer the park is bustling with activity – walkers, joggers, kids playing baseball, people feeding ducks in the pond, and families picnicking under the shade of the trees. This expansive green plot of land is a coveted part of Humboldt Park history and provides residents a much needed space to get outside, stretch the legs, and play. On designated summer evenings, families gather on the park lawn for outdoor screenings of Movies in the Park, which are put on by the Chicago Parks District. The all-age appropriate films are shown on a big screen for free. Of course, you have to bring your own chair or blanket to sit on, but that’s still a pretty good deal for the city!
Humboldt Park is a diverse area with Chicago’s largest concentration of Puerto Rican heritage. The rich Puerto Rican culture has dominated certain parts of Humboldt Park, especially along the section of Division Street known as Paseo Boricua. Giant metal Puerto Rican flags create the gateways to Paseo Boricua, where storefronts are fashioned to resemble those of San Juan and signs are often posted in Spanish. There’s an annual party along this stretch called Fiesta Boricua. The one-day affair celebrates in style with traditional Puerto Rican food, music, art and dance. But the real neighborhood cultural event is held in mid-June every year in the park. For five days the park becomes an all-out carnival for the Puerto Rican Festival, which is one of Chicago’s biggest outdoor gatherings. The fun and entertainment is hard to top with amusement park rides, famous Latino pop stars, the best Puerto Rican cuisine, and tons of activities for the kids.
The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is located on the western end of Paseo Boricua. It hosts lots of events, including literature readings, art shows, theatrical performances, lectures, and other creative projects. The organization is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood, founded in 2000, and it is the only self-standing institution in the country dedicated to exhibiting Puerto Rican art and history year-round.
Provided by: Real Estate in Chicago