How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 3

Hi, MAPH!  It’s been a gorgeous autumn in Chicago which means it’s a great time to see what the city has to offer outside our beloved Hyde Park.  And the good news is that there is a lot to do for just a little money!  Here’s the final installment of the series “How to Do MAPH on a Budget.”  

10 Things to Do in Chicago for $10 or Less:

Chicago_Skyline_from_John_Hancock_96th_floorIt would be really easy to hang out in Hyde Park from September to June, but it would be a bummer to come up for air in June and realize that you’ve missed out on LIVING IN CHICAGO. Even though it takes a few minutes to hop on the #6 and ride downtown, it’s worth the time and effort to spend some time experiencing Chicago as a human being, rather than simply as an exhausted and over-worked graduate student.

• Be a tourist in downtown Chicago

There are a lot of fun and iconic things to see in downtown Chicago, and it costs nothing to run around for a day and play tourist! Here’s a quick list of some things to check out: Cloud Gate (the Bean), Pritzker Pavilion, the Lurie Gardens, Maggie Daley Park, Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, and the Crown Fountain (those are the walls with the faces that spit!).

The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.)

Art_Institute_of_Chicago_Lion_Statue_(2-D)It’s easy to get to the Art Institute and, more importantly, it’s FREE for students with their University of Chicago ID. Channel your inner Ferris Bueller and enjoy the incredible range of exhibits this museum has to offer. Because you get in for FREE, it’s easy to come back over-andover to see the whole museum as well as rotating exhibits.




The Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.)

The MCA is a little more difficult to get to, but it’s definitely worth the trek. Plus, if you take the #6 bus downtown, you can walk through the Magnificent Mile on your way to the MCA! This museum is also FREE with your University of Chicago ID, and you’ll have the opportunity to see, hear, and experience a wide range of artistic pieces.

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (756 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

This is a small but phenomenal museum devoted to promoting public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of intuitive and outsider art. The entrance fee is $5, but you will get the opportunity to see a different type of museum while seeing Chicago via the Blue Line. My favorite exhibit at the Intuit is the Henry Darger Room!

Bike the Lakefront Trail

Chicago_LFT_GCBiking the Lakefront Trail is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. As you head towards downtown Chicago, the view of the city is absolutely breathtaking, and you get to see some interesting pieces of public art that you would miss riding the CTA or driving. If you have a bike or can borrow one from a friend, this is FREE, but if you don’t have a bike, rent a DIVVY! These blue bikes are available all over Hyde Park, and the rental fee is $9.95 for 24 hours. NOTE: the 24 hour fee can be tricky! You have to check the bike in every 30 minutes at one of the DIVVY stations, or you will get charged an extra fee. The good news: there are plenty of DIVVY check-in stations along the Lakefront Trail.

Lincoln Park Zoo & Conservatory (2001 N. Clark St.)

Lincoln_Park_ConservatoryI was amazed to find that Chicago has a FREE zoo, but I was shocked to find that the Lincoln Park Zoo is large and well-stocked. Not only does the zoo have a baby sloth right now, but they have everything that you could want from a zoo: lemurs, gorillas, snakes, birds, aardvarks, giraffes. As if naked mole rats were not enough, the zoo is on the same grounds as the FREE Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens. With four display houses, I was blown away by the number and variety of plants that are displayed. Do you know what a sensitive plant is??

The Signature Room at the 95th Floor (The John Hancock Building, 875 N. Michigan Ave.)

While the restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building is expensive, you can headA date with a view up to the bar and get an INCREDIBLE view of Chicago for less than $10. With a 360º view of the city from above, this is a great place to get a drink with your friends, date, or family. Beers and non-alcoholic drinks are $8-$10, but cocktails are reasonably priced around $15. Not 21? Head over to the bar before 5pm to get in before the evening shift. While the John Hancock building is not quite as tall as the Willis Tower, this is an affordable and delicious way to get a great view of the city on a budget. In my opinion, I would rather pay $10 and get a drink at the Hancock than spend $20 to get to the top of the Willis Tower without a tasty beverage.

The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.)

The Empty Bottle is a fantastic bar that offers live music 7 days a week. Every Friday afternoon at 5:30pm, you can get in for free to hear some Hard Country Honky-Tonk from The Hoyle Brothers. Not a fan of Honky-Tonk? You can also hear a variety of free music on Mondays at 9pm! If you have a few dollars to spend, The Empty Bottle has something for everyone at least one day each week.

Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave.)

5471839749_2fd8162dab_bQuimby’s is an absolutely incredible independent bookstore that specializes in zines, small press, and unusual publications. There are so many funky, beautiful, bizarre books in this store, and I always found something to love when I went. One of the great things about Quimby’s is that they have a lot of books from Chicago-based artists, so it’s a cool way to see what the independent book-scene in Chicago looks like. Not only do they have fun events (I met Chris Ware and Ivan Brunetti at a Daniel Clowes signing here!) and handmade books, but prices start at $1.00.

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (600 S. Michigan Ave.)

Robert_Mapplethorpe_ExhibitionHoused in Columbia College, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is a FREE museum with rotating exhibitions. This museum is intimate and presents photographs with a wide range of aesthetics and technologies. Each time that I have visited the MoCP, I have been blown away by the exhibitions.

How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 2

MAPHletes! You are sprinting towards mid-quarter and keeping up a great pace! You’re starting to feel a bit of chill in the air, and it can be easy to just hole up in the Regenstein and study. (Note: studying is good and generally encouraged.) But while it’s still livable outside you might also want to explore more of Hyde Park and clear your mind. What better way to do so than with free stuff? To point you in that direction, here’s the second installment of Morgan Podraza’s “How to Do MAPH on a Budget.”  Enjoy!

10 Free Things to Do in Hyde Park:

blogpicAIf you live in Hyde Park, it’s going to be difficult to get out of Hyde Park during MAPH. For me, I was always thinking things like: “but that hour that I spend traveling back-and-forth could be spent in an attempt to understand what Lauren Berlant means by a slow death.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of great things to do in HP between paragraphs of LB.

The Smart Museum of Art (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.)

This museum is located on campus and collaborates with scholars to “establish itself as a driving force for creative thinking through the arts at the University of Chicago.” The exhibits include Asian art, contemporary art, something referred to as “old master” European art, and modern art/ design.

The Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th Street)


This museum is located on campus between the Quad and the Booth school. Not only does the Oriental Institute have amazing artifacts of the ancient Near East, including a statue of King Tut, but the museum also offers free programs and events throughout the year. An orientation week event, for example, is “Bulls and Buns:” get some of Anne Sather’s famous cinnamon rolls while you check out collections from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel!

Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive)

The Museum of Science and Industry is a great building with an interesting history, but it is also HUGE. The bottom level has an entire WWII German U-505 submarine. While the museum can be expensive to visit most days, there are a bunch of FREE DAYS. Just bring your student ID, and you can spend the entire day learning about everything from robots to humpback whales.

Promontory Point


Promontory Point (known also as The Point) has an incredible view of the city and is a lovely place to lay in the sun, or under the trees, and relax. The Point also has a few fire pits, which are the perfect places to eat s’mores and enjoy the company of other MAPHers, but you will need to either get there early to reserve a pit or potentially hang out with some other Pointers.


57th Street Beach (57th street and Lake Shore Drive)

As a New Mexican, I was so excited to live next to an actual body of water with an actual beach. 57th Street Beach is a lovely beach and a short walk from Promontory Point. Bring something cold to drink and a book to read (perhaps Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1) for a warm day in the sand.  (Editor’s note: our warm days might be behind us… But the Point and beach are looking beautiful in their autumnal dressings!)

Osaka Japanese Garden (6401 S. Stony Island Ave.)

blogpic3The Osaka Japanese Garden is a zen-like refuge from the fast-pace of Chicago and MAPH. While the Garden closed for renovations this past spring, I believe that it should be re-opened this upcoming spring.



The Arts Incubator (301 E. Garfield Blvd.)

The Arts Incubator fosters the relationship between public life and art through arts education, community events, exhibitions, performances, and talks. One of the weekly events that I enjoyed was Committed Knitters, where you can bring your coffee and current knitting project to meet other knitters and learn new techniques!

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 East 60th Street)

blogpic4The Logan Center is that crazy grey, glass building that stands across the Midway—my favorite building on campus. There is always something free to enjoy in the Logan Center: the Cabaret Series happens every other week and includes everything from string quartets to slam poets; every Sunday you can listen to music from the Sunday Song Styles performances in the café; and there are always exhibitions of contemporary art throughout the building.

The Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.)

The Experimental Station is located south of the Midway and hosts a variety of artistic and cultural events, including music, theater, art exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. It is also the home of the 61st Street Farmers Market, which happens every Saturday from 9AM-2PM throughout the year (even in the winter!).

University of Chicago Events

blogpicTake advantage of all of the amazing, free events that the University of Chicago offers students! There are so many events to enjoy on campus: the student circus, yoga classes, tea & pipes at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, lectures by world-renowned faculty, the Blessing of the Animals, Pet Love (the University brings therapy dogs onto campus, and you just pet them!), and more. To keep track of all the events and happenings, download the University of Chicago app.

How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 1

Hey, MAPH!  Hope you are all off to a great start on week 3 of the quarter!  This next three-part series of blogposts is written for us by an amazing alumni from last year’s cohort, Morgan Podraza.  This first installment shares some tips on how to make a little extra change.  (Note: Humanities Day is this weekend!)  The next two posts will list some free things to enjoy in Hyde Park as well as some activities that cost less than $10 a little farther afield in the city. Enjoy!

From understanding Hegel’s concept of self-consciousness to meeting people that you will, most likely, spend your free moments drinking jars of whiskey with, MAPH is an incredible, life-changing experience. Let’s be honest, though: that experience is expensive. In any normally-paced, normally-intense program, the answer would be to find a student job to supplement your unhealthy and enjoyable habits (in my case, this would be the $30/week comics budget), but MAPH is neither normally-paced nor normally-intense. While some people found the time and extra sanity to work during the MAPH year, I found that I had little time and sanity to spare.

empty-pockets-333-300x250The following list is the product of my desire to adventure and enjoy Chicago on a budget. Just because your bank account sits at $0.13, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an adventure-filled year in Chicago. Most importantly, remember that you DO live in Chicago and that your extra sanity is worth the extra time it takes to ENJOY your upcoming year.


Part 1 – How to Make a Few Extra Dollars for the Weekend:

There will be some unexpected expenses during your MAPH year—a late fee for returning an ILL book a day late, a performance required by a class, a book for class that’s only available through the professor, a drink after having a meeting with your thesis advisor in which they tell you that you need to re-write most of your draft. In short, the small amount of money that you’ve managed to save could be the victim of unforeseen needs. Don’t worry! There are easy, quick ways to make some extra money without committing yourself to student-employment or a sugar baby website.

The Decision Research Lab (Chicago Booth Harper Center Building, Suite C74)

decisions-6Participants for this research lab are always needed, and you never have to make an appointment ahead of time. The DRL is open Monday-Friday from 12:00PM – 5:00PM, and they offer research studies that range from 2 minutes – 30 minutes. All you have to do is go in with your University of Chicago ID and tell them how much time you have. The studies are super easy and, sometimes, involve snacks! Each study pays a particular amount, but there have been times that I’ve walked out with $12. In addition, the studies change each week, so you can go regularly to earn some extra cash!

University of Chicago Research Studies

The University of Chicago often needs participants for research studies, and these studies pay well! You can find studies on-campus that are as short as 10 minutes and pay a few dollars as well as studies that are multiple hours and pay a lot. Last year, I participated in a study that paid me $180 to (for all intents and purposes) get drunk and read the Althusser assignment for Core. I can honestly say that these research studies paid for a lot during my MAPH year, and I would highly recommend participation to anybody who needs to make some extra money—whether that money is spent on red pepper jelly for your bagel sandwich or tickets to a Second City performance. You can find listings for the University of Chicago research studies on the Marketplace under “Employment.”

Humanities Day

Humanities Day is an annual event at the University of Chicago that features lectures, exhibits, and tours all across campus, and volunteering for this event has a few perks. While volunteering to help with this event may sound unappealing initially, it is a great way to spend a Saturday! Not only did I get paid $112 to work the event, I got to sit in on the events that I supported and they fed everybody lunch from Snail Thai.

University of Chicago Marketplace, “Employment”

Palm with a plant growng from pile of coins

This local version of CraigsList is a great place to find random opportunities for temporary employment. The listings include everything from dog-walking to yard-cleaning, and this website is a lot safer than trolling the unknown abyss of CraigsList. It was through the Marketplace that I connected with two families that asked me to house-sit and dog-sit for them throughout the year, which not only gave me an opportunity to make some money but also to enjoy the company of a furry friend!

Aliens and Burgers!

Dear all,

We are very excited to announce that MAPH 2016 will commence this Sunday, September 13th at 3pm in Social Sciences 122! You can find the screening room on the first floor of the Social Sciences building on campus (see map below). The screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien will be followed by a delicious BBQ on the Classics Quad (right outside the MAPH Office) at around 5.45pm.

Feel free to wear whatever you feel comfortable in

A few things to remember:

– Dress is casual! Fell free to wear whatever you like. We are expecting (and hoping) that Sunday will be fairly sunny, but with recent rainfall we’d encourage you to wear comfortable footwear, as the BBQ will be on grass.

– Plus 1s are very welcome to join us for the BBQ! We really encourage MAPHers to bring partners and families to events throughout the year, and this is no exception. We only ask that they arrive at 5.45pm for our BBQ, as due to space restrictions we cannot accommodate more than the size of the cohort for the film screening.

– The BBQ is a great chance to meet your preceptor and people in your precept or wider cohort. When you arrive, be sure to grab a sticker with your name on it from our mentors! We’ll be at a table just outside SS122 so that we can all find each other.

Thanks for reading, and we can’t wait to meet you all on Sunday!

Your Mentors x


[MAPH] Opening BBQ MAP


Meet your MAPH Staff!

Hi MAPHers!

The opening film screening of Alien is three days away.  You are settling in, buying books and course packets, exploring the city and University, and getting excited about Colloquium!  It’s a time of fresh beginnings and lots of new things to figure out and places to navigate.  Chances are, you have a lot of questions, so now’s a good time to introduce you to MAPH’s fabulous staff.  We’re here to help! A few weeks ago, we wrote a post introducing us, your mentors.  For this post, we put some hard-hitting interview questions to our Associate Director, Maren, and Program Manager, Jane.  They are both invaluable resources for you throughout your year here at UChicago.  We are all here in the MAPH office, Classics 117, to help in any way we can!  Feel free to stop by, enjoy some free coffee, and introduce yourself!

Your Mentors,

Michael, Jess and Clancey

Maren Robinson, Associate Director


In your own words, what’s your role with MAPH?  

As the Associate Director I can help you navigate issues surround all administrative aspects of the program from restrictions and registration issues to a leave of absence or choosing to go part time. I also have great institutional knowledge of where to find or access things on campus and which alumni might be good to email with if you have a question about a certain kind of work or academic program.


What do you provide students with/what could students come to you about? 

Really, if you have questions or concerns about the program, the university of even about where to find things in Chicago I often have an answer or point you in the right direction. Also, if you are just anxious or stressed, that is a good time to find me too. I have a great supply of tea.

Ask me about?

Anything MAPH or University related, outside of MAPH I love talking about theater and performance in Chicago, where to see parrots in Hyde Park, Yellowstone National Park, photography, knitting, and where to find quiet spots of nature in the big city.

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MAPH City Farm visit – Prepare to get muddy!


Last year’s MAPH cohort at the City Farm

City Farm is an urban farm located in between the Loop and Lincoln Park, and is a start-of-year MAPH tradition of sorts. On Wednesday 9th September (four days before our opening BBQ and film screening!) we’ll visit the farm and volunteer for a couple of hours, hanging out with their chickens and weeding vegetables. In previous years we’ve found this is a great way to explore Chicago’s public transit for the first time, get out of Hyde Park, meet fellow MAPHers and do something active and helpful for the Chicago community. The visit to the City Farm is free and all new MAPHers are welcome. This will be the first of several MAPH service events throughout the year – for instance, in the past we’ve done trips to the Chicago Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity Build Days, which have proved to be great opportunities to get out the library and do something constructive within the community with fellow MAPHers and mentors.

On Wednesday 9th, we’ll meet in the MAPH Lounge at the Classics Building on campus before venturing up to the farm on public transport, so this is a great chance to start on the CTA and show off your new Ventra card (by the way, if you don’t have one already the best places to buy these are probably CVS or Walgreens!). After working in the garden (in comfortable clothes and shoes, sunscreen, and maybe a straw hat?), we’ll take the Red Line back down to Hyde Park together.

Below are some tips from City Farm themselves on what to expect from the day:


Green-fingered MAPHers on the City Farm (not pictured – green fingers)

Farming is hard work! Come prepared to get dirty and sweaty. You may expect to do things like:

  • Weeding (lots of weeding)
  • Tilling the soil
  • Hauling & spreading resources like compost, mulch, or straw
  • Picking up garbage (it is an Urban Farm after all!)
  • Washing equipment
  • Transplanting seedlings or thinning sprouts in the beds

What to Bring

It is super important to be prepared for the weather on the farm. In Chicago, the weather can be unpredictable! Make sure to check the weather the morning of your visit, but be prepared for a sudden change in temperature. It happens.

  • Boots are recommended (even in the summer!)
  • Headgear and/or sunscreen if you need them
  • A water bottle
  • Work gloves (we have extras of these if needed)
  • Rain gear (when appropriate)

What City Farm Provide


Weeding on the farm

We want your visit to be memorable, informative, and inspiring. Our farmers will give you a tour of our operation, including hoop houses, compost, wash/processing area, etc. before putting you to work. We’ll also talk about our mission and impact in Chicago. We’ll encourage you to taste the food that we’re growing. Plus, we’ll provide a snack.

Shoot an email to Jess at if you think you can make it, just so we can get an idea of numbers. We’ll meet outside the Classics building at 11am before embarking on an adventure on the 55 bus, Red Line and through downtown Chicago. We hope to see you there!

Your Mentors