Located within the city’s Armour Square community, Chinatown was established near Wentworth Avenue and 22nd Street (now Cermak Road) around 1905. Prior to that, Chinese immigrants lived and worked mostly in the Loop, near Clark and Van Buren Streets, until a group of businessmen who belonged to the On Leong Merchants Association relocated south. Over time, the neighborhood became packed with restaurants, bakeries, grocery markets, gift shops and specialty stores, making it a favorite stop for tourists and locals alike. Chinatown Gate, built in the 1970s, greets visitors with a Chinese inscription that states, “The World is for All.” Pagoda-like structures and buildings with elaborate reliefs of dragons, lions, birds and Chinese characters can be found throughout the neighborhood, in places like Ping Tom Memorial Park, the Pui Tak Center and Chinatown Square Mall. Today, the neighborhood remains both a commercial hub and a home for thousands of Chinese Americans.
Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including the Chinatown Architecture Innovation Trail sponsored by Ozinga.