Chicagofilter: guesthouses or inexpensive lodging options in Hyde Park?
January 7, 2014 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I'll be attending an event at the University of Chicago, and need to find a place to stay nearby. The block of hotel rooms reserved for attendees is still more expensive than I'd like, especially x2 nights. Is there anything like a guesthouse or more dormitory-type accommodations available near campus? (Is this a total pipe dream?)

I have friends in Chicago, but all of them live in Lakeview. I've been discouraged from trying to commute to and from Hyde Park from there, especially on a Saturday morning/night, when the event takes place. So, staying near campus seems to be a better option. If they or I am mistaken in this - or if there's an area that's a little closer that might still be a reasonable commute on a weekend - please let me know! I've looked over other Asks about the area, but most of them seem to be about living or moving there rather than finding temporary accommodations.

I've stayed at places in other cities (Minneapolis, NYC) that are laid out more like dormitories, and are less expensive on a per-day basis. (This is an example.) Is there anything like this near the University of Chicago campus?

If not, the event organizers have reserved a block of hotel rooms near campus that cost $120 a night. Is this about as inexpensive as I can expect things to be in that area, or are there other options that are slightly less expensive? (I'm a graduate student.) Even a difference of $10 - $20 a night would help.
posted by Austenite to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (18 answers total)
Unfortunately, not that I know of - the International House on campus used to provide guest rooms but they've stopped.
posted by capricorn at 11:59 AM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: What about a renting a room on AirBnB? Private apartments may not be in your price range, but a room in an owner/renter-occupied apartment might be.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:00 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Is AirBnB an acceptable option?

Here's Urban Holiday Lofts. It's about an hour away on the blue and green line, but it is pretty inexpensive.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:01 PM on January 7, 2014

I have stayed at the Quadrangle Club, but it was long enough ago that I forget what it cost. You could give them a call. They may offer a discount to a grad student who's attending an event on campus.

Alternately, could you contact the department in your discipline at Chicago, find out who runs their graduate student association, and then contact that person to see whether a U of C grad student in the field would volunteer to host you? When I was a grad student there, my department (history) had a student association, and we'd occasionally get requests like this (usually for visiting prospective students, but not always). It couldn't hurt, and you might make some professional contacts.

Seconding the advice not to commute from Lakeview unless you want to spend a lot of time on transit.

I would have suggested the International House, but as capricorn already pointed out, they no longer offer short-term rooms.
posted by brianogilvie at 12:04 PM on January 7, 2014

Uber/Cabs would be no more than $30-$40 each way from Lakeview, which would be cheaper than staying anywhere, assuming a to-from trip each day. You can prearrange transportation.
posted by sandmanwv at 12:12 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a (possibly cheaper) Ramada Inn near campus, about a mile away at 4900 S Lake Shore Drive. I have stayed there. It is fine. Not fancy. NOT FANCY. But it is fine.

To my knowledge, now that the I-House doesn't allow guests, there is no dorm-style option on campus.

You could always check Marketplace to see if a there's a student in the neighborhood with an extra room or who is amenable to couchsurfers.
posted by phunniemee at 12:31 PM on January 7, 2014

The Regents Park apartment complex used to rent out furnished apartments at a nightly rate, but I don't know if that was only for guests of residents. You could check that.
posted by freezer cake at 2:12 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: Yeah, the temporary lodging options are few in this neighborhood.... your best bet is probably AirBnB as mentioned above, which is what friends of mine use to visit Hyde Park when the couchsurfing options grow thin/welcomes are worn out. Bonus, there's a good chance this can get you something less than a 1mi walk from campus (all the hotels are at least that far away).
posted by anotherthink at 2:29 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: Looks like you can get a bed at this hostel in the South Loop for about $30/night. You're steps away from the Metra Electric line, which is a 15-minute, $5 r/t ride to the UChicago campus. Never stayed there, but I've been inside and it looks pretty on-the-level.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's the Hyde Park Arms SRO. Good location; I can't vouch for it at all, but I bet it's cheaper than $120/night.
posted by ndg at 2:38 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: The HI hostel in the South Loop is indeed very nice and reasonable, with very nice volunteers ;) You can check out the Metra Electric schedule here - bear in mind that it doesn't run all that frequently, esp at off-peak times, but if it works with your schedule it's a really easy way to get to Hyde Park. There's also a bus - #6, the Jackson Park Express, that takes you right to campus from downtown, and runs a lot more frequently than the Metra.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 3:03 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: If/when you stay at the hostel a couple folks above have mentioned (which now that they mention it, that is a GREAT idea for you--the #6 bus will be very convenient for your needs and is what I would recommend) you should eat at Cafecito. Get a cubano. Mmmmm
posted by phunniemee at 3:11 PM on January 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing AirBnB- the best option in any major American city at the moment.
posted by amaire at 4:57 PM on January 7, 2014

I've been discouraged from trying to commute to and from Hyde Park from there, especially on a Saturday morning/night

I'm curious about why. It is only a little bit awkward to commute there from Lakeview (a transfer basically).
posted by srboisvert at 8:29 PM on January 7, 2014

Best answer: You might find something on this site that suits you (of the two I quickly spot checked near campus, one was cheaper than the one you cite, and that's without the UofC rate):

University of Chicago Preferred Hotel Program

"Discounted hotel rates are available to any University of Chicago visitor, student, faculty, staff, alumni, or hospital guests who stays at hotels marked by an asterisk...Make sure to ask for the University of Chicago rate when you make a reservation."

That said, I also recommend AirBnB. I've seen some fantastic places in Chicago that would be in your range.

Good luck and enjoy your visit.
posted by beanie at 10:25 PM on January 7, 2014

I think that e-mailing the event organizers and asking them to find you a grad student's couch would be the best option. I hosted a lot of students visiting for conferences while I was a grad student there.

If that doesn't work out, try posting on the UChicago Marketplace.
posted by redlines at 7:52 AM on January 8, 2014

Oh dang, I just remembered--a few years ago a friend of mine was thisclose to living in the Gamma Alpha house for a short time when her housing plan fell through. I don't know if they still rent out rooms or if they even bother to rent them out per diem, but it might be worth contacting them to see! It's right on campus.

I apologize for their obnoxious restaurant website-style flash intro.
posted by phunniemee at 8:00 AM on January 8, 2014

Wow that website is even more useless than I thought. I did some googling and it seems their phone number is 773.955.2653. I can't find any other contact info, ugh.
posted by phunniemee at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everyone! This gives me a lot of good leads - the hostel and Airbnb look like especially good options. (I honestly hadn't even thought of Airbnb, as I haven't used it before.) I'll look into rates for some of the "preferred" hotels today.

srboisvert, my friends' hesitation was primarily about the time it would take to commute from Lakeview during off-peak hours, especially if I have to be in Hyde Park around 8:00 A.M. (Of course, the fact that it will be Valentine's Day while I'm in town probably doesn't make the idea of a houseguest especially appealing...) Staying nearer to the event and meeting up with folks later will probably be more convenient for them and for me.

Thanks again!
posted by Austenite at 9:17 AM on January 8, 2014

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