Adventures in Chinatown with Tabitha


Since the age of 17, when I visited NYC’s Chinatown, I’ve had a connection to the colorful enclaves that offer inexpensive treats, intricate architecture and annual events like the Lunar New Year Parade. During my college years in Los Angeles I worked at an art gallery in Chinatown; many of the old stores and restaurants there were taken over by contemporary art spaces. My first home in Chicago was actually in Chinatown, I sublet an apartment there over the summer before moving to my current neighborhood. Chicago’s Chinatown is easily accessible via public transportation (Red Line El, Chinatown stop) and is only five minutes south of the downtown/Loop area. While it definitely can be touristy, it’s my go-to spot for dim sum, boba (bubble tea) and candy reminiscent of my childhood in Hawa’ii.

Last month (oops meant to post this sooner!), my friend and fellow blogger, Tabitha of Defining Tabitha, met me in Chinatown for a photographic expedition and to have a brunch of dim sum. Coincidentally, Tabitha moved to Chicago from L.A. the same time I did, so we often reminisce about California when we see each other.



Chinatown is definitely one of the most photogenic areas of the city as there is color and pattern everywhere you turn. Tabitha’s shoes even matched the staircase above.



Produce is sold curbside on Wentworth Avenue outside of a grocery store; surprisingly there are no open stalls or a marketplace like what can be found in L.A.’s Chinatown.


There’s a mix of architectural styles and decades represented, including the sign above that looks to be from the 1950s or ’60s.


Tabitha shows off her favorite accessory, bracelets, in front of intricate glazed tiles set into the wall of a temple.



Showing off my sandals near an abstract dragon formed in the cement near the corner of Wentworth and Cermak Avenue.


Tabitha had just gotten her hair cut into an adorable bob so I had to pose her for a few portraits in front of this chippy old door. It’s part of an old building that’s been abandoned since a fire took place a few years ago.


I’m posing in front of a mural created from tape that has somehow stayed intact for the past 4 years.



Tabitha & I ended up accidentally coordinating as we both wore sunshine yellow. I’d forgotten about this 1950s day dress, I don’t wear it often as it has an odd high neckline and buttons all the way down the back. I rediscovered it at the perfect time, however, as shortly after this expedition it got chilly and rainy here in Chicago.

Do you have a Chinatown near you? What kind of ‘touristy’ activities do you like to do in your town or city?

Comments 0

  1. Wow, the background in your first photo looks shockingly like part of ours here in Toronto!

    I love going into the supermarket in Chinatown to browse. There is one very large Chinese market, there used to be two, but one was shut down by the city. Looking at the meat dept, seafood dept & all the funky packaging!

    They also have a great bakery, one of my fav restaurants is in Chinatown. & Kensington Market is steps away – very laid back, cafes & full of vintage shops!

  2. This totally makes me want to visit San Francisco's Chinatown, as I haven't been there in ages. I just saw something about a ghost tour in Chinatown and I thought that would be so fun too! I really love all the little Chinese medicine and candy shops. There are also pretty little souvenir shops that sometimes have really nice paper lanterns and such. You and your friend both look so pretty!

  3. OMG… I just discover your Beautiful Blog this Afternoon and your Chinatown Trip you have taken me on virtually has won me completely over! The Peacock Architectural details on that column… SWOONING… Now I want to take a Trip to Chinatown!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert… Dawn… The Bohemian

  4. I love this! And I also love to hear that you will be making a trip here in February. Hopefully the weather won't be too rainy here (which is doubtful). Thrifting and vintage hunting are in our future 🙂

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