Though we are sheltering-in-place per the guidance of the state government, members of the Booth community have a lot to share about our experiences exploring the city prior to COVID-19. Since accepted students are regrettably unable to visit Chicago in-person during this time, we at The Booth Experience are excited to help bring some of the various neighborhoods throughout Chicago to you through our Neighborhood Spotlight series. The series kicked off last year (so look back at past posts for more articles), but we’re starting back up by featuring none other than Hyde Park, home to Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program.
Hyde Park Overview
Located on the South Side of Chicago, Hyde Park has a little bit of everything: sandy beaches along the lakefront, lush gardens and quiet parks, architectural landmarks, a bustling downtown with great restaurants and bars, and of course, a world-renown institution. While most Booth students do not choose to live in Hyde Park, instead favoring the tall buildings and higher population densities of various neighborhoods in the Loop, we come down to Hyde Park via the Metra Electric Line for class. At roughly 1.6 miles2, however, there is a lot to see outside of Booth’s Harper Center!
(1) Where to go for a peaceful walk: Osaka Garden
Osaka Garden is a beautiful Japanese garden located on Jackson Park’s Wooded Island. Originally created as part of the Japanese Pavilion for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and named the Garden of the Phoenix, Osaka Garden features a footbridge, serene waterfalls, and a permanent art exhibit created by Yoko Ono called SKYLANDING. In 1973, Garden of the Phoenix was renamed Osaka Garden when Chicago and Osaka developed a sister-city relationship. Though it has evolved in its 100+ year history, Osaka Garden remains a symbol of peace, as well as a refuge for many varieties of migrating birds.
(2) Where to nerd out: Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry holds the record of being the largest science center in the western hemisphere. The building also has roots in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, as it is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts created for the event. While the museum always has rotating exhibits, there are certain staples, such as a World War II U-505 German Submarine (the only one in the U.S.) and the Baby Chick Hatchery, where visitors can learn about DNA from the cutest and fluffiest of teachers.
(3) Where to visit an architectural landmark: The Frederick C. Robie House
A National Historic Landmark located right on The University of Chicago campus, the Robie House is a single-family home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909. The house is in the Prairie style, which is the first architectural style to be considered uniquely American. After passing through a series of private owners, in 1957, the Robie House was set to be demolished by the Chicago Theological Seminary, who planned to build a dormitory for its students. With the help of two University of Chicago fraternities, including Wright’s own brotherhood, Phi Delta Theta, the Robie House was saved and purchased by real estate developer and friend of Wright, William Zeckendorf. Zeckendorf donated the building to The University of Chicago, who, together with the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, later restored the house to its current state. Today, the house is open to the public for daily tours.
(4) Where to hear beautiful music: Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
Also located on The University of Chicago campus, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is a Gothic Revival chapel that doubles as the largest musical instrument ever built. Inside the Chapel, the Carillon features a set of 72 bells that comprise 100 tons of bronze. It is the sister instrument to Riverside Church in New York City, both instruments being designed by the Gillette & Johnson bell foundry in the 1930s. Students enrolled at The University of Chicago can take classes to learn to play the carillon, while recitals and tours are open to the public.
(5) Where to grab a quick and casual bite: Saucy Porka
Both 53rd and 57th Streets feature a number of innovative yet tasty spots for a quick bite. In between classes, you can often find Boothies posted up at one of these restaurants or cafés, having lunch and perhaps finishing some last-minute homework. My current favorite is Saucy Porka, a fusion of Co-Chefs Amy Le and Rafael Lopez’s Asian and Latin roots. Their “bacos” or bao tacos, are delicious and unique.
(6) Where to go on a date (or just sit down for a longer, relaxing meal): Virtue
Virtue, which opened in the fall of 2018, features hearty Southern fare in a cozy space with a welcoming open kitchen. Owner and Executive Chef, Erick Williams, is a Chicago native with an impressive resume, having worked at some of the best restaurants in the city. Crowd favorites include dishes like chicken and waffles, or fried green tomatoes and shrimp, but you really can’t go wrong.
(7) Where to grab a frosty beverage: The Pub
The Pub is a basement bar located on The University of Chicago campus with somewhat of a speakeasy vibe. At least one member of each group of patrons must have a UofC ID to get in, where a $10 annual membership grants you access for the whole year. Students throughout The University can be found here after class, co-mingling, playing trivia, or collecting stamps for their drink “Passport,” in which adventurous (and perhaps prolific) frosty beverage consumers can win t-shirts for their appetite for trying new drinks.
So, as soon as we are all able, come to Hyde Park! We’ll show you around so that you can experience life as a Boothie for yourself.