Discovering Chinatown, Chicago

Located in the Armour Square, the Chinatown in Chicago was first established in 1912. It is considered the best example of American Chinatown. Here, you will find a wide range of unique boutiques, specialty shops, amazing religious buildings, Chinese medicine stores and Chinese restaurants. Take this walking tour to discover Chicago's Chinatown.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Discovering Chinatown Map

Guide Name: Discovering Chinatown
Guide Location: USA » Chicago (See other walking tours in Chicago)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Author: doris
1
Chinatown Gate

1) Chinatown Gate

Chinatown Gate is one the most proeminet landmarks to be seen in Chicago's Chinatown. Designed by architect Peter Fung, it was based on a wall in Beijing and installed in 1975. The hand painted charachters on the ornamental tiles at the top of the Gate translate as: “The world belongs to the commonwealth”, a saying that dates back to the early part of the last century and reflects the determination and the spirit of the Chinese people.
2
Pui Tak Building

2) Pui Tak Building

The Pui Tak Center formerly known as the On Leong Merchants Association Building, is a building located in Chicago's Chinatown. Designed by architects Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad, the building was built for the On Leong Merchants Association and opened in 1928. The Association used it as an immigrant assistance center, and the building was informally referred to as Chinatown's "city hall." In 1988, the FBI and Chicago Police raided the building as part of a racketeering investigation. The US federal government seized the building that same year. The building was purchased by the Chinese Christian Union Church (CCUC) for $1.4 million and renamed the Pui Tak Center in 1993. The CCUC spent $1 million raised from community donations to renovate and update the building's neglected interior. The newly-named Pai Tak Center now hosts various religious, community and educational programs, such as English-as-a-Second-Language courses.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Chinese Christian Union Church

3) Chinese Christian Union Church

Chinese Christian Union Church was founded 1903. The current building was constructed in 1950. It has been for years Chinatown's most important religious and social building. The church features an Asian style and a beautiful brick exterior. Services are held in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
4
Chinese-American Museum of Chicago

4) Chinese-American Museum of Chicago

Chinese-American Museum of Chicago opened in 2005, yet it is housed by a building that dates from 1896. The museum is a non-profit corporation, that has the purpose of promoting exhibitions, education, and research relating to Chinese-American culture and history in the Midwestern United States.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9:30 am - 1:30 pm; Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
5
St. Therese Church

5) St. Therese Church

St. Therese Church was founded in 1963. It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Chicago’s Archdiocese. The building features amazing architecture and interior design. Unique statues and stained glass windows symbolize the church's Italian roots. Chinese influences are prominently featured as well. The parish’s main statement, located on the keystone above the altar, is written in Chinese.
6
Nine Dragon Wall

6) Nine Dragon Wall

The Nine Dragon Wall was built in 2004 and soon became one of the characteristic features and landmarks of Chicago Chinatown. This Wall is one of the four replicas in the world of the Beijing original. It is made of glazed tiles from China, and it features one large dragon and over 500 smaller dragons painted in red, gold and blue signifying the Chinese focus on good fortune.
7
Chinatown Square Plaza

7) Chinatown Square Plaza

Chinatown Square is a two-story outdoor mall located in Chinatown, Chicago, a mile (1.6km) from the center of Chicago just north of the main Wentworth Avenue District. Chinatown Square, on 45 acres (180,000 m2) of reclaimed land from a former railroad yard, houses mostly restaurants, retail space, boutiques, banks, clinics, beauty shops, and a handful of offices. This outdoor mall is the largest Chinese mall in the US east of San Francisco and west of New York City. In the middle of the mall, there are statues of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac from Xiamen, China. Other landmarks in the mall include twin pagodas. The mall opened in 1993 as a result of the efforts of Chinese activists who wanted more land from the city of Chicago. Statues representing the twelve Chinese zodiac animals grace three sides of the square. These work of art were commissioned to the Xiamen University Art Department in Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Ping Tom Memorial Park

8) Ping Tom Memorial Park

Ping Tom Memorial Park is a 17.24-acre (6.98 ha) public urban park in Chicago's Chinatown owned and operated by the Chicago Park District (CPD). Located on the south bank of the Chicago River, the park is divided into three sections by Santa Fe rail track and 18th Street. It was designed by Ernest C. Wong of Site Design Group and features a pagoda-style pavilion, bamboo gardens and a playground. The park is named in honor of prominent Chinatown businessman and civic leader Ping Tom; a bronze bust of Tom is installed near the park's pavilion. The park's original design called for walled plazas inspired by traditional Chinese gardens in Suzhou, China. A pagoda-style pavilion based on a structure that Wong had seen in Suzhou is located near the park's eastern boundary—the Chicago River. The park's entrance is marked by four 20-feet-tall columns, each etched with Chinese dragons and is modeled after a traditional Chinese courtyard.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Chicago, Illinois

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chicago is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nightlife Tour Part 2

Nightlife Tour Part 2

Legendary Cocktail Lounges play an important part in Chicago's nightlife. Here you can feel the city pulsing with the beat of extraordinary performances of live jazz, blues, rock, folk and country. At Chicago's cocktail lounges you can meet the trendiest people and relax over the magnificent cocktails. Take this walking tour to discover the most famous cocktail lounges that Chicago has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
The Magnificent Mile Area Walk

The Magnificent Mile Area Walk

The Magnificent Mile is located between the Chicago River and the Lake Shore Drive. It is considered one of the great avenues of the world, being Chicago's version of the Champs-Elysees. Take this walk to explore the Magnificent Mile boulevard and the surrounding area, that features a wide selection of amazing shops, world-known museums, restaurants and spectacular architecture.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Chicago without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Chicago, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.9 km
Best Jazz and Blues Clubs Tour

Best Jazz and Blues Clubs Tour

Chicago is considered to be one of the most important destinations where Jazz & Blues developed. In the 1920s this city became a center of hot jazz. At the same time blues started to invade Chicago. So if you are a fan of Jazz and/or Blues or you simply like listening to great music, take this walking tour and don't miss the chance to visit some of the best Jazz & Blues clubs in Chicago.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Chicago is the thirds largest city in the United States, it is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, and it offers numerous vibrant tourist attractions. It is a thriving center of international trade and commerce and a city of world-class status and unsurpassed beauty. It features world-famous museums and galleries, amazing architecture, lake front parks and a huge variety of restaurants and shops. Take this orientation walk to explore the best tourist attractions in Chicago.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 km
Art Galleries Tour

Art Galleries Tour

The art world in Chicago is considered vast. There is a large number of art galleries in this city and each gallery has its own unique setup and outstanding exhibitions on display. The beautiful galleries feature works in a wide range of fields, from up-and-coming artists to famous artists like Pablo Picasso. Take this walking tour to explore some of the most famous galleries in Chicago.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

One of the most fascinating cities in the U.S., if not the whole world, Chicago has no shortage of things closely associated with it, often due to their direct origin (blues, gangstership, etc.), so one might literally be spoiled for choice as to what to choose as a "piece" of Chicago to...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Chicago for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Chicago has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Chicago's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as Chicago CityPASS, Go Chicago Card, or Chicago Explorer Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Chicago's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Chicago hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Silversmith Hotel, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago Athletic Association.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Chicago, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Chicago typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$70 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker (or a bus trolley, in winter) to enjoy sightseeing of Chicago in comfort listening in the headsets either to the recorded commentary in a variety of foreign languages or to a live on-board commentary from a local expert, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like. The tickets are valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

- Dig into the infamous chapter of the history of Chicago, once the criminal capital of the United States, on a crime tour exploring the city’s underworld at its height back in the 1920s-30s. See the actual places and hear the stories associated with the mob names like Al Capone, John Dillinger, and other notorious gangsters.

- Explore the well- and not so well-known pieces of Chicago's design-rich architecture on a 2-hour guided walk to some of the city's prominent landmarks, elegant lobbies, and underground corridors accompanied by educational insights from an expert guide.

- Pedal your way around Chicago on a 4-hour guided bike tour for a chance to get a profound understanding of the city, to taste all of its classical eats in a single go, plus to see the most spectacular highlights of its north side neighborhoods and to cruise one of the most popular waterfront bike paths in the U.S.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Chicago – this usually lasts about 1.5-2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Chicago, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Oak Park or Plano. For as little as US$55 per person you will get a chance to discover the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District – the birthplace of the famed Prairie Style architecture, as well as to explore the exterior and interior of the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe and to learn about the life and work of this prominent architect. For any of these tours you will be picked up at a designated place in Chicago and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.