FAQ - Living in Hyde Park

What is the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Hyde Park?

The monthly cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in Hyde Park is contingent upon a great many factors including, e.g., the area of the neighborhood in which you live, a particular building’s amenities, and proximity both to the center of campus and to Hyde Park’s commercial districts. As a general rule, you should be able to locate reasonable accommodations for something on the order of $900-1,100/month.

 

Sounds expensive…

Depending on where you live now, yes, it might be. There are a number of things you can do to bring down the cost of housing, however. If your circumstances are such that you could live with a roommate or roommates, for example, you can drastically reduce your monthly living expenses.

 

That’s a steal!

I hope all is well in LA/San Francisco/San Diego/DC/NYC/Boston.

 

Can I simply live on campus?

That depends on what you mean by campus. The University of Chicago does not maintain graduate student residence halls as such. The University does own and manage a few apartment buildings in the neighborhood—in which you will be eligible to live by virtue of your status as a graduate student—but most graduate students live in properties held by private management companies. For comprehensive support on the ins and outs of graduate student housing options, visit UChicagoGRAD's grad housing portal. For more information on the University’s holdings, including sample layouts and price points, see https://rp.uchicago.edu/graduate_housing/property_comparisons.shtml. Additionally, many students apply to live in one of a few neighborhood residential communities—some affiliated with the University and others not. These options include the International House, Disciples Divinity House (DDH), Brent House, and the Qumbya Housing Cooperative.

 

What can I expect in the way of utilities payments?

It’s fairly common for heating gas to be included in your monthly rent, and this should be a factor in your decision between units. Bills for water, electricity, and cooking gas (when separate) are exceedingly reasonable. Note, though, that most apartments do not have air conditioning, and installing a window unit during the summer months might require a surcharge—and most certainly will raise your electricity bill noticeably. It is uncommon for apartment buildings to include internet access as part of the lease/rental agreement.

 

I don’t own a car. What should I know?

Chicago has an extensive public transportation system, and many students and neighborhood residents get by just fine with a Ventra card, good shoes, and a sturdy coat. There are excellent routes to downtown from Hyde Park (including the Metra Electric Line and the #6 bus), and from downtown you can get to most points in the city within an hour—including Midway and O’Hare airports. Hyde Park is eminently walkable and bikeable, and residents enjoy easy access to 57th Street Beach and the Lakeshore Trail. It might be worth your while to invest in a grocery pushcart (widely available at Chicagoland retailers), a bicycle, and/or a student membership with a car sharing service such as ZipCar. If you don't think you will use a bike frequently enough to merit purchasing one, you can rent a bike through the city's Divvy bike-sharing program

 

I have, or am thinking about acquiring, a car. What should I know?

This depends, in part, on whether you plan on assuming residence in Chicago. Students have the option of maintaining car registration in the location of their permanent address, but this usually requires returning for vehicle registration renewal on an annual basis. If you assume residence in Chicago, you will need to register your car with the city, annually, and purchase a Chicago city sticker, which allows you to park on streets that are not metered or subject to special parking restrictions (e.g. neighborhood parking permits).

Regardless of the provenance of your vehicle registration, it is important to keep an eye out for loading zones, metered spaces, and street sweeping signage. NB: some streets have a regular street-sweeping schedule and are marked with permanent signage. For other streets, the city places temporary signage announcing planned sweeps (usually 24 hours in advance) on trees and signposts. If the city sweeps one side of a street on Tuesday, odds are they will sweep the other side on Wednesday (unless they already swept it on Monday). 

 

I hear that UChicago has a reputation for being the place "where fun comes to die." What can you tell me about that?

Generally speaking, this is an ascription more common with students in the undergraduate College, who have a reputation for being overly self-deprecating. Let's just say that it is less a lament than a badge of honor—and that it sells t-shirts, as do the many other slogans of the sort, and that selling t-shirts is a popular and effective way to raise money for (ostensibly fun) student activities... If your idea of fun includes talking about religion, articulating and defending arguments, conference-going, reading by the lake, and going toe to toe with the faculty on the softball diamond, then you have nothing to worry about.