For those of you who have decamped to Hyde Park from parts far-flung, or for those of you soon to do so, or for those of you residing elsewhere in Chicago and wanting a green place near your new school in which to recreate, we present a trio of splendid parks in Hyde Park.
It’s huge and great. In fact, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Washington park is the biggest park of the “four Chicago Park District parks named after persons surnamed Washington.” It’s a good place to run, ride, walk dogs, play frisbee, and do other stuff. Some people fish in the pond. Washington Park is also home to the DuSable Museum of African American History (which is excellent) and a tremendous sculpture called “The Fountain of Time.”
Cook outs. Aquatic activities. People watching. Etc. The Point is an excellent space for outdoor activities of all kinds (but not kiteboarding, which is prohibited). Lake Michigan is the real draw; in the summer the seawall is a pleasant place to loaf in the sun and watch the boats. In winter the snow and ice along the shore come together in strange, beautiful formations. Winter might be underrated.
South of the Museum of Science and Industry is Jackson Park. There you will find a 1/3 scale replica statue of the evidently larger statue, “The Republic,” which was destroyed after the World’s Fair. The replica in the park is aptly named “Statue of the Republic.” Jackson Park also has a very nice Japanese garden and a very amusing/noisy population of feral monk parakeets (see also: Bill’s history of the parakeets in Hyde Park). If you make it to the Darrow Bridge early enough in the morning, you can go birdwatching with local experts (Wednesdays at 7am, Saturdays at 8am).