The Best of Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood With The Shudio

When checking out a new neighborhood, we prefer to consult the experts. So when the rad women behind The Shudio offered to show us around Pilsen in Chicago, our answer was obvious. Founded by Merl Kinzie, The Shudio is part sustainable store, part metalsmith studio, with a carefully curated selection of eco-conscious goods, handcrafted jewelry, alongside vintage clothing, accessories and home goods. And in case you can’t make it out they house that day, they also have an unreal online shop managed by Rachael Glasder. Their deep love for vintage started where most does – at a young age and on a budget. From there thrifting became all about the hunt for unique decor and standout clothing. Merl and Rachel’s appreciation for vintage, and vintage-inspired style, is unmistakable.

The Shudio is just one of the unique and charming storefronts in Pilsen, so we quizzed them on their favorite hangouts. Trust us, this list will make you want to hop on the next flight to Chicago.

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Rawson Vintage Raw Hem Trench; Vintage shirt from The Shudio; Model’s own Rawson Vintage flares (similar here); Model’s own Everlane boots (similar here); Cylde’s Rebirth necklace (similar here). 

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Rawson Vintage Penguin Coat; Vintage shift dress; Vintage black lace up boots; Cylde’s Rebirth necklace

1. There are several wonderful coffee spots, but we like Jumping Bean. Straightforward coffee and yummy bagel varieties.

2. While walking west on 18th Street, we like to pop into Pilsen Community Books to pick up the latest work by Sandra Cisneros. They have a beautiful selection of new works as well as a refined collection of vintage books, some of which we carry at The Shudio.

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Vintage denim studio coat; Vintage top; Model’s own Rawson vintage sailor pants (similar here); CHC collection limited release bag; Model’s own L.L. Bean Signature clogs (similar here); Cylde’s Rebirth bracelet.

3. Not much further down on the same side of the street is Verdant Matter, a ceramics and plant store, with the prettiest vessels for indoor plants as well as natural self care products and thoughtful gift ideas.

4. Pilsen is known for its involvement in the arts and specifically it’s collection of murals on 16th Street. The large colorful mural shown is by artist Victor Reyes.

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5. When it’s nice out, after closing up the shop, we like to stop by our friends’ garden to throw a little fresh cilantro in our corononitas.

6. The options for tacos are never-ending in this neighborhood, but we have collectively whittled down our favorites to: Atotonilco for fish tacos and Don Pedro’s for homemade tortillas. 

7. To experience a more-than-a-dive-bar-but-still-a-dive-bar, one must go to Skylark. With affordable drinks and flattering low lighting, this place is our favorite.

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Vintage camel coat; Vintage Donna Mizar silk blouse; Model’s own vintage Levi 517’s (similar here); Model’s own Everlane boots (similar here); Model’s own Rayban sunglasses (similar here).

Models: Laura and Marg
Photographer: Merl Kinzie
Stylist: Rachael Glasder

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