So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

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So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby hmlee » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:52 pm

So You're Thinking of Moving to Hyde Park

As a way of taking a break from my Torts reading, I decided to compile all the answers that I gave to questions about Hyde Park, the neighborhood in Chicago which houses the University of Chicago, into one easily readable guide. This guide is intended for anyone who is either about to attend the law school at The University of Chicago, or is thinking of attending the law school, and it should have useful information whether you live in Hyde Park or commute down daily. One quick note before I get to the questions - my answers in this guide contain a healthy dose of opinion, so don't take it as gospel. I formed these opinions over a course of four years living in Hyde Park from 2004-2008, when I was an undergrad at the university, as well as one year of post-graduate employment at the university. If you have suggestions for additions to the guide or new questions, feel free to contact me through the board messaging system.

1. Okay, so where is Hyde Park Exactly?

The neighborhood of Hyde Park is located in the middle of the South Side of Chicago, next to Lake Michigan. It's rough boundaries are the Lake to the east, 47th street to the North, 63rd street to the South, and Cottage Grove street to the west.

2. What neighborhoods is Hyde Park bordered by?

Hyde Park is bordered by four neighborhoods. The neighborhood of Kenwood is to the north, starting at 47th street, to the west is Washington Park, which starts at Cottage Grove, and to the south are the two neighborhoods of Jackson Park and Woodlawn.

3. I heard that there's a lot of crime in Hyde Park and the South Side. Am I going to die when I step foot on campus?

While it is true that the South Side of Chicago has a higher crime rate than downtown or the North Side, the dangerousness of Hyde Park has been vastly overblown. The neighborhood of Hyde Park is actually one of the safest neighborhoods in the South Side, and its crime rates are not that much different than many other neighborhoods in Chicago. To back up this assertion, I offer this crime data, taken from the CPD (Chicago Police Department) crime blotter from the time period of June 15th - August 30th, 2009.

In the neighborhood of Hyde Park during this time, there were 230 reported robberies and attempted robberies (also known as muggings). There were also 12 criminal sexual assaults. This works out (over the time period of 75 days) to an average of just over 3 robberies per day and .16 sexual assaults per day.
In the North Side neighborhood of Lakeview East (where I currently live) over this same time period there were 166 robberies and attempted robberies, and 29 criminal sexual assaults. This puts their average at just over 2 robberies / day, and .32 sexual assaults per day.

Finally, in the other North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Park, there were 97 robberies and 6 sexual assaults. This is just about 1 robbery per day and .06 sexual assaults.
In other words, Hyde Park has only an average of 2 and 1 more robberies per day than Lakview East and Lincoln Park, respectively. Yet, those neighborhoods are perceived as vastly safer than Hyde Park is.

The University also employs one of the largest private security forces in the United States, the UCPD (or University of Chicago Police Department). The UCPD officers have full police powers and patrol an area from 39th to 64th streets and Cottage Grove street to the lake.

4. Yes but, wasn't a grad student murdered near campus recently?

This was a very unfortunate incident that occurred in 2007, near the intersection of 61st street and Ellis Ave. This incident was the first death of a U of C student due to crime in Hyde Park in quite some time, and there have been no further deaths since. The CPD in cooperation with the UCPD arrested and charged the killers in 2008. The area where the murder occurred has also undergone some changes recently. The University has opened a new undergraduate dorm at 60th and Ellis as of Fall of 2009, and the UCPD has also moved its headquarters to the intersection of 61st street and Ellis Ave.

5. Okay, so how do I stay safe in Hyde Park?

While there is nothing that can make one fully immune from crime, there are a few very simple things you can do to remain safe in Hyde Park. These include being aware of your surroundings when walking in the neighborhood, avoiding cutting through alleys and parks during the evening, and taking advantage of the services provided by the University and the UCPD. The University runs a very comprehensive evening bus service (more on that later) as well as a late night shuttle service. The UCPD will also follow any student in a patrol car should they want to walk to a location within Hyde Park and not feel safe doing so alone. Finally, there are many emergency buttons located in the neighborhood which will summon police to the location of the button press, in usually under 1-2 minutes.

6. I'm moving to Hyde Park and need to find a place to live. Where should I live and how do I find an apartment?

There are many private apartments in the neighborhood of Hyde Park as well as University run graduate student housing. As far as the University housing goes, the apartments available are located in various locations, mainly around 51st and 53rd streets, as well as in the New Grad residence building on 60th street, just east of the law school. Of the other apartment buildings in Hyde Park, one of the more popular student residences is Regents Park, near 51st street (also known as East Hyde Park Boulevard) and the Lake. A review of Regents or any other apartment building is beyond the scope of this guide, but, you can usually find information on any facilty by asking on the board, as there are plenty of people willing to help.

For finding an apartment, there are many resources at your disposal. Below are some of my favorites:
This is a website that aggregates Craigslist listings of apartments available for rent, and displays them on a Google Maps interface. I have found it very useful for visualizing Craigslist listings, and I found my current residence through Craigslist.
This is another website that lists apartment rentals as well as neighborhood and map data. These are usually listings posted by landlords, so the data on rental prices is mostly correct.

Chicago Apartment Finders service:
This is an apartment rental service that helps people find a compatible place to live. They have offices throughout the city, including one in Hyde Park on 53rd street. To use the service, which is free (they get their money from landlords who pay a fee to be included in the database) visit their office. An employee will ask you questions about where you want to live and what ameneties you would like and will then take you on a tour (in their car) of locations from their database that match your conditions. The service can be hit or miss, however, based on the quality of the person that you get. It helps to have a relatively definied idea of where you want to live and what you want in an apartment to narrow down the results.

Other websites: - apartment listing service - similar to Padmapper and Hotpads - listing service similar to

7. Okay, I've found a place to live and now I need to know how to get around Hyde Park.

Beyond the obvious methods of walking and biking, the easiest way to get around Hyde Park is via bus. During the day, the CTA operates two lines that travel within Hyde Park which are free to University students and employees (with display of a University ID). In the evening, the University operates four buses, named the North, South, Central, and East routes. These buses depart from the Regenstein Library on 57th street (just north of the main quads) and drive on specific routes around Hyde Park. There are no set stops, but the drivers will usually stop at any intersection along their route if you ask politely as the bus is approaching the intersection. Students can also flag down and board the buses as they drive along their routes. All buses will idle at the Regenstein library for about 20 minutes in between trips along their routes, so, if you need to transfer buses (say you want to get from the Law School, on the South route, to Regents Park, on the East Route) you can take one bus to the Regenstein and then board the second one there. For details on routes check the bottom of this guide for the google map.

8. It's late (after 2am Sunday - Wednesday, or 3am Thursday - Saturday) and the evening buses have stopped running. How do I get home?

The University offers an on-demand late night shuttle service called the SafeRide Program. The shuttle drives within the UCPD patrol area (39th - 64th streets, Cottage Grove to the Lake). The service will pick up and drop off students at any location within this zone from 5pm to 4am Sunday - Wednesday, and 5pm - 6am Thursday - Saturday. The service is operated by the Transportation office and operates on a first-call, first-serve basis. Students call the dispatch number at (773) 702-2022 and tell the operator what their current location is and where their destination is. The operator will then add the pickup location to one of the shuttle's queues and will usually give the caller a rough estimate of arrival time. The shuttle service isn't the fastest way to get home, but if it is late at night and the buses are no longer running, it can often be safer than attempting to walk home. It's also very useful in the winter, when it can get very cold outside at night.

9. I want to get out of Hyde Park and go downtown, but I don't have a car. How do I get there?

There are a few options for leaving Hyde Park via public transit. On the CTA side of things, there is the #6 bus (also known as the Jackson Park Express) which runs from Jackson Park in the South to Wacker Drive and Michigan Ave. to the North. There are also two El stations in the vicinity of Hyde Park on 55th street, one Green Line stop and one Red Line station. These stations can both be accessed through the #55 bus which runs along 55th street between the Museum of Science & Industry and Midway Airport. Personally, the #6 bus is the safest and fastest option to get downtown, with the Red Line as the second. When I lived in Hyde Park I tended to avoid the Green Line, as it is not the safest option in the south side. The CTA operates an excellent website which provides directions to the nearest bus stop or El stop as well as arrival and departure times for buses and trains.

There is also a Metra train line that runs through the South Side north to the Randolph Street station downtown, and South to the far south side. There is also another line that runs all the way out to the Indiana Dunes park in Indiana along the same tracks. There are three main stops in Hyde Park, at 59th street, 57th street, and 53rd street. Tickets can be purchased at the stations or on the trains. Rates and schedule information are available at

10. I have a car. How is parking in Hyde Park?

Parking in Hyde Park is an adventure to say the least. The number of students and employees of the University leads to a situation in which streets near the University are quite packed with cars from roughly 8am - 4pm, Monday-Friday. The streets will still have cars parked on them at times other than this, but it is usually easier to find a parking space then. If you are attempting to park near campus during the aforementioned times, you should allow at least 30 minutes to find a space. Illegal parking is policed vigilantly in the area, so be careful where you put your car. If you park illegaly, you will probably not be towed, but you may be in store for a $60 ticket from the city. If you MUST park illegaly for a short period of time, do yourself a favor and avoid double parking, parking in an area makred as a CTA bus stop, or parking next to a fire hydrant. Tickets for these offenses run anywhere from $100-$125 per violation, so they aren't cheap.

Fortunately, there is another option besides street parking. The University operates a few garages / lots around the campus for which students can buy a parking pass for between $80-$150/mo (depending on location). If you drive to campus frequently, believe me, this is a good investment. It's certainly a lot better than getting a ticket every week. You can find information on this at

11. I don't have a car, but I need to go to some place far away (say, Ikea). How should I do this?

Beyond borrowing a friend's car, there are two car sharing services that operate in the city of Chicago. Both have at least one location to get a car near campus, in the parking lot next to the GSB at 58th street and Kimbark avenue. The two services are iGo Cars ( and ZipCar ( the two companies are pretty similar, but do have slight differnces in rates and fees. For the occasional trip in or outside of the city where public transit is impractical or unavailable, they are good options.

12. I'm moving to Hyde Park and want to switch banks. What banks are convenient to the campus?

While there are many banks in the city of Chicago, and several with branches in Hyde Park, there are two that standout as most convenient two campus. CItibank has a branch right on 58th street and Ellis Ave., as well as ATMs located in the Reynolds Club, GSB, Stuart building, and near the law school. Chase bank is the other option, with a branch on 53rd street and Woodlawn Ave. They also have ATMs in all Walgreens stores (including the one at 55th Street & Lake Park Ave.) and many arround the city itself.

13. I'd like to go for a work out, where can I go?

If you don't live in an apartment building with exercise equipment, there are two gyms available to students on campus. They are free and have different facilities. The first, Henry Crown is the older of the two and is located on 56th Street and University Ave. This one has cardio equipment, weight training equipment, basketball courts, a track, and raquetball / handball courts. The second facility is the main and newer location - the Ratner Athletics Center. This is located at 55th Street and Ellis Ave. It has cardio and weight equipment, basketball courts, and a 50m indoor pool. The pool is usually configured with 13-15 25 yard lanes and (as a former swimmer at the University) is probably the best pool in the city of Chicago.

14. I'm studying and need some caffeine urgently. Where can I go?

There are many, many locations to get coffee in and around the campus. If you are on campus a list of places can be found at: Beyond campus, a few of the options within Hyde Park are:

Istria Cafe (57th street & Lake Park Ave, near the Metra station as well as 53rd Street and Cornell near the Hyde Park Arts Center): Sells Intelligentsia Coffee and also has paninis, tasty gelato, pastries.

Medici Bakery (57th Street & Kenwood Ave.): The bakery part of the well-known restaurant, they have coffee, fantastic fresh bread and delicious pastries.

Starbucks (53rd Street & Harper Ave., 55th Street and Woodlawn Ave.): Self-explanatory

Dunkin Donuts (53rd Street in between Blackstone and Dorchester): Also self-explanatory, and open 24 hours.

Third World Cafe (53rd Street and Woodlawn): local coffee shop, offers pastries as well

Z&H MarketCafe (47th Street between Greenwood and Woodlawn): Coffee as well as very good sandwiches, paninis, salads, soups, and a small market.

15. I need to mail something. Where can I go?

There are two post offices within Hyde Park, one on campus at 58th Street and Drexel (right behind the campus book store) as well as in the basement of the Treasure Island grocery store at 55th Street and Lake Park Ave. There is also a UPS store located on 53rd Street and Harper Ave, and a FedEx Kinkos at 57th Street and Kimbark Ave.

16. Class is over and I'd like to go out for a beer. Where can I go in Hyde Park?

There are two main watering holes within the neighborhood. The Pub is located on campus, in the basement of Ida Noyes Hall (59th Street & Kimbark) and Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap (55th Street & Woodlawn Ave.). The Pub has an excellent draft and bottled beer selection as well as wine and a small assortment of liquor for mixed drinks (they do not, as of summer 2009, serve shots). They also have TVs for most major sporting events, pool tables, foosball, shuffleboard, and darts. They have a menu with standard bar far, though their food is good for a bar. On Monday nights they have Wing Night, with .20 cent wings. Tuesday nights they host Pub Trivia, a trivia competition with cash prizes (the winning team usually takes home between $120 - $200 each week, and the second place team anywhere from $30 - $80). Teams can be anywhere from 1 to 8 people, and questions are asked in five rounds, with eight questions each. There is an entry fee of $3 / person, and if you decide to play be prepared to be challenged. It is the U of C, afterall.

The other Hyde Park option is Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap. They also mainly have beer and some liquor as well as good bar food. The crowd at Jimmy's is a little bit more eclectic and neighborhoody than that of The Pub but it's still a good place to go for a beer after class.

17. I'm hungry and want to go out to eat or buy some groceries. What are my options?

I saved this question for last so that it could be closest to the map I have included below. There is one main grocery store in Hyde Park, Treasure Island, located at 55th Street and Lake Park ave. There is also a smaller store, Hyde Park Produce, at 53rd Street and Woodlawn Ave., which carries excellent fresh produce as well as a small selection of grocery items and fresh meats / cheeses. Beyond that there are several small markets and corner stores as well as eating options within the neighborhood which I have located on the map below, which displays grocery and restaurnts near general points of interest, as well as the CTA 171 / 172 routes, and the U of C Evening bus routes.

Google Map Link

Map Preview:
Last edited by hmlee on Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: So you're thinking moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby iminlstrick » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:04 pm

As a Chicagoan, this is a really great article. Good job, and thanks for debunking the South Side's Dante-esque stereotype.

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby Ken » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:55 pm

Thanks. This is a very creative article and of great use to anyone considering the U. of Chicago Law School (or Northwestern if they want to keep it real 8)). I will link to this from the new U. of Chicago detailed profile that is coming out soon, thanks for the great work and for coming up with something unique.

As I said in an earlier post, I want to make sure all articles win at least a $50 prize and this article is excellent and greatly appreciated. Please keep the articles coming!

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby lucydog » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:48 am

This is really nice. Thanks for the great info!

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby etwake » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:56 am

Thanks for the help!


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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby 02082010 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:12 pm

Marking for future reference.

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby Mr. Matlock » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:29 pm

I've heard that the South Side of Chicago is where Bad, Bad Leroy Brown lives.

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby Zapatero » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:49 pm

Mr. Matlock wrote:I've heard that the South Side of Chicago is where Bad, Bad Leroy Brown lives.

+1 Baddest man in the whole damn town...

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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby hmlee » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:53 pm

ccs1702 wrote:
Mr. Matlock wrote:I've heard that the South Side of Chicago is where Bad, Bad Leroy Brown lives.

+1 Baddest man in the whole damn town...

Meaner than a junkyard dog, I believe.

But they don't specify *where* in the South Side. If he's only minorly bad then he probably lives in Englewood, and if he's really bad then he probably is from Kill Town.


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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby chitown825 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:54 am

Love it. Chicago northsider possibly transferring to UChicago. I know all there is to know about NU, but seldom go this way.

As an aside, GO CUBS! North side wayyyyy better!


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Re: So you're thinking of moving to Hyde Park? (U of Chicago)

Postby EWalsh.Arts » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:38 pm


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