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A Cultural Mixing Pot if There Ever Was One!
Bordered by Western Avenue to the east, Pulaski Road to the west, North Avenue to the north, and the Union Pacific tracks to the south, Humboldt Park is considered two distinct sections, divided by Sacramento Boulevard: East Humboldt Park and West Humboldt Park.
There isn’t perhaps a more dynamic neighborhood in Chicago than Humboldt Park. Since its founding in 1869, the neighborhood went from largely a Scandinavian population, to German, then Polish, then Italian Americans, then Russian, and then finally, in the 1970s – Puerto Rican.
The only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the United States, residents of Puerto Rican descent make up about 25% of Humboldt Park’s population.
When entering the Humboldt Park community from Division Street the locals have coined “Paseo Boricua,” you can’t help but notice that you’re entering a neighborhood that’s proud of its Puerto Rican-American heritage. Two metal Puerto Rican flags, each weighing 45 tons and rising nearly 60 feet tall stretch across the Paseo Boricua street forming an arch, letting you know you’re entering the heart of the Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park.
Located on Paseo Boricua between Western and California streets is the site of the annual Fiesta Boricua. This parade attracts some 65,000 attendees each summer, featuring live performances (salsa, merengue, bomba, plena, reggaetón), as well as Afro-Caribbean music. The parade comes equipped with a carnival located in Humboldt Park, featuring rides and an array of Puerto Rican food.
And Then, There’s the Park…
Humboldt Park is massive at over 200 acres. It’s easy to find a quiet patch of grass to read your book under one of the 100-year old trees without seeing a person for hours. The park is also outfitted with plenty of sporting facilities, playgrounds, and year-round family-friendly events. First opened in 1869, Humboldt Park was the neighborhood’s – even the city of Chicago’s – most spectacular sites. After the park’s introduction to the neighborhood, real estate boomed as many downtown city-slickers preferred the move to this spacious and green Chicago borough.
Humboldt Park also houses a meandering river which cuts through the landscape, emptying into Humboldt Park Pond. Host to movies in the park during the summer and countless sporting events year-round (there’s a swimming pool, baseball diamond, and tennis courts on-site as well). The park is home to 3 historical public buildings: The Boat House, the Field House, and the Historic Stables.
Regional Puerto Rican Cuisine
Humboldt Park’s food scene benefited from the influx of Puerto Rican residents during the 1960s. Locals rave over Papa’s Cache Sabroso, rumored to be the best Puerto Rican style rotisserie chicken in the city. The steak jibaritos hit the spot and the fried yucca and plantains are even sweeter. Those in the know are wary of the crowds, where lunch may take upwards of 45-minutes for a sandwich. But if you get your timing right, the restaurant may be perfect for what you’re looking for. If you’re averse to trying something new (shame on you!) there’s a slew of Mexican taquerias, pizza places, and of course dessert at Tipsy Cake bakery.
Houses for Sale in Chicago in Humboldt Park
Skirting the park line the neighborhood’s stunning greystone houses, most of which were built in the late 1800s when the area saw a real boost in population. Throughout the neighborhood, there are two-flat homes, brick bungalows, and apartment buildings, ensuring whatever houses for sale in Chicago you’re looking for, Humboldt likely has it! The housing stock provides an eclectic mix of options – both in architectural style as well as construction. A perfect compliment to the neighborhood’s diverse mix of culture.