It’s easy to get burnt out from Northwestern’s strenuous cycle of revolving midterms, especially if you’ve exhausted your share of productive Evanston study spots to stay laser-focused. Tired of fighting for a seat at Colectivo or Sherbucks? Bored with the monotony of campus libraries? Look no further than this snippet of Chicago’s study network to spice up your next academic grind session!

Heritage Outpost ($)

1 Lobby, 1020 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Heritage Outpost

Directions (6.5 miles from the Arch):

CTA: eight-minute walk from red line Argyle stop

Located on the first floor of an apartment complex, Heritage Outpost is an affordable café adjacent to an expansive lobby of comfortable armchairs, lush leather couches and a wall of collaged photographs in mismatched frames. Grab a coffee and pick a seat beneath the geometric-tiled ceiling to catch up on some work or simply people-watch.

Edie's All Day Cafe & Bar ($$)

675 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

Edie's All Day Cafe & Bar

Directions (11 miles from the Arch):

Intercampus: 19-minute walk from Ward stop

CTA: 10-minute walk from red line Chicago stop

Edie’s bustling atmosphere is perfect for solo adventures and cute study dates. Despite a relatively higher price tag, Edie’s extensive coffee, pastry and brunch menu is worth the occasional splurge. Kick back with a colorful specialty latte — like charcoal or lavender — and headphones to tune out the Chicagoan chatter as you hit the books. If you’re exhausted after an especially hard day’s work, treat yourself to a drink at Edie’s bar!

Poetry Foundation (FREE)

61 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654

Poetry Foundation

Directions (12 miles from the Arch):

Intercampus: 13-minute walk from Ward stop

CTA: four-minute walkfrom red line Chicago stop

Home to a 30,000-volume poetry library, the walls surrounding the Poetry Foundation’s seating area are crowded with colorful anthologies. An outdoor foyer encloses the literary society’s entrance, reducing noise and creating a sense of intimacy. Take a study break to browse the shelves or survey the artwork on display in the foundation’s exhibition gallery.

Harold Washington Library (FREE)

400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

Harold Washington Library

Directions (12 miles from the Arch):

CTA: two-minute walk from red line Jackson stop

Harold Washington Library Center’s elusive winter garden is an oasis tucked away on the building’s ninth floor. Potted trees, plants and ivy-covered walls juxtapose hanging chandelier fixtures to create a cozy outdoor-esque scenery. The seating on this particular library floor is sparse, but grab a table if you can and soak up the natural light from the glass ceiling.

Chinatown Branch, Chicago Public Library (FREE)

2100 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Chinatown Branch, Chicago Public Library

Directions (14 miles from the Arch):

CTA: two-minute walk from red line Cermak-Chinatown stop

Chinatown’s branch of the Chicago Public Library is a modern, open-concept gem well worth the hike from Northwestern. Rows of white bookshelves provide privacy for tables accented with bright orange chairs and benches. Minutes away from Chinatown restaurants, look out the glass-paneled exterior to ponder your post-study lunch spot.


Writing Jimmy He

Editing Sam Lebeck

Photos Jimmy He

Print Design Grace Chang

Web Design & Development Manu Deva