3 Great Chicago Neighborhoods to Explore
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Not many people outside of Chicago had heard of Hyde Park/Kenwood until President Obama rose to power. But he's hardly the first famous person to have lived here. Since the 1880s, Chicago's elite have filled these mansions 7 miles south of the Loop: Max Adler, founder of the Adler Planetarium; meatpacking mogul Gustavus Swift; Sears and Roebuck CEO Julius Rosenwald; and, more recently, Louis Farrakhan and Muhammad Ali.
At the heart of Hyde Park, the University of Chicago breeds culture like it pumps out Nobel Prizes (87 so far). Architecture buffs tour the restored Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Frederick C. Robie House. Coffeehouses and bookshops thrive here, from the labyrinthine basement at 57th Street Books to the musty O'Gara and Wilson.
Still, Hyde Park balances its brains with natural beauty, thanks to landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and city planner Daniel Burnham. They converted this marshy area into the iconic White City for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The fair's Palace of Fine Arts became Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, which backs to Jackson Park's woodsy paths and tranquil lagoons. The grassy Midway Plaisance, once the exposition's carnival area, ends at the DuSable Museum of African-American History, whose slogan—"DuSomething Great Today"—seems fitting. Hyde Park definitely isn't a neighborhood that rests on old accomplishments. -- Kit Bernardi
Click ahead for our Trip Guide to Hyde Park/Kenwood plus details on Roscoe Village/Northcenter and Logan Square. For more information, neighborhood maps and guided tours, contact Chicago's Office of Tourism. (877) 244-2246; explorechicago.org
Pictured: The Museum of Science and Industry's South Pavilion overlooks Jackson Park and the Osaka Garden.