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We’ve got our circuit. Sometimes the Trader Joe’s, barre studio and BYOB Thai place within four blocks of our apartment are all we see in a weekend. Not this weekend—we’re venturing out to Hyde Park, one of our favorite neighborhoods and the home of Obama’s preferred brunch. 

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Wander Around the UChicago Campus

Gargoyles and Gothic architecture abound at University of Chicago’s campus. Squint your eyes and you just might trick yourself into thinking you’re at Hogwarts. Anyone for a game of Quidditch on the Midway Plaisance?

5801 S. Ellis Ave.; 773-702-1234 or

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Browse the Stacks at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore

Book lovers, rejoice. There is no shortage of amazing reading material at this 56-year-old independent bookseller. The enthusiastic staff helps you navigate the stacks on stacks.

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.; 773-752-4381 or

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Get Brunch at Valois Restaurant

Now that you’ve tricked yourself into thinking you’re a UChicago student, it’s time to snag an omelet, hash browns and coffee at this humble but legendary dining hall. It happens to be Obama’s favorite brunch stop. 

1518 E. 53rd St.; 773-667-0647 or

CHI hyde park oriental institute LIST

Visit the Oriental Institute

With a belly full of food, you’re ready to digest all the rich history housed inside the Oriental Institute. The museum dates back to 1919 and includes an impressive collection of Egyptian, Nubian and Mesopotamian antiquities. And you thought the Museum of Science and Industry was the only Hyde Park Museum (there’s also the Smart Museum of Art).

1155 E. 58th St.; 773-702-9520 or

Have Coffee and a Bite at Plein Air Cafe

This dreamy, airy café is the perfect place to decompress post-museum. Order up a pour over and thick-cut sourdough toast with almond butter and gaze out the floor-to-ceiling windows inside, or grab a seat on the patio if the weather permits. On your way out, make sure to take a look at the Robie House next door, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.; 773-966-7531 or

CHI hyde park osaka garden LIST
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Visit The Garden of the Phoenix

Past meets present at this quiet sanctuary. It was established at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and was recently revamped and reopened. Yep, you’ll even find an art installation by Yoko Ono.

6401 S. Stony Island; 312-742-7529 or

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Take in the Skyline from Promontory Point

Before you head home, take a moment to venture out onto Promontory Point and view the Chicago skyline from the other side. The man-made peninsula is part of Burnham Park, named for Daniel Burnham, who planned many of the parks along Chicago’s lakefront in an effort to preserve it for all Chicagoans. Thanks, Dan.

5491 S. Shore Dr.; 312-742-5369 or

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