By Jacqueline Runice

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept.15-Oct. 15, is the perfect time to learn more about the varied culture and deep history of our Latino brothers and sisters. We can thank the culture for countless things from introducing corn, tomatoes and chocolate to the United States to the hundreds of thousands who fought in every major war in American history and continue to serve today. 

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
3015 West Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 486-8345

Date: Sept. 22, 2017 at 10 a.m.

There’s only one place in the country devoted to Puerto Rican arts and cultural exhibitions year-round and that’s Chicago’s National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture located in the heart of the Puerto Rican community – Humboldt Park. The edifice itself, the historic Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory, is significant with its stunning brick courtyard and rooms in the stables are home to the museum and exhibits. “Martorell in the House” opens just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month featuring six portfolios and two large-scale woodblocks on fabric. Antonio Martorell boasts a half century of paintings, graphic arts, books, costume design and radio and television work – truly, la aventura de la creación. The late summer weather is pleasant so take the time to stroll Humboldt Park to see more than 60 murals depicting Latino culture.

World Music Festival
Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Date: Sept. 16, 2017 at 3 p.m

The 19th Annual World Music Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the United States, brings global music to a variety of Chicago venues from Concord Music Hall in Logan Square to Pilsen’s Thalia Hall. Take advantage of free concerts by artists from South America, Mexico and Puerto Rico during the fiesta. Get a load of powerhouse singer Betsayda Machado who brings a Venezuelan polyrhythmic sound to Millennium Park along with her band, La Parranda El Clavo. Brazilian singer and guitarist, Luciano Antonio and his quartet, offer traditional Brazilian sounds as well as popular music and over at Thalia Hall, catch New York’s Mariachi Flor de Toloache and Los Hijos de La Montana from Arizona’s indie scene both performing on Mexican Independence Day.

Block 37
108 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 795-4444

Date: Daily at 11 a.m.

You may have a favorite taqueria in town, whether classic Mexican or a modern interpretation, but your South American, Spanish and Portugeuse culinary options are scant. Eat it all up in 22,000 square feet of Latin-inspired dining and drinking at Latinicity. Travel by taste, soul and sound to Mexico, Peru, Spain, Brazil and Portugal, among the dozen eateries, tapas restaurant, café serving robust coffee, wine bar, market, event space and lounge. Try Mexican tortas and tacos; Peruvian ceviche and stir fries; grilled and smoked Brazilian meats; seafood prepared Latin style; Cuban coffee and Latin sipping chocolate; Spanish tapas; and plenty of tequila, rum, cervesa and vino while listening to lively Latin music and peering out at bustling downtown Chicago.

Related: Best Places To Learn About Chicago History

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 738-1503

Date: Sept. 22, 2017 at 10 a.m.

The annual Day of the Dead exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art is always a gleaming, glittering fiesta celebrating the living Mexican tradition of honoring the dead. In fact, UNESCO classified the celebration as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” The museum’s exhibition features golden ofrendas (altars); whimsical sugar skull figures and vibrant Mexican fine and folk art that belies the grimness of death. Expect art workshops, opportunities to try Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead bread), live musical performances and special tours.

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 294-3000

Date: Oct. 15, 2017 at 3 p.m.

What a way to send off Hispanic Heritage Month with Mariachi Vargas, called the “Greatest Mariachi in the World.” The 13-member group’s classic sound (Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlán originated in 1898 as a quartet) has been honed over five generations appearing in hundreds of films and recordings. This is quintessential mariachi performed by the ensemble that’s credited with modernizing Mexico’s classical sound.

Related: Best Opera In Chicago