Tag Archives: Chicago

Campus Days 2016: What to Do if You Get Here Early!

Here at MAPHCentral, we are gearing up for Campus Days 2016 and are excited to meet everyone this weekend! You can find an outline of the schedule for Campus Days here and a more detailed schedule here.  

If you get to Chicago before Campus Days or have some time here afterwards, or if you are a current student hosting someone and want to point out things to do and see, below are some suggested spots and activities!

Within Hyde Park


Promontory Point

Although this weekend your focus will likely be on the University, Hyde Park as a whole has a lot to offer. To enjoy some time outside, we strongly recommend Promontory Point, the east end of 55th Street. Promontory Point provides one of the most beautiful views of the Chicago skyline and of Lake Michigan. If the weather is warm, we also recommend taking a stroll on the Lakeshore Path.

Hyde Park also has several bookstores worth browsing. We have the Seminary Co-op (which is also next to one of our favorite coffee shops, Plein Air Cafe), and its sister store, 57th Street Books. On 55th is an excellent selection of used books at Powell’s. (Also, there are often a couple of boxes of free books, of mixed quality, on the sidewalk outside Powell’s. Who doesn’t love free books?)

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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.

Alumni Resources: Libraries, Life Insurance, Listservs and More


Welcome to the club!

By the end of the MAPH year, you probably feel as though you never want to visit the Reg again. But even a few weeks into, summer you’ll start to miss access to the thousands of books (and more) that you’ve enjoyed this year.

Luckily, UChicago alumni have access to the libraries for free! In fact, there are a whole host of resources available to UChicago alum, ranging from library and gym access to health insurance and career resources. Check below the break for details on how to take advantage of everything available to you as a newly minted UC alum!

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A Guide to Fine Dining (Convocation Edition)

Amazingly, Convocation 2015 is this weekend. That means friends and family will descenorig-14786211d upon Chicago for fancy dinners and celebrations. If you’re looking for a great place to eat or drink, simply consult the list below compiled by 2014 MAPH Mentor (and dining aficionado) Jessi Haley.

Bon appetit!


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Convocation Schedule 2015


Don’t forget your robes! You want the ones with the weird sleeves.

Unbelievably, Convocation is right around the corner. I’m sure you’ve all marked your calendars for Saturday, June 13th, but if you or your family/loved ones are curious about the schedule for the day, check below for details!



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Campus Days: If You Get Here Early

If you get to Chicago before Campus Days, or have some time here afterwards, below are some suggested spots and activities!

Within Hyde Park


Osaka Garden inside Jackson Park

Although this weekend your focus will likely be on the University, Hyde Park as a whole has a lot to offer. To enjoy some time outside, I strongly recommend Promontory Point, the east end of 55th Street. Promontory Point provides a beautiful view of downtown and of the lake. Further south is another beautiful park, Jackson Park. Jackson Park was created as part of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and still contains a lovely Japanese garden from the Fair.

Hyde Park also has several bookstores worth browsing. We have the Seminary Co-op (which is also next to one of Continue reading

9 Winter Life Hacks


Winter is here. Ned Stark warned us and now that it has arrived, we must face the cold, cold truth.

Although the Chicago winter is tough, it doesn’t have to be entirely horrible. Below I have compiled Maph Central’s V.I.I. (Very Important Items) for the winter as well as some more general tips for the cold weather. Chicagoans, feel free to post additional advice in  the comments!


We will all become The Winter Soldier

Very Important Items:

Sarah: Scarves! “In Chicago it’s not the actual temperature that gets you, but the wind-chill. A scarf makes all the difference.”

Maren: Fleece-lined tights (or fleece-lined anything) and Glogg Winter Drink.

Kerri: Puffy Jacket. It may not look as cool as your wool peacoat, but it is time to embrace the sleeping-bag look.  Continue reading

Chicago Theatre Recommendations

Chicago is a fantastic theater town.  There are many big theaters, but there are great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. This is where real Chicago theater lives- in the performances where you could reach out and touch the actors. There are over 200 theaters producing great innovative work for almost every taste.  Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres.

Here is my basic quick guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap.

Reviews appear in the Sun TimesTribuneChicago Reader and TimeOut ChicagoTimeout even has their “17 theatre shows to see this fall” article for some quick recommendations.

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