Aural Neighborhoods 2022
Near West Side – Little Italy Sound Trail

1.50 miles round trip, about 30 – 40 minutes

IMAGE: View of the Near West Side looking east.
Image Credit: Crains Chicago Business

Directions to Near West Side and Route Overview

If commuting by public transit from the south take the 71 bus to 71st Street and Jeffery. Then take J14 to Madison and Wabash, exit then take the 60 to Racine and Cabrini. Board off, turn left on Ada Street and walk west, turn right on Lytle Street and the entrance to the park will be on your left.

From the north take the metra UP-Line to Ogilvie Transportation Center. Walk to the intersection of Clinton and Madison and board the 157 (Pulaski Pink Line) to Taylor and Loomis. Board off and walk west on Taylor Street towards Loomis Street. Turn right onto Loomis Street and the park will be on your left. Enter the park and walk to the east entrance of the park where the guided soundwalk begins. 

If commuting by car from the south, take I-94 W from E 87th St, S South Chicago Ave and E 75th St. Take I-94 Express W to Morgan Street. Take exit 51H from I-90 W/I-94 W. Take exit 51H for 1-290 W, keep right to continue on exit 29B. Take Harrison Street to Loomis Street From the north take Asbury Ave, Western Ave, I-90 E/I-94 E and Ogden Ave to Loomis Street in Chicago.

If driving please keep an eye out for permit parking. Metered parking is available on Taylor Street and free parking is available along Loomis (beginning at the intersection of Taylor and Loomis).

Directions and soundwalk trails are wheelchair accessible. If you have a request please let us know when registering for a soundwalk, or email

Let’s Get Started – Breathing Exercise

When you get to the start of the sound trail at the east entrance of Arrigo Park, or to one of the other Sonic Points of Interest on the sound trail, take some time to slow down. Relax your body, feel your feet firmly on the ground and let your arms hang loosely at your sides. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Breath in for five counts, hold for five counts, breath out for five counts, and hold for five counts. Repeat three to five times, until you feel yourself slowing down and relaxing. Continue breathing and listen to the sounds all around you. Listen to the sounds closest to you. Are they constant or sustained, or are they intermittent? Next listen for the sounds farther away from you. Again, ask yourself are they constant or intermittent? Finally, listen for the sounds farthest away, ones you can barely hear. Are any of the sounds you are hearing unusual? Are you hearing things you don’t expect?

Take a few more breaths as you have been doing. When you are ready, open your eyes and begin the Near West Side Sound Trail. As you proceed, it is best to walk in silence. A soundwalk is intended to be a personal listening experience. If you are walking with someone else, save your thoughts to the end of the walk before having a conversation. The sound of your footsteps becomes part of the walk, listen to the leaves, gravel, and pavement under your feet. Pause at each of the following sonic points of interest. Listen to the sound around you, read the description, and listen to the brief recording.

Sonic Points of Interest

Entrance to Arrigo (Victor) Park

801 South Loomis Street, Chicago IL 60607

IMAGE: Arrigo Park Entrance
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: Arrigo Park Entrance

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

An iron black gate entrance opens to a concrete path that leads visitors through Arrigo Park. The park has grassy fields and trees.ABOUT: Arrigo (Victor) Park, formerly known as Vernon Park, covers about seven acres and is bordered by trees and an iron gated fence. Entry to Arrigo Park is located at the intersection of South Lytle Street and West Cabrini Street. One can access Arrigo Park through various entrances that surround the park located on West Lexington, South Ada Street and S Loomis Street.

LISTEN: Arrigo Park entrance drones with cicadas, distant traffic, and daily commuters from the nearby public schools and neighboring UIC and Medical District Community. Every *couple* of hours, The Shrine of our Lady Pompei located next to the park signals the passage of time by ringing bells from their tower. The ringing of bells resonates throughout the park and surrounding structures that is accompanied by the movement of wind through the trees that carries one throughout the park along the concrete pathway. 

For more information visit:

Arrigo Fountain (formerly Christopher Columbus Monument)

801 South Loomis Street, Chicago IL 60607

IMAGE: Arrigo Fountain
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: Arrigo Fountain

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

A fountain is centered surrounded by concrete curved walls and concrete paths with trees lined in the distance.ABOUT: Several fountains and a couple post that once held the Christopher Columbus Statue is what can be found at the Arrigo Fountain. The statue, by artist Moses Ezekiel, was removed in 2020 after protesters tried to pull down a similar statue in Grant Park. Arrigo Fountain is located on South Loomis Street. The fountain can additionally be accessed from West Polk Street and neighboring streets West Lexington and South Ada Street.

LISTEN: The Arrigo Park fountain roars with water that is amplified by the proximity of the surrounding structural wave like walls. There is no direct path to the fountain from the start of the trail that allows one to slowly focus in on the distance of the fountain. As you get closer to the fountain signs of city life peek through the continuous flow of water where one can hear traffic moving along the one way on South Loomis Street, sirens, working construction crews, and daily commuters.

For more information visit:

Garibaldi (Guiseppe) Park

1520 West Polk Street, Chicago IL 60607

IMAGE: Guiseppe Garibaldi Monument
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: Guiseppe Garibaldi Monument

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

A statue depicting Garibaldi Guiseppe ABOUT: Garibaldi Park is a small, landscaped community space of about 2.5 acres located off of South Polk Street and is accessible directly from Arrigo Park and Ashland Avenue. It has a playground, seating, a statue of Guiseppe Garibaldi (by artist Victor Gherardi) and shaded green space.

LISTEN: Garibaldi Park is surrounded by trees abundant with bird life with chirps and calls that carry throughout the park. Across from the park sits a medical building with HVAC systems that drone throughout the park. With ongoing development construction crews and distant traffic fill the park.

For more information visit:

St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church

733 South Ashland Ave, Chicago IL 60607
Ashland Avenue and Polk Street

IMAGE: Entrance to St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: Ashland Avenue + Polk – St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

Entrance with staircase that leads to St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church, a greek revival style structure.ABOUT:At the intersection of Ashland Avenue and South Polk Street and directly across from the medical district is the St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church. Built in 1920 as the Anshe Sholom Synagogue it was designed by architect Alexander Levy in the Greek Revival style.

LISTEN: The St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church is located on a heavily trafficked street, full of daily commuters, large construction trucks, ambulances and the drone of the HVAC systems that are housed in the surrounding medical buildings. As traffic moves along Ashland Avenue, the traffic is amplified and reflected off the surrounding buildings that ebbs and flows with each traffic stop light.

For more information visit:

No Outlet – South Bishop Street

900 Block of South Bishop Street, Chicago IL 60607

IMAGE: South Bishop Street
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: No Outlet – South Bishop Street

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

No outlet street with cars parked on both sides. The sidewalks are lined with trees.ABOUT:Accessible from South Polk Street, the 800-900 block of South Bishop Street is a quiet residential street, lined with trees, spacious front yards that dead ends just before Taylor Street.

LISTEN: As one enters and moves along South Bishop Street the street is lined with homes that allow the sounds of the city to subside and instead one can tune in to the commuters walking by, homeowners tending to their garden and families strolling around the neighborhood. As one moves along to the end of Bishop Street, listen for the sound of fountains.

For more information visit:

Piazza Di Italia Di Chicago

1434 West Taylor Street, Chicago IL 60607

IMAGE:  Fountain at Piazza Italia
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
LISTEN: Piazzi Di Italia Chicago Fountain, West Taylor Street

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

A plaque stands in front of the fountains at Piazza Italia Di Chicago, flags in the distance surround the fountains in the distance.ABOUT:Flags representing each of Italy’s 20 regions fly over Piazza Di Italia Di Chicago. Formerly Piazza DiMaggio, and the former site of a statue of baseball star Joe DiMaggio, it was renamed just this year to honor Italian immigrants who came to this community to seek better lives for themselves. The plaza’s six fountains are surrounded by benches and is located on West Taylor Street and accessible from South Bishop Street.

LISTEN: Piazza Di Italia Di Chicago features six fountains and a circular garden in the center of the plaza. In the plaza, listen to the sound as it shifts in space as you walk around the fountains. Sounds of neighbors and daily commuters fill the plaza with conversation, laughter, and lunch breaks. Sounds from the surrounding restaurants and shops carry into the street that blends into the hum of traffic on West Taylor Street.

For more information visit:

• • •

At the end of the Near West Side Sound Trail, take a few moments to relax before taking off. Take a few deep breaths as you did before the soundwalk and think about what you heard and witnessed. Think about the sounds and sights of the neighborhood. What is unique about the sound of the Near West Side neighborhood and how does sound reflect or give the neighborhood its character? If you have walked or if you will walk the North Lawndale Sound Trail, does it or would you expect it to sound different? How is it different and why? How does economic investment or de-investment affect the sound of a neighborhood?

We welcome your thoughts and reflections on these questions and on your soundwalk experience. Share your thoughts HERE.

Share your recordings, short videos, photos, and written responses with our community archive HERE.