10 Things We Love About Hyde Park
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, Hyde Park is a beautiful neighborhood with a lot to offer. Between enriching art exhibits and museums, a world-renowned university, and well-kept community green spaces, there are a lot of reasons people have fallen in love with Hyde Park. Here are ours:
The University of Chicago
Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago has one undergraduate college and five graduate research divisions. The university features gothic architecture, and is the site of the free Smart Museum of Art and Oriental Institute, a research center and museum dedicated to Near Eastern studies and archaeology.
Museums on Every Corner
In addition to the Smart Museum of Art and Oriental Institute, Hyde Park has several museums for residents to explore. Situated in Jackson Park, the Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere with over 400,000 square feet of interactive experiences and scientific exhibits. Meanwhile, the Hyde Park Art Center is the oldest alternative exhibition space in Chicago, offering exhibitions, art classes, public events, and opportunities for artists over the last 70 years.
The DuSable Museum of African American History was the first museum in the United States dedicated to African American history and culture. Located in Washington Park, the museum highlights the experiences and achievements of African Americans through exhibits, programs, and activities, and hosts several events to inspire conversation among visitors.
Home to History
Hyde Park is the site of an incredible list of historic places, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House. Completed in 1910, the house showcases Wright’s Prairie style, from its striking facade to its restored interior and furniture selections. Down the street, the historic Arthur H. Compton House was designed by architects Holabird & Roche for Compton in the late 1800s. Compton received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his 1923 discovery of the Compton Effect, and the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
A slightly more intense piece of history, Chicago Pile-1 was the world’s first nuclear reactor, and was developed in Hyde Park at the University of Chicago. The reactor was built under the viewing stands of the original Stagg Field, which is now registered as a National Historic Landmark and a Chicago Landmark.
The Chicago World’s Fair was held in 1893 at Jackson Park and brought a lot of attention to Hyde Park. The exposition prompted the construction of new buildings throughout the neighborhood, as well as the development of the South Side Elevated Line.
Green space is an important characteristic of Hyde Park. Promontory Point (aka The Point) is a man-made peninsula on Lake Michigan that connects to the Lakefront Path. There’s also Jackson Park, where residents can relax, watch sailboats, and play golf and tennis. The Osaka Japanese Garden, also referred to as the Garden of the Phoenix, is located within the park on Wooded Island, and is a symbol of respect and friendship between Japan and the United States. Come springtime, visitors can watch the iconic cherry trees bloom.
Located within Jackson Park, 57th Street Beach is the best spot to spend warm summer days. The beach is also near the Museum of Science and Industry, and is the perfect place to hang out and enjoy the city’s skyline. Beach-goers can swim, kayak, canoe, and paddleboard, or relax in the sand with a snack from the local grill.
Variety of Housing Options
Between East Hyde Park and South Kenwood, Hyde Park offers a variety of housing stock. There are high-rise condominium buildings facing the lake, as well as three-story apartment buildings and single-family homes. The Hyde Park-Kenwood area boasts luxurious mansions from the 19th and 20th centuries, and has been home to names like Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali.
Abundance of Shopping Districts
Shopping opportunities abound in Hyde Park with main districts on 53rd, 55th, and 57th Street. 53rd Street is the oldest of the three, featuring restaurants and Harper Court, a small-business shopping center and site of an annual farmers market. 55th Street also has a variety of eateries with a range of cuisines along with the Hyde Park Shopping Center. Lastly, 57th Street is known for its array of indie bookstores, cafes, restaurants, small grocery stores, and shops.
Fairs, Festivals, and Celebrations
Aside from its local shops and restaurants, 57th Street is also home to the annual 57th Street Art Fair. Held the first full weekend in June, the two-day outdoor event celebrates visual arts in the community. The festival features the work of up to 200 artists and gives them the opportunity to showcase their mediums, including glass works, jewelry, paintings, photography, sculptures, wood pieces, ceramics, and more.
The entertainment doesn’t stop there! Hyde Park residents come together every year for Hyde Park Jazz Festival, a free event that celebrates the tradition of jazz on the South Side. Other popular neighborhood events include Hyde Park Summer Fest, formerly known as Hyde Park Brew Fest. The annual festival features live entertainment, food vendors, beers from local breweries, and clothing vendors.
Hyde Park residents know that the neighborhood is filled with great restaurants and eateries. Among local favorites is Valois Restaurant on 53rd Street in Harper Court, a casual dining spot featuring a smorgasbord of comfort food. Established in 1921, the cafeteria-style restaurant is known for its breakfast selections and sandwiches.
Paying tribute to Hyde Park’s beloved Promontory Point, The Promontory offers open-hearth cooking from a conceptual menu of delicious cuisine and cocktails. Upstairs, the restaurant’s music venue honors Hyde Park’s musical legacy with great acoustics, a modern design, and a lineup of incredible artists and musicians.
Medici on 57th features a robust menu with something for everyone. Between burgers, pizzas, deli sandwiches, and salads, the restaurant has dishes to satisfy even the most discerning diner. Medici on 57th even serves up brunch and has a selection of freshly baked breads and pastries.
Hyde Park residents need not worry about getting to and from downtown Chicago. There are CTA buses with transfers to the Red and Green Lines, as well as the Metra Electric Line, which offers service to Millennium Station downtown. Drivers can hop on Lake Shore Drive to get to the city.
Please note that some businesses may be closed amid COVID-19, so be sure to check each website for the most up-to-date information.