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Notre Dame de Chicago
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Jameson

The best attractions in Little Italy

Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood has attractions full of history, including well-groomed parks and storied churches

Written by
Nick Kotecki
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Little Italy is the perfect neighborhood to go for an afternoon stroll after a meal at one of the best Italian Restaurants in Chicago or to walk off the calories from one of your favorite Mexican restaurants in Pilsen. The neighborhood is home to some of Chicago's most beautiful churches, a surprising amount of park space to relax in and even a helipad with aerial tours of the skyline.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Little Italy and University Village

The best attractions in Little Italy

  • Things to do
  • Little Italy, UIC

This recreational park, originally Vernon Park, was donated to the city of Chicago in 1857. Situated near the University of Illinois campus, the greenspace is home to handsome landscaping, a gorgeous fountain and views of the city skyline from the south.

Maxwell Street Market
  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • West Loop
  • price 1 of 4

This street market dates all the way back to 1900, when immigrant families would sell goods out of pushcarts. Today, the market has been moved and reestablished, though it remains an international experience of bargain hunting—and incredible Mexican food.

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  • Things to do
  • Talks and lectures
  • Little Italy, UIC

The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii is the second Italian church built in the area and was completed in 1923. It was built in Roman revival style and has an interior replete with stained glass, murals and high arches among the pews.

UIC Pavilion
  • Things to do
  • Little Italy, UIC

The lucky kids who go to the University of Illinois at Chicago have this massive concert hall (well, basketball arena) in their backyard. Concerts are few and far between these days, but the bookings are big. Recently, Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie and Arcade Fire have passed through.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Little Italy, UIC

One of the few helicopter ports in Chicago city limits, this service offers sightseeing tours as well as charter rides, if you can fork over enough cash, that is. The helipad is privately owned and located conveniently near the Illinois Medical District.

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