Chicago visitors tend to gravitate toward the hustle and bustle of downtown with its as-seen-on-Instagram sites such as the Bean, museums and Navy Pier.
Try something new during your visit by stepping off the beaten path and into one of the city’s 77 unique neighborhoods. Each has its own, one-of-a-kind places to shop, eat and explore. Need a little guidance? No problem.
This week’s spotlight: Hyde Park.
Summary: Located roughly six miles south of the Loop, the lakefront neighborhood houses the Museum of Science and Industry, the University of Chicago and is home turf to a local guy named Barack Obama.
Map of Hyde Park via Kant on Institution
The eatery offers a classic, cafeteria-style breakfast. But don’t let the “cafeteria” part send you running, because this is not your elementary school-style French toast sticks. Valois is a favorite among locals and VIPs alike – we’re looking at you, Mr. President. Need proof? There’s an Obama’s Favorites Menu — try the #1 N.Y. steak and eggs. This place is cash only, so have your Washingtons and Lincolns handy to avoid paying ATM fees inside.
Museum of Science and Industry
From Legos and mirror mazes, from flight simulators to fairy castles, this museum offers something for everyone. With 400,000 square feet of exhibits that range from traditional museum displays, to movies and interactive stations, MSI aims to keep the kiddos entertained, and parents will be right there with them.
Designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House – located on the University of Chicago campus – can be admired from the sidewalk. Or, take a guided tour to get a look inside. If you’re looking for a fun fall date night, the home will be open Fridays in October for after-hours cocktail parties with drinks, live jazz and tours.
This café is straight from a Pinterest board. The back patio is perfect for enjoying a baguette sandwich or an artisan coffee. It’s tucked in the shadows of the Robie House, a great stop before or after your architectural tour.
On point. This former landfill was transformed in the 1930s to a man-made peninsula poking into Lake Michigan. Today, it’s a favorite picnic and wedding spot offering a unique view of the Chicago skyline from its limestone steps. With plenty of transportation options — you can drive, take a bus or Divvy bike down Lake Shore Drive – there’s no excuse not to visit.
Food. Drinks. Music. It’s got it all. The eatery offers rare food experience – hearth to table. For non-foodies, that means meals are cooked over an open fireplace with sections dedicated to quick grills, or long, slow roasts. The flavors follow suit, and it doesn’t hurt that the chefs have a few Michelin stars under their belts. Finish your meal with a serving of live music offered almost every night.