Let Me Plan Your Date: Cafe Jumping Bean + Pilsen Community Books

Bored of your everyday dates at Barnes & Noble and Starbucks? Not every date has to stay within the Lincoln Park zip code. Take a trip over to Pilsen, one of Chicago’s most proud and celebrated Latino communities, for a fun date experience supporting local Latino businesses. To get there from Fullerton, you’ll have to take the Brown Line to Washington and Wells and then switch over the Pink Line to get off at 18th. While the transfer is a little confusing the first time, it’s worth the wait.

Cafe Jumping Bean

1439 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Stop at this 28-year-old coffeehouse in Pilsen called Cafe Jumping Bean and enjoy a nice brunch with their wide selection of sandwiches and pastries. I recommend the hummus sandwich and the cafe con leche. The cafe is full of local cartoon featured art displayed around walls with the artists’ Venmos attached to support. Even the magazine rack holds neighborhood newspapers and fliers for community events, creating a welcoming atmosphere to bring you in. Right now everything is to-go, but it’s the perfect length to eat and walk to our next destination.

Pilsen Community Books

1102 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

While you’re enjoying your warm coffee take a quick eight-minute walk down to one of the neighborhood’s recent additions, Pilsen Community Books. This book store is covered head to toe with towering bookshelves, filled with the classic Jane Eyre to newer authors showcasing more Black and Brown writers. The store itself, while newer, fits into the community perfectly with Merengue music playing in the background and posters featuring topical art pieces of Latino culture. At the front of the store is a stack of books, free for customers to take, forming an inclusive and safe environment focused more on community than currency.