Poland in Chicago
Last weekend, I spent some time on Milwaukee Avenue near Belmont, an area with a particularly high Polish population. The street is lined with tiny markets selling kielbasa, pickled vegetables, and fresh rye bread and pastries. A handful of crowded restaurants satisfy hungry customers with hearty dishes like hunter's stew with sauerkraut and Okocim beer. Bookshops carry a selection of Polish newspapers and magazines, while travel agencies advertise cheap flights and tour packages to Warsaw.
This Polish neighborhood isn't exactly what I would call a tourist destination, but a few variety stores do sell basic souvenirs, like T-shirts, postcards, and mugs. Overall, however, the charm of the area is that it is so normal - it's just people going about their daily lives. It's like experiencing a little slice of Polish life - without getting on a plane and flying halfway around the world.
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