Best Art/Snack Combo

The Hyde Park Art Center and Istria Cafe gelato

Critics' Picks

How best to digest a good show? Try a scoop of fresh, creamy gelato and a walk by the lake after a visit to the Hyde Park Art Center. HPAC offers a variety of offbeat, interesting shows from respected locals like DePaul art professor Bibiana Suárez and poster artist Keith Herzik. The six-year-old, $3 million, Doug Garofalo-designed building is far more interesting than your average community center, and it's located in a leafy corner of a condo-ized section of Hyde Park, steps from the #6 Jackson Park express bus, which runs between East Wacker and 79th. But the key to any trip to the HPAC is a visit to Istria, the lobby cafe where you'll find around 20 varieties of gelato, delicious on their own but better in combination, so mix a palette with them. Best of all, the little spoons make for great gesticulating during post-gallery discussions. But beware: the conversation may soon wander from the exhibits to who picked the best flavor.