So, a couple of weeks ago we suggested that you visit other Chicago neighborhoods before Colloquium starts on September 15. If you’ve since arrived, you may now be wondering what the best way to physically get to those neighborhoods may be. We assume that most of you are all familiar with (and perhaps reliant on) Google Maps, which is obviously a great resource. However, when heading to and from Hyde Park on the CTA, Google Maps does not always lead you down the most convenient path. Nor does the site contain all the information that drivers need, especially in terms of parking. Hopefully this post will help fill in some of those gaps.
So you’ve rolled into Chicago (or you’re about to in the near future). You’re probably wondering, what do I do with all my time? Classes don’t start until mid-September, summer is at its finest (this 70 degree weather is MAGICAL), and you’re starting to explore the city—what’s next? Here’s a list of things that I wish I had done before starting my MAPH year.
10 Things You Really Rather Ought to Do Before Classes Start:
1. Get a CTA card. Unless you’ve devised a teleportation device, you will use transit. Often. Even if you have a bike. Even if you have a car. Parking downtown is a nightmare, and sometimes it just makes more sense to take the train (like if you say want to go to the bar and have more than one drink per hour). Got your card? Now hop on the 6 and head downtown! And don’t forget: the Metra Electric isn’t covered by your card, although it is very fast and sitting on the second floor of a train is always a delight.
2. Get a public library card. There are lots and lots of locations, and if you’re already exploring downtown Chicago, Harold Washington is right there on State Street. There may come a time when you haven’t purchased or borrowed a book for class in time, and the UChicago library will have no copies available, and you will need an alternate source. » Read the rest of this entry «
Those of you who have already arrived in Chicago have probably noticed a preponderance of bikers. While there are plenty of other transportation methods available, many Chicagoans find that the easiest and fastest way to get around the city is on two wheels. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful while living here: » Read the rest of this entry «
It’s summer. The weather is nice. And you have a few precious weeks of freedom left before the MAPHstorm arrives. If you’re in Hyde Park for the summer, this is a great time to explore the area and get your bearings, and to enjoy what is in my opinion one of Chicago’s most underrated little neighborhoods. With that in mind, here’s my vote for a perfect summer day in Hyde Park:
This is it—you’re in the final stretch! Your thesis is due on Friday. To some of you I know that still sounds like a death sentence. You don’t feel ready at all to give up working on this thing that has been such a huge part of your life for the past months. It isn’t ready! This past weekend you thought of something that should really be an entire section of your thesis, but at this point you only have time to shoehorn it in the last few sentences, or just ignore it. You can think of about seventeen ways in which it could be so much better. Well guess what. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, because my preceptor said it to me—when it comes to the thesis, done is better than good. Perfect is the enemy of the great. Or, as my mother would tell me, it is time to put your thesis in a lockbox and send it to Jesus. Take your pick, I have lots of folksy advice for you guys. » Read the rest of this entry «
In town for Campus Days with time to fill? Don’t trust Yelp (We totally get it.) to guide you to a good meal and tasty beverages? Never fear. We in the MAPH office spend a lot of time in Hyde Park and we have plenty of suggestions (read: ironclad opinions) for where to go and what to do, whether you are on campus or roaming around the neighborhood. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good one.
First things first, just wander around. The campus is rarely prettier than it is in the spring; if the weather is good, a leisurely stroll through the arches and across the quads really can’t be beat. If walking around aimlessly is not your thing, or if you have exhausted your aimless walking possibilities and you want a specific destination, we are partial to the Oriental Institute. The collection is fantastic (and really, really old), the building is beautiful, and admission is free (although the museum suggests a donation).
Also worth checking out is the Mansueto Library,a giant glass and steel ellipsoid on 57th Street that contains fancy robots that brings you books by request from deep inside the earth. It’s really cool.
Go to the lake. More specifically, go to Promontory Point. (It’s a short walk from campus and well worth it.) Or go to the DuSable Museum. Or browse in one of the excellent bookstores that Hyde Park is home to: Powell’s, tons of used books at great prices (1501 E 57th St, Chicago, IL); 57th St Books, a great general interest bookstore in which to wile away the hours (1301 E 57th St Chicago, IL 60637); The SeminaryCo-op, one of the best books stores in the whole wide world (5751 South Woodlawn Avenue).
Z&H (1323 E. 57th St) has tasty, tasty sandwiches and good coffee. Bonjour Bakery (1550 East Hyde Park Blvd) makes a mean croque monsieur and really good croissants. Rajun Cajun (1459 E. 53rd St) Despite its misleading name, this place has tasty Indian food. Oh, the samosas! Valois (1518 E. 53rd St) is a classic cafeteria and a Hyde Park institution.
Robust (63rd and Woodlawn), The Sip (5301 S Hyde Park Blvd), the aforementioned Z&H, and Café 57 (1520 E. 57th St) all serve pretty good coffee (Z&H is the best, in our opinion.)
There are a couple of good bars in Hyde Park (they are dive-y in a pleasant way). The Cove (1750 E 55th St) has a fun jukebox and darts and foosball. Jimmy’s (Woodlawn Tap) (1172 E 55th St) is just a few blocks from campus and has cheap burgers and fries. It’s a classic college-town bar.
If you want still more suggestions, just email us. We will be happy to point you in the best direction.
As I’m sure many of our current Hyde Park denizens are aware, 53rd Street has been undergoing drastic and exciting renovations! Here are some highlights from the changes that will happen, and in some cases have already happened, on 53rd Street.
For those of you who have decamped to Hyde Park from parts far-flung, or for those of you soon to do so, or for those of you residing elsewhere in Chicago and wanting a green place near your new school in which to recreate, we present a trio of splendid parks in Hyde Park.
It’s huge and great. In fact, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Washington park is the biggest park of the “four Chicago Park District parks named after persons surnamed Washington.” It’s a good place to run, ride, walk dogs, play frisbee, and do other stuff. Some people fish in the pond. Washington Park is also home to the DuSable Museum of African American History (which is excellent) and a tremendous sculpture called “The Fountain of Time.”
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been so happy to meet the few of you who have trickled on into MAPHCentral to introduce yourselves. If you’re already in Hyde Park, stop on by to say hello! (We’re lonely, too, you know.) You can find us in Classics 117 and someone is usually here from 9:30-3:30, Monday – Friday.
For the few of you who have already packed up your lives and moved to Hyde Park, we thought it might be nice to give you a crash course in Chicago living and to give you a few ideas for occupying yourselves during what can certainly feel like a period of limbo. Some of you might have moved to Chicago a few weeks early to get settled into your apartment and traverse the city. Well, now that you’ve hung your curtains (aka, thumb-tacked bed sheets above your windows), it’s time to get out there and explore! A leisurely pre-MAPH summer can feel a little purgatorial, but it’s more likely a well-deserved break/good time to rest up before the year actually begins – and boredom can be a great motivating factor for doing some things you might not otherwise!
For Chicago exploring and general galavanting, check out timeoutchicago.com – they have some great (cheap) events and things are mostly organized by day, so you can almost always find something to do. This is the first of many MAPHtastic posts to come, but if you’re already in Chicago (or just freakishly obsessive about finding awesome things to do when you do arrive) we suggest exploring all of the archived treasures from previous years! Start with posts from August 2011 for some ideas on what kinds of things to do in the summer, and explore from there! We are particularly fond of the post about the Milwaukee Ave Coffee Shops – great places to chill out with some non-required reading or a crossword puzzle. Plus, The Wormhole has a DeLorean and how kitsch-ily cool is that? If you accidentally activate the Flux Capacitor and travel to 2015, track yourself down and shake your own hand: you now have a Master’s Degree! There are also plenty of other things to do along that strip once you start to feel over-caffeinated. If you’re more of a free-spirited galavanter (that’s a word, right?), just hop on the 6 Bus and head to the Loop, where you’ll have access to almost all of the El trains in the city.
Also – did you know that Chicago has beaches?! And nice ones at that. In fact, one of the best beaches in the city is in your own backyard. Head on over to Promontory Point on Lake Shore Drive between 55th and 57th Streets to soak up all the UV rays you can before those dark winter clouds start to settle over Chicago.
As more people arrive, we will be coordinating some events for early-arrivers sometime before the program starts – probably sometime towards the end of August. In the meantime, feel free to drop by Classics and say hi, give us book recommendations, tell us your moving nightmare story, and pick our brains about other ways to fill up your days! We know you might feel bored, but exploring Chicago now will make it easier for you venture out during your MAPH year, once Hyde Park starts to feel like: