El stop walking tour: 18th Street Pink Line

Written by
Lisa Ghisolf

Chicago's melting pot gives way to a spectrum of diverse neighborhoods. Even better, CTA riders can benefit from two 25-cent transfers for up to two hours after their initial swipe. To help you spend your quarter and your time wisely, we suggest taking a walking tour from a station. We start in Pilsen, exploring 18th Street in an hour (or so).

Take the Pink Line to the 18th Street station, which is about a 15-minute ride from the Loop, and head east. 

Take Me Out (8 minutes for carryout) This place stands out for actually having Korean "hotties" instead of Mexican fare. These lollipop style wings—or boneless if you prefer—are covered in amazing sauces. Delicious, especially with the purple taro root rice. Get it to go. 1502 W 18th St.

Pilsen Vintage & Thrift (8 minutes for browsing) Just across the street from Knee Deep Vintage, another excellent vintage and thrift store, this shop offers newer designer finds. Each shop offers reasonable prices and a wide selection of housewares, jewelry and more. Take a quick look at the merchandise and continue east. 1430 W 18th St.

Birrieria Reyes de Octolan (20 minutes for a sit-down meal) Try it, you'll like it. Get the goat stew (or birria), which comes with homemade salsas, chilis, onions, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, lime and hot sauce. A pound of meat is easily shared among 3 people. Don't forget the horchata. 1322 W 18th St.

Modern Cooperative (8 minutes browsing) Head east for another four blocks for one of Pilsen's best gems. The co-op has vintage furniture and home accessories from the '60s and 7'70s, as well as modern pieces from over 75 local artists and designers. You'll find everything from clothing to jewelry to greeting cards and candles. 818 W 18th St.

Dulcería Lupitas (7 minutes browsing) On your way back to the train, pop in to this dulcería with every last Mexican candy you can imagine. Find candies for just a quarter! Everything from Jilotes (a corn-shaped lollipop coated in chile powder) to Canel's (Mexican Chiclets) can be found at this shop. 1730 W 18th St.

Hop back onto the Pink Line, and relish in your exploration of an entire neighborhood for less than $3 in transportation cost.

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