From someone who lived in the gasp South side for almost 2 years, Hyde Park is pretty safe roughly 47th -60 street or so.
It is close to UC and while not much going on, is close to downtown at least.
As a FL guy who lived there, I loved the public transport. its generally efficient. I didnt need a car for the most part. Also, Midway is a lot less crazy to fly out than Ohare. Orange station straight to Roosevelt in downtown.
**Sights **I liked and were worthwhile imo
Milennium Park -
Sears (or willis) tower.–** Dont go to the nightime signature lounge unless you want to get price gouged and have crappy service. Or know you are definitely getting some ass**
Field Museum - nice dinosaur and native american exhibits
Rush and Division - bar/club areas . Good for bar hopping. Your mileage may vary regarding enjoyment.
Lou Malnatis is probably the best of the Chicago deep dish pizza. Giordanos is mostly cheese with little taste.
Devon Street (west Rogers Park) . If you like Indian and Pakistani food, go here not some downtown place.
cheapest place Ghareeb Nawaz - Biriyani for 5 bucks can feed 2-3 big guys.
King Sweets - Kashmiri Chai. Sukhadias- Samosas and various indian snacks
Toro sushi - Clark street . Very fresh fish. Small space though and popular lol. Try to go non peak times.
Molly Cupcakes- Not a cupcake person but right next to the above sushi place. Very creative cupcakes with filling in. Another popular spot.