The South Shore Cultural Center has been a place for visiting celebrities to retreat and relax, and it’s where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama got married. Once known as the South Shore Country Club, this center, which totals almost 65 acres, features the Paul Robeson Theaters, the Washburne Culinary Institute, and the Parrot Cage Restaurant. Founded in 1905, the center is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, and the exterior of the building was used in the famous Blues Brothers film. The club has a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green, stables, and a private beach on Lake Michigan.
Designated a Chicago Landmark, the Jackson Park Highlands district was built in 1905, and it houses some of the most elite vintage homes built for those who owned businesses on 71st — including an exclusive children’s store, Bramson’s, several women’s and millinery boutiques, along with medical and dental practices. Though not mansions, the homes have style, intrigue, and beautiful surroundings.
Though this spot only serves takeout, the service is great, and their crab rangoon, egg rolls, or chicken fingers can be wrapped up and taken to your first picnic along the lakefront. Located at 71st and Yates Blvd, you can watch your food being cooked, and Ming’s offers an extensive lunch and dinner menu with very reasonable prices.
Ming’s Chop Suey, 7114 S Yates Blvd, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773-752-6588
Another great Chinese restaurant, this spot offers daily lunch specials and a place to listen to jazz. Offering a delicious pepper steak and delectable orange chicken, House of Bing has a main dining area and a full service bar. Aspiring local up and coming talent are featured for jazz lovers. House of Bing also offers catering for special events.
House of Bing, 6930 S South Shore Dr #1, Chicago, IL, USA +1 773-363-5400
The Avalon opened in 1927 and was conceived by John Eberson, who concocted a Moorish theme for the space. The Avalon closed in the late 1970s and was used as a church until it became a venue for the performing arts in 1987 and a Chicago landmark in 1992. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech for the presidential nomination was held in 2008 at the Avalon.
Recognized as one of Chicago’s leading African American cultural performing arts institutes, ETA offers a 200-seat theater, a library, and an art gallery. They are always looking for music and dance instructors to teach youth classes and ambitious summer interns in the areas of marketing, production and graphic design. Their Spring production, Lines in the Dust, presents the challenges of the Chicago Public School system and has received rave reviews.
Located on East 77th street, Rainbow Beach and Park offers a gymnasium, fitness center and a community garden along with a massive beach and comfort station. The beach began as Rock Ledge Beach and finally expanded in 1918 when it became Rainbow, one of the city’s largest beaches. Rainbow Beach includes a large beach house with showers and a large pier with a boat ramp.
Rainbow Beach, 2873 E 75th St, Chicago, IL, USA +1 312-729-1000
A final drive through the South Shore neighborhood will take you to Michelle Obama’s family home, an ideal example of the Chicago bungalow located at 7436 South Euclid. Her parents rented an apartment upstairs from her great aunt, who lived downstairs. The house was built in the 1920s in a respectable neighborhood and features a garden and a stone bench that are shaded by a large elm.