Hyde Park’s Best Outdoor Spots to Get Work Done

Spring is here! This winter was a long one, but that only makes us better appreciate this week’s 70-degree days. In April of last year, I really started exploring the rest of UChicago’s campus, checking out places around the neighborhood, and finding spots to spend time outside between classes on beautiful days.

To my fellow Boothies, I encourage you to do your own Hyde Park surveying this quarter. As a jumping off point (and a follow-up to my coffee chat spot post from the fall), I’m sharing my favorite Hyde Park destinations to do work, optimized for outdoor seating.

Post up on the Main Quad

Grab some friends and a spot on the lawn (directly west from Harper on 58th Street). It’s a typical college quad scene, complete with undergrads frisbeeing. If you need it, your UChicago wifi will work just fine between the buildings (though, warning: it might be too sunny to see the screen!). The best part is the variety of food options here. Nearby, you can grab a sandwich or salad from Pret or hit the whole row of food trucks just beyond the Quad. A choice you probably haven’t considered: Grounds of Being in the basement of Swift Hall. This Divinity School-run shop is a long-time coffee staple at UChicago. They offer $1 drip coffee if you bring your own cup and bring in daily hot and cold food deliveries from restaurants all over Hyde Park.

Caffeinate at Dollop Coffee Co

Head to the corner of 55th and University Ave and you’ll find Dollop, a Chicago coffee chain, with a big outpost in Hyde Park. There’s tons of space, so it’s a great place to settle in and pull out your laptop.  They have some breakfast and lunch options if you’re interested, as well as chairs and tables outside when the weather is warm!

Go for happy hour at The Promontory

Okay—this may not be the best place to do work, but anything is possible. Full disclosure: it’s about a 20-minute walk from the Harper Center and doesn’t open until 5:00 on weekdays, but The Promontory is big and beautiful, with lots of outdoor tables. If you go early, you may be able to claim one and be productive. If that doesn’t work out, order some smoked feta or chickpea fries during Happy Hour, and take advantage of $7 cocktail specials on the patio.

Stop by Medici on 57th

A UChicago classic, Medici opens their patio when temperatures rise. The outdoor seating is on the restaurant side (not the grab-and-go café!), and in case you missed it, the restaurant has a much more expansive (better) menu anyway. Their salads are great on a warm day, and because the patio is a lesser known gem hidden in the back, you can usually get a table and keep it for a while. Ask them for the wifi password – they’re always happy to share.

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