Right on Lake Michigan, seven miles south of downtown, Hyde Park/South Kenwood is home to 43,000 people, including more than 60 percent of the University's faculty and a great majority of its students. The area was settled in the 1850s as an elegant suburb and is among the most desirable places to live in the city of Chicago. Many new homes have been built in recent years to meet the demand from those wishing to move here. Hyde Park has a history of social activism, political leadership, and community life; it is also the site of renowned museums and architectural landmarks. The tourist guide to Chicago in the famous Michelin series devotes seven pages to the neighborhood—and eight more to the University itself!
Life here can be both sophisticated and friendly, lively and tranquil. Hyde Park has been cited nationally as among the most successful racially and economically integrated urban communities in the United States. For students, it provides the essentials of life along with enough diversions to keep boredom at bay when a trip elsewhere in the city is not practical.
The streets of Hyde Park
In the neighborhood, there are a few main streets you'll use often—to buy groceries, get a bite to eat, and run necessary errands:
- 47th Street: Between the Metra tracks and Woodlawn you will find two shopping centers that include Walgreens and Citibank, as well as restaurants, services, and Bally Sports Club.
- 53rd Street: This is Hyde Park's main business strip, from Woodlawn Avenue on the west to Hyde Park Boulevard on the east. The many stores and restaurants make 53rd Street a principal commercial area for the South Side of Chicago.
- 55th Street: Walgreens drug store (open 24 hours), Elston Ace Hardware, Treasure Island supermarket, Office Depot, and specialty shops are located in the Hyde Park Shopping Center at Lake Park Avenue. Many other businesses, including three Thai restaurants, are on the eastern end of 55th Street, near the lakefront.
- 57th Street: Between Kimbark and Harper are bookstores, a bank, haircutters, grocers, a bakery, and restaurants.