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Things to Do in Hyde Park

The things to do in Hyde Park are centered around the University of Chicago Campus and the neighborhood’s history as the location of the 1893 World’s Fair.

The things to do in Hyde Park are centered around the University of Chicago Campus and the neighborhood's history as the location of the 1893 World's Fair.

Hyde Park was settled after Paul Cornell purchased 300 acres of land directly south of the Chicago city limits and along Lake Michigan in 1853. After the Chicago Fire of 1871, many of Chicago’s business leaders built large estates in the growing neighborhood. The village of Hyde Park was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889, and shortly thereafter, the neighborhood was selected as the site for the University of Chicago.

When Chicago was chosen as the location for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 (the World’s Fair), it helped to further develop Hyde Park. The neighborhood’s largest park, Jackson Park, was designed in 1871 and it underwent significant changes to become the site for the World’s Fair. While many of the structures and landscapes built for the fair were temporary, some including the Museum of Science and Industry, the “Golden Lady” replica of the Statue of The Republic, and the Osaka Japanese Garden remain. Today, the park is the site of the Barack Obama Presidential Center which is under construction.

Last updated: April 2022

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Where is Hyde Park?

Hyde Park is neighborhood located along Lake Michigan on the South Side of Chicago. Hyde Park is bordered by Washington Park to the west, Hyde Park Boulevard to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, and the Midway Plaisance to the south.

How to Get to Hyde Park:

The Metra stops at 55th-56th-57th Streets and at the University of Chicago. The closest L stops, the Green Line’s 51st St and Garfield Park stations, are located on the other side of Washington Park.

Parks and Outdoor Activities:

Japanese Garden

An authentic Japanese garden located within Jackson Park that was gifted to Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair to symbolize mutual respect and friendship. The park has a Shinto Gate, a moon bridge, a pavilion, and traditional Japanese horticulture. The park’s cherry trees usually blossom in late April or early May. This garden is also referred to as Garden of the Phoenix and Osaka Garden.

Jackson Park

A large 550 acre park spanning the east of Hyde Park along Lake Michigan that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who also designed Central Park. This park was the site of the 1893 World’s Fair and is home to the Museum of Science and Industries, the Osaka Garden, the Garden of the Phoenix, the “Golden Lady” Statue of The Republic, and Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING. The park grounds feature the Bobolink Meadows nature trail, vegetable and flower gardens, three harbors, the 63 Street Beach, basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, a golf course, and a driving range.

Washington Park

This 345 acre park is at the western border of Hyde Park and is home to the Washington Park Arboretum, the Fountain of Time Sculpture, and the DuSable Museum of African American History. The park facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, cricket fields, two gymnasiums, a photography lab, a dance studio, a racquetball court, softball fields, a Harvest Garden, and a nature area. Like Jackson Park, the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

57th Street Beach and 63rd Street Beach

Two sandy beaches located within Jackson Park on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Midway Plaisance

A green stretch of land that connects Washington Park and Jackson Park and runs along the south of the University of Chicago campus. The park has an ice rink in the winter which is used for roller skating in the warmer months.

Burnham Park

Burnham Park is a huge 650 acre park that runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline connecting Grant Park and Jackson Park. The park includes a skate park at 31st Street, a bird sanctuaries, and several beaches.

Promontory Point

Located at the southern end of Burnham Park, Promontory Point is a man-made peninsula on the shores of Lake Michigan.


Frederick C. Robie House

The Robie House in Hyde Park is a UNESCO Wold Heritage site and one of a handful of examples or Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in the Chicago-area. This home is considered to be one of the finest examples of Prairie Style Architecture, an American architectural style pioneered by Wright. The home was designed completely by Wright between 1909 and 1910. The plan included the interior and exterior architecture, furniture, and decorative elements. 

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust conducts several different guided tours of the house. Children under the age of 8 are not permitted on the tours.

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

A Gothic Revival style chapel on the University of Chicago Campus gifted to the university by John D. Rockefeller. The grand stone chapel has more than 100 sculptures and has a 72-bell carillon. Today the chapel is used for performing arts events and weekly 11 am Sunday services. There are several ways to visit the chapel: carillon tours are open to the public, on Tuesdays at 4pm the organ is played, and the chapel is open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 am until 5 pm.

Obama’s Homes

President Barack Obama has resided at two addresses in Hyde Park. He lived at 5429 Harper Avenue while working as a community organized after law school. The Obama family purchased the home at 5046 South Greenwood Avenue in 2005 – it’s technically just across the Hyde Park border and in Kenwood. Neither are open for tours but you can walk by.

Museum of Science and Industry

This museum was designed by Charles B. Atwood as The Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (the World’s Fair). It is one of only two buildings from the World’s Fair that is still standing today since many of the buildings were temporary structures. The museum is absolutely massive and contains exhibits on space, transportation, and farming. It also contains a German U-boat from WWII.

The University of Chicago

Tours focusing on the university’s museums and architecture are available, or opt to stroll through campus and admiring the Gothic style architecture.


Museum of Science and Industry

It’s easy to spend a full day in this massive museum with exhibits about space travel, farming, and transportation. While the museum is geared towards children, adults like to see the German U-boat.

DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum is the nation’s oldest independent African American museum and is dedicated to exploring the African American experience and accomplishments. The collection includes over 15,000 paintings sculptures, printed works, and pieces of historical memorabilia.

Smart Museum of Art

The University of Chicago’s art museum is free and open to the public. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions, has permanent collections that take on topics like identity and performance, Chicago, abstractions, and landscape and environment, and has an outdoor sculpture garden.

Oriental Museum

A museum and research center dedicated to the study of the ancient Near East. The collection spans 10,000 years of history and aims to reveal, protect, and understand the earliest civilizations. There are galleries dedicated to Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the Levant.


Hyde Park Art Center

A visual arts organization and hub for contemporary arts hosting both solo and group shows. Exhibits are free and open to the public seven days a week. The Hyde Park Arts Center also offers art courses in subjects like painting, drawing, ceramics, textiles, mosaics, and photography for youth, teens, adults, and people 65 and older.

Renaissance Society

A cutting-edge contemporary art gallery with free admission on the University of Chicago campus. Artists including Kara Walker, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Kosuth, Joan Jonas, and Kerry James Marshall all made their Chicago debuts here. The Ren hosts events including artist talks, book launches, discussions, screenings, performances, and concerts.


A gallery that seeks to inspire social innovation through art and that believes art is for everyone. In addition to art exhibitions, the gallery hosts concerts, book signings, and other events.

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Located on the University of Chicago campus, the Logan Center hosts concerts, exhibits, and art programs from students and local artists. The active calendar of events includes thesis exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, readings, and art shows.


Court Theater

This theaters has a professional ensemble that produces classic plays is affiliated with the University of Chicago. The 2022/2023 season includes Arsenic and Old Lace, The Island, Fen, and The Gospel at Colonus.

Harper Theater

A cinema that opened in 1913. The architecture of the building is a prime example of the Prairie Style and the building is on The National Register of Historic Places. The theater shows first-run films.

Doc Films

A student-run film society at the University of Chicago that was founded in 1932 that screens films at the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall (1212 East 59th Street). Screenings are open to the public and single tickets are $7.

Things to Do in Hyde Park:

The Silver Room

A boutique, gallery, event space, center of Hyde Park culture, and mastermind behind the annual Sound System Block Party. The Silver Room is not to be missed. Drop in to shop books, apparel, accessories, and gifts or attend an event like a DJ set, an open mic, a political discussion, or an art show.


A sculpture by Yoko Ono symbolizing wishes for peace for the future located on Jackson Park’s Wooded Island. The sculpture features twelve stainless steel lotus pedals emerging from the ground.

Jackson Park Driving Range

Located at 63rd Street and Lake Shore Drive, this driving range had club rental available and is open from 8 am until 8 pm daily.

Jackson Park Golf Course

An 18-hole golf course with tee times available for under $30.

Hyde Park Farmers Market

This farmers market takes from from 9 am – 1 pm on Sundays from June through September on 54th Street between Old Lake and Park Avenue.

Hyde Park Records

Buy, sell, and trade new and used vinyl and CDs at Hyde Park’s only record store. Hyde Park Records is known for their selection of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel.

Midway Plaisance Ice Rink

During the winter an ice rink is located at the Midway Plaisance between Woodlawn Avenue and Dorchester Avenue.

Music Venues:

The Promontory

The Promontory hosts a wide variety music genres and events, including Prince tribute dance parties, reggae and soul concerts, drag balls, marketplaces, and Gay Pride events.

Chant Restaurant

A restaurant that hosts jazz and blues bands on Saturday nights from 6 pm until 9 pm.

Comedy Clubs:

The Revival

An improvisational theater that celebrates that fact that improv was born in Hyde Park. In addition to hosting improv shows, The Revival hosts adult classes, youth classes, camps, and workshops.

Annual Events in Hyde Park:

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

A free event ($10 donation suggested) dedicated to supporting jazz music. The 2021 event showcased over two dozen bands. The next event is scheduled for September 24-25 2022.

2022 Hyde Park Jazz Festival Benefit and Concert

An event taking place on June 14 at The Promontory featuring a concert from the Charles Heath Xperience.

57th Street Art Fair

The goal of this event is to present local artists and craftspeople to the art buying public. The 75th annual 57th Street Art Fair will be held June 4-5, 2022.

Chicago Urban Pride Festival / Gay Pride Day Picnic

A free family-friendly pride event taking place on June 26, 2022 featuring DJs, entertainment, dance performances, and drag shows. A ticketed after-party is hosted at The Promontory. This is the South Side’s largest pride event.

Chosen Few DJs

A house music festival scheduled to take place on July 2, 2022, in Jackson Park. This massive event with 40,000 attendees celebrates Chicago as the birthplace of house music.

Sound System Block Party / Silver Room Block Party

An annual summertime block party hosted by The Silver Room featuring food, drinks, community vendors, and music. This party is considered to be THE event of the year in Hyde Park. The 2022 dates have not been announced yet.

Silver Skates

A speed skating competition for children (6 and up) and adults that takes place at the Midway Plaisance ice rink each January.