The Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, is on the near South Side (located in the Armour Square community area), centered on Cermak and Wentworth Avenues, and is an example of an American Chinatown, or ethnic-Chinese neighborhood. According to the 2000 Census, Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas has 68,021 Chinese.
It is not to be confused with an area sometimes called "New Chinatown", which is on the North Side around Argyle Street, and which attracts a larger number of people of Southeast Asian heritage.
Chicago's Chinatown is home to a number of banks, Chinese restaurants, gift shops, grocery stores, Chinese medicine stores, as well as a number of services that cater to people interested in Chinese culture, including those speaking Chinese, especially the Cantonese dialect. It is a community hub for Chinese people in Chicagoland, a business center for Chinese in the Midwest, as well as a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago has a list of historic places. Please follow the link Chicago Chinatown historic places.
Chinese immigrants began arriving in Chicago in the late 1870s as ex-railroad workers faced increasing discrimination in the Western states. The population rose slowly, until the communist revolution in China coupled with a relaxation on immigration laws brought on a surge in immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s, leading to the formation of a Chinatown. By the year 1970, Chicago ranked fourth in Chinese population in American cities. Currently, Chicago has the 3rd largest Chinatown in the United States.
In the earliest days, Chinese settlement in Chicago centered around Clark Street and Van Buren Street, the north end of a heterogeneous "anything goes" part of town called the Levee District. With time the area became infamous as a vice district (mostly for non-Chinese sections). As the city's business district grew, the area became too expensive for settling immigrants, who found themselves centering around the Cermak and Wentworth Avenue area. It was then populated mostly by Italians and Croatians, due to the relatively inexpensive leases compared with other neighborhoods.
The Chicago Public Library operates a Chinatown Branch.