The Best Study Spots In Chicago



UPDATE: It's time to start preparing for back-to-school mode, and unfortunately for some that means jumping back on the study horse. Start testing out these quiet spots now, so you'll be ready come the first day of class. This story was originally published on April 4.

Chicago's not shy on students. From undergrads to back-to-school professionals, the city is full of people hitting the books. So, if the walls of your apartment, dorm, or office are driving you bananas, get out and cram alongside your studious comrades. We're helping you cope with your stack of books and ticking deadlines at some of the best study spots in Chicago.

Sure, we've found your classic, student-packed coffee shops, but if that's not your thing, no sweat. We've got options (lots of 'em!), so that you and your study style can find the right spot to cozy up with a good (okay, maybe not so good) book, and prep for any exam the profs can throw at you. If one of our options doesn't work out, move on to the next, until you've found a place where you can soak up the genius. Live and learn.

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Photo: Via The Chicago Public Library, Bourgeois Pig, Explore Chicago

1. The Chicago Public Library
If you’re a Columbia, DePaul, or Roosevelt student and have lived in the University Center at Congress and State, you've probably had a great view of the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library. It’s hard to believe that many students have never been inside, but The Chicago Public Library truly is a quiet place to escape your loud roommates or the everyday hustle and bustle of the South Loop. Go with a group and reserve a study room to get some work done before you run out of time and those dreadful final projects are due.
Chicago Public Library, 400 South State Street (at Congress Parkway); 312-747-4300.

2. The Bourgeois Pig
Nicknamed “The Pig”, The Bourgeois Pig Cafe has been a staple for students and North Side residents alike since the mid '90s. It’s blocks away from the DePaul and is a good excuse to leave your cave apartment. Thankfully, The Pig’s interior already feels like a home away from home and has lots of little nooks and crannies where you can stow away with a soup or sandwich to clock in some serious study time.
The Bourgeois Pig, 748 West Fullerton (at Halsted Street); 773-883-5282.

3. Grant Park
Most Chicago apartments don’t have front (or back) yards, but luckily all of Chicago shares one and it’s called Grant Park. Fresh air helps you retain information (or at least that’s what we like to think) and there’s nothing better than sitting outside while you mercilessly tear through study guides and final papers. Also, nearly unlimited grassy open space allows for you to bring a friend or two, a blanket, and a snack to break up the monotony of studying that is textbooks and highlighters.
Grant Park, 337 East Randolph Street (at Columbus Drive); 312-742-7649.

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Photo: Via Barnes & Noble, Eleven City Diner, Columbia College

4. DePaul University Barnes & Noble
Conveniently located in the South Loop, The DePaul Center has many chairs and tables to kill time between classes or on a weekend study sesh. During study breaks, grab a slice of pizza or frozen yogurt to help your body power through those long, studious hours.
DePaul Barnes & Noble, 1 East Jackson Boulevard, (at State Street); 312-362-8795.

5. Eleven City Diner
Eleven City Diner is modeled around old school diners and Jewish delicatessens. Serving melts, sandwiches, and burgers, it has plenty of brain food options for you to nosh while cramming the night before a final. Also, don’t stress too hard because if things become a little too much to handle, they have local beers ready to sip (or chug) on tap.
Eleven City Diner, 1112 South Wabash Street, (at Roosevelt Street); 312-212-1112.

6. The Conaway Center
Conaway Center The Conaway Center is the hub for most big events going on at Columbia College, but when Zine-Fest or the Mary Blood Ball isn’t happening, this is a great place to study. If you’re a student, there is an all-Mac computer lab conveniently located inside where you can print out your papers for just 10 cents a page. Otherwise, they have plenty of table and chair set ups and a small coffee shop, too. Plus, it’s where most of film classes are located so you'll often see students meeting to discuss film projects. In other words, you and your study buddies can meet (quietly) here.
The Conaway Center at Columbia College, 731 South Plymouth Court (just South of Harrison Street); 312-369-6802.

7. Kickstand Coffee
Kickstand Coffee is cute Lakeview getaway where you can find a pastry, sandwich, or a fabulous Espresso drink to caffinate up for inevitable late night hours working what you’ve put off all semester (we’ve all done it). It’s also a chill hangout where you won’t be bothered by obnoxious patrons and as long as you don’t mind eves-dropping on the blind date happening one table over, you can put Kickstand on the top of your study-here list.
Kickstand Coffee, 824 West Belmont Avenue, (at Clark Street); 773-248-6300.