11 Exciting Things to do in Koreatown Chicago

Koreatown in Chicago isn’t gone, it just spread out.

Glenview, Niles, and Morton Grove are where it’s at in the Windy City when it comes to Korean culture.

Lingua Asia 10 Exciting Things to do in Koreatown Chicago

What to know

  • Albany Park and Wrigleyville were the original Koreatowns in the 1970s and 80s.
  • Lawrence Avenue between Kedzie Avenue and Pulaski Road was officially named “Seoul Drive” in 1993.
  • There are only a few Korean businesses left on that street.
  • Glenview, Niles, and Morton Grove are considered the “new” Koreatowns.
  • Park West and Lakeview East have tons of Korean fusion restaurants.
  • Though the Korean population in Chicago is declining, it’s still around 62,000, making it 5th largest in the USA.
  • There’s a Korean radio station (1330 AM) as well as two Korean-language newspapers.

Pull up to “Seoul Drive” and you may be confused as to where all the Korean restaurants went.

Just like in major cities including New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta, Koreatowns have migrated to the suburbs.

What to do

Korean festivals and concerts

Chicago Korean Festival

Enjoy mouthwatering Korean food or get lost in the rhythm of K-pop. Features fun stuff like a hanbok fashion show, K-beauty exhibitions, and so much more!

Maggie Daley Park

337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

K-pop concerts

Chicago is a popular stop for up and coming K-pop acts. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest performances.

Korean cultural organizations

Hana Center

I like Hana Center. They went above and beyond with their name, they have a modern website, and they’re an active organization. HANA’s mission is to empower Korean American and multi-ethnic immigrant communities. They also run a pretty sweet Chuseok Celebration.

4300 N California Ave. Chicago, IL 60618 (main office)

664 N. Milwaukee Avenue Suite 213 Prospect Heights, IL 60070

Korean American Wellness Association

KAWA has a presence all over the states. They’re committed to promoting wellness of the Korean American community by increasing awareness of mental health issues, education while bridging resources.

They’ve established a network of professionals (Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists & Social Workers) to provide information and resources through KAWA’s website (kawachicago.org).

505 E Golf Rd # H, Arlington Heights, IL 60005, United States

Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA)

Another active group that holds regular networking events and sponsors a free legal clinic with HANA Center.

KABA also runs a Mentorship Program that helps attorneys at the junior, mid, and senior levels form meaningful relationships. They also provide a forum for seasoned practitioners to share their experience and insights.

Korean monuments

A Korean War Memorial first conceived by War veteran Ed McCarthy. He worked with Windy City Veterans Association to raise funds for the semi-circular monument on display at Kennedy Park.

It makes for a great stop when you’re enjoying the park.

11320 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60643


Legion Park is a hidden gem where the North Shore Channel flows through and merges with the North Branch of the Chicago River.

This 51.66-acre park straddles three neighborhoods: West Ridge, Lincoln Square, and North Park. It’s a tranquil place with two junior baseball fields, two tennis courts, four playgrounds, a roller hockey area, a nature area, and a bicycle path.

Legion Park is also a great backdrop for wedding photos with its ornamental fountain and flower beds.

3103 W Peterson Ave, Chicago, IL 60659, United States

Lincoln Park may not technically be in Koreatown, but it’s close enough. With 1,188.62 acres and an ideal location along the lakefront from Ohio Street Beach to Ardmore Avenue, Lincoln Park is a worth a look.

They have everything you could want in a park including a bird sanctuary, dog park, and an archery range.

500-5700 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60614

Korean American Archive

Chicago Public Library aims to document the lives and stories of Korean Americans in Chicago using mementos such as newspaper articles and family photos.

After all the items are compiled, the history of Chicago’s Korean community will be digitally available to the public.


4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, United States

Heritage Museum of Asian Art

Heritage Museum of Asian Art

Small, but well-presented, Heritage Museum of Asian Art is a diamond in the rough. With two floors including a library on the second, it has a lot to take in.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge, so arrive early if possible.

3500 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60609, United States

Korean Cultural Center of Chicago Gallery

Korean Cultural Center of Chicago Gallery
Courtesy of Korean Cultural Center of Chicago Gallery

KCCCG runs an exhibition showcasing art from Korean and Korean-American artists nearly every month.

KCCoC Gallery 9925 Capitol Drive, Wheeling, IL 60090

The Art Institute of Chicago

Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago

A museum that needs no introduction. It’s so big that some might not know it houses Korean artifacts too.

Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, United States

Learn Korean

Chicago Korean Education Center is a great place to learn Korean language, history, and culture for nearly no charge. Thanks to the Korean Ministry of Education, all you need to pay is a registration fee!

9810 Capitol Drive Wheeling, IL 60090

NBC Tower Suite 2700 455 N Cityfront Plaza Dr Chicago, IL 60611

Hair Salons

Young Hair Salon may be small but they provide a high level of service. With friendly, customized cuts and styling, they handle all types of hair.

4549 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076, United States

Korean spa

There’s only one Korean spa in the Chicago area but it’s a lot.

King Spa & Sauna is the only show in town.

They’ve got all the classics including 9 unique sauna rooms, acupressure massage, a pool, and a movie theater.

King Spa & Sauna is a chain operation with branches all over the country. They’re known for their Vegas-style decorations and mega huge spas.

Civic Center Plaza, 809 Civic Center Dr, Niles, IL 60714, United States


Although some noraebang serve drinks and side dishes in Korea, it’s usually its own thing. Greenlight Korean Pub & Karaoke has it all though.

Delicious food, cold drinks, and a full on Korean-style noraebang.

2519 W Peterson Ave, Chicago, IL 60659, United States

Learn martial arts

Taekwondo is a great way to stay in shape and increase flexibility, endurance, and discipline. Chang’s Taekwondo is a good choice around Glennview.

4324 Di Paolo Center, Glenview, IL 60025, United States

What to eat

Ssyal – Chicago Korean Restaurant

What started as a ginseng farm is now a Korean restaurant still in business on “Seoul Drive”. Like most Korean restaurants in the states, they have a lot of items on the menu.

I’d give the samgyetang a try since ginseng is featured heavily in that dish.

4201 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630, United States

Insider Tip

Menus at Korean restaurants in the states cover a lot of ground.

If you’re unsure of what to order, it’s a good idea to get what’s in the restaurant name. For example, if “tofu” is on the signboard, order the sundubu.

What A Dumpling

I like places that do one thing and one thing well. Korea is great for this and What A Dumpling has brought this concept to the states.

There are few things as comforting as grabbing some savory and filling dumplings when you’re on the go.

STE116, Niles Civic Center Drive, Illinois

Kim’s Korean Cuisine & Sushi

Kim’s has a huge menu but keeps things pretty tight.

Koreans do have their own take on sushi that’s mostly sashimi. You can’t go wrong with pajeon and Kimchi jeon though.

3422 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, United States


Korean cuisine prepared with contemporary culinary techniques and served with creative presentation? Only in the big city.

Jeong means “unspoken bond” in Korean among other things. It’s not the word I’d use to describe a fine dining experience in a minimalist setting, but it sounds cool in English.

1460 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642, United States

Insider Tip

Food allergies aren’t taken seriously in Korea, so make sure to tell your server if you have any.

What to buy

Korean cosmetics

Choc Choc Cosmetics doesn’t just have a heap of makeup and skincare from Korea, it’s also a pretty fun place to shop. Choc Choc means moist in a cute way.

3127 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Korean Red Ginseng

Cheong Kwan Jang is practically a national institution in Korea. They have natural remedies for what ails you, but their red ginseng is a great energy boost that doesn’t result in a crash.

630 Milwaukee Ave Unit #110, Glenview, IL 60025, United States

K-pop albums

KPOP NARA is a store with official merch and of course, lightsticks.

900 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States

Korean groceries

There are many options in the Chicago area, including a few H-Marts.

Joong Boo Market is a good choice in and around Chi town. They have two locations, including a massive warehouse-style store.

3333 N Kimball Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, United States

5800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60646, United States

More about Korean grocery stores

Where to stay

The Guesthouse Hotel

Located near “Seoul Drive”, The Guesthouse Hotel offers good value in the area.

It features modern appointments with a vintage vibe. The surrounding area is walkable and you can access uptown from there.

4872 North Clark, Chicago, IL 60640, United States

Where is Koreatown in Chicago?

Koreatown in Chicago is a moving target.

Originally along “Seoul Drive” on Lawrence Ave, it has spread out northwest to Glenview, Niles, and Morton Grove.

There’s quite a few Korean fusion restaurants around Park West and Lakeview East too!

Do I need to tip here?

While tipping isn’t a thing in South Korea, you should follow local tipping customs at Koreatown in Chicago.

What are some cool things I can do in Koreatown?

Here are a few ideas:

Did we miss anything?

Let us know your thoughts about Koreatown in Chicago!

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