WBEZ Chicago: Beyond a landmark: WBEZ’s guide to Promontory Point and Hyde Park

“As the weather warms and summer inches closer, many Chicagoans will be planning gatherings, staycations or just afternoon escapes. One place to check out is Promontory Point, which the city recently awarded landmark status. The historic park features picturesque views of the skyline, sandy beaches and trails for walking or biking — plus, the surrounding neighborhood offers plenty of dining and shopping.

“Promontory Point was designed by Alfred Caldwell as a part of The Burnham Plan, an effort to expand the city’s parks and green spaces, according to the Chicago Park District. Nestled between 54th and 56th streets along the lakefront, the park officially opened in 1937. It was given landmark status last month, ensuring the limestone revetments and promenade will be preserved.

“Aside from the nature areas, walking trails and lush landscape, a day at Promontory Point can also include exploring the nearby museums, restaurants and small businesses in Hyde Park. Here’s WBEZ’s guide to turning a walk in the park into a full day of adventure.

“Explore the lakefront trail on foot, rollerblade or bicycle: The park features a trail that winds and twists along the shoreline. Access the Lakefront Trail at the east end of 55th Street via a tunnel that passes beneath DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The entire trail spans more than 10 miles, and passes a series of man-made inlands.

“Seek out hidden public art: The David Wallach Memorial Fountain was installed in 1939 after Wallach, a South Side resident, gave $5,000 to commission a polished marble fountain complete with drinking fountains and a pool for dogs (and birds).

“Visit the nearby Museum of Science and Industry — or just stroll its lush gardens
The Museum of Science and Industry, which opened in 1933 as an art gallery for the Columbian Exposition and today features exhibits like the history of Pompeii, is just half a mile from Promontory Point. Members get free access to the museum and tickets for non-members start at $15 for kids and $25 for adults. There are also dozens of free days throughout the year. Just behind the museum are the Garden of Phoenix and the Japanese Garden, which features the viral cherry blossom trees in the spring and sculptures that ​​celebrate Chicago’s Sister City relationship with Osaka, Japan.

“Eat and drink at local coffee shops, bars and restaurants
There are a multitude of locally-owned dining options near Promontory Point.

“Shop along the 53rd Street business corridor
The stretch of 53rd Street features shops to buy comic books, vinyl, home decor and vintage furniture.

“Listen to live music at The Promontory venue
The Promontory, a few blocks south of the park at 5311 S. Lake Park Ave., features live music, brunches and day parties.” (Callender, WBEZ Chicago, 5/27/23)


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