Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue August 16 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | August 16, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    An Insider’s Guide to Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood

    An Insider’s Guide to Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood

    PHOTO: Spend some time at Hyde Park's Museum of Science and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

    Wicker Park may attract all the hipsters and Lakeview wins for nightlife, but for a glimpse into classic Chicago, head to the famous south side neighborhood of Hyde Park. This historic enclave is home to President Obama and the University of Chicago but there’s also a host of museums, restaurants and hotspots to explore.

    If you want to stay in Hyde Park and get a real local experience, check out Hyde Park South for curated hotel digs. Many Hyde Park natives returning for a visit choose this stylish property and you’ll find regulars hanging out in the lobby cafe. Don’t miss the colorful art from local artists that line the wall. Hyde Park South is also inches away from bustling 53rd St., which is the heart of the neighborhood’s commercial district of shops and restaurants.

    Drop into the local institution, Mellow Yellow, (named for the Donovan tune) for kitschy ’70s ambiance and the signature crepes. Go next door and browse through the hip store/art gallery/event space of The Silver Room for locally made treasures and depending on the day, a poetry reading or Tango or French class. You can stroll down 53rd going West to soak up the laidback scene and relax in the wildflower garden of  Nichols Park  after your walk.

    With the University of Chicago anchoring Hyde Park, an intellectual focus is a part of the hood’s flavor. You’ll see lively games of chess in the parks and bars and hear casual convos on philosophy and history in the shops. Of course, museums also play a significant role; the Oriental Institute is a hidden treasure that displays exhibits and artifacts of Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Syria, Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Don’t forget to visit The Suq, a quirky gift shop filled with cool jewelry and knick knacks modeled after artifacts. A few blocks down the street, the sprawling campus of the Museum of Science and Industry beckons.  The interactive exhibits feature coal mines, trains, submarines and a beloved fairy castle. These are just two of the museums that make up a collection of six nearby cultural institutions called Museum Campus South.

    Wind down in the festive atmosphere of Ja’Grill , a lively Jamaican restaurant that serves up jerk chicken, curries and full bar. Most Hyde Park evenings are completed in the trendy confines of The Promontory, a sleek restaurant and music venue that hosts a packed lineup of local and national musicians. 

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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