Sunday, July 19, 2015

Destination of the Week: Chicago-Near South Side Communities, IL

Destination of the Week: Chicago-Near South Side Communities, IL

Chicago’s southern communities are often overlooked and under appreciated.  While a number do have serious poverty and crime issues, a majority of the “south side” is made up of neatly kept homes lining tree covered streets.  Retail though has taken a hit with some major thoroughfares feeling abandoned.  A few notable exceptions is Bridgeport, Armour Square, and Hyde Park.  The area does boast something few communities anywhere-a home of a living US president!

Bridgeport: Known for being an Irish enclave surrounded by sometimes distressed neighborhoods, Bridgeport sometimes has a feeling of being fortified.  More recently, the community has seen a number of new single family and condo developments as middle-and upper-middle families search for affordable places to call home.

Armour Square:  Armour Square is about as odd as a community can get in Chicago.  Wedged between a major railroad line to the west, expressway to the east, and a river to the north, the community feels like a mapmaking error.  In fact, may Chicagoans mistakenly believe Armour Square’s most identifiable site, US Cellular Field, is in Bridgeport.  North of I-55 is Chicago’s growing Chinatown neighborhood.

Douglas:  Douglas’ history is riddled with dark times-a horrible Civil War POW camp, black ghettos (often forced by the city), and a misguided urban renewal program that produced public housing towers that quickly turned into a nightmare.  But things are slowly looking up.  Illinois Institute of Technology, like many universities, serves as an anchor.  Some middle class high-rises overlooking Lake Michigan may be replaced by more pedestrian-friendly apartments.  Finally, located just south of Greater Downtown, the community is already seeing a number of new housing developments for those looking to live close to downtown’s action.

Oakland: Little wedge of a community only a quick pedestrian bridge walk from Lake Michigan.

Fuller Park: A challenged community with some expressway related development.

Grand Boulevard: Another challenged community.

Kenwood: The northern neighbor to Hyde Park, Kenwood has a number of old mansions and quiet streets.  One includes President and First Lady Obama’s home!

Washington Park: Another challenged community that is also the home of its namesake park and the DuSable Museum of African American History.  It is also one of two possible sites for the President Obama Presidential Museum and Archive.

Hyde Park: Home of the University of Chicago, Hyde Park is the jewel of the South Side.  The community includes the Museum of Science and Industry, some amazing beaches, and a Frank Lloyd Wright home.

Go if you like:
-University of Chicago-related events and activities
-Ethnic history and cultural museums
-Quiet lakeside parks

Distance (Driving):
-Detroit: 275 miles/4h 13m
-Milwaukee: 100 miles/1h 51m
-Quad Cities: 181 miles/2h 53m
-St. Louis: 298 miles/4h 31m
-Indianapolis: 175 miles/2h 54m

Also serviced by:
-Air (Chicago Midway International Airport, O'Hare International Airport)
-Amtrak (Chicago-Union Station)



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