The Transporter…. aka CTA

July 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Chicago is a vast city with incredible neighborhoods, sites, and food. All year, we’ll encourage you to take advantage of this city and explore its many neighborhoods, from Lincoln Park to Logan Square to Chinatown (and beyond!).


Wicker Park Coffee Shop.

This post will help you navigate public transport in Chicago. Even if you have a car, public transit will help you get wherever you are going. (For those of you who already live here, feel free to post any tips or helpful info we may have missed down in the comments section). And your devoted Mentors can also offer directions, transport advice, and even correct some Google Map directions to and from Hyde Park! Feel free to email us or pop into the office for additional info.


Chicago has three main systems of transit:

The Bus

The Subway/ “The L”

The Metra

For the bus and the subway, the best way to pay is to get a Ventra card. You can get a single ride or one-day ticket, but we recommend you purchase a Ventra card. The card costs five dollars, but that is refunded to you when you register it. So it’s actually free and you add money to it along the way—either online, at a station, or over the phone.

Unfortunately, the Ventra card does not work for the Metra. But Metra stops have places where you can buy a ticket or if that doesn’t work/you just barely caught the train, you can pay on the train in cash (it might cost you a bit extra, though).

And speaking of the Metra, what is it?

The Metra is a commuter line from the south side up into the loop. It is faster than the bus, but it runs less frequently. If you want to take it downtown, or say to Museum Campus, make sure you look up the schedule in advance (especially on the weekend).

ctabus6449The Bus:

To leave Hyde Park, the bus is usually most convenient and accessible.  You can check stops and how-to’s at and CTA guide.

A few Bus Routes/Lines:

You may want to take the bus within Hyde Park, perhaps on rainy or snowy days. You are in luck! The 170, 171, and 172 all circulate within Hyde Park and are FREE with your student ID. UChicago also has its own night shuttles that run around Hyde Park.

#6 Bus, aka Jackson Park Express: The #6 runs express alongside Lakeshore Drive all day and on the weekends. You can usually get from Hyde Park to the Loop in under 45 minutes, though I again recommend you check schedules and use an app to check for delays (see below).

#2 Bus, aka Hyde Park Express: In Hyde Park, the #2 runs along 60th street and makes its way up to East Hyde Park Blvd, meaning that if you are leaving from campus it is probably the easiest bus to catch. The #2 is mostly filled with commuters (it runs from 7am-9am and from 4pm-6pm) and does not run on the weekend.

#4 Bus, aka Cottage Grove: The #4 runs along Cottage Grove, as you may have guessed from the name. It is less likely everyone will use this line, but in case you need to get around the west side of Hyde Park, this will help.

X28 Bus, aka Stony Island Express: Like the #2, the #28 only runs during the week and during commuting hours. Not to be confused with the regular #28, which only goes to 47th Street.

#55 Bus, aka The Garfield: This will take you up and down 55th street. It is most helpful if you decide to take the Green Line (part of the subway). Taking the bus through Washington Park is generally faster and safer than walking.

And speaking of the Green Line, let’s talk subway.

Both the Green Line and Red Line run west of Washington Park, so they require taking a bus (#55 or #15 for both). However, the #2 and #6 are the easiest and safest ways to get downtown.

Here is a map for the subway, which will usually constitute part of your travels rather than your sole mode of transport out of Hyde Park. No matter which route you choose, always be aware of your surroundings, avoid being on your phone, and travel in groups whenever possible.

images-1For your convenience:

CTA Bus Tracker: A site with maps and schedules that track buses live.

Transit Stop: A good app for finding the nearest bus stop and for tracking the next bus.

Embark CTA: Another app for the subway, with a map and time schedules.

Trans Loc: You can use this to track UChicago’s shuttle services.

Safe travels!

- Your Mentors

Campus Days 2014: A Transportation Guide *UPDATED*

March 28th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Hello again, admitted students! We are looking forward to your visit next weekend.

We know that navigating a new city can be a bit baffling, especially when you are only staying for a short time. Sure, Google Maps can be your best pal in that situation, but it doesn’t always show you all of the options. Below are some of our recommendations regarding transportation. Please feel free to reach out to ma-humanities[at]uchicago[dot]edu should you have any questions!

hyde-parkFrom the Airport

  • O’Hare: The Blue Line runs straight from ORD to the Loop, where you can grab any other L train or the buses that go to Hyde Park (see below). *UPDATE*: The Blue Line will not be running between the Damen and Western stops this weekend (10 pm Friday until 4 am Monday). There will be a free shuttle taking people between these stations, but this will affect travel time. It should not be a problem for anyone heading to the airport Monday evening. 
  • Midway: The 55 bus goes straight from Midway to Hyde Park. The 55th & Ellis stop is essentially on campus, but some of you might be staying farther east, as ask your host (or Google) which stop you should use. You can also jump on the Orange Line from Midway. This will take you to the Loop, where you can grab a train to another neighborhood if you are staying/hanging out outside of Hyde Park. » Read the rest of this entry «


January 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Chicago’s winter parking system…

Winter and its Quarter are here, along with some somewhat sinister trappings (aka -50 degree windchill!).  I sincerely hope that everyone is in an apartment under at least one blanket right now. » Read the rest of this entry «

Escape from H.P. (A How To)

August 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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.

If you’re getting there using public transit

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[You] Want to Ride [A] Bicycle

July 17th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


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 «

Navigating the CTA: A MOVING Tale

August 21st, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

The CTA L System

So, you’ve settled into Hyde Park. It’s quiet and luscious and quaint. You’ve already decided whether you’re Team Jimmy’s or Team Cove and have picked your favorite Z&H sandwich. Now, how the heck do you get out of here? There are a few options for traveling to and from Hyde Park, and we thought it’d be good to give you a brief rundown of how best to navigate your way to the Loop and beyond.


The CTA Buses are probably your most consistent and convenient modes of transportation to and from this lovely little Hyde Park bubble, but there are some things to know about each. If riding the bus instills a sense of terror in you (for fear that something like this might happen on your first jaunt into the Loop) see the CTA’s helpful “How-to” guide for conquering the steel beast:

6: Jackson Park Express – The 6 runs along the east side of Hyde Park, making stops along Stony Island Ave, South Hyde Park Blvd and Lake Park. It is the only bus with Hyde Park Service that runs all day and on the weekends (service generally stops around 12:30am).  The 6 runs express between 47th Street and Museum Campus, which makes it one of the fastest ways to get downtown. It makes several stops along Michigan Avenue, which gives you easy access to most L lines. » Read the rest of this entry «

Braving Public Transportation

August 29th, 2011 § 8 comments § permalink

With MAPH starting in a few weeks and the colloquium reading assignments just around the corner, I don’t think we’ve stressed enough how important it is to get out of Hyde Park while you still have the time to do it. Last year, my plan was to explore a different area or attraction of Chicago every weekend during the program but, even with the best intentions, it gets harder and harder to make the trek into the city once you have papers and thesis topic proposals looming over you. Needless to say, I’m now having fun, post-MAPH exploring Chicago because of my poorly executed plan. So, those of you who are here now…take advantage of this time!

A-J already posted his important annual exhortation stressing the need to get out of Hyde Park, but you still might be wondering how you actually go about doing that. There are a plethora of options to get into the city and up north from Hyde Park, but there are really only three viable ones if you want to get there within a reasonable time frame and feel safe doing it. (More on the three options after the jump…)

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Get Out of Hyde Park

July 30th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Before we start recommending stuff that is beyond the confines of our beloved hamlet, perhaps a little info on how to get out of HP would be welcome.  Believe it or not, Hyde Park can get a little, well, nightmarishly claustrophobic.

Getting away to the North Side and farther afield will do wonders for your mental health.  And who knows?  You might actually meet someone not from the University of Chicago if you practice looking mysterious at the Bourgeois Pig, Art Institute, Green City Market, or Letizia Bakery every now and then.

Bear in mind, late night service to Hyde Park is limited to the Red and Green Lines (see below reasons not to take the Red and Green Lines) Other than that, you can take a cab.  If you have four people, cabs from the North Side back to the neighborhood cost around $25–roughly the same cost as public transit.  If you’re farther away in Wrigleyville or Logan Square, you’re looking at $30-$35.  Splittable, but a big time bummer if you’re on your own.  The point here: cabs with a group of fellow MAPHers are more affordable than you would expect, and definitely worth it as an alternative to the oft-scary late night El ride.

To find the easiest route use Google Transit.  CTA and Metra systems link up nicely.  But here is some info to start with:

Option 1: The Bus

During rush hours, there are several delightfully convenient ways to get up north.  The #2, 6 express, 10, and 28X all service various parts of HP.  Check out CTA’s incredibly accurate Bus Tracker, which provides useful information about where the 6 has broken down, the cause of the maintenance problem, and how many hours you’re going to have to wait for the next bus.  There’s even an iPhone ap!

Positives: Buses run often and from more places in Hyde Park than you can shake a stick at.  There is service from the Loop to HP until midnight or a little after.  As Phil likes to point out, transfers are only 25 cents once you get up north:  “You can get anywhere in the city for $5 round trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Negatives: Buses just kind of suck categorically.  Traffic can *sometimes* be miserable, especially in the afternoon when you’re trying to, totally hypothetically, get to your happy hour date at The Wit.  The express buses take longer than the train, even with clear traffic. » Read the rest of this entry «

Bundle Up

October 14th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Average Temps

For those of you joining MAPH from warmer climes, a few tips on dressing to handle the Chicago weather. As you can see above, it gets COLD. And with the cold comes wind and snow and the need for serious winter clothes. Some of you already know how to deal with this, but for those of you who don’t, here are some pointers:

HATS are awesome. My mom would give some sort of statistic on the percentage of body heat you’ll save just by wearing one, but I’ll just point out that they’re nice and warm and you’re going to want one with earflaps, because that wind can be vicious. Some days you’ll even put on a hat under your hood.

SCARVES are key, too. Not just for hipsters anymore, they’ll do a great job of ensuring that any skin between your coat and your hat stays covered.

COATS are obvious. Even if you’re from Florida, you probably know what to do here. The warmer the better.

MITTENS are warmer than gloves.

BOOTS should be waterproof.

LONG UNDERWEAR is probably overkill, but potentially nice.

But if you show up with this outfit, in an appropriate size, you will be the most popular person in MAPH, guaranteed.

Driving Without a Car (huh?)

October 1st, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Driving Without a Car (huh?)
by Linda

There are many reasons NOT to have a car in the city of Chicago. There is ample public transportation, Chicago has the highest gas prices in the nation currently, parking is a hassle, parking tickets are an even bigger hassle (they sometimes lead to boots, towing, and further legal matters), cars contribute to the pollution and congestion in the city, cars are expensive to insure, keep up, keep safe, etc. The list goes on.

BUT…..sometimes you just want a car to go grocery shopping, drive to the outlet malls, pick your friend up from the airport, take a trip to IKEA, drive around and listen to music cranked up, singing with the windows rolled down, etc. So, how do you access a car without having one, worrying about borrowing one, or committing grand theft auto? One option is taking part in a car-sharing program.
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