Oriental Institute Chicago

Hyde Park might be most known as President Obama's neighborhood and the home of the University of Chicago but this eclectic enclave has a lot more going on beyond these landmarks. From the leafy streets to the bohemian residents, this South Side community stands out from other Chicago hoods. Check out these highlights for a taste of Hyde Park.

Relax at Hyatt Place South (5225 S. Harper Avenue) and get familiar with Hyde Park's local scene  This cozy hotel supplies a welcoming ambiance and proximity to the bustling 53rd St. business district. Hyatt Place South boasts art work from local artists and a lobby cafe that's a favorite for regulars.

Oriental Institute Chicago

Grab a latte and head to the Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th Street), just five blocks away. A hidden treasure, the institute supplies exhibits focusing on ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia. Don't leave without visiting the Suq, the museum shop filled with cool jewelry and knick knacks modeled after artifacts.

Walk a few more blocks to explore the Museum of Science of Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive). Learn about trains, submarines, coal mines and even a fairy castle.

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Both museums are part of a collection of nearby cultural institutions known collectively as Museum Campus South. Stroll back over to 53rd street to sample an array of food.

Choose from Hyde Park institutions like Mellow Yellow (1508 E. 53rd Street), a classic 70s style diner serving up crepes and American dishes or try newer eateries like Ja' Grill (1510 E. Harper Court), a lively Jamaican spot that features jerk chicken, curries and a full bar. Top off your evening at The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West), a stylish restaurant and music venue.

Ja Grill Chicago

Get the full Hyde Park neighborhood guide to take your explorations even further, or watch the Beyond the Loop episode to discover gems like Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and "The Med".


Oriental Institute photos courtesy of Oriental Institute. Ja Grill photo courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates