City Guide / Chicago

Chicago Neighborhood Guide: South Shore

By Kailey Hansen | Oct 18, 2021
Skyline view of Chicago, Illinois

Find the perfect blend of nature and urban life by living along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Welcome to South Shore, a South Side neighborhood in Chicago bordering the water and encompassing multiple historic city neighborhoods. Here, you will find classic architecture, spectacular views of the Downtown Chicago skyline, and cuisines inspired from afar. 

With the University of Chicago located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, this south end of the city continues to build up new restaurants, gyms, bars, and more, in addition to preserving its rich history. Plus, a quick trip on the “L” or the Metra train will bring you to Downtown Chicago, where you can experience museums, shopping, live music, art, and all of the Chicago-style hotdogs you desire.

Thinking about moving to the South Shore neighborhood? Here’s what you need to know!

Where to eat in South Shore

Labeled as “soulful vegan cuisine,” Majani offers a tasty menu ranging from fried grits and barbecue cauliflower to crab cake tacos and jerk tofu sandwiches. Vegans and non-vegans alike can end their meal with a stop at the Betty Bot Shop, a vegan and gluten-free bakery with butter cookies, donuts, and coffee cakes.

South Shore residents won’t go wrong dining at Medici on 57th, a local haunt that serves everything under the sun, from fresh omelets to pan pizzas to burgers to wine. This joint has character, with a brick-wall interior, dim lighting, and a cozy patio (weather permitting). 

Venture across the sea (at least with your taste buds) to 14 Parish, a restaurant serving Caribbean-inspired food and cocktails. Enjoy a traditional Senegal meal at Gorée Cuisine, hearty Italian pasta as Piccolo Mondo, and delicious Louisiana-style fare from Surf’s Up South Shore.

It’s also a quick trip to the South Loop area in Downtown Chicago, where you can get delicious food and good vibes at places like Burger Bar, Lowcountry, or Cafecito, and a quick trip to Chinatown, where it’s essential to order bubble tea at Joy Yee

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Where to get groceries in South Shore

Choose from Jewel Osco, Mariano’s, Local Market Foods (an organic grocery store), and more to help with your grocery needs in this neighborhood. You can also swing by Trader Joe’s for specialty items, Hyde Park Produce for fresh produce, or shop small at one of the many independently owned grocers. 

Where to get coffee in South Shore

Go to South Shore Brew for any coffee drink you could dream of, as well as some adventurous beverages, such as their cold brew lemonade! The Robust Coffee Lounge offers breakfast items and sandwiches in addition to their coffee drinks, and Philz Coffee makes for a great place to socialize or sit and relax. Other indie cafes that will satisfy your caffeine craving in this neighborhood include Sip and Savor 53rd and Plein Air Cafe.

Outdoor attractions in South Shore

Experience nature within the city at the historic South Shore Cultural Center (the venue where Barack and Michelle Obama held their wedding reception!). Here, you will find a six-acre nature sanctuary featuring wetland, woodland, dune, savanna, prairie, and shrubland habitats. The South Shore Cultural Center is also home to a butterfly garden and golf course for days with good weather.

Designed by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Jackson Park includes its own unique Japanese garden with gorgeous cherry trees that you can see in bloom during springtime. Jackson Park also hosts fun events throughout the year for residents to enjoy!

When you’re ready to immerse yourself back into urban life, bike the scenic lakefront with incredible views of the city and Lake Michigan, or relax on one of the nearby beaches

You can also venture to the Northerly Island lakefront park, located just a couple of miles away from South Shore. Situated alongside Chicago’s Museum Campus, it’s the perfect spot to bird watch, fish, and stroll through a variety of plants and greenery after visiting the city’s staple museums. Plus, Northerly Island houses an outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts! 

Local gyms in South Shore

Get in a workout at major fitness centers such as LA Fitness and Planet Fitness. If a guided workout is what keeps you motivated, try a class at the local OrangeTheory Fitness studio, where interval activities and instructor-led encouragement challenge your mind and body.

Join a community class at Corepower Yoga, and then take it to the next level with their Hot Power Fusion and Yoga Sculpt offerings. Schedule a cycling or kettlebell class at the nearby 360 Mind Body Soul facility, or simply make the city your gym by walking, jogging, or biking the shoreline in your neighborhood.

Live music and nightlife in South Shore

Explore the exquisite drink menu of Moody Tongue Brewing Co., complete with a tasting room and dining area. Music aficionados can grab a drink while jamming to a live show at The Promontory or at M Lounge located in South Loop (their specialty is a music + martini combo!) 

Dive bar enthusiasts can visit local haunts, the Falcon Inn and Cove Lounge, while those seeking a sophisticated evening can venture to the swanky VU Rooftop (a multi-story bar) or a little further to Brando’s Speakeasy.

For those interested in the performing arts, the South Shore neighborhood also has its own opera company, the South Shore Opera, which plays several events throughout the year.

Honorable mentions in South Shore

The Museum of Science and Industry is just minutes away from the South Shore area. This renowned museum is one of the world’s largest science centers and features exhibits on weather, space, transportation, and for a limited time, the Marvel Universe!  

Transportation in South Shore

If you have a car, hop on the iconic Lake Shore Drive to get to this area of the city. The neighborhoods of South Shore also have plenty of CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) options, including buses, “L” subway trains, and the Metra railway, which can take you into Downtown Chicago and beyond.

South Shore has prime walkability, with nearby shops, restaurants, and more in any given area.

Land a great apartment in South Shore

If you like the idea of moving to Chicago, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need. Browse our available apartments in South Shore or contact us to learn more about how a Landing membership works.

Still looking for the right Chicago neighborhood for you? Browse our other Chicago neighborhood guides, including:

Kailey Hansen

Kailey Hansen is a freelance writer and communications professional based in the land of deep-dish pizza. She has lived in both the city and the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys writing about the amazing things the Windy City has to offer. When she's not dishing about the best places to grab a slice of deep-dish, you can find her writing (and obsessing) about binge-worthy TV shows for BuzzFeed and why cats are the best (and absolutely outlandish creatures) for Rover's blog, The Dog People.