Pilsen is once again the next hot neighborhood

The concept of a “willing suspension of disbelief” is credited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge from the year 1817. Wikipedia summarizes it thus:

… if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.

You can draw your own conclusions regarding the relevance of that concept to the sporadically-recurring narrative that traces back decades and tags Pilsen as Chicago’s next hot neighborhood.

Here’s a sample from a current Craigslist ad:

Pilsen is the new HOT neighborhood in our city! With all of the new shops, cafés, boutiques, restaurants and bars, who wouldn’t want to live in this beautiful area?

And another, from a recent Redfin report:

Pilsen has experienced a lot of commercial revitalization. Thalia Hall, which dates from the 1890s, was restored in 2013 as multi-use space that includes a restaurant, bar and concert venue. The 2nd Fridays Gallery Night along the Chicago Arts District is always popular, as is the Sunday farmers market. Add in easy access to the Pink line, the Metra, the Stevenson and the Dan Ryan and you have a still-affordable neighborhood with great transit options, in close proximity to the loop.

Tune out the narrative and visit Pilsen. Spend some time there, and draw your own conclusions about whether Pilsen is “the next hot neighborhood.”


  • Bobby 4 years

    I have been there and I can draw my own conclusion: it is taking off.

    • Bobby,

      Share some of the reasons for you conclusion. What signs have you been seeing?

  • Bobby 4 years

    I have many reasons for my conclusion, some anecdotal, others anecdotal but based on certain facts. I have lived here since 2003 and incrementally, each year brings with it more and more new faces that break the mold of what was traditionally a hispanic enclave. This has been even more so over the last year and in the 6 to 9 months since Thalia Hall re-opened, even more so than that.

    Fact: it seems that close to fifty percent of the properties purchased in the last year have non-hispanic names. While that might sound racist, it is not intended to be so. It’s true that all money is green, but it becomes apparent that a neighborhood is changing when the names of the people start to reflect that of other neighborhoods that have gone through similar changes in Chicago. It isn’t Logan Square yet, but it is headed in that direction.

    New business: Pilsen has had some turning points, real markers of gentrification, places like Simone’s and Nightwood. But the biggest of all has been Thalia Hall. The restaurant and bar are great, as are the organic market and furniture store. But Thalia Hall as a venue, booking the names that it does, brings new people into the neighborhood. And when they come to the neighborhood, they are seeing something that is a stones throw from Downtown. They are seeing the “kids” on bikes, a French Bakery, a Bow-Truss coffee (among all of the other coffee) shops, and architecture from a forgotten era in our history.

    Yes, a lot of the buildings are in dire need of repair, but there have been a lot of great rehabs done, and the kids are paying quite a bit to live there. Throw in all of the vintage shops, and the galleries that have moved west towards the Pink Line and all of the other little businesses sprouting up, and I think you would see that this is a much different place than it was ten years ago as money has come into the neighborhood. In ten years, it will probably be even more different.

    Remember that you doubted Thalia Hall would happen, but it did.

  • Dano 3 years

    Chicago Coffee Shop Hit With Racist Graffiti: “White People Out of Pilsen”

    A coffee shop in Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, a largely Hispanic area, was hit with threatening racist graffiti.