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.
View Bronzeville for Little Feet in a larger map
Start your day here, where you’ll learn tidbits that will comein handy and help provide context for the rest of yout tour.Founded in 1961 by area educators, this intimate museum is namedafter Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, the first permanent settler inChicago.
Pick up a treasure hunt map at the entrance desk: kids cansearch the galleries forf fun facts about art and history. Rewardyour kids with a miniature carved wooden animal from Africa ($1) orsomething from a great selection of children’s literature at theTrading Post, the museum store. Check online to reserve your spotin an array of family educational programs offered throughout theyear: family theater and storytelling, drumming and dance classesand 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 thanWashington Park, from its prime role in the Columbian Exposition toits role as the proposed site of many of the Olympic buildings.Wander to the park’s southern edge, along the Midway Plaisance, andcheck out the beautiful Fountain of Time, a magical marine tributeto the city.
If you didn’t parck, we recommend hopping on over to SoulVegetarian (205 E. 75th St., 773-224-0104), for collard
greens, cornbread, BBQ and mouthwatering cakes – all
Lunch In Washington Park
Take a walk down Martin Luther King Drive, from 24th to 35thstreets, where you’ll see examples of outstanding Chicago-stylearchitecture and 96 shiny plaques representing important AfricanAmericans who have made a significant contribution to theBronzeville area. Startat 24th Street with Alison Saar’s Monument to the Great NorthernMigration statue (Martin Luther King Drive at 24thStreet) 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
A stroll down Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Hang a right on 35th and take a short book-browsing break at theChicago 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 apit stop to the Bronzeville Community Market (4400 CottageGrove, just north of 47th Street, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunda, June15-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.
Bronzeville Community Market
On the southern edge of Bronzeville, this museum isn’t walkablefrom some of the other spots we recommended, but it’s worth thevisit. Its focus is on raising healthier kids in an area of thecity with some of the sickest kids. Choose from three tours: one onthe journey of African-Americans from Africa to Chicago, one onhealthy eating and the food industry and a tour of Bronzevillelandmarks and heroes.