An introduction to Chicago’s diverse community areas
Each one of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods has its unique and local charms and plenty of local businesses to explore. August is Black Owned Business Month, so make sure to check out these neighborhoods and their hottest of spots.
Historically known as Chicago’s ‘Black Metropolis,’Bronzeville is known for its rich history and flourishing, modern-day renaissance. The neighborhood was once home to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, civil rights activist Ida B Wells and the legendary Louis Armstrong. Take your pick of a vast number of coffee shops, bistros, galleries, libraries, monuments, and restaurants. Make sure to check out some of the neighborhood’s architectural gems: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robert W. Roloson Houses, the Forum, the Chicago Defender Building, and the Supreme Life Building.
EAT & DRINK
For old-school soul food, get some grub at Pearl’s Place, go for a Sunday jazzy brunch at Norman’s Bistro, or enjoy Lake Michigan at Pier 31. If you’ve always wanted to know what Italian-style soul food tastes like, check out Truth Italian. For comfort food and great wine, check out James Beard award-winning chef Erick Williams’ brand-new Bronzeville Winery.
On August 13th, join more than 1 million spectators for the 93rd Bud Billiken Parade, the nation’s largest African-American parade! On August 19th and September 16th, hop on the bus for the famous Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour and discover local Black artists at Gallery Guichard, Faie African Art Gallery, the Bronzeville Artists Lofts, and more. Local businesses are being celebrated during the Bronzeville Summer Nights events on August 12 and September 9.
Hyde Park is home to so many iconic events, places, and people: the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the University of Chicago, former President Barack Obama, and the Museum of Science and Industry, to name just a few. Explore the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, get lost on some of the most stunning campuses in the world or visit one of Hyde Park’s other classics: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!), the DuSable Museum, the Oriental Institute, and many more iconic places. Don’t forget to check out Yoko Ono’s only permanent art installation in the US, Skylanding, in the Garden of the Phoenix.
You may have heard about the Pullman Historic District being Chicago’s first National Monument. Consider this historic neighborhood a well-preserved time capsule that will transport you all the way back to the 1880s. Think striking brick buildings, a fascinating history, and picture-perfect streets. The country’s first planned industrial town was built by luxury rail car tycoon George Pullman for his employees (who later kicked off the American labor movement in protest of Pullman raising rents). The district included more than 1,500 company-owned houses, a church, a school, and a building that housed offices, stores, a library, and a bank.
Hungry for more details? Check out the brand new Visitors Center or immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s history by taking one of the guided or self-guided tours that embark from Pullman Exhibit Hall.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, honoring the significant contributions of Black railroad workers to the US labor movement.
EAT & DRINK
Don’t forget to put Lexington Betty Smokehouse on your list. Sample some of the best Chicago-style barbecue with all the soulful sides you can handle! Finish the day with home good Old Fashioned Donuts and you’d have had the perfect day!