What is the fastest and easiest way to get to the University of Chicago?

I’m in Lake View, near Belmont/LSD. What would you suggest as the easiest and/or fastest way to get to the University of Chicago during weekday and Saturday afternoons/evenings?

Take the Red Line to the Lake Street stop or the Brown Line to the Harold Washington Library stop (Don’t confuse the Harold Washington stop with the just plain “Washington” stop.) Walk to State Street and wait for a southbound #6 Jackson Park Express bus. Ride the bus to 55th or 57th street (depending on where on campus you have to go). If you are going to the west side of the campus (like the hospitals, for example), you may want to transfer to the 55th Street bus, although I used to always just walk.

In case you are not familiar with the fare system, when you board the train at Belmont, you need to buy a Transit Card for at least $2.25. If you put $2.50 on the Transit card instead of $2.25, you can use your card to board two more buses or trains for two hours from the time you enter the Belmont train station. (2.25 will be deducted from your balance when you enter the train station, .25 when you board the next bus, and nothing when you board the next bus or train.)

You can save yourself some hassle by putting $4.75 into the machine to buy a round trip fare (the return fare will be 25 cents cheaper because when your first ride is on a bus rather than a train, only $2.00 is deducted from your Transit Card.) Yes, you can put $5 in the machine, but you won’t get any change. But the extra 25 cents will remain on your card for future use; cards can be “recharged.”
If you are going to do this everyday, you might want to get a weekly or monthly pass at Walgreen, CVS, Jewel, or Dominicks. It will save you time and money.

Alternatively, you could take the Red Line to 55th Street/Garfield and board the 55th Street bus there and take it to campus. But as long as you have to switch from a train to a bus, it’s safer to wait downtown and the express bus runs just as fast and leaves you closer to the campus.

As yet another alternative, you could take a Metra Electric train from downtown. Board at either the Millennium Station at Randolph/Michigan or the Van Buren station at Van Buren/Michigan. The trains run at least an hour apart on weekends/evenings and you will have to pay a separate fare. Contrast this to the #6 Jackson Park Express bus that runs every 10 to 15 minutes on weekends.

I’ve lived here for 3 months, so I’m familiar with the CTA. I have a Chicago Card Plus. I’ve used transitchicago.com to find my way around, but their trip planner to University of Chicago seems to return random results, showing various bus lines with numerous transfers

Just a followup: If by “evening” you mean after midnight, please note that only the Red Line and the 55th Street bus run 24 hours. The other options all stop running between midnight and 1:00 am. Check schedules first if you are going to be riding really late.

OK then. To make it simpler, just get downtown to State Street in the Loop. You can do this via the Red or Brown (or even the Purple Line during rush hours) which all stop at the Belmont station.

On State Street board the #6 Jackson Park Express bus southbound. That will take you to the eastern edge of the campus. Most of the rest of the campus is within walking distance, but if you are unable to walk, the 55th Street bus or the 171 or 172 University of Chicago buses will take you further into the campus.

The ‘L’ to downtown followed by the #6 bus will probably work for 99% of the cases unless you are riding in the wee hours of the morning.

I lived in Hyde Park for seven years while I was a grad student at the U of C. The “El to downtown, #6 to Hyde Park” option was almost always the one I used. Taking the Red or Green line to the Garfield stop (and the #55 stop from there) is doable, but the transfer spots are in some dodgier neighborhoods than you’re used to up at Belmont & LSD.

Another option is to take a Green Line train to the end of the Cottage Grove branch (be careful — there are two branches) at 63rd & Cottage Grove and walk from there. This is really only a useful option if you’re going to the U of C Hospital or to one of the handful of University buildings south of the Midway. And, again, the El stop in question is in a dodgy neighborhood (not quite as dodgy as the Garfield stops on the Red/Green line, due to the University’s efforts to fight crime in the surrounding neighbourhoods, but still not nearly as safe as Hyde Park proper.)

Dale - have you tried Hopstop.com? They always seem to give me the simplest transit routes, better than the transitchicago planner. They also have a pretty good smartphone app.

No, I haven’t but thank you for the tip!

Anyone headed for the west end of campus should also know about the Hospitals Express bus from Roosevelt L station to the hospital complex.

There is no fast, easy way. You need to buckle down and study.

It’s useful only so long as you’re headed to the U of C on a weekday morning or downtown in the later afternoon. It’s too bad — it would have been a really useful bus for me when I lived there, if only it had run more often.

For me, it was getting a pretty good SAT score and sending in your one and only college app on the date of deadline. Worked like a charm.

If you have a car, LSD to 57th to Cornell to the Midway.

The U of C is ill-served, generally, by the CTA. And the Metra Electric doesn’t run to Lake View, obviously. The people I know who work at the U of C and live on the North Side usually drive in.