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Hyde Park is located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s brimming with history, culture, cuisine and a practically endless supply of events and activities, making it a popular place for active baby boomers to settle down. In this post, I’ll answer the question, “What makes Hyde Park a great place for seniors to live?” and I’ll tell you about some of the best things this South Side neighborhood has to offer.
In This Article
Hyde Park History
The Village of Hyde Park was founded in 1853 by American lawyer and Chicago real estate speculator Paul Cornell. Cornell purchased 300 acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline hoping to attract business to the area.
Hyde Park was annexed to the City of Chicago 34 years after it was founded. In 1891, the University of Chicago was established with much of the funding provided by John D. Rockefeller.
Then, in 1893, Hyde Park played host to the World’s Columbian Exposition (aka the Chicago Worlds Fair). Hosting the fair brought attention to the south side neighborhood. The fair can take credit for new development in the area that attracted new residents and resulted in transforming Hyde Park into a more urban area.
Hyde Park’s popular Museum of Science and Industry is actually the converted Charles Atwood’s Palace of Fine Arts and is the single remaining structure from the fair.
Transportation: Getting Around Hyde Park
Always near the top of the list of considerations for relocating seniors is access to good transportation. One of the best things about senior living in a big city like Chicago is the variety of activities and events that are available. And although Hyde Park hosts its own popular events and activities, you still may want to get to the city for a concert or Wrigley Field for a ball game. Fortunately, getting in and out of Hyde Park is easy even if you prefer to use public transportation or don’t have your own vehicle.
The Metra Electric District line of Chicago
The Metra Electric District line of Chicago’s Metra commuter rail has stations in downtown Hyde Park including the 51st/53rd Street Station, the 55th-56th-57th Street Station, and the 59th Street, University of Chicago Station.
If you’re a senior or have a disability you may qualify for reduced Metra fares. Learn more about those here: Senior Citizen / Disability Fares
CTA Bus Lines
Take the bus! Downtown Hyde Park is served by the following CTA Bus Lines:
|#2 – Hyde Park Express||#15 – Jeffery Local|
|#4 – Cottage Grove||#28 – Stony Island|
|#6 – Jackson Park Express||#55 – Garfield|
|#10 – Museum of Science and Industry||#59 – 59th/61st|
CTA offers a “Seniors Ride Free” program. You can learn more about the program here: Senior Citizens Ride Free
Divvy Bike Sharing Program
Ride a bike! Up for a little exercise while you run errands or explore the neighborhood? Check out the City of Chicago’s Divvy Bike Sharing Program in Hyde Park. Grab a bike and pay just $3.00 for 30 minutes or $15 for a full 3-hours. You can pick up a bike at many locations in Hyde Park and you can drop them off at any of the following Divvy Stations.
If you qualify, there is a “Divvy for Everyone” program that offers all Chicagoans an affordable, accessible and fun transportation option for just $5 per year. Learn more about that program here: Divvy For Everyone
Hyde Park Divvy Station Locations:
|Hyde Park Boulevard & Blackstone Avenue||Museum of Science and Industry|
|Hyde Park Boulevard & Cornell Avenue||55th Street & South Shore Drive|
|53rd Street & Ellis Avenue||56th Street & Lake Park Avenue|
|53rd Street & Kimbark Avenue||57th Street & University Avenue|
|53rd Street & Lake Park Avenue||58th Street & Ellis Avenue|
|55th Street & Woodlawn Avenue||59th Street & Harper Avenue|
Shopping in Hyde Park
Hyde Park offers a variety of options for shoppers. You’ll find a great selection of thrift and vintage clothing stores, boutiques and book stores as well as familiar chain stores like Target, Marshalls and Walgreens.
The oldest local shopping district is located along 53rd Street and the greatest concentration of businesses are found where 53rd and South Lake Park Avenue intersect.
Harper Court, is a small-business-oriented shopping center, extends north of 53rd Street along Harper Avenue. It’s also the home of the Hyatt Place Chicago–South/University Medical Centre Hotel.
Hungry? According to Yelp, there are 133 restaurants in the Hyde Park area ranging from inexpensive cafes and neighborhood bars to ultra-high-end steak houses. Some even offer discounts to seniors. So what are you hungry for? Here are a few of our favorites!
Valois is a classic brunch spot located on 53rd right in the heart of Hyde Park. It’s well known among locals of all ages for its fast service, great prices, and huge portions. Check out their breakfast classics and daily specials!
In the middle of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago on 53rd, Virtue Restaurant is a Southern American restaurant that according to their website “leads with a culture of hospitality & kindness.”
Located on 55th Nella Pizza e Pasta is the real deal – an authentic Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Hyde Park, featuring pizza and pasta served in the spirit of a traditional Neapolitan restaurant. The recipes at NELLA have been passed down through generations of Neapolitan family members and they are lovingly executed every day by hand.
Other Things to do in Hyde Park
Famed Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the 100-year-old Frederick C. Robie House. It’s one of the best examples of Prairie School architecture in existence and you can take a tour any Thursday to Monday, 10:30 am – 3 pm. Discounted admission is available for senior citizens and you can bring your grandkids (under 3 years old) for free.
Spend some time exploring the University of Chicago Campus. There’s so much to see here that might want to make it a regular outing. You’ll find art galleries, museums, chapels and gorgeous architecture through out the 217 acre campus.
Go to a movie! Hyde Park is home to the historic, four screen Harper Theater. The theater originally opened in 1915 complete with a Kimbal organ! Ownership changed many times over years and the theater closed down completely in 2002. The theater was renovated in 2011-2012 and reopened on January 18, 2013 under its original Harper Theater name.
Hyde Park Events
The annual Hyde Used Book Sale is held on Columbus Day weekend at the 55th and Lake Park Shopping Center. The Book Sale was founded in 1952. The Used Book Sale is the major fundraising activity for HPKCC. The profits enable the Conference to support schools, parks and neighborhood activities.
Every winter since 1961, the University of Chicago Folklore Society has hosted the Annual University of Chicago Folk Festival. They bring the very best in traditional music from around the country. Legends like Bill Monroe, The Staples Singers, and Muddy Waters have all performed at the festival.
Hyde Park is Safe for Seniors
Safety is a serious consideration for Chicago seniors when choosing a neighborhood to live in. With all the news about crime and violence in the city of Chicago, that’s understandable. The good news about Hyde Park is that it remains one of Chicago’s safer neighborhoods. You’re less likely to experience an assault or robbery here than in other parts of Chicago.
Hyde Park is served by officers from the 21st Police District:
300 E. 29th Street
Chicago, IL 60616
District Home Page
If you’re interested in viewing up-to-date crime data for Hyde Park (or any neighborhood for that matter), visit SpotCrime.com and you’ll get current crime data on theft, assault, burglary, and vandalism.
What Does it Cost to Live in Hyde Park?
It costs a lot to live in the Chicago area. Hyde Park is no exception. In fact, the cost of living in Hyde Park is above the average Chicago neighborhood.
- Hyde Park cost of living is 19% higher than the Chicago average.
- Hyde Park cost of living is 17% higher than the national US average.
- Hyde Park cost of living is 38% higher than the national US average.
- Illinois general sales tax is 23% higher than the national US average.
- Illinois state income tax is 69% higher than the national US average.
Here’s how Hyde Park costs break down by general categories:
|Overall Cost of Living||117|
|Goods and Services||109|
This cost of living index is based on a national (US) average of 100. If the number you see is below 100, it’s below the national average. If the number is higher than 100, it’s above the national average.
Source: Area Vibes
Great Senior Living Options in Hyde Park
Hyde Park Apartments – For Additional Info call toll-free 866-311-0080
Hyde Park Apartments offers state of the art facilities with beautiful views. There’s a lot to do nearby including visiting Promontory and Harold Washington Park for relaxation, jogs and walks. Hyde Park apartment residents have easy access to hospitals, shopping, libraries, and more.
Belmont Villiage – For Additional Info call toll-free 866-311-0080
Belmont Village Senior Living communities offer assisted living, independent living & memory care programs tailored for elder residents’ needs.
Heritage Woods – For Additional Info call toll-free 866-311-0080
Heritage Woods offers the benefits of living in a residential apartment along with personal assistance, support services and opportunities for socialization with friends and neighbors.
Sunrise – For Additional Info call toll-free 866-311-0080
Offering assisted living, respite care, coordination of hospice care, and memory care in our Reminiscence® Neighborhood, specially designed for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia