With Chicago’s expansion in the late 19th century, a major university was the perfect addition to an array of new cultural institutions. Funded by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, (who deemed it his best ever investment) the forward-thinking institution opened in 1892. Today, the university is one of the USA’s most respected, boasting 78 Nobel prize winners as students, faculty, or researchers, as well as several on-campus attractions that are destinations in their own right.

  • 5801 S. Ellis Ave.

  • 1 773 702 1234


  • Metra Station: 55th/56th/57th Sts.; 59th St.

Bond Chapel

  • open 8am–4:45pm daily

  • Free

Smart Museum of Art

  • open 10am–4pm Tue–Fri (to 8pm Thu); 11am–5pm Sat & Sun, Jun–Sep

  • Free

Cobb Hall

  • Renaissance society open 10am–5pm Tue-Fri, noon–5pm Sat & Sun

  • Free

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

  • open 8am–4pm daily (except during services)

  • Free

Regenstein Library

  • special collections exhibits open to the public 8:30am–4:45pm Mon–Fri, Sat 9am–12.45pm term-time

  • Free

Go for a deep-dish pizza at a Chicago favorite, Girodano’s (

5311 S. Blackstone Ave.

Rockefeller memorial chapel’s carillon is played Oct–Jun 6pm Mon–Fri, noon Sun, Jun–Sep, every Sun.

Unless otherwise stated, all attractions have Disabled Access.

Top 10 Features
  1. Oriental Institute

    The institute’s amazing museum  has five galleries that showcase the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. Don’t miss the Egyptian Gallery’s towering 17-ft (5.2-m) statue of King Tutankhamun.

  2. Bond Chapel

    Built in 1926, this small, ivy-covered chapel features exterior stone carvings of angels, imps, and Adam and Eve. Inside, stained-glass windows illustrate scenes from the New Testament.

  3. Smart Museum of Art

    Magazine moguls David and Alfred Smart founded this museum in 1974. It might be small, but its contents (ranging from ancient ceramics to 20th-century sculpture) pack an impressive punch.

  4. Main Quadrangle

    Rejecting post-Civil War modernity, Henry Ives Cobb’s 1891 campus plan mimics England’s Gothic Oxford University, with this main unifying quad surrounded by smaller ones.

  5. Robie House

    Frank Lloyd Wright described his striking low-rise, Prairie-style masterpiece as “the cornerstone of modern architecture.” The not-so-humble architect built it in 1909 for bicycle manufacturer Frederick C. Robie .

  6. Cobb Gate

    This ornate northern entrance to the Main Quad is adorned with gargoyles. University lore says they represent students’ four years of college life: from struggling freshman at the base to graduation at the apex.

  7. Nuclear Energy

    This 12-ft (3.65-m) bulbous bronze sculpture by Henry Moore marks the general area where Enrico Fermi and his team of scientists achieved the first controlled self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in 1942.

  8. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

    The tallest building on campus is this mini-cathedral named for university patron John D. Rockefeller. It boasts magnificent stained glass, a 72-bell carillon (the world’s second largest), and a 10,000-pipe organ.

  9. Cobb Hall

    Confusingly, the oldest building on campus is not named for its architect, Henry Cobb, but for an unrelated donor, Silas Cobb. Built in 1882, the beautiful Gothic structure houses classrooms, offices, and the Renaissance Society, a contemporary art gallery.

  10. Regenstein Library

    The 1970-built limestone “Reg,” honors Chicago industrialist Joseph Regenstein. Exceptional jazz archives, map collections, and children’s books feature among its seven million plus volumes.

Top 10 Alumni

  1. Milton Friedman (1912–2006), economist

  2. James D. Watson, (1928–), scientist

  3. Philip Glass (1937–), composer/musician

  4. Edwin Hubble (1889–1953), astronomer

  5. Susan Sontag (1933–2005), critic/author

  6. Eliot Ness (1903–57), author/law enforcer

  7. John Ashcroft (1942–), US Attorney General

  8. Philip Roth (1933–), author

  9. Carl Sagan (1934–96), astronomer/author

  10. Studs Terkel (1912–), oral historian

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