Campus Days: What to Do If You Get Here Early

Harper Memorial Library

For those prospective students planning on arriving early to Campus Days, MAPH has plenty of suggestions for ways to enjoy the city.

1. Explore the neighborhood

One of Hyde Park’s excellent bookstores

Hyde Park has much more going on that simply being the location of the University of Chicago (which also sits in the neighborhood Woodlawn). If the weather’s nice,  explore Jackson Park just east of campus, or wander over to Promontory Point & the 57th Street beach for an excellent view of downtown. Browse books at the Seminary Co-op, 57th Street Books, and Powell’s, or visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House. Hyde Park is also home to some excellent museums and galleries. For art, check out the SMART Museum of Art and the Oriental Institute on campus, or venture to the Hyde Park Art Center on 51st Street. The Museum of Science & Industry is just east of campus, near the 57th Street beach, and the DuSable Museum of African American History is just to the west. You can find a fairly comprehensive map of Hyde Park bars, restaurants, and useful services here.

2. Be a tourist

Millennium Park

Downtown is a quick 20 minute bus ride from Hyde Park (more directions on transit here). In Grant Park, you’ll find a number of gardens, sculptures – including the famous Cloud Gate aka “the Bean” – and pathways to explore, conveniently located just off the Magnificent Mile. The Mag Mile is home to a ridiculous number of stores, and if you’d like to combine you shopping with historic exploring, check out the Water Tower, located next to Water Tower Place, a large urban mall. Hoping to grab a bite downtown that isn’t fast food or on the expensive side? MAPH recommends visiting Pastoral for sandwiches and cheese samples, the Hubbard Inn for drinks, or one of many pizza places – Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s – for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

3. To downtown…and beyond!

Wicker Park

Ready to see more of the city? Chicago is home to more than 200 neighborhoods. Find hipster paradise (and plenty of good bars) in Wicker Park. You can visit the Zoo & Conservatory in Lincoln Park, browse a non-profit used bookstore in River North, or eat some dim sum in Chinatown. For more details on particular neighborhoods, check out this series of blog posts on Andersonville, Bridgeport, Logan Square, and Lincoln Square. The possibilities are pretty much endless, so check out the blog or feel free to send us an email if there’s something specific you’re looking for!

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