Hyde Park is a bustling hub of creativity and learning. Perhaps best known as the home of The University of Chicago, as well as the location of Obama's crib, the south side Chicago neighborhood also boasts the Science and Industry Museum, lakefront walkways, the Midway Plaisance, and more. While it's difficult to select just three (I could easily make a top ten), I decided to list a few spots that I frequent on a regular basis during my lunch breaks. I've been working down here for three years and I seem to find something new every week. Special shout-out to The Nile (shawarma game strong), Ja' Grill (goat curry game strong), and Z+H (Little Pecorino, I see you). I would have included the Regenstein Library and the Mansueto Library in this list, but I work at those locations, and who wants to include their work on a list of things to do, even if they're soothing locations full of rare books?
1.) 57th Street Books
As part of Hyde Park's Seminary Co-op, this book store is nestled nicely into a corner spot on 57th Street. The window displays of books change almost every week, with plenty of events and activities scheduled for the neighborhood. For example, this upcoming Saturday, they're celebrating Roald Dahl turning 100 (RIP) with activities planned for all ages. Along with great events and a strong display case, they also host plenty of great novels, comics, and zines. I try to stop by at least once a month.
2.) Medici on 57th
Home to my favorite sandwich in Chicago, Medici on 57th is far and away my most frequented spot in Hyde Park. I almost always grab the Napoli sub and an iced coffee, but they also have incredible milkshakes, pizza, burgers, pastries, and apple croissants. Oh, and parfaits. Oh, and Obama used to eat there. They even sell T-shirts boasting this fact. Medici has both a great dine-in location as well as a side deli/bakery/cafe for something a bit quicker. If I don't stop at Medici while down in Hyde Park for work, something traumatic has happened to me on that particular day. It's a rare occasion.
3.) Smart Museum of Art
While I don't visit the Smart Museum enough, it remains one of the most slept on spots in all of Hyde Park. Not only is the ever-changing art museum free to enter and explore, but it also hosts a side cafe where you can grab sandwiches, coffee, candy, and more. This is the perfect spot for a cheap date or a lunch break when you want to feel inspired in a quiet location. They also have plenty of events. Tonight, for example, they are hosting 'Coffee and Calligraphy' for UChicago students. If you're lucky, you might catch some live jazz happening in the museum's outdoor area. Be sure to enjoy their new photography exhibit as well as plenty of ongoing contemporary, European, and Asian art. Did I mention it's free?