Yes, Chicago, we love you as a whole, but let’s take a moment to really zero in on one of the city’s best areas: Bronzeville. The South Side neighborhood home to some of the best jazz and blues clubs in Chicago, stunning beaches and a whole lot of local (and national) history. Here’s how to spend an unforgettable, quintessentially Chicago weekend without ever leaving Bronzeville.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete Bronzeville neighborhood guide
Get an official welcome to Bronzeville at this family-owned rib house. Bring a hungry crew, stake out a table and order up a couple of slabs of meaty, tender spareribs, a whole mess of rib tips and a plate of hot links. If you’re still hungry after the main event, juicy smoked chicken and crispy catfish should round things out.
Bronzeville is packed with historically significant spots. Take a tour of Bronzeville's impressive monuments, starting with the Stephen A. Douglas Tomb and Memorial, a 46-foot marble column on Lake Michigan. Head down 35th Street to the Victory Monument, honoring an African-American unit from Illinois that fought in World War I, then finish up at the Monument to the Great Northern Migration.
Dine at Creole-influenced soul-food joint Pearl's Place. You'll likely have to be patient with the long wait, but the pepper-flecked fried chicken and delicious collard greens are well worth the wait. If you're not full after that, finish your meal with the fluffy, caramelized sweet potato pie.
Get a taste of Bronzeville's rich artistic tradition while perusing the latest exhibition at Gallery Guichard. Founded in 2005, the gallery specializes in art from the African diaspora. Gallery Guichard features a new artist every six to eight weeks, so there's always something new to see.
It wouldnt be summer in Bronzeville without a trip to 31st Street Beach, one of Chicago's most beautiful beaches. 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.
Soak up South Side tradition at timeless jazz club, Room 43. 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.
Close our your weekend in Bronzeville with a pick-me-up at neighborhood café Sip and Savor. After that big lunch and lots of walking, you may need a little extra caffeine. With ample tables and Wi-Fi available, find a spot to sit or belly up to the bar and pick your favorite latte (the shop's specialty). Our favorite? The chai tea latte.