(My average posts per week seems to be positively correlated with my stress levels, strangely. Also, I'm feeling very lazy about linking these days. You'll have to Google it all yourself. Sorry.)
I know Hyde Park isn't a popular destination for my classmates, but I am very glad that I made my home down here these two years. Aside from the incomparable convenience, it's actually a nice place to live, despite all the scare stories you might hear. True, I am very careful about where I walk after dark, and avoid it if at all possible. And I did have my car broken into in broad daylight. But I am realizing much to my suprise that I'm going to miss the neighborhood! (Err, my husband, however, will not.) For the single, childless types it leaves a lot to be desired, but I highly recommend the place to incoming students with children. There is a great student parent community here which means your kids will get to hang out with the kids of super smart interesting people from all over the world. (If you're into that sort of thing, smart, interesting people, that is ;)
Food options have been slowly getting better. I will absolutely miss Hyde Park Produce and there is a Treasure Island if you're so inclined. Istria Cafe competes head to head with Stumptown. (Would avoid Third World though unfortunately.) Ragun Cajun has oddly decent Indian food. Calypso Cafe is definitely worth a try. (Dixie Kitchen RIP.) Chant is very passable as an enjoyable night out. And I very much like the Alice in Wonderland feel of Park 52. I've rediscovered Noodles Etc and Medici, of course, provides a solid meal and some good Hyde Park history. Giordano's is getting a remodel but that would be my favorite local pizza joint. Not as big a fan of Pizza Capri and Edwardo's Natural Pizza. We have a Home Made Pizza and the reliable Potbellies. I'm a huge fan of the lunch special at Cedars. And you can get some seriously fantastic bagels at Z&H. And don't forget the really great deli sandwiches in the back at University Market.
All the old trees and parks and buildings are lovely. The houses get especially fancy schmancy north of Hyde Park Boulevard around Woodlawn. (Obama's neck of the woods.)
But Elizabeth Fama (yes, of that Fama), who co-authors this Hyde Park Progress blog, can give you an even more expert opinion.