O-Issue 2013: Getting out of campus

By Derek Tsang

Maybe you’ve just finished your problem set; or, maybe you’re lying moaning in bed, feigning sickness to fool your RA, and then hitting the town with your significant other and misanthropic roommate while your monotonous econ professor calls out your name over and over again. Point is, Bueller, some days you feel like going out on the town. No Ferrari? Here’s a rundown of your other options. For more guidance, check out transitchicago.com.


Cost: $2.25 one way without a fare card, $2.00 with one. 25 cents for the first transfer, second transfer is free.


Runs between the Museum of Science and Industry and Midway Airport along East 55th Street. With stops at two nearby ‘L’ stations (Red and Green), it’s one of the major lifelines leading out of Hyde Park.

Picks up along South Stony Island Avenue, South Hyde Park Boulevard, and South Lake Park Avenue before turning onto Lake Shore Drive and running express to the Loop. Occasionally it gets rerouted for special events in the city, but usually it’s a good bet for getting downtown in 40 minutes or less. Heading back to Hyde Park, it goes south on State Street before merging onto Lake Shore Drive.


Stops along South Cottage Grove Avenue in Hyde Park and then snakes it’s way up to stops along Michigan Avenue to just north of Millennium Park. It doesn’t run express, but it operates all night as far south as East 63rd Street, most of the time extending to East 95th Street and South St. Lawrence Avenue.

Heads for Navy Pier via State Street. It runs express from East 47th Street and South Lake Park Avenue to Museum Campus, but only runs during morning and evening rush hour.


Starts at the Museum of Science and Industry, taking State once it gets downtown. After reaching the river, the bus diverts onto Michigan and continues north to make a loop a few blocks behind the John Hancock at Walton.


Maybe the CTA’s most confusing route, service between East 47th Street and East 57th Street on Lake Park Boulevard was restored in late August and will last for an “experimental period” through late February. After leaving Hyde Park and Kenwood, the bus either heads north to Union Station, or south to Olive Harvey College or East 103rd Street and South Stony Island Avenue.


Cost: $2.25 one way. 25 cents for the first transfer to buses, second transfer is free.

Red Line 

The Red Line has been undergoing construction since this past May from the Cermak-Chinatown stop south to the 95th/Dan Ryan stop. But when it reopens sometime in (hopefully) October, take the #55 bus heading west on East 55th Street, or the #15 bus along East Hyde Park Boulevard to make the transfer to the Red Line. The train stops at Sox-35th and Chinatown before embarking on a straight shot to downtown and North Side neighborhoods like Boystown and Wrigleyville.

Green Line

The same #55 and #15 buses also have the Green Line on its route, but students south of the Midway may find it faster to walk to the stop on East 63rd Street and South Cottage Grove. Like the Red Line, this train heads for downtown, but it circles half of the Loop, while the Red Line cuts straight through the center.

Most students prefer taking the Red Line if they’re going somewhere downtown or far north, but if you need to get on the Brown or Purple Lines, shared platforms and tracks at Green Line stops in the Loop make catching your transfer quick and simple.


Cost: based on distance travelled


Metra is separate from the CTA and requires its own fare card. With stations at East 53rd, 55th, 57th, and 59th Streets and South Lake Park Avenue, students can catch the tail end of the train from University Park to Chicago. While Metra is faster than the CTA, it is also more expensive ($3 for a one-way ticket to the Loop) and won’t take you as far downtown. Metra does offer the convenience of a set time schedule. It’s also a good choice for heading out to the surrounding suburbs or Indiana.

South Loop Weekend Shuttle

On Friday and Saturday evenings (except during breaks and holidays), this shuttle operates hourly between 6 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., nonstop from 57th and University to the CTA Roosevelt Road transit station just south of the Loop, and makes a return trip to campus a half hour later.


Taxis hoping to be flagged down are an uncommon but not unheard of phenomenon in Hyde Park, especially near the medical center. The best plan is to call or book online in advance (although the taxis still flake on busy nights). Expect to pay about $30 with tip for trips to downtown and the near North Side.