Steps to the presidency
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Teach your kids a little bit about history in the making by tracing the hometown roots of President Barack Obama. From his home near Hyde Park to the barbershop that celebrates its connection with Obama, it's easy to take a tour of our president's neighborhood.
One of your first stops should be Obama's home, located at the corner of Greenwood and 52nd Street, says Hazel Domangue, a Chicago greeter who leads tour groups through the Hyde Park area, which includes stops at many Obama haunts.
Because the Secret Service has blocked off the home with barricades, you can't get too close. But you can get a good view from across the street. Just seeing the Secret Service up close is exciting for some kids.
Next, head to 53rd and Blackstone to see the barbershop made famous by Obama. Hyde Park Hair Salon, 5324 S. Blackstone, has Obama's chair encased in glass near the doorway and the staff is always happy to have visitors check it out, Domangue says.
If you're hungry, take the kids to Capri, a pizza place at 5307 S. Harper Ave. (near 53rd and Harper), or Valois, 1518 E. 53rd St. (53rd Street between Lake Park and Harper). Both restaurants are places where Obama and his family eat. For dessert, visit the Baskin Robbins at 1400 E. 53rd (53rd and Dorchester), where the Obamas shared their first kiss.
If the kids are up for more touring, walk or drive past Shoesmith Elementary School, at 1220 E. 50th St., where Obama voted for himself in the recent election or take a peek inside 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., where Obama held the launch parties for his books.
Before your trip, visit www.explorechicago.org (click on the neighborhoods tab) or www.choosechicago.com/Barack_Obama for other Obama hotspots. Also, younger kids may enjoy the book, It's Me, Zenin! President Barack Obama's Kid Neighbor(Amazon.com, $15.95). Written by Zenin Miller and his mother, it's a kid's-eye view of Obama's neighborhood.