Chicago?s South Lakefront is composed of neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Shore, Douglas, The Gap, Chinatown, Chatham, Pill Hill and Woodlawn. The village of Hyde Park was quite extensive in size when annexed to the city of Chicago more than 100 years ago; however, modern Hyde Park stretches from Lake Michigan to Cottage Grove from 59th Street to 47th Street. Although annexation and time have whittled the size of Hyde Park, it remains a dynamic college town, thriving business community and a powerful voice for the preservation of nature.
Many of its parks are associated with the Chicago Parks District, yet Hyde Park residents fight independently for the reduction of urban sprawl. For example, the Nichols Park Meadow is an award-winning, one-third-acre wild flower meadow designed and maintained by the local community. Promontory Point, a historic peninsula of land jutting into Lake Michigan, features panoramic views from Indiana to the Chicago Loop. The entire Chicago Lakefront is a noted hotspot for bird watching. In fact, rare Purple Martins can be found in Jackson Park.
Of course, there is shopping on Michigan Avenue?s Magnificent Mile and the 11-story, 450-department Marshall Field store with its splendid Tiffany?s dome is a city jewel. Professional sports are an institution in the Chicago area. Baseball?s Cubs play at stately Wrigley Field. The former world-champion Bulls play basketball at the state-of-the-art United Center and the Bears call majestic Soldier Field home. The historic stadium recently underwent $500 in improvements.
This love of nature also spills over into the arts. The world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry is located in Hyde Park, as are the DuSable Museum of African-American History, the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and the Renaissance Society. Off-off Campus is an improvisational comedy troupe of the University of Chicago and the oldest continuously running student improv troupe in the United States. The popular Court Theatre, composed of actors and comedians from both the University and the Hyde Park community, include such famous graduates as Alan Arkin, Ed Asner, Mike Nichols and Shelly Berman. The annual Hyde Park - University of Chicago Arts Fest includes the 57th Street Art Fair, the oldest juried art fair in the Midwest, and the Community Art Fair, which features work by local artists.
Business in Hyde Park is a successful mix of local, regional and national stores from Starbucks to the Hyde Park Co-op to Joyce?s Hallmark. Of course, Chicago is easily accessible by major expressway, Lake Shore Drive, train and bus, and many residents commute daily. Historically, Hyde Park is also home to Frank Lloyd Wright?s Robie House, the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the University of Chicago campus and Nuclear Energy, a bronze figure memorializing the spot where Enrico Fermi and his colleagues achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction. From the serene Osaka Japanese Garden in Jackson Park to Shoreland Hall, a luxurious residential hotel and home to Al Capone turned University dormitory, Hyde Park is alive with history, lush green spaces, exotic bird watching, famous museums, enlightened education and scintillating theater.
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