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10 Great Things to See in Chicago's Hyde Park-Kenwood Neighborhood

Home to President Barack Obama

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The Chicago Hyde Park neighborhood is rich in natural beauty, intellectuals, and must-see cultural gems. Now, it also gets billing as home to the President of the United States Barack Obama. Learn more about this popular south side neighborhood and get great tips for planning your visit.

1. Home of Barack Obama

Barack Obama's Home
© Jennifer Roche
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama own a home in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago. After Obama was elected President of the United States, the Secret Service moved in and put the area in a sort of lockdown. You can no longer drive down his street, but you can stroll in his neighborhood and near his home for a sense of his stately life before becoming president. The Obamas, of course, now live in the White House, but they return occasionally to their Chicago home.

Location:
5000 Block of South Greenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL

Related: Barack Obama Photo Galleries

2. Museum of Science & Industry

© Joe Ziolkowski/MSI Chicago
The MSI Chicago is one of the few remaining structures from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. In the 1920s, retailing magnate Julius Rosenwald envisioned the enormous building as a center for science and technology, which led to its current use. Now, for more than 75 years, it has been Chicago's premiere spot for science and technology exploration. It's a must-see for children and adults, too. Related: Free Days at the Museum of Science and Industry

Location:
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637-2093
(773)684-1414

3. The University of Chicago - 10 Great Things to See

© Jennifer Roche
The University of Chicago is at the center of the vibe of the Hyde Park community. Established by John D. Rockefeller and offering classes since 1892, the institution long ago solidified its world-wide reputation. Their faculty, students, and researchers have won more than 80 Nobel Prizes. It's a great place to visit because so much of the university's cultural institutions and best sites are open to the public. Find our top 10 picks for visiting the University of Chicago here. Each is open and accessible to the public.

4. Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap

Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap
© Jennifer Roche
You know how bars can become neighborhood and institutional institutions? This is the University of Chicago's. It's a famed watering hole that every University member seems to pass through at least once. And, some of them, a lot more than that. Of course, the Starbucks right next door came a little later in the bar's history.

Location:
1172 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 643-5516

5. Hyde Park Parrots

© Jennifer Roche
I couldn't believe wild parrots could survive in a city setting as harsh as ours, but there they were one day as I was driving through Hyde Park. Their squawks sounded way more Petco than Chicago. Learn more about these hearty birds and how you can catch a glimpse of their thriving Chicago population.

6. DuSable Museum of African American History

DuSable Museum
© Jennifer Roche
The local keeper of African American history has grown into the largest institution of its kind in the country. With a focus on African and American history of people of African descent and a history dating more than 40 years, the DuSable is a Top 10 Chicago Museum.

Location:
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637
(773)947-0600

7. Robie House

Robie House
© Jennifer Roche
Frank Lloyd Wright completed this home in 1910. It is considered among his finest architectural achievements and was the first Chicago Landmark building. In 2001, the building began extensive renovation with its unveiling set for its 100th anniversary.

Location:
58th and Woodlawn
Chicago, IL

8. 57th Street Books & The Seminary Co-op

Seminary Co-op
© Jennifer Roche
No joke: These are two of the finest independent bookstores on the planet. The serious-minded Seminary Co-op Bookstore and the little-more-lively 57th Street Books can be found a short walk from one another. Enjoy them both.

Locations:

Seminary Co-op
5757 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773)752-4381

57th Street Books
1301 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773)684-1300

9. Jackson Park

Technically, only the northern part of Jackson Park is in Hyde Park while the southern part is in the community area of Woodlawn, but that's close enough to make the list and ensure that you don't overlook this south side natural gem. The Osaka Garden is a definite highlight.

Location:
6401 S. Stony Island Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 256-0903

10. Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center
© Jennifer Roche
HPAC has a more than 70 year history and a mission to "stimulate and sustain the visual arts in Chicago." The thriving art center hosts exhibits, classes, lectures, performances, and more.

Location:
5020 S. Cornell
Chicago, IL 60615
(773)324-5520

11. Valois Diner

Valois Diner
© Jennifer Roche
Rumored to be Barack Obama's favorite breakfast spot and long promoted with the uncommon tag line "See Your Food." When I called to confirm their breakfast hours, the man who answered the phone said, "Til 4 o'clock. Every day. 79 years." Then he hung up. They also operate under the tag line "See Your Food." Need to know anything more to want to visit? I thought not.

Location:
1518 E. 53rd Street
Chicago, IL
(773)667-0647

What do you recommend to friends when they say they want to explore Hyde Park?

Our list of the 10 Great Things to See and Do in Hyde Park Chicago by no means exhausts the depth of great stuff to do in the neighborhood. What do you recommend to friends when they say they want to explore Hyde Park?
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