Which of these UChicago housing options looks the best?
November 10, 2015 6:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be visiting the University of Chicago for a few months (Jan-Marchish) in 2016. I probably will have the option of staying in one of their graduate student housing places. Looking at this map, which area should I aim for?

Potentially relevant facts:

* I'll be there to work intensively on an academic project, so I am not concerned too much about how much fun the neighborhood is.

* Since I'm only going to be there for 8-10 weeks it seems like the university housing options might be the easiest in terms of already being furnished, having internet, etc.

* Although I live in the UK now I'm originally a Michigander so I am familiar with freezing temps and lake effect snow. In fact I'm looking forward to this aspect of my stay.

* Likewise I spent most of my adult life living in sketchier parts of Jersey City and NYC so although I'd like a safe neighborhood it's not like this will be my first time in a city.

* I really want to be intensively immersed in the academic community of $MYFIELD at the university which is part of why I will be going there...

* ...and yet the professor I'll be working with doesn't go to campus very frequently (she lives in Lakeview).

* Price is not really a limiting factor as much as being able to do work and be around other people doing work (i.e. I don't want to work at home). The department is on E 58th street.

So what are my best options? I've looked at the previous questions about Hyde Park but many of them are rather old at this point (have things changed since 2007?), and at any rate I'm looking for temporary housing. I would also consider living in/closer to Lakeview if that makes more sense.
posted by tractorfeed to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
It's been a while (although I was just visiting a friend there last Feb) , I would avoid the housing in the 60s mainly because crossing the midway in the winter is not at all fun. Otherwise I think they are equally safe locations. Don't go to Lakeview if you really want to be intensively immersed in the academic community.

All the housing on the map is within easy walking distance of campus and anything else you might need (I lived at 53rd and Dorchester, and distance was not an issue).

I can't vouch for the state of the buildings, but I remember being shocked at the state of disrepair at Columbia compared to the general state of things at UofC, so I think they do a good enough job of keeping things up. But as I said it's been a while.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:54 AM on November 10, 2015

If you want to be socially immersed with the people in your field, you might not want to live in Hyde Park at all. As your main professor does, lots of grad students, post docs, and faculty will live north and northwest of the Loop (downtown Chicago), which is far away from Hyde Park in both miles and transit time, given the lack of direct connections between the popular north side neighborhoods and Hyde Park, especially late at night.
posted by MattD at 7:16 AM on November 10, 2015

(If you will have a car or budget for Ubers 2-3 nights a week, you might not worry about this, though.)
posted by MattD at 7:17 AM on November 10, 2015

#7 and #8 are both steps from Treasure Island, which is the only full-size supermarket in Hyde Park. #5 is next to a smaller but cheaper grocery store (Hyde Park Produce). Both are a 10-15 minute walk from your department.

The biggest change since 2007: there's a gigantic new development on 53rd St between Blackstone and Lake Park, with a hotel, movie theater, upscale shops and restaurants. That's just north of #4 and #7 on the map.

The university has its own police force that heavily patrols the entire area of that map. There are muggings every so often, but it's not a dangerous neighborhood.
posted by theodolite at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you've walked through the winters of Michigan, and are looking forward to the Chicago winter, you probably won't care about the differences in location between any of the options on that map. Hyde Park is not that big. The real question is, Hyde Park or Lake View? And that will depend on your professor and the department.

But assuming you want to live in Hyde Park and be close to things, I would recommend #5. It's closest to 55th St, which has the 171 bus route during the day and one of the university's shuttle bus routes in the evening. It's within easy walking distance of the new development on 53rd, but not within earshot of it. It's a block from the Treasure Island supermarket at 55th and Lake Park, and two blocks from Open Produce at 55th and Cornell. If "working intensely" means possibly keeping unusual hours, Open Produce will be nice because it's open until 2 a.m. every night.
posted by d. z. wang at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2015

Oh, also #5 is a block from the Metra, which is a commuter rail that can take you up into Lake View more quickly than the bus or El.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:05 AM on November 10, 2015

Location-wise, any of the options between 55th and 53rd will be fine; I'd pick whichever building is most appealing to you. You will be close to the greatest concentration of dining options and also grocery stores, as theodolite mentions.

NB: I am taking your statement about a fun neighborhood at face value. If you are assuming some baseline level of fun due to being a collegiate neighborhood in Chicago, you will be disappointed. Ann Arbor this ain't.
posted by ndg at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2015

This question asking about the same grad student housing is not from 2007 and has a lot of good advice in the comments.

Something the map you linked maybe doesn't convey is that the actual distance between the grad student buildings is negligible. The walk from the very bottom of the map to the very top is under 30 minutes, and there are buses circling around the neighborhood that are free to UChicago ID holders. None of the points in your OP are going to come down to a choice of one of the university-owned apartment buildings--they'll all be effectively equal in terms of safety and access to campus.

It's really just convenience to other neighborhood resources that matters, and so for that reason, I'll second everything in theodolite's comment. I lived in the upper left corner of that map and by the time winter came around I would get really grumpy if I had to walk 10 blocks home from Treasure Island with a full shopping bag because the bus was late.
posted by capricorn at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2015

I'm surprised that grad students would live in the Loop or points north!
posted by kenko at 10:30 AM on November 10, 2015

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