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Hyde Park: Chicago’s South Side Gem

Hyde Park is one of Chicago’s most vibrant and culturally diverse neighborhoods. It is situated on the South Side between the shores of Lake Michigan and Washington Park, and is best known as the home of the University of Chicago as well as the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s also well known for being the home of President Barack Obama and will eventually house the Obama Presidential Center.

Over the years, Hyde Park has attracted a diverse range of residents that are very passionate about their community. With beautiful historic homes, lush parks and plenty to do, it’s a great place to live on Chicago’s South Side.

Where is Hyde Park?

Hyde Park is located approximately seven miles south of Chicago’s downtown Loop. Its official borders are Lake Michigan to the east, the Midway Plaisance to the south, Cottage Grove Avenue to the east and Hyde Park Boulevard to the north. Sometimes these borders are extended to include parts of surrounding communities like Kenwood or Woodlawn.


Hyde Park was initially settled in the 1850s when a businessman named Paul Cornell purchased land there. Up until then, the area had been rural, but it appealed to residents because of its proximity to Lake Michigan. It quickly became an affluent suburb, and was eventually incorporated as its own township. The city of Chicago annexed Hyde Park in 1889.


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Two years later, the University of Chicago was founded in Hyde Park, and the neighborhood also hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. This brought even more residents to the area, and it also transformed into a lakeside resort destination in the summer. Many buildings from the early 20th century are still standing in Hyde Park’s historic districts. In the second half of the 20th century, the neighborhood began to integrate, and today it remains an important center for the Black community in Chicago.


What To Do

One of the most popular attractions in the Hyde Park neighborhood is the Museum of Science and Industry. This massive museum features science exhibits and interactive displays that cater to both children and adults. The Museum of Science and Industry campus is also home to the Palace of Fine Arts, which is the one remaining structure from the World’s Columbian Exposition.


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Hyde Park is also known for its beautiful parks and beaches. The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Jackson Park, which contains lagoons, a Japanese garden, a driving range and walking trails. The Barack Obama Presidential Center will also open in Jackson Park once construction is complete. Just north of Jackson Park is Promontory Point, a popular picnic spot located right on Lake Michigan. 57th Street Beach and 63rd Street Beach are also accessible from Hyde Park and are very popular in the summer.


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There are plenty of things to do on the University of Chicago campus, as well. The Smart Museum of Art, DuSable Museum of African-American History and the Oriental Institute Museum are located on the campus. Washington Park and the Midway Plaisance Park surround the campus and are home to a boat dock, swimming pool, baseball fields and even a skating rink in the winter.

Where To Eat And Drink

There are plenty of excellent places to eat and drink in Hyde Park. Most of the area’s small businesses are concentrated between 53rd and 57th streets between Woodlawn and Lake Park Avenues. If you’re looking for an upscale dinner, be sure to check out Virtue Restaurant or Nella Pizza e Pasta.

Mesler Kitchen and Ascione Bistro are also great spots for dining. For something more casual, check out Ja’Grill for flavorful Jamaican food as well as The Soul Shack for southern comfort food.


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Hyde Park is also home to former President Obama’s favorite restaurant, Valois Restaurant. This unpretentious diner serves affordable and satisfying classics for breakfast and lunch. Since the University of Chicago is located in Hyde Park, there are also plenty of daytime cafes that are popular study spots for students. Some of these include Plein Air Cafe and Sip & Savor.


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Moving To Hyde Park

Real Estate Snapshot

Hyde Park is known for its historic homes and apartment buildings. While there are many larger apartment complexes, there are also some single-family homes available. The average price for apartments for rent in Hyde Park is $1,431 per month. This is much more affordable than the average rent for the city of Chicago, which is currently $1,908 per month.


Hyde Park residents have plenty of options when it comes to transportation. For those who have a car, it is very easy to access Lake Shore Drive, and it’s just a quick 15-minute drive downtown. The Chicago Transit Authority also operates buses that run straight to downtown and on to other parts of the north side. For those who are willing to walk, the end of the Green Line L train is in the nearby Woodlawn neighborhood. Metra commuter trains also stop in the heart of Hyde Park during the day, and connect to downtown as well as other parts of the south side.

Schools & Employment

The University of Chicago is the largest school as well as the largest employer in the area. Not only does the school employ professors and other educational staff, but there are also opportunities in its museums as well as at UChicago Medicine. Elementary and high school students have plenty of options in the area as well, with both public and private schools. There is even a high school for the arts in Washington Park.

Looking to rent in Hyde Park? Be sure to check out RentCafe for all of the hottest listings in the area! You’ll find options for every budget and apartment type.

Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email. Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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