The Neighborhood Of Chinatown

If you find yourself on the corner of Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue, you’ll have little trouble recognizing which neighborhood you’re in. The sounds and smells of this area are like none other in Chicago. Of course, it’s not just the egg rolls that contribute to the aroma-filled air; it’s barbecued duck, steamed dumplings, stir-fried rice and an endless assortment of other Chinese fare that constitutes Chinatown’s biggest attraction. Besides the great food of this colorful neighborhood, you’ll also find unique boutiques full of imported gifts, tea shops, and any number of other interesting stopping points.

The entrance to Chinatown’s oldest and most-compact section is depicted by the Chinatown Gateway; you’ll know it by the ornamental street lamps and Chinese dragon carvings on the sidewalks. Space in the Chinatown area is valuable, and the neighborhood is spreading to accommodate its popularity. Chinatown Square was recently construcet and provides much-needed retail room, increasing shopping opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

The area around Cermak and Wentworth had been an Italian and Croation neighborhood, but became the Chinatown we know today when the first Chinese immigrants, almost exclusively men, arrived in Chicago in the 1870s. They made their homes around Van Buren and Clark streets, but in the beginning of the 20th century they were forced to relocate. Landlords raised rents to unaffordable levels as hostile feelings toward Chinese people grew across the nation. These days Chinatown has a population of around 10,000, many of whom speak little or no English; in fact, many Chinatown natives have rarely ventured outside the Chinatown area. Chinatown is known for its food, but the area has much more to offer, and using an entire day or weekend to take in the area is well worth the time.

Important Information For Chinatown:

City of Chicago Vehicle Stickers

All Chicago residents driving, parking, leasing and/or owning a vehicle for which they are responsible in the City of Chicago are subject to the Chicago Wheel Tax and must purchase a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker. This includes Chicago residents that maintain their registration outside of the City of Chicago, but use the vehicle in the City. We want motorists to avoid costly tickets: You must purchase a Chicago Vehicle Sticker within 30 days of residing in the City or acquiring a new vehicle to avoid late fees and fines.

Click Here for more details.

Residential Parking Permits

Chicago’s Residential Parking Permit program is designed to restrict parking on designated residential streets during specified hours, except for the residents of that street, guests of the residents or those who provide a service to the residents. This program helps to ensure that residents of densely populated areas have reasonable access to parking near their residences. Cars parked in violation of this ordinance are ticketed.

The City of Chicago does not mess around. The city has a dillignet parking patrol staff that will ticket you if you are in a spot where a permit you don’t have is required. All spots that require permits are marked with white street signs. Please look out for them!

For more information, contact the city clerk at 312-744-6861 or email We also recommend that you ask your Real Estate Agent, Leasing Agent, or Land Lord about parking permit requirements in your area.