A localised area of downtown Chicago, Chinatown consists of Chinese immigrants and their future generations who, during the 1870s, had set off on their arduous journey to the United States in search of work and thus remaining to plant the seeds of their own culture.
Chinatown is filled with restaurants serving their aromatic, tasty and often spicy cuisine, though a detour into one might also be on the cards. Festivals and parades abound during the year, too. One of Chinatown’s biggest cultural celebrations, the Chinese New Year parade fills the streets with colourful celebrations. Onlookers are encouraged to wear red, bringing good luck for the coming year. In addition, there is both the Temple Street Market Festival and Autumn Moon Festival filled with stalls selling exotic herbs and other appealing produce which are run on a regular basis. For tea aficionados, the Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Company, one of Chinatown’s most popular tea shops, sell a wide variety of teas with ginseng and tea leaves offered by the bag.
With an abundance of street parking, a reliable alternative is the El’s Red Line to Cermak-Chinatown that runs 24 hours a day. Alternatively, Wendella Boats and Chicago Water Taxis which loop around the city offer a fun, scenic way to reach the area.
There have been two Chinatowns in Chicago. Home to a multitude of Chinese shops, restaurants and laundries, the area eventually outgrew itself in the late 1960s. With the help of the Chinatown Redevelopment Association, new land was purchased, and Chicago’s Argyle and Broadway section was then chosen to be Chinatown’s new location. It is now known as “Small Saigon” because of the low numbers of original immigrants.