Old Polonia and Wicker Park Tour with Food

Walk, eat, and learn about the dynamics of changing communities of Chicago neighborhoods.

This walking food tour is seasonal so please check back in spring of 2019! Check out our indoor walking tours for winter dates. On the Old Polonia and Wicker Park food tour we will explore the past and present of the people, architecture, and foods of two vibrant and changing neighborhoods. In addition to Wicker Park, we tour Noble Square, a Chicago neighborhood that was once known as “Old Polonia.” (If you’re a local Chicagoan, just fyi Noble Square is located in the West Town neighborhood.)

OLD POLONIA AND WICKER PARK FOOD TOUR DETAILS

Wicker Park has been studied by sociologists around the world for its rapid transformation in the ’80s and ’90s. Wicker Park had been home to gang bangers, drug addicts and prostitutes. Instead today it is often ranked in lists of “Coolest Neighborhoods” in America. Now neighboring Ukrainian Village and Noble Square have been moving in the same direction, too.

Versus other Chicago food tours where it can be quantity over quality, we have three food stops on our Wicker Park food tour. The Chicago Detours kind of neighborhood food tour means that beyond just eating, we are going to really learn. To have a more meaningful connection with the places we visit, stories on this Wicker Park food tour range from the voyage of Polish immigrants to the “bard of the down-and-outer” of Nelson Algren, to the “Die Yuppie Scum” graffiti of the ’90s gentrification movement.

Our neighborhood walking food tour starts at the former “Polish Broadway” with a visit inside a stunning Polish Catholic Church, filled with paintings, gold leaf details, and sweeping arches. Our walk around the Old Polonia neighborhood reveals clues to incredible contrasts of old and new, like a taqueria in a building from a 1930s hamburger joint or one of Chicago’s last newspaper stands. Over Mexican chile rellenos, we consider Mexican immigration to Chicago and Ashland Avenue’s “taco row.” Then we sample home-style Polish food in a restaurant that feels just like going to visit your Polish grandmother.

The neighborhood tour group takes the CTA up to the Damen stop to stroll through the blooming park of Wicker Park (guests bring their own train cards). In this vibrant park we begin to see the Wicker Park neighborhood’s diverse mix of people, before wandering down “Beer Baron Row” to see massive 19th century mansions.

On this Wicker Park food tour, you’ll hear the history of the Turkish Baths, which often piques interest from riders on the CTA’s adjacent Blue Line. We’ll consume an example the neighborhood’s new, hip vibe with a gourmet doughnut from Stan’s Donuts. And our Chicago neighborhood tour concludes at a special spot at the massive gears of a bank vault, now the inside of a pharmacy.

WHY BOOK THIS NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD TOUR WITH CHICAGO DETOURS?

Who wants to listen to a volunteer tour docent rambling a bunch of memorized dates and names? Not us! Our expert tour guides are highly trained, smart, fun and passionate about Chicago architecture and history.

In business since 2010, we are proud to be a top-rated Chicago tour company with five-stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor. Many of our Chicago architecture walking tours integrate historic bars, food, and music history. We hope you’ll join us to explore stories and places locals don’t even know, both downtown and in Chicago neighborhoods!

Got a time conflict? Consider our Best Architecture Walking Tour for Design Lovers.

This Wicker Park food tour is available to private groups, a unique thing to do in Chicago for a family group or a corporate team building event.

 

Length

2.5 Hours

Distance

.9 Miles

Cost

$45
  • Days & Times
  • Monday
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  • Tuesday
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  • Wednesday
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  • Thursday
    1:15pm
  • Friday
    1:15pm
  • Saturday
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  • Second Sundays
    2pm

Highlights

  • Step inside a dazzling Catholic Church
  • Walk by Gilded Age Mansions on “Beer Baron Row”
  • Eat Polish food like grandma used to make
  • See writer Nelson Algren’s home
  • Step inside a bank vault, now a pharmacy

Stories & Ideas

  • Old Polonia, aka “Polish Downtown”
  • What old Wicker Park was like
  • Mexican immigration to Chicago
  • The ’90s gentrification of Wicker Park
  • Inevitability of change in urban neighborhoods

Tour Includes

  • Expert guide commentary
  • Special Gifts
 

Tastings at top-rated establishments:

  • La Pasadita
  • Podhalanka
  • Stan’s Donuts

Tour Reviews

My son and I really enjoyed the Old Polonia and Wicker Park tour. Although we are frequently in and about the Wicker Park neighborhood, we learned interesting facts that we didn't know. Amanda was a very friendly and personable tour guide. She's a great conversationalist and clearly enjoys her work. We loved the food too!

Tour Meeting Spot

Tour starts in front of Holy Trinity Polish Church, 1118 N. Noble St.
Tour ends inside Walgreen’s, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Click HERE FOR MAP to locate the meeting point for your walking tour.

PARKING -You can leave your car for the duration of the tour or the entire afternoon at Holy Trinity Church parking lot by entering from Noble Street. Your tour guide will have a form for you to fill out and leave on your dashboard.

We hope you can join us!

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