One of the most culturally diverse spaces in the United States, Hyde Park is home to the University of Chicago. It is known for its ethnic restaurants, cool boutiques, shops, bars, museums, and bookstores.
Paul Cornell, a real estate developer, founded Hyde Park in 1853. The latter acquired 300 acres of land all along the shores of Lake Michigan between 51st and 55th Streets, drawing the attention of other Chicago businessmen and their families.
The establishment of the University of Chicago in 1891 by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller accelerated the development of the place. The World’s Columbian Exposition came to Hyde Park in 1893, giving the neighborhood yet another publicity boost.
1. Where is Hyde Park?
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Cook County, Illinois, Hyde Park shares boundaries with the Midway Plaisance to the south, Washington Park to the west, 50th Street/Lake Park Avenue to the north, and Lake Michigan to the east. Hyde Park lies just south of the Loop business district.
Hyde Park’s official boundaries differ from its actual historical development; it is larger than what would be considered Hyde Park today. The area encompassed by Hyde Park has been settled since the 1830s, with most of the current neighborhood being developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
The area was first settled in the 1830s and was incorporated as a village in 1857. The town grew rapidly after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and became a city in 1892.
2. What Is Hyde Park Known For?
Hyde Park is known for its beautiful parks, great schools, and lively nightlife. It’s also home to the University of Chicago, one of the top universities in the country. The University of Chicago moved to Hyde Park in 1892, and many faculty members built their homes there.
The university has played an important role in Hyde Park’s history and development; it has also been a major force in shaping the neighborhood’s character. The location also contains other institutions of higher learning, including The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, alongside many others.
3. Attractions of Hyde Park
Hyde Park in Chicago is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. The park is home to Promontory Point, the Nichols Park Museum of Science and Industry. Hyde Park is also a nice location for walking or sunbathing. Here are some of the places that make Hyde Park one of Chicago’s most popular regions:
3.1 The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a world-class research university. It was established in 1892. It is also the largest employer in Hyde Park, with over 15,000 students. The campus’s most iconic structures are the Gothic-style Rockefeller Chapel and the neo-classical Main Quadrangle.
The University has produced 97 Nobel laureates, one of the highest numbers of any university in the world, as well as10 Fields Medalists, four Turing Awards winners, 52 MacArthur Fellows, twenty National Humanities Medalists, 20 Marshall Scholars, fifty-three Rhodes Scholars, twenty Pulitzer Prize winners, twenty living billionaires, and eight Olympic medalists.
Film critic and Pulitzer award winner Roger Ebert, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Edwin Hubble, who discovered the first proof of the Big Bang theory, astronomer Carl Sagan, academic Arjun Appadurai, and author Saul Bellow are just a few of its alumni.
3.2 Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House
Designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Robie House is considered one of the finest examples of Prairie School architecture. The house was built in 1908 for 28-year-old Frederick C. Robie, an Excelsior Supply Company assistant manager, and his wife, Lora. The house was designed in a manner that the residents have privacy, at the same time, can “observe the neighbors covertly.”
Though the place turned out to be an architectural wonder, Robie only spent a brief time in this house. After fourteen months of moving in, Robie was compelled to sell the house due to financial difficulties brought on by his father’s passing and the breakdown of his marriage.
When the Robie House was in danger of being destroyed in 1957, Wright came back to support it as a “central pillar in American architecture.” The Robie House, which was preserved, serves as further evidence of Wright’s foresight regarding the development of American residential architecture.
Located just off campus, this National Historic Landmark is open for tours year-round.
3.3 Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Hyde Park Jazz Festival is one of the most popular and acclaimed jazz festivals in the United States; Hyde Park Jazz Festival is an annual event in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The festival features world-renowned jazz musicians and up-and-coming artists performing on multiple stages throughout the neighborhood. Hyde Park Jazz Festival is a celebration of jazz music and culture, and it is one of the most anticipated events of the year for both music fans and performers alike. If you’re looking for an incredible jazz experience, check out Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
It is usually scheduled for the third weekend of September. It is one of the largest free jazz festivals in the United States, attracting over 250,000 people each year.
The festival features a wide range of jazz musicians from across the country and worldwide. Past performers have included everyone from Wynton Marsalis and Herbie Hancock to upcoming local musicians. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz fan or just getting started, you’ll find plenty to enjoy at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
4. Museums in Hyde Park
Hyde Park, Chicago, is home to some of the best museums in the city. From the world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry to the more niche Museum of African American History, there’s something for everyone in Hyde Park. Let us look at some of the top museums in Hyde Park. So whether you’re a history buff or a science enthusiast, read on for our guide to the best museums in Hyde Park.
4.1 The Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry, one of the world’s largest museums, is situated in the center of Hyde Park. With over 35,000 artifacts on display, the museum is a must-see for anyone interested in science or history.
Among the museum’s many highlights are its massive collection of transportation vehicles, including a WWII German submarine and a replica of a Wright brothers airplane. In addition, the museum has a vast collection of scientific tools and interactive displays on biology and optics.
The Museum of Science and Industry has so much to offer that visitors could easily spend an entire day exploring it. And with its convenient location steps from public transportation, it’s easy to get to from anywhere in Chicago.
4.2 Hyde Park Art Center
Hyde Park Art Center is one of the many museums in Hyde Park, Chicago. It is home to a wide variety of art, from paintings and sculptures to installations and performance art. The center also has a library and an education department offering programs and resources for children and adults.
It was founded in 1939 by a group of local artists and educators. Since then, it has grown into a respected institution that attracts visitors from all over the world. The center is committed to promoting the arts and providing opportunities for people of all ages to learn about and appreciate art.
Visitors to the Hyde Park Art Center can participate in various activities, including attending exhibitions, taking classes, participating in workshops, and visiting the library. The center also hosts annual special events, such as lectures, concerts, and film screenings.
4.3 DuSable Museum of African American History
Hyde Park is home to the DuSable Museum of African American History, founded in 1961 by Dr. Margaret Danner and her husband, Charles W. Dumas. The museum is in a landmark building once the home of acclaimed African American artist Robert S. Abbott.
The DuSable Museum houses a wide array of exhibitions and collections that focus on the history and culture of African Americans. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, as well as community events throughout the year.
4.4 Oriental Institute Museum
The Oriental Institute Museum is located in Hyde Park, Chicago. It is one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to studying ancient civilizations. The museum houses a large collection of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and other parts of the Near East collected by the archeologists of the University of Chicago. The museum is also home to a library and research center.
The museum has displayed over 300,000 historical artifacts, including clay tablets, scrolls, and other documents. It also houses a museum shop called The Suq, where visitors can purchase various books.
4.5 Smart Museum of Art
With over 15,000 objects on display, The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art has a remarkable collection of European, American, and Asian art pieces. Edward Larrabee Barnes, an architect, designed the museum. It honors David A. Smart and his brother Alfred Smart, who founded Coronet Films and published Esquire from their offices in Chicago. David Smart owned works by Picasso, Renoir, and Chagall.
Paintings by modern artists like Paul Delvaux, Arthur Dove, Childe Hassam, Roberto Matta, Jean Metzinger, Diego Rivera, and Mark Rothko can be found in the museum’s collection. While the memorial collection features sculptures by Jean Arp, Edgar Degas, Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, and Auguste Rodin.
Additionally, it has a contemporary art gallery that houses the works of John Chamberlain, Antony Gormley, Robert Irwin, Sylvia Sleigh, Andy Warhol, and Claire Zeisler. Amazing canvases, porcelain, and sculptures from the Asian collection promote broad perspectives on history and fashion. At the Smart Café, you can also savor a cup of coffee or espresso and a selection of vegetarian and delectable treats.
5. Parks in the Hyde Park Community
The Hyde Park community is known for its parks. It has the children’s favorite Spruce Park, historically significant Nichols Park, Bixler Park, a favorite picnic spot, and Promontory point, among others.
5.1 Spruce Park
Spruce Park is a 1.22-acre public park part of the Hyde Park neighborhood. A playground with swings, slides and climbing structures can be found in this park.
The park was created in 1963 by the Chicago Park District. In 1973, Spruce Park was given as the official name by the park district. Several areas at this time had names for trees and plants, including the park. An American native, Evergreen spruce trees have sharp needles and can reach heights of 20 to 100 feet.
5.2 Bixler Park
The park, named after Chicago educator Ray Bixler, is near Kenwood Avenue in Hyde Park. The 1.01-acre Bixler park is ideal for a picnic, especially if you have kids. There is a playground with swings, slides, climbing structures, and a spray feature for those sweltering summer days.
5.3 Nichols (John Fountain) Park
A park built to honor the life of urban planner and artist John Fountain Nichols, Nichols Park is one of the oldest parks in Chicago and is a popular spot for picnics, concerts, and other events. John Fountain Nichols taught art in south side public schools and worked as an architectural draftsman. He created plans for the Department of Urban Renewal to revitalize the Hyde Park neighborhood during the 1950s and 1960s.
The 11.48 acres of park area houses a gymnasium and a multi-purpose room. In addition to this, the park features a community flower garden, vegetable garden, Wildflower Meadow, a reflecting pool, tennis courts, walkways, and asphalt-surfaced play areas. A dreamy bronze sculpture called “Bird of Peace” by Italian-American artist Cosmo Campoli was installed in 1970 that brightens the park’s main lawn.
6. Barack Obama and Hyde Park
Barack Obama lived in Hyde Park for nearly a decade as a member of the Illinois State Senate and then as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He first moved to Hyde Park in 2005 when he bought a house at 5046 South Greenwood Avenue.
He sold that house in 2007 and bought another one on 51st Street, which he still owns. While living in Hyde Park, Obama became involved with several local organizations, including working with kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago and coaching youth basketball at St. Sabina Academy.
At the intersection of Dorchester and 53rd Streets in Hyde Park, there is a 3,000-pound granite pointer. This is where US President Barack Obama kissed first lady Michelle Obama for the first time. The marker was installed by the owners of a nearby shopping center.
7. Chicago World Fair and Hyde Park
Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, Chicago hosted the World Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World Fair, in 1893. The exposition was a massive undertaking, covering 633 acres of land. It featured over 200 buildings, including the iconic White City. Nearly 27 million people visited the exposition during its six-month run.
Hyde Park was home to many of the exposition’s events. The Midway Plaisance contained carnival rides and other amusements. The Palace of Fine Arts, now home to the Museum of Science and Industry, was in Hyde Park. After the conclusion of the exposition, many of these remained in Hyde Park and continue to draw visitors from all over the world.
8. Restaurants in Hyde Park
If you’re looking for a good meal in Hyde Park, you’ll have plenty of options. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional American fare or something a little more exotic, you’re sure to find a restaurant that suits your taste.
Some of the more popular restaurants in Hyde Park include Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Rajun Cajun, La Petite Folie, Chant Restaurant, and Mesler Restaurant are great choices for a special night out.
No matter what food you’re in the mood for, you will find a great restaurant in Hyde Park. So come on and enjoy everything this vibrant community has to offer!
9. Hotels in Hyde Park
Looking for a place to stay in Hyde Park, Chicago? Look no further than these hotels! Ranging from luxury to budget-friendly, there’s something for everyone on this list. You can find most of the hotels near Magnificent Mile area. Magnificent Mile hotels offer amazing facilities.
9.1 Chicago Lake Shore Hotel
Chicago Lake Shore Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in the Hyde Park neighborhood. With 70 guest rooms, the hotel is located in the heart of downtown. Chicago Lake Shore Hotel is the perfect choice for your next stay in Hyde Park, featuring luxurious accommodations, world-class dining, and an array of amenities.
This hotel provides free local shuttle service, formal dining room, guest parking, and an on-site restaurant. Other amenities include in-room coffeemakers, a 37-inch flat-screen TV, free wireless internet, a banquet hall, and a round-the-clock front desk.
With views of Lake Michigan, the Lake Shore menu includes casual American cuisine. The restaurant offers live jazz music on Friday nights, and customers can savor the seafood buffet. The Chicago Lakeshore Hotel is conveniently located close to restaurants, shops, and transportation links to downtown Chicago.
9.2 Best Western Plus Hyde Park
Located within 2 miles of the University of Chicago, Best Western Plus Hyde Park is an affordable hotel in Kenwood, near Hyde Park. The hotel features 113 air-conditioned rooms and suites and is located near several restaurants and bars.
The rooms are equipped with blackout curtains, a desk, coffee/tea maker, sofa bed, walk-in shower, sofa, wardrobe, clothes rack, iron, private bathrooms, microwave, refrigerator, flat screen TV, radio, and hairdryer.
The three-star hotel is also home to a fitness center with a gym and offers 24-hour room service.
9.3 Hyatt Place Chicago -South/UCM
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, a mile from the Robbie House, Hyatt Place Chicago is steps away from world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment. This 6-floor hotel features 131 guest rooms and suites, all offering stunning views of the cityscape.
Guests can enjoy various on-site amenities, including an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and a full-service business center. For those looking to explore the city, Hyatt Place Chicago is just a short walk from the University of Chicago and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
The hotel also provides many dining options. It has a 24-hour guest kitchen serving soups and sandwiches, a bakery Café with dessert treats and Starbucks coffee, and a Bar. Every room has a 42-inch flat-screen cable TV, a sofa bed, separate seating areas, a refrigerator, and a coffee machine.
9.4 The Study at the University of Chicago
Featuring 167 rooms and suites, The Study hotel is located right next to the University of Chicago. The hotel offers stunning views of Rockefeller Chapel, Lake Michigan, and the skyline. The hotel opened its doors to guests in the first quarter of 2021.
The Peninsula Hotel is known for its impeccable service and luxury amenities. The hotel has a round-the-clock fitness facility with the latest “Life Fitness” cardio equipment. The rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed, with all the latest amenities and complimentary coffee. Guests can enjoy a meal at one of the several on-site restaurants or order room service 24 hours a day. The Study will make your stay unforgettable whether you’re visiting Chicago for business or pleasure.
The hotel is home to Truth Be Told, a tavern-styled, British-inspired restaurant. Other attractions include: Postcard and stationary writing desks in the Living Room, Pet-friendly accommodation, Laundry & dry-cleaning services, Valet parking, and over 4,700 sq. ft. of meeting & event spaces, including a light-filled Winter Garden
9.5 Sophy Hyde Park
Sophy Hyde Park is a boutique hotel that opened in the fall of 2018. It is located at 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The hotel has an artfully designed full-service restaurant, bar, and lounge. Both the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry lie within a mile of the hotel.
The hotel takes extra care to minimize its carbon footprint and leads initiatives that improve the social and environmental fabric of the Hyde Park neighborhood. The amenities provided by this pet-friendly luxury hotel include Air Conditioning, Coffeemaker, Daily Maid Service, Kitchen/Kitchenette, Microwave Oven, Mini-Bar, Free Newspaper, Refrigerator, and Internet Access.
Hyde Park is a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., located seven miles south of the city’s downtown Loop area. It is the 41st of Chicago’s 77 defined community areas. Hyde Park hosts the University of Chicago and several museums and parks. The neighborhood is home to approximately 29,456 people, according to the 2018 United States Census.
The locality is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. From the world-renowned University of Chicago to the stunning architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this historic neighborhood.
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