Seven study spots to explore to get out of your dorm


Maddy Maes

The inside of the Bourgeois Pig Cafe.

It’s the last week of the quarter, and DePaul students are gearing up for finals. While the rapidly chilling weather could make a cramped dorm desk the easiest option for spreading out notes and cranking out papers, there are many places in the city at students’ disposal with free wifi and a good study atmosphere.

Alexis Macino went through Moody Bible Institute’s graduate program in the Near North Side and has worked as a physical trainer in Chicago and as a leader with Cru, one of DePaul’s Christian ministry organizations. She said that when she needed a place to study or work, she would go to hotel lobbies. These locations are open to the public — and they have free wifi, comfortable couches, cozy fireplaces, tables with outlets and beautiful atmospheres. Also, they’re usually quiet and you can order food if you’re in the mood.

If you need a break from the other stressed-out college students who occupy the more conventional study spots, these hotels offer a relaxed environment for you to get work done. They are more spread out in the city and may require a short train ride or walk, but if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s easy to stay at them and focus for a long time.

The Hoxton

This hotel — located at 200 N. Green St. — is a short, mural-lined walk off of the Pink Line. The lobby has color, fun decor, lots of plants, a fireplace and books right when you walk in and a sit-down restaurant in the back.

The Robey

At the intersection of North Avenue, Damen and Milwaukee in Wicker Park — 2018 W. North Ave. specifically — the Robey lies in the middle of a bustling artsy neighborhood. Inside, the lobby has a modern, well-lit design, and you can also go up to the sixth floor terrace and rooftop lounges, which both offer beautiful views.

“It was nice and quiet, and I could always get quality work done,” Macino said of the Robey.

The Chicago Athletic Association

If you’ve been to the Shake Shack at 12 S. Michigan Ave., you’ve been in the Chicago Athletic Association building. On the second floor, you’ll find a wide lobby with frosted windows, a high ceiling, low light and old wooden architecture. According to the Chicago Architecture Center, the CAA first opened its doors in 1893 as a private club, but is now open to the public. Put this spot on your list if you want to feel like you’re studying in Hogwarts.

But maybe you don’t have the time to check these out, or you aren’t feeling particularly adventurous. Coffee shops can be a great alternative for something a little more familiar.

Alli Hacker, a DePaul junior, goes to study on the third floor of the John T. Richardson library most often, but she also loves to mix things up by going out to cafés.

“You can get anything done at a Starbucks,” Hacker said.

But if you want to widen your horizons, there are many options close to DePaul’s campuses.

The Bourgeois Pig

When Hacker was enrolled in online courses last year, she would head to the Bourgeois Pig to attend her Zoom classes somewhere outside of her room. This café, located at 738 W. Fullerton Ave., sports a rustic, literary theme that helps to get the academic energy flowing, and calming — albeit on the louder side — music. It also has a whole wall of teas to choose from if you’re looking for something other than coffee to sip on while you work. There’s even a room with couches and a fireplace. Just make sure to stop by between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Sweet Bean

This new coffee shop and bakery is located at 1152 S. Wabash Ave. in the South Loop — close to the Roosevelt Red Line stop. Since you have to walk through the bakery — which is adorned with all kinds of unique Asian pastries — to get to the coffee shop, the study space consequently feels nice and secluded. They have lots of food and drink options, whether you want a study snack, a meal or just a bit of caffeine. They’re open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

Hero Coffee Bar

You may pass the Hero Coffee Bar — which is nestled away in an alley on Jackson — as you walk between your classes in the Loop campus. The shop also recently opened a new indoor location close by at 439 S. Dearborn St., so you can drink your coffee and study away from the Windy City’s streets. It also has board games in case you need to take a study break with a friend, and the walls are covered with graffiti art. However, they’re only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Everyone studies differently, and maybe going out to a hotel or coffee shop wouldn’t help you focus. Some, like transfer student Savana Jaji and junior Ellie Krigman, prefer to keep it simple and study in the library.

“I can’t work where people are talking,” Krigman said.

Fortunately, there are lots of study options close to DePaul when it comes to libraries. Besides DePaul’s buildings, there is a Chicago Public Library branch in Lincoln Park on 1150 W. Fullerton Ave., but the most famous and biggest branch is in the Loop.

Harold Washington Library

This building is very hard to miss — just look for a red facade with huge golden doors and green copper owls perched above which takes up an entire city block on its own. Needless to say, there’s always space to study here. If you’re looking for something special, head up to the Winter Garden on the top floor — a beautiful marble room with trees and a glass ceiling.

However you like to study, living in the city as a DePaul student means that there is a wealth of resources for you to take advantage of. There is always something new to try to contribute to your knowledge of the Chicago campus.

As you probably heard many times during your DePaul visits and orientation, the city is your campus — if that can help you get through finals, maybe it’s more than just a catchphrase after all.