The Hyde Park area (used to be an independent town a hundred or so years ago) is an urban village with the University of Chicago as a hub and, incidentally, near Obamaville. Especially see the Rockefeller Chapel, a lovely Gothic building with a magnificent organ and a bell tower that has free summer concerts. On their website you can check out events held there, too.
Hyde Park has a number of bookstores - the most interesting to me are the Seminary Coop Bookstore at 5757 South University (new books and other locations) and Powell & O’Gara’s, 1501 East 57th Street (used books to get lost in).
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