Other towns nearby which are especially interesting include Riverside (winding streets, interesting home architecture), Oak Park (many Frank Lloyd Wright and other interesting homes), Evanston (home of Northwestern University) and the North Shore in general (take a drive up Sheridan Road after you do the Outer Drive northbound trip in Chicago).
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).
For general information on restaurants, events, bars, shows see:
- Chicago Magazine (a mostly medium-to-upscale monthly)
- Chicago Reader (a free edgier Friday weekly)
- Chowhound’s Chicago Board (individual reviews and comments, but generally on target)
- WTTW Public TV’s Check Please (see restaurant list)
You can eat well and with a lot of ethnic variety in Chicago. There are too many good restaurants of all kinds and nationalities to name here. If it were up to me, I’d buy a copy of Chicago Magazine, check out Chowhound (which, by the way covers other areas in the US) and check out WTTW’s Check Please site if I was interested in eating well and interestingly (and I am).
Chicago, my home town!
The highlights from my point of view, in no particular order:
Lake Michigan (including the Outer Drive and the many parks along it), ethnic foods and neighbourhoods, Hyde Park (yeah, yeah, we stole the name) and University of Chicago area, music of all kinds, architecture.
For many area and architecture tours, including the very popular Chicago River Cruise (seasonal, of course – brrrr!), and for architecture information, see the Chicago Architecture Foundation which has an office at 224 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s downtown (not technically in Chicago’s famous Loop which is defined by the elevated train tracks downtown). They are in the Santa Fe building; while in the downtown area see the Rookery (in both it and the Santa Fe building be sure to see the lobby areas inside), Monadnock Building, Carson Pirie, Scott Building.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation 'tour' pages will give you plenty of ideas for visits and their tours are high quality and reasonably priced.
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