Better Know a Neighborhood: Little Italy
  • Arrigo Park's walking trail at sunset
  • Rigatoni a la vodka with sausage bits from Rosebud
  • Chocolate gelato from Rosebud's - almost looks too pretty to eat
  • Statue of Christopher Columbus in Arrigo Park, which was placed there in 1966
  • An eye-level view of the Piazza Dimaggio, with the statue of DiMaggio in the background
  • National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame bearing both the American and Italian flags
  • Rosebud's elegant and romantic street view
Photos by Sara Murphy / North By Northwestern

Nestled about three miles southwest of the Willis Tower lies Chicago’s own Little Italy. The neighborhood is marked by quiet, quaint Taylor Street, which is filled with museums, significant landmarks and, of course, some of the best Italian restaurants in the Midwest. Although you have to take the purple, red and blue lines to get there, Little Italy is definitely a must see neighborhood for every Northwestern student looking to immerse themselves in Chicago’s culture. 

Arrigo Park

Looking for a place to get your friends together for a game of football or soccer? Arrigo Park offers over 6 acres of open space amidst the congested streets of Chicago. With a looming, clear view of the Willis Tower, Arrigo Park is the perfect place to picnic, build a snowman, read a book or just go for a walk. A statue of Christopher Columbus marks the park’s entrance, showing the significance of the park’s history. If you find yourself with nothing to do on a sunny day, check it out.

National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

By the time we got to Little Italy, this museum was already closed, however, for those of you who are looking to learn about Italian American history and culture, you should definitely check out this museum. The museum, housed in the Jerry Colangelo Center, is three stories tall and holds exhibits dedicated to famed Italian-American athletes. If you get to Little Italy after it closes and are disappointed, there is no need to worry. Across the street resides the Piazza DiMaggio, a dedicative statue to the Chicago-born New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio. This plaza is a perfect place to learn a bit about an Italian-American athlete without having to pay a five-dollar admission into the museum.

The Rosebud

The illuminated sign bearing the restaurant’s name perfectly reflects the atmosphere of The Rosebud. The dim lights, big, comfy chairs and extensive, modern menu all provide for a classic, romantic date night. Rosebud is known for its large portions and their homemade pastas. Although they have a great menu and are a bit expensive, their specials are sublime. If you are having trouble ordering, you cannot go wrong with their rigatoni a la vodka. The creamy pink sauce and warm noodles will send you to heaven and back. Add Italian sausage to this classic dish for a spicy kick. Also, don’t forget to order dessert. I especially recommend the gelato, which comes with biscotti, whipped cream and strawberries. How can you say no to that?


Right as you turn onto West Taylor Street, you will see a round and robust yellow building bearing the name “Pompeii.” This intriguing building will spark your interest even more as you eyeball their vast menu filled with pizzas, salads, sandwiches and pastas. They even have a “make your own pasta” option where you get to construct your own special dish. Finish off your meal with a housemade cannoli, that’ll make you say, “Mamma Mia.”

First Aid Comics

Have a thing for comic books? Look no further. First Aid Comics displays a plethora of comic books ranging from The Avengers to Archie and Friends. Not only are there comic books, but there is also memorabilia from your favorite comics including superhero action figures, buttons and patches. This is the perfect place to buy a gift for a friend or to just fulfill your comic book fix.


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