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Chicago/Hyde Park

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Introduction

The South Side of The Point

The South Side of The Point

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

Hyde Park is one of the most famous and quirky neighborhoods in Chicago. Many famous and important events happened in Hyde Parks short history. It is the location of the first sustained nuclear reaction, first Heisman trophy, the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder, the 1893 World’s Fair, home of the University of Chicago with over 80 Nobel Laureates, the Museum of Science and Industry, stunning parks and lakefront views, along with the birthplace of improv comedy and the first issue of Playboy magazine. Lastly in 2008 the citizens of the United States elected Barack Obama, a local Hyde Parker, to be president of the USA!

Hyde Park also has a beautiful location in the city, bordered by Jackson Park to the south, Washington Park to the west, Lake Michigan to the east and the stunning mansions of Kenwood to the north. On a summer day the beaches offer an excellent place to swim and the parks have lovely walks. Because of the many parks and lagoons Hyde Park is a major stop over for many migratory birds. During the wintertime it is even possible to spot swans on the lake at 57th Street Beach.

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Sights and Activities

Museums

Hyde Park is home to several stunning museums including the Museum of Science and Industry, Oriental Institute of Chicago, Smart Museum, Robie House and DuSable Museum of African American History. For more information read the article: Museums in Chicago

Parks

Wooden Island, Jackson Park

Wooden Island, Jackson Park

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Jackson Park is a stellar park along the lake just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. The park was originally the location of the 1893 World’s Fair. The fair grounds were covered in a white city that looked like ancient Rome. The only building that was meant to be permanent is the current Museum of Science and Industry. The only other existing feature of the park that was around during the fair is the Wooden Island located in the logon. The Japanese Gardens of the fair has been restored and is open to the public. The park has great biking trails and is an excellent green space. If going to the Museum of Science and Industry there is free parking located right by the Henry Crown Space Center, which is also an entrance to the museum. Exit Lake Shore Drive just beyond 57th Street exit, to go behind the museum to the marina and free parking.

The other famous event that involved the park was the gruesome Leopold and Loeb murder of 1924. The two bright young men believed they were Nietzschean supermen and decided they would commit the perfect crime. After kidnapping their own cousin they killed the child and placed the body in Indiana. When the body was found the two men claimed to be golfing in Jackson Park. The only reason why the two men were convicted was because Leopold left his glasses at the scene of the crime. The glasses had a special hinge on them that only three men had on their glasses in all of Chicago. The two men confessed and were sentenced to life in prison after a famous tail in which they were defended by Clarence Darrow.

Washington Park is a nice park located on the western edge of the neighborhood and bordered by the CTA Green Line Train. This park offers a great green space and has nice Biking trails plus playing fields for baseball, soccer, cricket and ultimate frisbee. More soccer and football fields are located in Jackson Park. If Chicago is awarded the 2016 Olympic Games the main stadium will be built in Washington Park and several other events will be held in the park. Washington Park can get dangerous at night and is recommended to avoid it late at night.

The Promontory Point, called The Point by locals, this park is a manmade peninsula. The open green space in the center of the peninsula is used for sports and picnics. There are several fire rings located around the edge with great Lake Michigan views, this one of the few parks in the city where people can have open fires in the fire rings. The park offers great views of downtown from the south on a clear day. Lastly there is a very popular illegal beach off the rocks on the north side of The Point. Remember, although many people swim here, it is illegal; there are no lifeguards and the police can give you a ticket.

Beaches

There are several nice beaches in and near Hyde Park. Unlike the north side beaches most of these beaches have plenty of free parking and don't get as crowded on the weekends. Also many of these beaches will rent boats and other stuff for a small fee.

  • 57th Street Beach is a nice beach located right next the Museum of Science and Industry.
  • 63rd Street Beach is at the southern end of Jackson Park and is a great beach with a nicely rebuilt beach house.
  • South Shore Cultural Center is a restored country club that is now a public beach and located at 7059 South Shore Drive. This is a great beach and the best way to reach it is to drive south on Lake Shore Drive until you see the large gates. There is a large free parking lot. Also just south of the beach is a rebuilt marshland with elevated walkways. This beach is actually in the neighborhood of South Shore just south of Jackson Park

Houses

There are many lovely houses in the Hyde Park Kenwood area. This is mainly due to the face that in the 19th century many of Chicago's great industrialists lived in Hyde Park or Kenwood. The best way to enjoy them is to drive or bike around southern Kenwood, which is bordered by Hyde Park blvd to the south, 47th Street to the north, Cottage Grove to the west and Lake Park blvd to the east.

Shopping

There is some street shopping along 53rd street between Lake Park and Kenwood. Two medium sized out door shopping centers in Hyde Park are located in this area.

  • Harper Court is a small shopping center with many restaurants on 53rd street.
  • Hyde Park Shopping Center is a small shopping center with a full grocery store, toy store, several restaurants, hardware store, bike shop, bakery, post office, office depot and a Walgreens with a pharmacy at the intersection of 55th street and Lake Park.

Other Sights and Activities

  • The Start and Finish for the First Car Race in America, go see the plaque that honors were the first automobile race was held in America on Thanksgiving Day November 28th, 1895. The race started in Hyde Park went to Evanston and then back again. The location is roughly at the corner of Stony Island and 60th Street towards the park and near the southwest corner of the circle garden.
  • Barack Obama's House is located on the corner of Hyde Park Blvd and Greenwood across the street from KAM Synagogue. When the president is home security is very tight and nobody is allowed to walk on the street. Depending on the security issues at the time it is sometimes possible to walk up Hyde Park Blvd to the house, it is not possible to drive unless you live on the block.

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Events and Festivals

  • 57th Street Art Fair is one of the largest art fairs in Chicago, oldest in the world and was originally started in 1948. Hundreds of artists from all over the world partacipating in this juried art fair. The smaller Hyde Park Community Art Fair blends in with the 57th street Art Fair. The Hyde Park Community Art Fair features local artists from the Chicago area. Both art fairs are run at the same time each year during the first weekend in June. The fair is located at 57th street and Kenwood. Parking is limited so it is recommended to take public transportation if possible.
  • The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company presents a Gilbert and Sullivan play in the 2nd or 3rd week of March annually. The production is very good and worth checking out if you are visiting Chicago in March. Tickets are $15.
  • Hyde Park Garden Fair is a fair that sells many plants and gardening supplies.

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Getting There

By Train

  • Red line, get off at the 55th street stop then take the 55th Street bus east till Hyde Park.
  • Green line, get off at the 55th street stop then take the 55th Street bus eat till Hyde Park.
  • Metra South Line (Electric District), Metra has several stops in Hyde Park at 47th Street, 53rd street, 57th street and 59th Street with regular service.

By Car

If driving to Hyde Park the best way is to take Lake Shore Drive south to 57th street or take 90/94 to 55th street and drive east till the street intersects with Cottage Grove. If coming from the south suburbs or Indiana it is best to take the Sky Way or 90/94 to Stony Island and go north till 61st Street.

By Bus

The number 2, 6, 10 and X 28 buses run back and forth from downtown to Hyde Park.

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Getting Around

Archeologist in Jackson Park

Archeologist in Jackson Park

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

By Car

Driving around Hyde Park can be difficult because many streets are one way streets. It would best to stick to 57th, 55th, 53rd and 51st Street for east-west streets. Stick to Woodlawn and Cottage Grove for north-south streets.

By Public Transport

The 55th street bus runs east-west through Hyde Park. The number 6 Bus runs north-south on the east side of the neighborhood

By Foot

If visiting the area around the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry walking is fine. If wanting to see the old houses around Kenwood a bike or a car would be useful.

By Bike

Bike trails go north and south along the lakefront on the east side of Hyde Park. Most of the streets are very bike friendly.

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Eat

Hyde Park does not have many super fancy restaurants but it does have some amazing local places that have some great food. The main commercial areas in Hyde Park are 57th Street, 55th Street and 53rd Street.

57th Street

  • Café Florian is an excellent burger and pizza restaurant located at 1459 East 57th Street near the intersection of Blackstone and 57th Street. This good restaurant is only a short walk away from the Museum of Science and Industry making it an excellent spot to have a cheap dinner. A personal pizza starts at around $7 and a burger is about $6. Sun-Thu 11am to 11pm, Fri-Sat 11am to 12am
  • The Medici on 57th is located at 1327 East 57th Street close to the University of Chicago. This restaurant is considered one of the best burger places in Chicago and has pretty good pizza also. The bakery next door is associated with the restaurant. Meals per person are around $9.
  • Noodle Ect. is located at 1333 East 57th street and is a great Thai noodle restaurant with other good pan Asian food. Mains for around $6.

55th Street

  • Siam is a good Thai restaurant located at 1639 East 55th Street
  • Morry’s Deli is a good cheap lunch place with a great corn beef sandwich and is located at 5500 South Cornell Ave.
  • Café Corea is a good small Korean restaurant at 1603 East 55th Street.

53rd Street

  • Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop and Calypso Cafe, was merged into one an amazing restaurant. Dixie Kitchen and is one of the best places in the city if you are looking for roadside Southern Cooking and Calypso has great Caribbean food with a jerk chicken the rival any. Dixie Kitchen is located at 5225 S. Harper Ave.
  • Pizza Capri is a good pizza place located at Harper and 53rd.
  • Heralds Fried Chicken is an excellent local fried chicken chain with a branch at 53rd and Woodlawn.

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Drink

Hyde Park does not have the clubs or bars with the 4 am liquor licenses of the north side but it does have several nice neighborhood pubs. Also the bars in Hyde Park are much cheaper then the north side watering holes. Most of the bars are located on 55th Street but there are a few on their own.

55th Street

  • Bar Louie Hyde Park is located at 5500 S Shore Dr and is a pretty swanky place for Hyde Park. The restaurant is a pretty good but a little pricey and drinks can get pretty expensive to. This place is very popular with the executive African American crowd.
  • The Cove is located at 1750 East 55th Street is best described by one local as “a place where men go who have wives that won’t let them drink at home although it does have a juke box.” The Cove is truly a dive bar. If you are looking for a night on the cheap and do not want to chat with many people the Cove is a good place to go. Pitchers start at $8, open till 2 am.
  • Woodlawn Tap, more commonly known as Jimmy’s, is located at 1172 East 55th Street. This is the main bar of Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. In the early evening it is primarily a working class/professor bar and slowly morphs into a student bar around 11 pm at night. Bar food, such as burgers and fries, is served till 12:30.
  • Seven Ten Lanes is located at 1055 East 55th Street and call for reservations at 773-347-2695. Seven Ten Lanes is a restaurant, bar, pool hall and bowling alley all in one. Make sure to reserve bowling times in advance. Open till 2 am.

Not on 55th Street

  • Ida Noyes Pub is located at 1212 East 59th in the basement of Ida Noyes Hall on the University of Chicago campus. The pub is a private drinking club for the University of Chicago although non members can get in for a 1 dollar cover. The pub has several bar games, like foosball, and good bar food-including fish and chips. Also the jukebox is a good time.
  • Falcon Inn is located at 1601 East 53rd Street near Cornell. This is a super cheap dive bar. This place can be a little seedy and sometimes it is an unofficial gay bar. On the brighter side the décor on the inside is awesome, the bar tender Ray is super friendly and Cholie’s pizza next door is pretty good.
  • Checkerboard Lounge is a local Jazz and Blues club that has different styles of music on different nights. The bar is located at 5201 S Harper Ct. and there phone number is 773 684 1472. It is best to call beforehand to see what is playing that night.

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Sleep

There is talk of building some larger and newer hotels in Hyde Park but they are still on the drawing board. Currently the only hotel in Hyde Park is the Ramada Inn located at 4900 S Lake Shore Drive. This is a pretty basic place and it is better to stay downtown. There are also a few bed and breakfasts located around the neighborhood that are good.

Bed and Breakfasts

  • University Quarters is a B&B located at 6137 South Kimbark Avenue, 1st Floor Chicago, Illinois 60637-2844. For reservations call (866)-712-6166.
  • Abode Ltd. is a bed breakfast located at 5412 S. Blackstone Ave, Chicago IL 60615, for reservations call (312)-576-4299. Room rates range from $140 to $170.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is an internet cafe located on 55th Street near South Shore Drive. There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Public Library

Blackstone Branch - Is located at 4905 South Lake Park Ave. This small branch is in a very pretty building and has a good recreational collection.

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This is version 19. Last edited at 6:53 on Jul 12, 13 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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