Things to do, see, and eat in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood

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History lines the streets in Chicago’s landmark Bronzeville neighborhood.

Dubbed the city’s “Black Metropolis,” this south side community served as the headquarters for African American cultural and entrepreneurial innovation for most of the early 20th century.

That legacy is still alive today in Bronzeville, where you’ll find a vibrant array of art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and restored mansions dotting the streets. This is the neighborhood for history and culture fans interested in spending a day steeped in an artsy vibe. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood.

Bronzeville history and landmarks

Monument to the Great Migration

Start with a stroll to the Monument to the Great Northern Migration, which greets visitors near the entrance to Bronzeville at 26th and King Drive. Towering 15 feet high, this bronze statue commemorates the thousands of African Americans who fled the Jim Crow South to Chicago in search of freedom and opportunities.

The Bronzeville Walk of Fame stretches for 10 blocks along King Drive between 26th Place and 35th. The bronze plaques honor over 100 famous Bronzeville residents, including legends like dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham, Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet and author Gwendolyn Brooks, blues icon Muddy Waters, and Daniel Hale Williams, the doctor who performed the world’s first open heart surgery.

For a lively, interactive account of Bronzeville’s history, check outChicago Mahogany Tours. Chicago’s acclaimed urban historian and TikTok sensation Sherman “Dilla” Thomas, guides visitors through historic sites like the birthplace of Black History Month, the headquarters for the first Black-owned insurance company, and the church where gospel music was born.

While you’re in the neighborhood, keep an eye out for The Forum, a historic 1897 building that hosted music greats from Nat King Cole to Muddy Waters to the Jackson 5. Today, it’s being restored and transformed into a hub for cultural programming.

Arts and culture in Bronzeville

The sculpture garden at Gallery Guichard
Gallery Guichard; photo by

Abel Arciniega @tequilagraphics

To dive into Bronzeville’s standout art scene, stop by Gallery Guichard and the Bronzeville Artist Lofts for immersive art that reflects the African Diaspora. Faie Afrikan Arthighlights pieces from East, West, Central and Southern Africa and Blanc Gallery starts cultural conversations with art exhibits, panel discussions, and artist talks. Continue your art exploration at the Southside Community Art Center, the oldest African American art center in the U.S.

From June to September, visitors can drop into all these spots during the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour, held on the third Friday of each month. Another fun summer event is the Palm Sundays concert series, featuring jazz and blues performances in the Gallery Guichard Sculpture Garden from May to September.

South Side Community Art Center
South Side Community Art Center

For the past 30 years, Little Black Pearl has been a dynamic haven for creativity and opportunities for the community to engage with art and culture. They host an after-school program, a Sunday brunch series with gospel music, an annual festival with live music, and more.

Haji Healing Salon focuses on community wellness and traditional African healing practices with a robust offering of yoga, reiki, sound meditation, and herbalism classes as well as an apothecary that sells organic herbs, houseplants, incense, and natural skincare.

Must-visit restaurants in Bronzeville

Bronzevillle Winery

Culinary creativity is a big part of Bronzeville’s legacy. Whether you crave soul food or craft cocktails, there’s something to check out here.

Head to one of the two stylish Bronzeville locations of Sip & Savor for certified Fair Trade coffee, smoothies tea, pastries, sandwiches, and salads. The cafe provides karaoke, cocktails, and DJs on select evenings. Peaches on 47th serves up big doses of Southern brunch classics and signature dishes like salmon croquettes, shrimp & cheese grits, and peach bourbon french toast. Nosh on fried catfish or a chicken salad croissant sandwich and drink fresh pressed juices in the cozy space at Carver 47 Food & Wellness Market.

The hickory smoked barbecue at Honey 1 BBQ attracts a cult following and Truth Italian Restaurant supplies refined options like the jerk shrimp alfredo omelet and Cajun crawfish and grits. Foodies travel from all over the city for the spicy Senegalese dishes and warm atmosphere at Yassa African Restaurant. Enjoy art, an extensive wine list, and sophisticated American cuisine at Bronzeville Winery, which also offers live music and DJs throughout the week.

Toast the evening at the crimson bar at Renaissance Bronzeville while grooving to themed music nights. Enjoy live jazz and classic cocktails after a flavorful meal of sausage jambalaya or jerk chicken at Norman’s Bistro. Relax in the Turner Haus Brewery, the city’s first Black-owned taproom, and choose from a variety of craft brews named for the founder’s family members.

For late-night fun, catch laidback DJ sets or karaoke at the self-described “grown folks bar,” Juke Joynt. Whatever you do in Bronzeville, the neighborhood’s history and welcoming feel will always embrace you.

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