Despite its name, this bustling Chicago tourist destination is as good as gold. With a thriving culture enhanced by world-class gospel, jazz and blues talent, Bronzeville is a cultural mecca and an easy day trip, even for little legs. The home of such greats as Gwendolyn Brooks, Louis Armstrong and Bessie Coleman, the neighbhorhood is now booming with community-based revitalization that highlights its rich history. If you have extra time (or extremely energetic kids), consider hopping over to Bridgeport, Bronzeville's westward neighbor and home of all things White Sox.
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Start your day here, where you'll learn tidbits that will come in handy and help provide context for the rest of yout tour. Founded in 1961 by area educators, this intimate museum is named after Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, the first permanent settler in Chicago.
Pick up a treasure hunt map at the entrance desk: kids can search the galleries forf fun facts about art and history. Reward your kids with a miniature carved wooden animal from Africa ($1) or something from a great selection of children's literature at the Trading Post, the museum store. Check online to reserve your spot in an array of family educational programs offered throughout the year: family theater and storytelling, drumming and dance classes and a penny cinema.
Pack a picnic to enjoy on the grassy fields of Washington Park, adjacent to the DuSable Museum. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, there are few spaces more entwined with Chicago history than Washington Park, from its prime role in the Columbian Exposition to its role as the proposed site of many of the Olympic buildings. Wander to the park's southern edge, along the Midway Plaisance, and check out the beautiful Fountain of Time, a magical marine tribute to the city.
If you didn't parck, we recommend hopping on over to Soul Vegetarian (205 E. 75th St., 773-224-0104), for collard greens, cornbread, BBQ and mouthwatering cakes - all vegetarian.
Take a walk down Martin Luther King Drive, from 24th to 35th streets, where you'll see examples of outstanding Chicago-style architecture and 96 shiny plaques representing important African Americans who have made a significant contribution to the Bronzeville area. Start at 24th Street with Alison Saar's Monument to the Great Northern Migration statue (Martin Luther King Drive at 24th Street) and work your way down to 35th Street, where you'll find Gregg LeFevre's 14-foot bronze map of the neighborhood's history and the Victory Monument for the Eighth Regiment statue, at 35th and King Drive, which honors African American former military men.
Hang a right on 35th and take a short book-browsing break at the Chicago Bee Library (3647 S. State St., 312-747-6872), housed in the historic Art Deco Chicago Bee Building, once the home to a thriving Bronzeville newspaper.
Consider visiting Bronzeville on a Sunday, when you can tie in a pit stop to the Bronzeville Community Market (4400 Cottage Grove, just north of 47th Street, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunda, June 15-Oct. 31), where you'll find fruits and veggies, gourmet foods and health, wellness and beauty products. Support local farmers and businesses by gathering goods for your lunchtime picnic in Washington Park.
On the southern edge of Bronzeville, this museum isn't walkable from some of the other spots we recommended, but it's worth the visit. Its focus is on raising healthier kids in an area of the city with some of the sickest kids. Choose from three tours: one on the journey of African-Americans from Africa to Chicago, one on healthy eating and the food industry and a tour of Bronzeville landmarks and heroes.