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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The best attractions and things to do in Bronzeville

Explore museums, public art, beaches and more of the best attractions and things to do in Bronzeville

Written by
Grace Perry
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Bronzeville has been brimming with one-of-a-kind attractions and things to do for decades. The historically African-American neighborhood was a landing pad for new Chicagoans during the Great Migration, and soon blossomed with art, literature, and, of course, jazz. This history beats through Bronzeville today. Currently home to some of Chicago’s best blues clubs, delicious comfort food, world-class monuments and museums, knowing Chicago is incomplete without knowing Bronzeville. Take a walk through Chicago’s history at these enriching attractions and things to do in Bronzeville. 

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Bronzeville

Attractions and things to do in Bronzeville

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Douglas
Founded in 2005, Gallery Guichard is Bronzeville's premiere art gallery, specializing in art of the African diaspora. The gallery hosts new exhibitions ever four to six weeks, showcasing everything from painting to furniture and everything in-between. 
  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Douglas
Bronzeville is home to the Illinois Institute of Technology, whose campus is rich with the revolutionary work of architect Mies van der Rohe. As such, IIT offers a self-guided Mies van der Rohe audio tour. The tour includes van der Rohe's masterpiece, S.R. Crown Hall, one of the most influential buildings in contemporary architecture.
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  • Art
  • Public art
  • Near South Side
Alison Saar's 1994 work, "Monument to the Great Northern Migration," honors the more than six million African-Americans who traveled from the South to Chicago from 1910 to 1970. The sculpture depicts a man oriented and pointing northward, suitcase in hand, his entire outfit made of the worn soles of his shoes. It's situated at the historic entrance to Bronzeville, a neighborhood that boomed thanks to the Great Migration.
  • Things to do
  • Oakland
Ellis Park is one of the oldest green spaces in Chicago, named for Samuel Ellis, who fought for Chicago in the 1832 Black Hawk War. In 2016, Ellis Park opened its Arts and Recreation Center, which boasts multi-purpose arts spaces, a five-lane pool, gymnasium, fitness center, and more. And, of course, with these fantastic facilities come a slew of afterschool and summer youth programs.
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  • Art
  • Public art
  • Douglas
Erected by the City of Chicago in 1927, the Victory Monument commemorates the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American division founded in 1871. The regiment garnered national attention in World War I, as they played a critical role in finally driving the Germans out of France prior to the Armistice.
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  • Art
  • Public art
  • Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas was a longtime 19th century Illinois politician, perhaps best known as the guy who lost the presidency to Abraham Lincoln. The Illinois senator died in Chicago in 1961 and was buried on Lake Michigan. This tomb and monument features a 46-foot marble of column, topped by a 10-foot statue of Douglas.
  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Kenwood
Though it sits on Muddy Waters Drive, this South Bronzeville/North Kenwood club is far more bop than blues. It plays host to the Hyde Park Jazz Society on Sunday nights ($10, students $5), an under the radar option for traditionalists. Names like Fred Jackson and Victor Goines pass through and blow between the brick walls.
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31st Street Beach
  • Things to do
  • Bronzeville/Oakland
This South Side beach features amazing views of the Chicago skyline in addition to a harbor for small boats. A nearby park includes a picnic area and a public fishing dock. Amenities include concessions, restrooms, lockers and a life guard first aid station. The Seuss-like playground is wavy and curvy with lots of things to climb on: monkey bars, slides, net-like things. Kids love the rail slide, in which you slide down on/between two rails.
Harold Washington Cultural Center
  • Things to do
  • Grand Boulevard
  • price 1 of 4
The Harold Washington Cultural Center is a performing arts facility and non-profit organization which opened in 2004. This creative space is home to a variety of local artists and dance groups. Complete with a 1,000 seat theater, a video editing lab, a recording studio and more, the space aims to bolster the South Side's most creative voices.
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