The best attractions in Hyde Park

You'll find gorgeous parks, a gigantic museum, a Frank Lloyd Wright house and more great attractions in Hyde Park
Photograph: Steven Kevil/Wiki Commons Osaka Garden at Jackson Park
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Back in 1893, Hyde Park hosted the ultimate attraction: The World's Columbian Exposition, a celebration of American art and culture that is commemorated with a star on Chicago's flag. Today, the neighborhood is home to one of the city's best museums, some beautiful parks and a few free galleries. Where else can you walk through a Japanese garden, see a Frank Lloyd Wright house and then take in a view of the Chicago skyline? Explore the area with our guide to Hyde Park attractions and things to do.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Hyde Park

Attractions in Hyde Park

Things to do

57th Street Beach

icon-location-pin South Side

Located in Jackson Park, one of Chicago's oldest parks, 57th Street Beach is easily accessible via a pedestrian underpass near the Museum of Science and Industry. A popular destination for sunbathers and parents with kids in tow, the lakefront swath of sand features concessions, restrooms and a life guard first aid station.

Theater

Court Theatre

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For 60 years in heady Hyde Park, on the University of Chicago’s campus, the Court has stood its ground, mounting classics from Sophocles to Stoppard. It’s a healthy diet, though in the last few years, groovy deconstructions of vintage musicals and heightened interest in African-American writers have thickened the mix.

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Attractions, Parks and gardens

Harold Washington Playlot Park

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Named for Chicago's first African-American mayor, Harold Washington Playlot Park offers a playground, tennis courts, chess tables and a motorboat pond to residents of Hyde Park.

Osaka Garden at Jackson Park
Photograph: Steven Kevil/Wiki Commons
Things to do, Literary events

Jackson Park

icon-location-pin Woodlawn

Designed by famous landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Jackson Park became the chosen site for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Today, the 600-acre park offers golf, baseball, a fitness center, basketball, a playground, tennis courts and paths for walking, jogging or biking.

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Things to do, Literary events

Midway Plaisance Park

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During the World Columbian Exposition of 1893, Midway Plaisance Park was filled with amusement park rides and attractions. Today, the park serves as a connector between Jackson and Washington Parks, featuring paths for biking, walking and jogging. It's also the home of the ornate "Fountain of Time" statue, which features Father Time standing over a reflecting pool.

Museums, Science and technology

Museum of Science and Industry

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If you’re into exhibits loaded with interactive bells and whistles, this expansive Hyde Park locale is your ticket. The museum’s focus is broad, with permanent displays that include the popular mirror maze in the "Numbers in Nature" exhibit, the whiz-bang "Science Storms," plus the old faves: a restored U-505 German submarine, a simulated coal mine and a vintage diesel-electric train.

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Things to do

Nichols Park

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With two playgrounds, a baseball diamond and a sandbox, Nichols Park is a popular destination for playdates and after-school programs. The grounds feature community flower and vegetable gardens in addition to a sprawling wildflower meadow.

Things to do

Promontory Point

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There's a good chance that you know at least one person who has considered getting hitched on Promontory Point, a man-made peninsula on the shore of Lake Michigan. Accessible via the Lakefront Trail, the park boasts amazing views of the Chicago skyline and a field house that could be mistaken for a small castle.

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TheRenaissanceSociety.Venue.jpg
Photograph: Tom VanEynde
Museums, Art and design

Renaissance Society

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As far as this gallery of the University of Chicago’s campus is concerned, the avantest of the avant-garde is the only one that matters. As for the name, well, the university wants to broaden the definition of renaissance. (Think less Michelangelo, more the Next Michelangelo, in other words.) The white walls and high ceiling create a hyper-resonant environment. Many European avant-garde stars get their only Chicago exposure here, and the shows are free.

RevaAndDavidLoganCenter.venue.jpg
Photograph: Tom Rossiter
Things to do, Schools and universities

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

icon-location-pin Woodlawn

After Reva and David Logan provided the University of Chicago with a $35 million gift, the money was used to create a hub for the arts on the school's Hyde Park campus. The 184,000-square-foot building houses galleries, studios, a performance space, a cafe and an outdoor courtyard.

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