Chicago: 10 Things to Do

4. Paseo Boricua and Humboldt Park

Paseo Boricua in Humboldt Park. Leah Pietrusiak
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With the threat of gentrification looming from the east, leaders in the Humboldt Park neighborhood worked to solidify the staying power of its Puerto Rican community. And thank goodness. Two huge, arching, steel Puerto Rican flags mark either end of the district known as Paseo Boricua (on Division Street, from North Western Avenue to North California Avenue). This pair of engineering feats — the world's largest monument to any flag — bookend a gauntlet of salsa music, murals and vibrant street life. Grab a guava-cheese pastry from Cafe Colao; at Coco Restaurant, try the passion fruit martini with fresh-squeezed juice, or the house martini topped with oven-toasted coconut shavings.

At North California Avenue is an entrance to Humboldt Park itself, part of Chicago planner Daniel Burnham's "Emerald Necklace" of parks and boulevards. There are gardens, playgrounds, fields, lagoons (including one that's chlorinated for swimming), architectural gems like the Germanic-style stable and receptory, and usually some locals showcasing their custom cars and cruisers. Make your way up Humboldt Boulevard toward North Avenue, the northern border of the park, and you could score a watermelon from the back of a vendor's pick-up, or maybe an elote (roasted corn on the cob slathered with butter or mayo and sprinkled with cheese and hot pepper).

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