For those of you spending the holiday in the city it is wise to make sure that you spend at least one or two days not doing coursework. Sure meet up with other MAPHers and make a feast, but if you are looking for some diversions here are a few options.
If you don’t want to drive to the suburbs and participate in early morning black Friday pillaging there are other options for being in a mass of people.
Love the cupcake costumes!
Thanksgiving Parade on State Street. On November 24th you can head downtown. This is not quite Macy’s Parade in New York but there are floats and balloons and bands and your usual parade festivities. From 8:00-11:00 am on State street between Randolph and Congress.
The Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza lets you feel like you are visiting Germany over the holiday. A traditional style German market offers candied nuts in paper packets, gluwein, potato pancakes and bratwurst. There are also traditional blown glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks and other crafts. The market opens November 23rd. They light the tree at 4:30 on the 24th.
An Art Institute Lion gets its wreath on.
If you are already downtown you might as well check out the Macy’s windows (not as good as when in was still Marshall Field’s). You can then drop in on ice skating at Millennium Park or stop into the Art Institute to check out some art. Also they will be putting wreaths on the lions at 10:00 am on November 26th.
Yes, the Zoolights are lovely. . .
A little further north, The Lincoln Park Zoo starts Zoolights on November 25th. More mulled wine and hot pretzels are available as you take in the light display and see some zoo animals. Don’t forget to pick up some plastic mold-a-rama animals. They make great stocking-stuffers or Hanukkah presents . . .
Look, you could put a tiny wreath on your own Mold-A-Rama lion.
Crowds are not your thing?
You can still get out of Hyde Park and enjoy time outside. The weather is supposed to be warm. Visit the lakefront. In fact, there are groups that meet up just to go for walks. The Museum of Science and Industry has their Christmas trees from around the world up and the Muppets (okay those will be croweded) but avoid the crowds and look a the U-boat exhibit instead. (MSI has mold-A-Rama machines too, who knew holiday shopping would be so cheap and easy.) See a movie or go see live theater. There are often cheap theater tickets the weekend after Thanksgiving or use your Artspass.
This handy guide features a variety of charities in Chicago who are taking volunteers over the holiday weekend. University of Chicago has group service days on the 24th and 26th. Check out the calendar for details.
Okay so you’ve all survived your first week and you have six novels , two film screenings and Hegel to read over the weekend and MAPH Central keeps telling you to leave Hyde Park. So if you don’t think you can squeeze in a play on this dreary rain-filled weekend save this post for some future night when you have an evening free and are wondering what you can do for $10. Some of you are in an arts reviewing class so seeing performances is homework.
Chicago is a fantastic theater town. There are many big theaters but there are also great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. There are performances where you could reach out and touch the actors (although the actors won’t like that). There are roughly 300 theaters producing work for almost every taste. Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres website.
However, the League won’t group them by style of theater and give you tips for seeing things cheaply. My updated guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap is after the jump.
What recession? You’re flush with loan money (aka Play Money….aka money that you’ll have to be careful with and keep safe and spend on books).
Or, well, for now, you’re new to town, and can use your green status as an excuse so treat yourself to (just one, you swear) really fantastic meal before the whirlwind starts up. Chicago is up there with New York and San Francisco when it comes to gustatory delights. And if you think it’s a steakhouse-only town, here are some places that will disabuse you of this rumor. These places won’t break the bank wide open (and if you’re interested in Alinea, Charlie Trotter, L2O, or any of the others, you might start trying to get reservations now…).
Rather, these places are more than delicious for the price of entry.
1) HB: Up in Lakeview, chef and owner Joncarl Lochman puts together a menu of wildly different flavors and ingredients that are locally sourced. HB offers a contemporary take on comfort food, and it’s one of two BYO’s on my list. Prices are really, really reasonable for both the portions and the quality of the food. You never feel rushed either–but make a reservation if you can. (Wallet impact with wine: Pricey / Without wine: downright reasonable)
If you’re stumped on wine, hop across the street to The Gourmet Grape and pick up a bottle. Here are some recommendations of some CA wines they have on offer:
Merlot: 2005 Duckhorn, Napa (expensive, but really delicious: $57)
So it seemed like it was time to update the blog with a new batch of free or cheap ways to entertain yourself as a graduate student. Courses haven’t started so there is no excuse for not trying out a few of these options before you are drowning in reading.
First for incoming students it is great to know that your University of Chicago ID serves as your arts pass to get you in free or discounted to many area museums and theaters.
Ceiling at the Chicago Cultural Center
Festivals and Lectures
There will be many fantastic lectures on campus. However, the Chicago Humanities Festival hosts events all over the city in October and November. Most of them free or very cheap for students there is no excuse not to go see Steven Sondheim, Laurie Anderson or Jonathan Franzen speak.
Many Chicago street festivals are still happening in September and October.
Discounted theater tickets are available the week of performances at hottix It is always worth asking for a student rate or checking your arts pass discount at most theaters.
Be sure to check out my guide to Chicago theaters here. There are over 200 small theaters in Chicago covering ever style, taste and price range, many small companies still have industry nights, or pay-what-you-can nights.
As September swiftly approaches, we know you nerds are getting just as excited about buying a stock of your favorite pens, cracking open the spines of brand new books, and hunkering down for some serious assigned reading as we are. But, alas, as these days are still several weeks away, here are some pre-core-reading videos with which to wile away your last precious days of summer…
In case you’ve already faced various forms of censure from your family about being a graduate student in the Humanities, this will put your mind at ease. And when we say at ease, we mean, “don’t fret…everyone feels the same way your family does about Humanities grad students.” Everyone. Including your professors.
This next one needs no introduction. Except to say that this is probably the best flash mob in history.
And this one is really just in case you forgot what Daniel Radcliffe looked like at age 11. I wouldn’t be opposed to hosting a MAPH Harry Potter Movie Marathon. We can take a vote during Core.
Speaking of, the syllabus for Core will be released soon, so you’ll have plenty of delicious theory and philosophy to occupy your time the few weeks before Colloquium. But, in the meantime, make sure you’re enjoying your summer! For those of you who have recently moved to the area, we’re currently planning an early-arrivals meet up so you can start schmoozing with one another before colloquium even starts. More on that coming soon.
While we trust that you’ll be checking MAPHtastic every hour on the hour for urgent updates on all things social/academic life at UChicago, in case you want to hear a different voice, here are some of the best in-town publications to check out. Allegedly people still read the Tribune and the Sun-Times.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra is located a quick Metra ride from Hyde Park (get off at Van Buren Street) on Michigan Avenue. Supposedly Ricardo Muti, who was hired as Musical Director after epic, NFL Lockout-like negotiations last year, went on to spend nearly the entire season convalescing (17th Century Style) in the Alps for what seems to have been a mysterious illness (post-contract fatigue. See also ADAM DUNN but HOLY GOD Don’t get me started). Get student rush tickets after the jump… » Read the rest of this entry «