Hyde Park is located in southern Chicago along Lake Michigan, 7 miles south of the Loop. It is home to the University of Chicago, giving it a distinctive college town flair. It is officially bounded by Hyde Park Boulevard on the north, Midway Plaisance to the south, Washington Park to the west and the lake to the east. This historic nabe is home to two of Chicago’s four historic sites listed on the 1966 National Register of Historic Places.
In the 1850s, Paul Corness (cousin to the University’s founder) purchased 300 acres of land in the area. The rural land was quickly developed into a summer retreat for wealthy Chicagoans to flee the city. It was home to the Hyde Park House, an upscale hotel that drew such prominent names as Mary Todd Lincoln. Near the end of the 1800s, John D. Rockefeller established the University of Chicago in the neighborhood, and the area was gradually developed over the next century. Today, it is a diverse neighborhood that still attracts summer visitors for its 57th Street Beach.
Hyde Park Restaurants
Hyde Park’s food scene reflects its diverse culture. There’s Italian, Mediterranean, Jamaican, Cajun, Greek, and Middle Eastern. There are also plenty of mainstays, like Medici on 57th, the area’s go-to burger and pan pizza joint since 1963. With plenty of college kids around, there’s a wide span of upscale dining outposts and cheap eats.
Hyde Park Hotels
Though you won’t find as many accommodations as downtown Chicago, there are some hotels in this nabe thanks to the university and Museum of Science and Industry. There’s a Hyatt Place and Sophy Hyde Park, a four-star boutique hotel.
Hyde Park Attractions
The biggest attraction in Hyde Park is the Museum of Science and Industry. This picturesque building is full of interactive exhibits including a popular mirror maze and “Numbers in Nature” exhibit. For art, head onto the University of Chicago campus for the Renaissance Society, full of avant garde works, or the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. The Center is home to galleries, a performance space, studios, and a cafe.
Hyde Park Architecture
A national historic landmark, the Frederick C. Robie House on the University of Chicago campus was built in 1909, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is largely considered the greatest example of Prairie School architecture.
The nabe is also home to the Museum of Science and Industry, housed in an 1893 building built for the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Hyde Park Shopping
Not surprisingly, this studious neighborhood is home to the landmark 57th Street Books, with most reads falling in the academic/nonfiction category. For college kids on a budget and other thrifty shoppers, Encore Resale Company has gently used name-brand shopping for men and women. The Silver Umbrella has pricier, designer items up for resale. Collectors, meanwhile, will love First Aid Comics and there’s Toys et Cetera or kids and kids at heart.
Hyde Park Theater
The Hyde Park theater scene is largely reserved to the University of Chicago. There, you can catch a show at Court Theater, hosting an array of classics, vintage musicals, and contemporary works.
Hyde Park Festival
The nabe hosts an annual summer arts fair, showcasing an array of different categories for a weekend of fun. Additionally, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival brings soul to the neighborhood each September.
Parks & Beaches
Hyde Park still retains its vacationland feel with its many parks and beaches. The 57th Street Beach is easily accessible via an underpass near the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a popular destination for sunbathers, and the lifeguarded water makes it a favorite for swimming.
For families, the Harold Washington Playlot park has a contemporary playground, tennis courts, a motorboat pond, and chess tables. Another relic of the World Columbian Exposition is Midway Plaisance Park, once filled with amusement parks and rides. Today, it’s popular for biking, walking, and jogging.
Much of the expansive Jackson Park is located in Hyde Park. The 600-acre green space is home to a fitness center, golf course, playground, basketball courts, and tennis courts. It’s also popular for walking, jogging, and biking.