South Shore / Jackson Park Highlands
South Shore, located in Chicago's south side along Lake Michigan, has a long and rich history, full of ups and downs and perseverance. Over the last 30 years or more, South Shore has seen a resurgence in growth due in part to the South Shore Cultural Center becoming part of the Chicago Park District and helping to enrich the area culturally with programs and events, becoming a place that welcomes each and every one; but also due in part to a commitment from the community and the community's businesses to reinvest in the area. The region has also been growing in popularity as a desirable place to live because of all the beautiful, unique and affordable South Shore homes for sale in the area. Luxurious condos overlook Lake Michigan and more modest homes line quiet, tree-lined streets, while many South Shore properties have gained landmark status. With lots of cultural events to take part in, a genuine sense of pride in place and community and hard work, and an atmosphere that is uniquely Chicago's, South Shore continues to be an inviting place to live.
South Shore is one of Chicago’s 77 official community areas, Community Area 43. It is located along Lake Michigan about nine miles southeast of the Chicago Loop.
The community area of South Shore is defined by its borders of 67th Street to the north, 79th Street to the south, Stony Island Avenue to the west, and Lake Michigan to the east.
About 10 miles east of Midway International Airport and 28 miles southeast of O’Hare International Airport, South Shore is also only six miles from the Indiana border.
Chicago neighborhoods surrounding South Shore include Woodlawn to the north, South Chicago to the south, Avalon Park to the southwest, and Greater Grand Crossing to the west.
In 1992, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama held their wedding reception at the South Shore Cultural Center. Michelle Obama grew up in South Shore.
Hip hop artists, Kanye West, also grew up in Chicago’s South Shore.
The South Shore Cultural Center began as the South Shore Country Club, designed by architects, Marshall and Fox.
Jean Harlow, Will Rogers, and Amelia Earhart were known to have spent time at the South Shore Country Club.
The historic district of Jackson Park Highlands is located within South Shore.
Population (2000) - Total 61,556
Density 20,732/sq mi
Hispanic/ Latino 1.03%
Median household income $30,948
In the latter part of the 1800s the area now known as South Shore was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township.
Reflecting the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers that settled the region were the names of the settlements: Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park.
The South Kenwood Station of the Illinois Central Railroad was built in 1881 when many of these settlements had already taken root.
The area now known as South Shore was annexed by Chicago in 1889. In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition took place in nearby Jackson Park, and with it land and building lots were being sold and South Shore homes were being erected quickly and occupied. The entirety of Chicago’s south side saw a temporary housing and commercial boom at the time.
Jackson Park Highlands became a neighborhood when white Protestants left neighboring Washington Park as immigrants and African Americans began populating the neighborhood. Jackson Park Highlands was to be an exclusive residential community, which prompted the building of the South Shore Country Club. At the time, the South Shore Country Club excluded blacks and Jews.
A housing boom in the 1920s saw many more South Shore homes readily available and affordable, causing a large increase in population. Astoundingly, between 1920 and 1930, South Shore’s population rose from 31,832 to 78,755.
Many of the new residents were of Irish, Swedish, German or Jewish heritage. Institutions built throughout these years reflected South Shore’s growing diversity.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, South Shore saw its share of problems from real estate “redlining” and commercial disinvestment.
The Chicago Park District’s purchase of the South Shore Country Club in 1972 brought an enhancement to the area’s cultural life over the years as the district turned the club into the South Shore Cultural Center. A shopping plaza was built at 71st Street and Jeffrey Boulevard and the New Regal Theatre opened in 1987, remaining open until 2003, bringing some prosperity over that time.
By the late 1990s, the South Shore was seeing a strong resurgence as it has become known as a solid, predominantly African American middle-class neighborhood of Chicago.
South Shore real estate offers many different types of South Shore properties. As South Shore has grown into an increasingly desirable place to live, many new developments have gone up, and older, turn of the century homes continue to attract new residents.
The more luxurious but still reasonably priced options are the South Shore condos with stunning views of the lake, only minutes away from the beach and right along South Shore Drive.
Other South Shore properties come in the form of the classic Chicago brick two-story flat roof. More styles in the community include sophisticated English Manors, quaint one-story cottages, prairie school designs, Victorians, and more. The vast variety of styles makes for a pleasant view, and many South Shore homes for sale have historic landmark status.
South Shore homes average around $75,000 for a 1 to 2-bedroom single-family home. Three to 5-bedroom South Shore homes for sale average around $200,000, but can cost more than $1 million, depending on location and the historic status of the property.
South Shore condos and townhouses sell for an average around $55,000 for a 1 to 2-bedroom. A 3 to 4-bedroom South Shore condo averages around $100,000.
South Shore rentals costs around $800 in monthly rent for a 1-bedroom, $1,000 for a 2-bedroom, and $1,250 for a 3-bedroom.
Search for South Shore Real Estate.
It’s a good idea to use Chicago’s reliable CTA system for getting around the community of South Shore and the city of Chicago, but if you prefer to drive you’ll find quick access to the Chicago Skyway (I-90) a few miles west down E 71st Street. You can expect heavy rush hour traffic, though, on the Chicago Skyway.
Drivers can also try commuting via South Shore Drive, which is Illinois Route 41, along Lake Michigan’s western coast. South Shore Drive turns into Lake Shore Drive and provides access to all the lakeside neighborhoods of Chicago as well as a route into downtown Chicago.
Commuters who prefer public transportation will find that several CTA buses run through South Shore.
Bus #71 travels down 71st Street to the intersection with Exchange. The Jeffrey Express #14 and the South Shore Express #26 run routes to the Chicago Loop.
The Metra Electric District Line is perhaps a more convenient method of finding your way to the Loop. You can board the ME at the South Shore Station (71st Street near Yates Boulevard and South Shore Drive). This line ends at Millennium Station in downtown Chicago near Millennium Park.
You can also board the ME and travel south where the line ends at University Park Station in University Park, Illinois.
Traversing the neighborhood by foot is also quite easy. South Shore scored a “Very Walkable” 75 on the Walk Score scale.
Chicago's South Shore is served by the Chicago Public School District as well as a few private schools. The South Shore is also home to the Muhammad University of Islam.
Bouchet Math & Science Academy, 7355 S Jeffrey Blvd
Bradwell Communication Arts & Sciences Academy, 7736 S Burnham Ave
Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S Stoney Island Ave
MUI Chicago, 7351 S Stoney Island Ave
Parkside Community Academy, 6938 S East End Ave
Powell Elementary, 7530 South Shore Drive
Robert A Black Elementary School, 7133 S Coles Ave
South Shore High School, 7529 S Constance Ave
St Michael Elementary, 8231 South Shore Drive
St Philip Neri School, 2110 E 72nd St
M Lounge (1520 S Wabash Ave, 312-447-0201) offers a little oasis in your nightlife for lounging and relaxing with a specialty martini or one of their various non-alcoholic cocktails or fine Italian coffees. An elegant, sleek, yet comfortable atmosphere, M Lounge is warmly lit, offers plush chairs, couches, low tables, dark woods, and velvet burgundy curtains. Live jazz is performed every Tuesday (and sometimes Wednesdays) from 7 pm to 10 pm with no cover charge.
Mitchell’s Tap (3356 S Halsted St, 773-927-6073) is a lively, casual sports bar and lounge. Whether taking a break from school or work, out with friends or on a date, Mitchell’s offers a little something for everyone. During the warmer months Mitchell’s Tap has a brick patio perfect for enjoying your drink and the weather. There are flat screen TVs to watch all Chicago sporting events in a warm atmosphere of amber tones and dark wood interior, and over 40 beers to choose from. Mitchell’s is also known for their Washington Apple and Blue Dolphin shots and for pouring the perfect Guinness.
Checkerboard Lounge (5201 S Harper Ct, 773-684-1472) offers residents of South Shore homes another great little spot to get away for an evening and hear some great live music and enjoy a drink. Checkerboard Lounge features live blues on Fridays and Saturdays, live jazz on Sundays, and live DJs on Thursdays. For a complete Chicago experience, you can stop by on Tuesday nights for their weekly poetry slams.
In nearby Hyde Park is Chicago’s world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry (57th St & Lake Shore Dr, 773-684-1414). A great place for a day out with the family, the Museum of Science and Industry always has something new to see and explore with their interactive exhibitions, live science experiments and the Omnimax Theater, Chicago’s only five story, domed, wrap-around theater.
Lee’s Unleaded Blues Club (7401 S Chicago Ave, 773-493-3477) is a Chicago classic. The hotspot for live blues since the 1970s, Lee’s Unleaded Blues Club was originally called Queen Bee’s Lounge. Lee’s has been featured in National Geographic, and Men’s Journal named it one of the “six best juke joints in the country.” In 2010, Chicago Magazine listed Lee’s as one of the best blues bars in Chicago. There’s a $5 cover charge and parking is ample.
The Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago (7127 S Ellis Ave, #2, 773-241-6080) is a celebration of dance in which the performers and the audience, alike, can take part in. Muntu means "the essence of humanity" in the Bantu language, and that is what the Muntu Dance Theatre strives to bring to every performance. Performances at the theatre include both contemporary and ancient African and African-American dance, music and folklore.
Seven Ten Lanes (1055 E 55th St, 773-347-2695) is an Art Deco bowling alley and billiards venue, sure to please just about everyone looking for a little recreational activity complete with good food and a great beer list to choose from. The bar area of Seven Ten Lanes is fully stocked and the large, flat screen TVs are always tuned into Chicago or national sporting events. You can reserve tables or bowling lanes to assure you’ll get your turn, and private party rooms are also available for reservation.
Yah’s Cuisine (2347 E 75th St, 773-759-8517) is a unique specimen among the bevy of great restaurants in and around South Shore. Dedicate to the health and well-being of their community, Yah’s cuisine serves up world-inspired vegan soul food. Not just for vegetarians or vegans, Yah’s tasty dishes are sure to please everyone. Yah’s makes eating healthy affordable. Dishes include all the traditional soul food fare, including collard greens and rice with broccoli, to a variety of dishes like eggplant lasagna, barbecue nuggets, sweet potatoes, fried corn bread, mac and cheese, fried green tomatoes, vegan steaks and more. They also have tasty vegan deserts to enjoy.
For truly delicious and authentic Chinese cuisine, residents of South Shore homes frequent House of Bing (6930 S South Shore Dr, 773-363-5400) who proudly proclaims they are the “Best Chinese Food in South Shore”. House of Bing is great for take-out or dining in where the restaurant has a casual and lively atmosphere with sports on the TV and people enjoying themselves at the bar. The staff is always friendly and the food is always served up hot, flavorful and in heaping portions.
A perfect blend of Jamaican and Asian spices is what makes Yassa African Restaurant (716 E 79th St, 773-488-5599) really stand out. Unique, exotic dishes complete their menu. Dishes include lemon-marinated whole fish, Senegalese versions of Shish Kabob, fried fish stuffed with parsley and herbs, Thiou curry with lamb, fried rice, African eggrolls and more.
Lem’s Bar-B-Q (311 E 75th St, 773-994-2428) in Greater Grand Crossing is widely known across the Chicagoland area for their hickory flavored barbecue ribs. Lem’s has been perfecting the art of barbecue since 1954 and satisfying diners’ cravings for just as long. Frequented for more than just their ribs, Lem’s hot links, fried chicken and fried shrimp fill out their menu.
The South Shore Cultural Center is the crown jewel of the park district in the South Shore area. Housed impressively on a 58 acre site, the South Shore Cultural Center consists of magnificent ballrooms, a nine-hole golf course, meeting rooms, lighted tennis courts, a beach, an art gallery, horse stables, the Parrot Cage Restaurant, and the Washburn Culinary Institute. With a long history, initially an exclusive country club, the South Shore Cultural Center is now a welcoming place to everyone from all walks of life. Recreational programs are offered at the center, and it's been a perfect site for many weddings and parties, including President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's wedding in 1992.
Rosenblum Park is a quaint little neighborhood park located along S Constance Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets. The park consists of a small recreational facility, a softball field, basketball courts and shuffleboard courts set in acres of green space and amongst a number of scenic red oaks.
Woodhull Park is a wonderful neighborhood park perfect for recreational activities and outdoor exercise. Located along Stoney Island Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets, Woodhull Park has a running track, basketball courts, a spray pool and a playground. Hodes Park, a very small park at Woodhull Park's northwest end, consists of open grass space and a stone walkway.
Ashe Beach Park is named after famed tennis legend, Arthur Ash, and is located along the shores of Lake Michigan at the end of E 74th Street. Fittingly, this little shoreline park consists of two tennis courts as well as a state-of-the-art playground.