Chicago's historically Black Bronzeville neighborhood has long been deemed as the city's cultural hub for Black culture, art and more. Since the early 20th century, the district has served as the epicenter for many thought leaders, including poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

Located on the South Side of Chicago, the Bronzeville of present day is home to a plethora of successful Black-owned businesses from restaurants, boutiques and more. Just last week, rapper Jay-Z surprised the owners—and patrons—of Bronzeville Soul during Beyoncé's Renaissance Tour stop in the city.

"I couldn't believe it was him. Actually, when I first saw him, I didn't think it was him," owner Mario Coleman shared. "I thought it was someone else acting like Jay-Z."

Sharing that the rapper asked around for a Black-owned restaurant and found out about the establishment via word of mouth, they say that his order specifically consisted of short ribs and pound cake.

"It kind of messed me up that he even knew to ask for it. So by him asking for it, it was just like, wow, Jay-Z knows about Bronzeville Soul," Coleman added.

As we continue to celebrate our July 2023 Cover Stars from the cast of "The Chi" and the beauty of the city of Chicago, we've curated this guide to exploring the city's Black Metropolis—historic Bronzeville.

Bronzeville circa 1971. Image: Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images.

Where to Eat

Of course, one of your stops should be to Bronzeville Soul. After all, if HOV stamped it, it must be good! Beyond the short ribs and pound cake, you can opt for dishes like: jerk lamb chops, mac and cheese, fried cabbage and homemade peach cobbler. The famous Harold's Chicken and Waffles is also in the area, and it has long been a staple in the community. Rapper Wale shouted the eatery out in his song "The Way" where he talked about ordering the mild wings while in Chicago.

Other must-try restaurants and establishments are: Pearl's Place, Bronzeville Winery, Yassa African Restaurant, Little Sandwich House, and Bronzeville Wingz.

Things to Do

Installation by Artist Shala. Image: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images.

Filled with so much history, you'll want to first immerse yourself in all the greatness of this neighborhood. Start by checking out the Monument of the Great Migration; it serves as a reminder of the many men and women that fled to the area for new beginnngs during the harsh and often deadly Jim Crow area.

For the art lovers, you will be pleased to know that Bronzeville offers a trolley tour that explores its vibrant art district. See some of the area's most colorful—and powerful—murals. For a deeper dive into the art scene, visit the Southside Community Art Center. If you're traveling with kids, spend a day at Ellis Park as well as the Bronzeville Children's Museum.

Where to Stay

Just a little over 2-miles from the historically Black neighborhood, you will find The Chicago South Loop Hotel—a Black-owned establishment. With stunning views of the city, it will serve as the perfect, luxurious home base you need during your days of exploration.

Dr. C. Siddha Webber's 'Have A Dream' mural. Image: Raymond Boyd/ Getty Images.