The Run Down

For this guide, grab the fishing pole and tackle box from storage, because you're taking the kids fishing in Humboldt Park. Afterward, the family will stroll through the park's 219 acre, which is also home to a vibrant Puerto Rican community, and end the day at a mom and pop diner for an authentic Puerto Rican lunch. Here are the details.

1. Fish @ Humboldt Park Boathouse

2. Puerto Rican Lunch @ Diana's Restaurant

1. Humboldt Park

At 219 acres, there’s a lot of park to explore. So to make it easy, start the fishing expedition at Humboldt Park’s boathouse, a nice central location with plenty of free parking spaces in their lot if you’re driving in.

The boathouse overlooks the historic lagoons, the site of this urban fishing trip.

Before we go on, here’s a fun fact about the boat house. In the picture below, those six square openings at the bottom of the boathouse were once warming rooms for ice skaters in the winter. Unfortunately, they are no longer in use.

Back to the guide. Starting from the boathouse, a trail network that takes you all around the lagoon. On a nice day, plenty of people with fishing rods sit in foldable camping chairs right by the water’s edge. Grab a spot anywhere you like.

We were lucky enough to come on a day when Chicago park staff provided fishing demonstrations and a few tips to first-time fishers. Here are some helpful notes.

– The lagoon has Blue Gill, Channel Catfish, Carp, Yellow Bullhead, and Large Mouth Bass.

– You can catch fish using almost anything. Try corn or hot dogs. Live bait, like night crawlers or minnows, might give you a better chance.

– Most folks catch and release, but you’re welcome to take home and eat the fish you catch.

– Fishing in Humboldt Park has become popular over the past few years, which started with long-time resident Larry Green, who founded the Humboldt Park Fishing Society. It’s a FB group of locals who share tips and stories about fishing in Humboldt Park.

While we’re focused on fishing with this guide, from time to time, the park will host events throughout the year where they’ll bring in boats for people to use for free to explore the park’s waterways. In the summer, they regularly have swan-shaped boats you can rent to cruise along the lagoon.


2. Diana’s Restaurant

After a successful fishing expedition, head south through the park and the surrounding neighborhood. This is where you’ll find the center of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago, and we’re going to take advantage of that and grab some eats at Diana’s Restaurant. This is a casual, order-at-the-counter mom-and-pop Puerto Rican diner.

Below are some shots of our food. On the left is roast pork with Spanish rice. On the right are two different appetizers. The brown-colored appetizer is called Alcapurrias. It’s a deep-fried plantain stuffed with ground beef. The orange-colored appetizer is the Relleno de Papa, a deep-fried potato ball stuffed with ground beef.

This was just $15 and was enough food for two people.

At the table was a house-made Puerto Rican hot sauce used on everything.  It’s made from hot peppers and vinegar, giving our meal a nice kick in each bite.

That’s Diana and her husband in the picture above. They were just a very warm and lovely couple who stopped by our table a few times to ensure we enjoyed our food. Kind of like the way your parents or grandparents would stop by and make sure you’re eating enough and liking everything they cooked.