Humboldt Park Neighborhood Guide

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Chicagoist recently assembled a list of staycation recommendations in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Covering both signature spots and under-the-radar finds, the list represents an impressive smattering of Chicago’s 77 community areas.

I was happy to contribute my picks from Humboldt Park to the list. It’s a traditionally Puerto Rican neighborhood that’s anchored by the Paseo Boricua stretch of Division Street and the lovely namesake park. I wanted to highlight both trendy and traditional aspects of the ‘hood. Check out my tips and share your Humbolt Park favorites in the comments!

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1. Eat at Nellie’s (2458 W. Division St.)
No one should pass through Humboldt Park without sampling Nellie’s coconut oatmeal. Diners line up on Paseo Boricua to enjoy the cinnamon-sprinkled, velvety avena de coco, hearty breakfast buffet, and other authentic Puerto Rican breakfast and lunch fare. While trendy options continue to pop-up nearby, Nellie’s offers an unfussy setting where the omelets contain maduros and your coffee is always full.

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2. Play at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (3015 W. Division St.)
There are plenty of opportunities for play in Humboldt Park including fishing in the lagoon, lounging by the inland beach, or hitting the bag in the field house’s indoor boxing gym. The park even includes a free art museum, America’s only museum dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and history. Exhibits explore topics of Puerto Rican culture and community, ranging from faith to Chicago artists examining what it means to say “That’s Puerto Rican.” The small collection is housed in a Chicago landmark, a former stables that used to include landscape architect Jens Jensen’s office and Humboldt Park’s oldest surviving structure.

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3. Shop at Humboldt House (1045 N. California Ave.)
If you’re on the hunt for vintage finds to adorn your modern pad pay a visit to Claire Tibbs and company. The store is home to stylish retro furniture and eclectic accessories that range from Turkish-sourced rugs to jewelry and soaps from Chicago artisans. Humboldt House even sells cleansing sage bundles for those who really want to revamp their space.

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4. Drink at California Clipper (1045 N. California Ave.)
Longtime patrons of this Humboldt dive, which has been operating as a bar since 1937, wrung their hands when restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff announced his intention to reboot the space. Thankfully, a blood-red glow of lights still fills the room, country western artists continue to take the stage, and most cocktails on the Clipper’s extensive list remain $10 and under. Cheers to a Chicago classic.

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Credit: California Clipper


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