Hyde Park is a beautiful neighborhood that embodies the feel of a “small town” in the big city of Chicago. While Hyde Park is well known as being the home to President Barak Obama and his family, it also boasts beautiful architecture, a popular science museum, great restaurants, and much more.
Like many neighborhoods in Chicago, you can stay within walking distance with easy access to many attractions, excellent food spots, and local shopping. The neighborhood is booming with small businesses that are unique as they are inviting.
Check out this Chicago neighborhood guide and spend a day exploring this South Side gem.
Getting to Hyde Park & Where to Stay
Hyde Park is an easily accessible neighborhood by all methods of transportation. You can take a car and access the neighborhood both by Lake Shore Drive, US-41, and the Dan Ryan Expressway, I-90/94. Parking in the neighborhood can be limited, so consider using Uber or Lyft for car service. You can also take public transportation. There are several Metra commuter stations, bus lines through the CTA, and even Divvy if you are feeling adventurous. Once you are there, it’s easy to walk around to almost any activity or business in the neighborhood.
If you are looking to stay in the area, the neighborhood offers several hotels accommodated like the Hyatt Place Chicago-South / University Medical Center and Sophy Hotel, both located in downtown Hyde Park, central to Harper Square, with cool shops and popular restaurants.
What to Do
There are plenty of attractions and things to do in Hyde Park. The Museum of Science and Industry is perfect for science fans of all ages. It is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere and is a must when visiting the neighborhood. There are also plenty of public parks and beaches, which are perfect for hanging out and relaxing. Check out lookout points such as Promontory Point in Burnham Park which is always bustling with special events and outdoor entertainment.
You can also take a stroll up and down 53rd Street taking in the local sights, sounds, and smells. Discover landmarks like the “kissing rock” tribute and sample treats from the nearby Baskin Robbins where Barak and Michelle Obama had their first date.
Finally, if you are looking for something to do that’s a bit off the commercial grid, walk or even drive past beautiful homes between E. 53rd & E. 55th and S. Woodlawn Avenue & S. Harper Avenue, the stunning residences are in the company of another well known famous home, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House which is also located in the neighborhood.
Where to Shop
Hyde Park has an incredible selection of shops. Locals flock to places like the Silver Room, a Black-owned retail shop featuring unique goods by Black creators and makers. If you are looking for more nostalgic pieces, visit Gilda’s Designer Thrift for an eclectic mix of women’s, men’s, home decor, and art, or Hyde Park Records for a new or used vinyl to add to your collection.
Shop and support local and regional farmers and makers at The 61st Street Farmers Market, South Side Chicago’s premier farmers market. The market is open year-round with markets taking place both indoors to outdoors depending on the season.
For art lovers and book fiends, find contemporary works from local artists and unique exhibitions at galleries like the Connect Gallery and the Hyde Park Art Center. Seek out the little red door on 57th St and make your way into the cellar-like bookshop featuring a wide stock of books for kids to adults.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of places to eat in Hyde Park. The neighborhood has an excellent selection of foods from various cultures and communities. From Thai to Vegan, you’ll find no shortage of options. Neighborhood favorites include Medici on 57th, Snail Thai, Virtue, and Uncle Joe’s Jerk. For sweets and sips, visit spots like Kilwins Chicago, Sip & Savor, and The Promontory. The neighborhood is also home to popular Black Owned Chicago restaurants, this map makes it easy for you to locate them all.
Watch: How to Spend a Day in Hyde Park
My Hyde Park story
When I first moved to Chicago in 2013, Hyde Park was a weekly hangout for me. While I never lived there, I would frequent the area often, spending my weeknight evenings hanging out at the neighborhood Bar Louie. Every so often, I would grab dinner from Chant or breakfast from Valois. That was almost a decade ago.
The once-quiet downtown now bustles daily with residents and tourists checking out the newest Black-owned restaurants or grabbing a drink at one of the two chic hotels. Visit Hyde Park today and you’ll experience a mecca of new and familiar things to do in the neighborhood.