Spring is, dare we say, here and summer is on its way. As the weather improves, Boothies find themselves stepping out of the Harper Center to Summer Garden, perhaps venture as far as the outdoor patio at Plein Air Cafe. As a double Maroon (former UChicago undergrad) I love it when people explore beyond the bubble of Harper. Hell, we’re going to Mandel Hall for Follies! So this article is an introduction to just a few more places in Hyde Park and the great big university just beyond Woodlawn.
Coffee - Hallowed Grounds. (1127 E 57th St)
Up on the second floor of the Reynolds Club is the dim-lit, dark paneled, gothic Hallowed Grounds coffee shop complete with pool table. The soundtrack is barista’s choice, making this feel even more like a coffee shop by the students and for the students. Its cozy vibe and devoted customer base creates a homey atmosphere that you discovered all for yourself.
Quick Bite - Grounds of Being (Swift Hall, 1025 E 58th St)
The Divinity School Cafe known as “Grounds of Being” would be my pick for a quick bite, a cup of coffee, and a great place to see how the Battle of the Gods tip jar competition is progressing. It’s super pun-ny right now, with Protestant Reformation vs. Beyonce’s Formation my recent favorite matchup. The cafe curates lunch options from around the neighborhood so if you want a falafel or some pad thai, or both, go grab lunch and maybe an Irish Catholic coffee. After all, as their mugs put it, it’s “Where God Drinks Coffee.”
Leisurely Meal - Medici on 57th (1327 E 57th St)
Medici or The Med, is a Hyde Park institution. Go for the Garbage Pizza (or Garbage Salad if you’re being healthy) and stop at the Med bakery next door for a fruit tart or a mexicana shake! Before you leave, make sure you find a moment to scratch your name in with the millions of inscriptions in the tables and walls.
Frosty Beverages - Woodlawn Tap aka Jimmy’s (1172 E 55th St)
Go beyond The Pub to Jimmy’s, nicknamed after its legendary bartender and owner (you may find it on Yelp as Woodlawn Tap) for cheap food and fare. Walk up to Woodlawn and 55th Street to sit amongst a mix of students, professors and Hyde Park locals and order up a side of fries with your drink. You won’t regret it. (PSA: It’s cash only.)
Best View of the Chicago Skyline - The Promontory Point (5491 S Shore Dr)
This was a close one between the Astronomy Tower and Logan Arts Center, but since frisbee season is almost here, I went with The Promontory Point, also known as The Point. The Point (not to be confused with the restaurant The Promontory, which is also great) is a little oasis on the South Side. It’s right on the lake, you get an amazing view of the skyline and you can always sunbathe there.
Secret Escape - Osaka Garden or Garden of the Phoenix (6401 S Stony Island)
While you’re at The Point, visit the Osaka Gardens right behind the Museum of Science and Industry! The beautiful serene space has an art installation by Yoko Ono. It’s worth it.
Study Space - Harper Memorial Library (1116 E 59th St)
This doesn’t happen often but every once in awhile, Boothies need a study space that's not the Winter Garden. For that, head over to Harry Potter… uh… Harper Memorial Library. Comfy chairs, coffee supply from yet another student run shop, Common Knowledge Cafe, and the opportunity to enjoy a little slice of the Harry Potter world.
Fantastic Find - $1 Shake Day at the C-Shop (5706 S University Ave)
$1 Shake Day! If Wednesdays are getting you down, and the “hump-day” camel isn’t helping with the fact that the weekend is far away, step over to Einstein Bros Bagels at the C-Shop to grab a shake for just a dollar. Personally I wait for the Cookies N’ Cream but I respect your decision to get that Strawberry Shake with Oreos too.
Disha loves revisiting her favorite spots on campus and would be happy to lead a tour or give suggestions to anyone who wants to wander beyond the world of Woodlawn.