As its name suggests, Ukrainian Village was established by a largely Eastern European population that included many families originally from Ukraine. The commercial streets are dotted by shops and restaurants with signs in the native language. Many of the area’s residents still speak Ukrainian and the neighborhood is scattered with cultural tributes to the Old Country.
The Ukrainian National Museum welcomes thousands of visitors each year. It’s a great place to learn about Ukraine’s fascinating history and culture. The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art exhibits the 20th and 21st century artwork of the masters, including those who left Ukraine to practice their craft in more accepting European countries. Ukrainian modernism influenced several American artists studying in Chicago, who adapted the elements for the abstract minimalist movement in the United States. Just down the street from the art museum is the Ukrainian Cultural Center, another neighborhood fixture preserving the rich heritage of the community.
Ukrainian Village is also home to some of the most stunning churches in the city designed by some of the best architects in the world. Louis Henri Sullivan was behind the blueprints for the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, designated a Chicago Landmark in 1979. Ukrainian-born artist, Yuri O. Skorupsky, was commissioned to do the wood carvings and murals in the church. Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church also deserves a mention. It was fashioned after the Basilica of St. Sophia in Kiev and it holds services in both English and Ukrainian. The churches in Ukrainian Village are more than a place of worship—they are often responsible for organizing and hosting annual community events, such as the Ukrainian Village Oktoberfest held every September at Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church. Area locals get together to eat customary Ukrainian food, listen to traditional music, and socialize over a pint in the beer garden.
Neighborhood demographics in Ukrainian Village have changed in recent years, introducing a new wave of residents to a community once dominated by Ukrainian culture. The main thoroughfares have exploded with trendy shops and restaurants, boasting open-air seating and the up-and-coming vibe of a neighborhood on the rise. Division Street is lined with a variety of ethnic food cafés and bars serving up everything from sushi to tacos. Outdoor tables and sidewalk patios attract Chicago diners to the local establishments and the unique cuisine and Old World charm keep ‘em coming back. Ukrainian Village also has a good number of hip music venues, ranging from hole-in-the-wall bars like the Rainbo Club and Empty Bottle, to all-the-rage nightspots like Darkroom and Innjoy.
A handful of bus lines service the neighborhood, providing convenient routes around the community and to other destination points around the city. Heading east/west: Chicago Avenue (#66) and Division Street (#70). Heading north/south: Damen Avenue (#50) and Western Avenue (#49).