The Best Little Italys in the U.S.

In celebration of our 2023 Campus of the Year, we will be regularly sharing stories, recipes and recommendations about Italy! From its history and culture to a few of our favorite learning adventures, follow along to learn more about this fascinating country all year long!

You don’t have to leave the U.S. to experience Italian culture and cuisine. These Italian neighborhoods in a city near you have a wealth of traditional foods, music, festivals and customs to enjoy. So hop in the car and make your way to your nearest “Little Italy” that many Italians feel are “proprio come a casa” — or “just like home!”

San Francisco

San Francisco

Considered by many to be one of the most charming areas of the city, San Francisco’s Little Italy is located in its North Beach neighborhood, and is known for its colorful storefronts and vibrant character. Stroll along Columbus Avenue to explore locally owned Italian restaurants and shops, and be sure to visit Washington Square, San Francisco’s oldest park. Stop in to peruse the collections in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore, search for a mural painted by Banksy and have breakfast at Mama’s Restaurant. Popular local festivals include the North Beach Festival held each year in June and the Italian Heritage Parade in October.

Boston

Boston

Boston’s North End is a unique Italian neighborhood that shares its legacy with America’s Revolutionary history. Spend a day here to walk along the Freedom Trail to visit Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church before making your way to Hanover Street for a legendary Italian meal. Join in the local debate over which bakery is truly the best — Mike’s or Modern Pastry — and leave either with a smile on your face and a full stomach. Time your visit during the summer to experience the Feast of Saint Anthony or the Fisherman’s Feast for a truly authentic Boston experience.

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago’s Little Italy is also known as University Village, and is a popular residential district in the city. Walk along Taylor Street to find some of the region’s best Italian cuisine, followed by an Italian ice at Mario’s Italian Lemonade. Admire the architecture of the impressive Notre Dame De Chicago Church and pay a visit to Piazzo DiMaggio, a park featuring a fountain and two statues dedicated to Joe DiMaggio’s baseball career. 

New York City

New York City

In the late 1800s, Italians who began immigrating to New York City found a growing community in Manhattan. Today, Little Italy is a thriving neighborhood known for restaurants like Lombardi’s and bakeries like Ferrara, as well as its annual San Gennaro Festival that celebrates the patron saint of Naples. St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is a landmark here, and the Center for Italian Modern Art is not to be missed. Be sure to check out the Italian American Museum that will find a new home on Mulberry Street in the Fall of 2023!

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Italian immigrants who made Philadelphia their home in the late 1800s looked upon this neighborhood as a “beautiful sight” and called it “Bella Vista.” Today, Bella Vista’s best-known landmark is its 9th Street Italian Market, the oldest open-air market in the U.S. While the market is filled with purveyors of Italian goods and foods, it is also a go-to for Vietnamese and Mexican cuisine, and the home to two of the best cheesesteak shops in the city — Pat’s and Geno’s. The two-day South 9th Street Italian Market Festival is a favorite local event celebrating Italian foods, music, wine and more.

  

Are you ready to join us in Italy, our 2023 Campus of the Year? Find your next great adventure on our website!