Living in Chicago

The Chicago Skyline

Accomodation

You will be living in “The Flats” at 829 South Wabash Street. Apartments are non-smoking and come furnished with beds, furniture, and kitchens. Additional amenities include complimentary WiFi, multiple lounge areas, a fitness center, a computer center, bike storage, and free laundry facilities on every other floor. A University of Chicago graduate student will serve as a dedicated resident assistant, and will be living on site during the entire program duration.

Neighborhood and Amenities 

“The Flats” is located in the South Loop, one of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods. You will live within walking distance of numerous amenities, including grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies.  Grant Park, a 319-acre public green space in the heart of the central business district, is across the street from the building. Important cultural landmarks and institutions can be found nearby. Explore the following lists of practical resources and cultural sites within walking distance:

Practical Resources

•   Trader Joe’s – Hip grocery chain known for its affordable produce, organic food, and signature products. 

•   Jewel-Osco – Affordable supermarket chain, open 24 hours.

•   Walgreens – Large pharmacy with a range of products including prescription and non-prescription medicine, snack food, beverages, beauty products, and toiletries.    

•   Starbucks – We all know what this is.

•   Target – Retail emporium stocked with clothing, food, electronics, and home goods.

•   The Shops at Roosevelt Collection – Shops, restaurants, and a movie theater:

o   H&M

o   Bridgeport Coffee

o   Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken

o   ShowPlace ICON Movie Theater

•   Southgate Market – Retail center including:

o   Whole Foods – Upscale grocery store

o   Marshalls – Discount clothing store

o   Michael’s – Art and craft supplies

•   FedEx Office Print & Ship Center – Offers a variety of printing, copying, packing, and shipping services. 

Cultural Sites

•   Art Institute of Chicago – One of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States, with a permanent collection of 300,000 works.

•   Field Museum of Natural History – One of the largest natural history museums in the world, offering exhibitions and extensive research and collections.

•   Shedd Aquarium – The most popular cultural attraction in Chicago, built in the Beaux-Arts style with white marble and terra cotta and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1930. Contains 1500 species.

•   Buckingham Fountain – Massive public fountain that symbolizes Lake Michigan. The fountain opened in 1927 and remained manually operated until 1980. It sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground.

•   American Writers Museum – Opened in May 2017, the first museum dedicated to American literature.

•   Gene Siskel Film Center – Cinema attached to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, showing revivals, foreign, and independent films, named after a popular Chicago film critic.

•   Cloud Gate Sculpture – Also known as “The Bean,” this stainless steel public sculpture reflects the Chicago skyline.

•   Willis Tower – The tallest building in Chicago, with a glass Skydeck on the 103rd floor offering a breathtaking view of the city.

•   The Jazz Showcase – The oldest jazz club in Chicago. Live music 7 nights a week, with a 4:00 PM Sunday matinee. 

Public Transportation

CTA

•   The #6 and #2 buses offer $2 rides between the South Loop and Hyde Park.

•   Pick both up at the intersection of East Balbo Ave and South Michigan Ave, one block north of “The Flats.”

•   The #2 bus (Hyde Park Express) runs during morning and evening rush hours, only on weekdays.

o   The #2 bus circles the Hyde Park neighborhood, with several stops on or directly adjacent to campus.

o   Total travel time on a weekday morning, including the walk to campus from the nearest bus stop, is approximately 35 minutes.

•   The #6 bus (Jackson Park Express) runs from early morning to around midnight every day.

o   The most convenient stop in Hyde Park is at the intersection of 57th street and Stony Island Ave, which is a 10 minute walk from campus.

o   Total travel time on a weekday morning is approximately 45 minutes.

•   The #171 and #172 buses offer transportation around the Hyde Park neighborhood. These buses are free for University of Chicago students and staff. 

Metra

•   The Metra commuter rail runs on a fixed schedule and costs $4.00 per ride.

•   10 ride tickets can be purchased for $36 and monthly passes can be purchased for $114.

•   From “The Flats,” you can either walk 3 blocks north and cross the street to Van Buren Street Station, or walk 3 blocks south and cross the street to Museum Campus/11th Street Station.

•   You should take the train to 55th/56th/57th Street Station, and exit south on 57th street.

•   The journey from either station to Hyde Park will take approximately 10 minutes, with an additional 10 minute walk to campus from the train station. 

Rideshare (Uber/Lyft)

•   Uber and Lyft normally cost between $10 and $30 to ride between the South Loop and Hyde Park. Price depends on time of day and traffic, and can become prohibitively expensive during surge periods.

•   Driving from the South Loop to Hyde Park takes approximately 20 minutes.  

Hyde Park 

Hyde Park is a vibrant neighborhood with a mix of residential streets and retail options for you to explore. 

53rd Street

53rd Street is the retail and dining hub of Hyde Park:

•   Hyde Park Produce – Family-run grocery store with inexpensive, fresh produce.

•   Harper Theater – Local movie theater offering student discounts.

•   Harper Court – New shopping center including Starbucks, Chipotle, and additional trendy lunch and dinner options.

•   Hyde Park Records – Long standing local record store offering new and used CD and vinyl records, known for extensive jazz and soul collections.  

•   Restaurants – Ranging from fast food to upscale.

•   Shops – Ranging from local boutiques to national chains.  

55th Street

55th Street is also a commercial hub, featuring a major shopping center to the east next to the 55th street Metra station.

•   Treasure Island – Self-described as “America’s Most European Supermarket.”

•   Walgreens Pharmacy

•   USPS Post Office

•   Bonjour Café – A local French bakery 

57th Street

57th Street functions as an extension of campus, with bookstores, cafes, and restaurants frequented daily by students, faculty, and staff.

•   Bookstores, including the Seminary Co-op and Powell’s Books, two of the most celebrated independent bookstores in Chicago.

•   Cafes and restaurants, including Medici and Z&H, both longtime off-campus favorites.

Midway Plaisance and Lake Michigan

•   Midway Plaisance forms the southern boundary of Hyde Park. It includes a skating rink and several athletic fields, and was the site of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

•   Lake Michigan forms the eastern boundary of Hyde Park; Promontory Point Park and 57th Street Beach are popular lake-side destinations for Hyde Park residents.