UChicago’s new initiative U-Pass allows students to traverse the City throughout the school year without having to shell out exact change or remembering to reload their Ventra card. A U-Pass card is made for each student, works across the City of Chicago’s buses and trains, and has the ability to be loaded with money for during interim breaks.
Some of the first activities you’ll do when you get to campus are House trips, or excursions to various attractions and different neighborhoods in Chicago that students go on with their respective Houses. While larger House trips are subsidized, U-Pass allows for students to coordinate impromptu dinner trips on a weekend without the burden of worrying about money to get there. And even if you move off-campus like me, U-Pass still comes in handy for when you want to explore new study spaces (like the Art Institute, which is free for students!) or trips to the grocery store when you don’t feel like walking.
One of my favorite neighborhoods to frequent in Chicago is the West Loop. I became familiar with the area when I interned there over the summer (which is super easy to do when you already live in the city). Bustling with activity, the West Loop is known as Chicago’s “restaurant district,”and is home to famous restaurants such as chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat, and Au Cheval, where the world’s best burger is made (pro tip: the rest of their menu is pretty amazing too, if you can pull yourself away from the burger).
The West Loop is just one of the many neighborhoods you can explore in Chicago. Whether it’s hopping on the 55 bus for a quick trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, or jumping on the Red Line train to grab some dim sum in Chinatown, it’s all easily accessible with U-Pass.