This is the second installment of a multi-part series about living in Hyde Park.
Beyond having a great neighborhood feel and extremely affordable housing, Hyde Park offers a lot in the way of amenities. While it admittedly doesn’t have an incredible night life—you’ll likely have to take a bus/train/car downtown for that—it does offer a lot of great shopping and restaurants. A few of the highlights here:
53rd and 57th Streets in Hyde Park are some of the main shopping areas in the neighborhood. The University of Chicago has been helping to develop 53rd street and just finished a large multi-use building called Harper Court with several boutiques as well as some large chain retailers. 57th street is further south by the university, and offers an eclectic mix of shops, including some famous bookstores such as Powell’s Bookstore.
In terms of shopping for groceries and other staples, Hyde Park has you covered as well. The area has a large Chicago-based supermarket called Treasure Island, as well as the smaller but very reasonably priced Hyde Park Produce (which is commonly referred to as HPP). Additionally, a new development with a Whole Foods is coming to Hyde Park sometime in 2015, and if you have a car there is a new Walmart Neighborhood market in the Kenwood neighborhood just north of Hyde Park. For your “frosty beverage” needs, most students head to Kimbark Beverage, which is conveniently located next to Hyde Park Produce. For the most part my family does most of our shopping at Walmart, with smaller in-between trips to HPP (as suggested by the name they specialize in good produce, so it’s great to have the option to capitalize on their fresh fruits and veggies), but lots of other students/families do all of their shopping at HPP.
In terms of restaurants, Hyde Park has a great mix of old classics and new favorites, and everything from only-in-Chicago establishments to well-known chains. For those special occasions, two newly opened restaurants (A10 and The Promontory) offer a great atmosphere. On the slightly less formal side, you have places like Cedars, The Nile, Ja’ Grill, Porkchop, Kikuya, President Obama’s favorite – Valois, and the famous Medici (which is only about a block away from Booth). Of these options, I’m personally a big fan of Cedars and Medici. Both restaurants are relatively kid-friendly and offer reasonably priced but tasty food (I really like the shawarma at Cedars and Medici’s pastries and Mexicana Hot Chocolate are always a hit with the kids). Hyde Park also boasts some south-side favorites such as Harold’s Chicken Shack, Uncle Joe’s Jerk Chicken, and Ragin Cajun (which despite the name actually serves very good Indian food). If you’re looking for more of a quick meal from a chain, Hyde Park has Chipotle, Potbelly’s, Five Guys, Papa John’s Pizza, and the classic Chicago pizza shop Giordano’s to name a few outlets. Giordano’s is great and one of my favorite deep dish joints in Chicago, just be aware that it takes about 45 minutes to cook one of these cheesy delicacies! Finally, establishments like the Woodlawn Tap, Seven Ten Lanes, and The Checkerboard Lounge (one of the more famous Chicago blues lounges) can be great places for you to relax after a long week of business school.
The bottom line is that the Hyde Park community offers a great mix of pretty much everything you could need. Plus, with the money you can save on rent and transportation by living in Hyde Park, you can have a little extra discretionary cash with which to actually go out and enjoy more of these establishments!