09.25.2017

Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park

Home to the university campus and gifted with a character of its own, Hyde Park is a vibrant neighborhood offering plenty of attractions and a taste of “real” Chicago

  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park
  • Exploring Chicago’s Hyde Park

Chicago is mostly known for its architecture, deep dish pizza, sports teams and “The Magnificent Mile”. Yet there is more to the Windy City than the Navy Pier and the other typical tourist spot: the lesser known South Side, albeit often portrayed as a gang fueled death trap, has plenty of treasures to offer, especially in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
 
Home to the beautiful University of Chicago campus and to a diverse community full of culture and history, Hyde Park has some truly remarkable places and attractions to be discovered, so if you have a day to spare on your next trip to Chicago, be sure not to miss a day in the neighborhood – it is easily accessible from downtown.
 
The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Valois is a South Side staple, and not because it's Obama’s favorite diner in Hyde Park. It’s your average cash only cafeteria-style diner, but the typical comfort food speaks for itself. You can still expect to wait in line to order and find a table - Chicagoans have been loyally going there long before Obama was in the news.
 
Beyond The Swiss Jolly Ball
There aren’t enough words to describe how phenomenal the museums in Chicago are. The Art Institute and The Field Museum are world class, and the Shedd Aquarium is always a hit with tourists. One of Chicago’s biggest attractions is the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s right in Hyde Park next to Lakeshore Drive and Promontory Point (the most underrated view of the skyline can be seen here!). The interactivity of this museum is what makes it so great, but it’s not just for kids. The most memorable permanent exhibits are the chick hatchery where you can watch baby chickens hatch right before your eyes and the unmistakable Swiss Jolly Ball. What is a “Swiss Jolly Ball”? It’s the world’s largest pinball made out of scrap metal depicting the Swiss landscape- it’s something you can only appreciate by seeing it for yourself.
 
57th Street
In the heart of the UofC campus is the renowned Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most influential American architect. The Robie House is revered due to its unique architectural style; it is considered to be the prime example of the first purely American architectural style - the Prairie School. Fortunately, it is right around the corner from Medici on 57th Street. This restaurant is a UofC staple with typical American food, but the hidden gem on the menu is the Orzata float: a classic ice cream float made special with the addition of orgeat syrup. Just down the street is 57th Street Books, with small doorway popping out of the sidewalk and a few steps down, this little shop invites you into a cozy space that is beloved by the community.
 
An Ode To Harold’s
Any good article that mentions food in the South Side isn't complete until fried chicken has been covered. Hands down, the best fried chicken is from a local chain called Harold's. People will even go as far as to debate which individual location is the best. (Please note that the writer of this article is admittedly biased towards Harold’s, specifically the one on 53rd.) 
 

Author : Veda Teffner

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Chicago  | South Side  | Hyde Park  |

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