Just seven miles south of the Loop in downtown Chicago is Hyde Park, an enviable neighborhood for a number of reasons. Its proximity to Lake Michigan tempers some of winter’s chill and provides relief from the heat of summer, and with diverse residents, stunning architecture and a vibrant cultural scene, Hyde Park’s perks are some of the best.
The population of around 25,000 has experienced a renaissance of growth over the last several years, as new residential and business construction projects have developed. have been home to some of Chicago’s most prominent citizens, including Barack Obama, who has owned a house there since 2005. Hyde Park served as the setting for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and Columbian Exposition, which influenced a building boom. Many of the resulting around the lakefront have since been converted to apartment buildings and condominiums. Residents of Hyde Park are racially and ethnically diverse, and vary in age. Longtime residents of the South Side live and work alongside the 16,000 students at the University of Chicago (the campus is in the southeast portion of the neighborhood).
Lake Michigan serves as the western border of Hyde Park, with Hyde Park Boulevard drawing the northern line, Midway Plaisance on the south and Washington Park on the east. The area around 53rd Street is the neighborhood’s oldest shopping district, while 57th Street is known for its independent bookstores. The 1.68-square-mile neighborhood is walkable and bikeable, especially around the university, where bike lanes exist. The heavily used public transit options feeding the neighborhood include nine bus lines and one rail line.
Hyde Park boasts a rich cultural scene that dates back to its founding in 1853. The Hyde Park Art Center hosts regular exhibitions, as well as the annual 57th Street Art Fair. The Hyde Park Jazz Society produces shows on Sundays, and co-sponsors the Hyde Park Jazz Festival every September. The Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House is an architectural gem, while the neo-classical Museum of Science and History, which opened in 1933, is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere.