The easiest option for getting from O’Hare or Midway airport to Hyde Park is to take an airport shuttle. The GO Airport Express shuttle regularly services the Hyde Park Area. The GO Airport Express shuttle makes several planned stops at specific locations, but will also pick-up and drop-off anywhere in the area. Reservations are required, and can be made here on their website: http://www.airportexpress.com/south_side_service
The University of Chicago's close proximity to Midway Airport makes finding an inexpensive ride here very easy. There are no CTA L trains that run directly from the airport to Hyde Park.
There are two CTA buses that service the route:
#59 Bus: The #59 runs east and west on 59th Street (perfect for getting to OIA)
#55 Bus: The #55 runs east and west along 55th Street.
The cost for buses is minimal. Buses accept cash and Ventra fare cards, but no change will be given. Visit: http://www.transitchicago.com/ for updated schedule and fare information
The least expensive, but most time-consuming route to Hyde Park is boarding the CTA Blue Line train from the airport terminal. The Blue Line does not run all the way to Hyde Park, so you must connect with either a different L line, bus or taxi to complete your trip.
If you take the Blue Line to the Washington & State stop, you can board the #6 (Jackson Park Express) or the #28 (Stony Island Express), both of which service east Hyde Park. From here you can generally walk to your destination or catch a bus to head further west.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the Jackson Blue Line train stop, to reduce the amount of taxi fare.
Taxis and Ride Shares:
Taxi service from Midway airport to campus will cost anywhere from $20 -$35. A taxi from O'Hare to campus will cost approximately $50 -$70. A taxi from downtown Chicago to campus is approximately $15-$25.
Chicago is also serviced by ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft. At non-peak times, Both tend to be significantly cheaper than a taxi and allow for airport pick-ups.
Whether you use public transportation, drive, bike, or walk, the University of Chicago can accommodate your needs. From CTA buses that operate on or near University facilities, to parking lots conveniently located throughout campus, to bike lanes and bike renting options, to alternative transportation programs, UChicago features many safe and efficient ways to move around the greater Hyde Park area.
Visit: http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/transportation/ for more information about UChicago Transportation Services
Google Maps includes public transportation directions for the City of Chicago.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
The following CTA bus and train routes operate between Hyde Park and downtown Chicago.
#2, Hyde Park Express
This bus runs between Hyde Park and Navy Pier. You can catch the bus at several points along 60th Street and East Hyde Park Boulevard with several downtown stops
The #2 only runs during the mornings (6-9 AM) and evenings (3:30-7 PM), every 20 minutes.
#4, Cottage Grove
The #4 picks up at Cottage Grove and any street between 51st and 60thStreets. It runs from Hyde Park to the southern part of downtown. To get back to Hyde Park from downtown on the #4, catch it southbound on Michigan and Randolph or Michigan and Washington.
The #4 runs 24 hours a day, every 5-15 minutes.
#6, Jackson Park Express
Most students use the #6 bus to go downtown and back. Get on at Stony Island Avenue and 59th or 57th Street. The bus also travels north on South Hyde Park Boulevard between 57th and 47th Streets. To get back to Hyde Park, catch the bus heading south on State Street between Lake St and Balbo Ave.
The #6 runs daily from about 5 AM -1 AM., every five to ten minutes.
#X28, Stony Island Express
The X28 goes from Hyde Park to Union Station during rush hours. To go downtown, catch the bus at 57th and Stony Island or one of the stops along South Hyde Park Boulevard. It runs southbound all the way to 103rd St.
The #X28 Stony Island Express runs on weekdays rush periods only, every 10 minutes.
The #55 runs east to west along 55th street, from the Museum of Science & Industry. Some 55 buses go to Midway Airport. It is mainly used for getting to the Green and Red train lines (as well as Midway airport) and across Hyde Park.
The #55 runs 24 hours a day; it picks up about every 10 minutes and during the late hours every 30 minutes.
The most accessible way to use the Green Line from UChicago is to take CTA Bus Route #55 (see above) to the Garfield Green Line stop. You can also take the UChicago NightRide South route shuttle to access the Green Line at the 63rd/Cottage Grove stop. At either stop, take the Green Line north towards downtown (in the direction of Harlem/Lake). The northern-most point on the Green Line is State and Lake (a major downtown stop). State/Lake is an L Train and CTA bus transportation hub.
The Red Line will also take you downtown, but for trips to areas north of downtown, the Red Line is more convenient than the Green Line. The Red Line can be accessed in the same manner as the Green Line: catch the #55 east to the Garfield Red Line stop (on the Dan Ryan expressway), and take the Red Line north.
Planning Your Trip
The CTA website (http://www.transitchicago.com/) includes some useful resources for planning your trip.
1) Plan a Trip: Enter your start and end destinations, and CTA will give you several public transport options and transit times.
2) Bus Tracker: Select your bus route and direction, and see the arrival time of the next approaching bus.
3) Track by Text: Enter your bus stop ID and receive a text message with arrival times of the next bus.
Metra operates commuter trains that run between downtown Chicago and several suburbs. The Metra Electric District line runs along the east side of Hyde Park and downtown. Riders can board at 59th Street, 57th Street, or 53rd/51st Street to arrive at Millennium Park in approximately 20 minutes.
UGo NightRide Shuttles
The University provides a comprehensive nighttime shuttle service to the entire campus community on a fixed schedule along highly used routes. The goal of NightRide is to provide safe, timely, and reliable transportation during late-night hours to students, faculty, and staff throughout campus and the Hyde Park neighborhood.
Visit: https://safety-security.uchicago.edu/services/ugo_nightride_shuttles/ for the NightRide routes and schedule
In Illinois, International students, scholars and other temporary visitors are not required to have an U.S. driver’s license or state identification card in order to legally drive; you may drive with a valid driver’s license from your home country. However, this is not the case in every state. Some states require a U.S. driver’s license.
Obtaining a Driver’s License
With an SSN
If you already have a social security number (SSN) or are eligible for a SSN, you can apply for a “regular” driver’s license and/or state ID. If you have an SSN, please visit the Illinois CyberDriver webpage for the documentation required to apply for a license.
IMPORTANT: If you qualify for a “regular” driver’s license or state ID, at the time of application you will be asked if you wish to register to vote. You must DECLINE and sign a document to that effect. Mistakenly stating that you are a U.S. citizen and eligible to vote on any governmental document can lead to your deportation from the U.S. Read all forms carefully before completing or signing them
Without an SSN
Note: part of the required documentation for the TVDL is a letter from Social Security indicating you are not eligible for an SSN. This letter can be obtained from any Social Security office. You must go to a Social Security office in-person and attempt to apply for an SSN. Tell them that you need a rejection letter so that you can qualify for your TVDL. When they find that you are ineligible for a SSN, they will provide the letter you need.
Please follow up directly with the Department of Motor Vehicles directly for any additional questions you have about getting a license, documentation needed, or eligibility requirements.
Information on Driving in the U.S.
Review the Rules of the Road to ensure you are aware of Illinois driving regulations. If you will not obtain an Illinois driver’s license or TVDL, it is recommended that you keep a copy of this book in your car, in case you encounter an officer that is unfamiliar with policies about foreign drivers. Bookmark the ‘Exemptions’ section on Page 3 which specifies students attending Illinois universities with a valid license from their home country are not required to obtain an Illinois driver’s license.
Special Note for those with driver's license from France, Germany or Italy
International students and scholars who hold a valid driver's license from France, Germany or Italy are eligible for an Illinois driver's license based on reciprocal agreements between the State of Illinois and these three countries. Present your French, German or Italian driver's license, and a letter from the appropriate Embassy in the US that explains your driving privileges in your home country and that you are temporarily in the US for study. Present this letter along with proof of residency in Illinois, your immigration documents, and your SSN at the DMV.
Before you buy a car, ask yourself if it is necessary. Owning and maintaining a car can be very expensive and time-consuming in Chicago.
Costs associated with having a car
Purchasing a used car can be relatively inexpensive, but all of the costs associated with maintaining, driving, and parking in Chicago quickly add up:
Insurance premiums can be well over $1,000 each year. There is an 8.5% sales tax to register a new car. If you buy it second-hand from a private party, the tax is based on the year the car was made. If you bring or purchase a car from another state, call the Illinois Department of Commerce at 1-(800) 732-8866 to find out the tax.
There is a $95.00 fee for the car title and a $99.00 registration fee for license plates, as well as yearly license plate renewal fees ($60-100+). You will also have to pay for a Chicago parking sticker and inevitable parking tickets.
Buying a Car
Although we do not recommend buying a car, especially in your first year at the University, if you choose to get one, listed below are the essential steps:
Buying the Car: If you want a new car, you should ask around for a reputable dealer. The cost of a car is always negotiable. For used cars, signs are often posted on bulletin boards around campus, and on UChicago marketplace, in newspaper classified ads, or periodicals like "The Autofinder". You should not buy a car if you do not feel confident about what you are doing. You may want to recruit a friend who has a background in cars or is an experienced negotiator to accompany you.
Registering the Car: By law, you must register your car with the Illinois Secretary of State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When you register your car you must pay the sales tax for the purchase of your car, along with the fees for the title and license plate. There are two DMV facilities nearby:
-Downtown DMV: Located in the Thompson Center - 100 W. Randolph (312) 793-1010.
-South Chicago DMV: 9901 S. Martin Luther King Drive.
Obtaining a City Sticker: Chicago residents must get a Chicago City Sticker, which goes on the car windshield. You buy these at any Currency Exchange, or:
121 North LaSalle Room 107
Insurance: The Illinois state legislature has passed a law requiring all Illinois motorists to have liability insurance on their motor vehicles as of January 1, 1990. Listed below are a few large insurance agencies.
Allstate, 1507 E. 53rd, 2nd Floor, (773) 955-7400
State Farm Insurance, 1525 E. 53rd, (773) 955-3133
Safeco, 10 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 330 (312) 454-9090
Amica Mutual Insurance Co. 1 (800) 242-6422 for the nearest location;
GEICO 1 (800) 841-3000.
Parking: Even if you have a car in Hyde Park, you may not have a place to park it. Most streets have street parking available, though it is not always convenient. And some is parking sticker number specific. Some apartment complexes offer parking permits, but not all. The University has parking lots near academic buildings, but you must buy a parking permit to park in these lots or the garage regularly. Visit the University's Transportation and Parking Services for more information.
Car Sharing with Zipcar
Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing service, is at University of Chicago! That means you have access to cool cars that you can reserve for an hour or all day. It’s a convenient, economical and environmentally friendly alternative to the hassles of keeping a car on campus. With Zipcar, you’ve got wheels when you want them.
- Zipcars live on campus and are available by the hour or day
- Students only need to be 18+ to join
- Gas, insurance and 180 miles/day are included in every reservation
- Run errands, go shopping, road trip, whatever…
- Receive $15 in FREE driving when you join for $15. Sign up today at zipcar.com/uofc
Q: What are the benefits of Zipcar?
The beauty of Zipcar is that you have the convenience of a car without having to think about gas prices, maintenance, insurance or parking on campus. Zipcar also saves you money. On average, Zipcar members report saving $500 a month compared to car owners.
Q: How is Zipcar environmentally friendly?
Did you know that every Zipcar takes approximately 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road? To date, Zipcar estimates that it has taken more than 100,000 vehicles off the road. Car sharing also leads to fewer miles driven and less fuel consumed overall.
Q: How do I join and what does it cost?
All UofC students can join for only $15 per year by visiting zipcar.com/uofc. You’ll also get $15 in free driving during your first month of membership. Once you become a Zipster, you can reserve by the hour or by the day. Reservations start at $8 per hour or $72 per day and gas, insurance and 180 miles per day are always included. Students ages 18-20 can use the Zipcars that live on campus while members 21+ have access to over 9,000 Zipcars worldwide in cities and on campuses across the US, UK and Canada
Q: I’m an international student. Can I join Zipcar?
Yes! International students are welcome to join and we accept all drivers’ licenses. For more information on eligibility requirements and the documents that you’ll need to apply, visit zipcar.com/apply/foreign-drivers.
Q: How do I learn more about Zipcar?
Visit their FAQ page.
In 2014, Chicago launched Divvy, a bike sharing program which has quickly become a popular means of transportation around neighborhoods and the city. Choose between a 24-hour Pass or an annual membership and get unlimited free 30-minute rides. There are several stations of Divvy bikes in Hyde Park and many more in the city. For more information about the program and location of the Divvy stations visit the website. Student pricing is available.