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Welcome, Chicago 'Dores

Welcome to the Chicago Chapter! We are a group of alumni, students, family and friends of the university. Our chapter celebrates community, collaboration and tradition associated with Vanderbilt University.

With a foundation of more than 3,000 Vanderbilt graduates in the area, the goal of the chapter is to facilitate the connection of alumni to each other, to existing and prospective students, and importantly, to the university itself. We are able to accomplish this goal through a variety of events: educational/cultural, networking/career development, athletic, community service and social. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the great city of Chicago and all it has to offer at our disposal!

Whether you are interested in Commodore Classrooms (university professor presentations), an outdoor community service event in the summer, or simply want to watch a game with Vanderbilt colleagues at Sedgwick’s, we hope to see you in attendance. We encourage you to connect with the community online through VUconnect and by joining our Facebook group.  Also, feel free to reach out to the us directly with any questions you may have—you’ll find the chapter leadership contacts information below.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and go ‘Dores!

Culture

What’s up with the Windy City?

You’ve probably heard Chicago referred to as the “Windy City,” but according to local historians, our notoriously gusty weather surprisingly played no role in the development of this nickname. Popular belief is that our nickname came to life over a century ago, given to us by a reporter covering the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, hosted in Chicago. This reporter wrote about how Chicagoans just couldn’t stop bragging about the town, thus coining the phrase “Windy City.” Well, the name has stuck with us and is surely relevant in Chicago today. The Chicagoland area has been heralded by social scientists as one of the most successful and vibrant metropolitan areas in the world, and we simply can’t help but show off our Chicago pride.

Where to Live

Buy a big jacket and a volleyball net, and you will be happy all year long (the beaches are real, surprisingly for those of us not formerly familiar with the Midwest). If you choose to live in a high–rise area such as River North, I have found that condos are more economical than apartments when renting. Living close to public transportation is important, especially during the winter. Look for buildings/apartments/condos/etc. that include heat...gas bills can really rack up in the winter. ’13

Best neighborhoods—Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, River North. All around, best city! ’13

Don’t go straight to River North/ Gold Coast area if you are new to Chicago. This is a really nice area, but if you start out living there you will never expand and check out the rest of the city. There are so many great areas to live that are much more affordable— Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park. Check it all out before you move to the heart of downtown. There is no such thing as bad food in this city. Invest in a good coat, snow boots, and nice gloves... you will need it! ’11

Old Town is an up and coming area that has a lot of young, fun bars on it and is less expensive than River North or Gold Coast. Lakeview and Wrigleyville are a bit more affordable and more casual. 

  • Gold Coast – With landmark mansions and expensive lakefront condominiums, the Gold Coast has a reputation as one of the wealthiest areas in the city. However, there are also affordable gems to be found here in vintage walk-ups.
  • Streeterville – You’ll find high rise apartments and all the advantages of being close to the heart of the city and just a few steps from landmarks like Chicago’s Water Tower, the Hancock Center, and the Drake Hotel.
  • River North & River West – Both of these neighborhoods feature loft residences and the best galleries in Chicago. The trendy restaurants and home furnishing boutiques contribute to their cool vibe.
  • The Loop – Technically bounded by the elevated (“el”) tracks, this is the commercial and business heart of Chicago. Increasing numbers of apartments are being developed around the Loop.
  • Old Town – With its tree-lined residential streets, this “near north” community is just north of Chicago’s downtown area. And is home to some of Chicago’s finest and most expensive housing.
  • Lincoln Park – With more than a mile of public parks, Lincoln Park boasts a world class zoo, golf course, and hiking and biking paths close to the lake. The western part of the neighborhood includes more bars, restaurants and boutiques per capita than the rest of the city.
  • Wrigleyville & Lakeview – Home to the Chicago Cubs and historic Wrigley Field, this livable and walkable area with tree–lined streets, beautifully rehabbed Victoriangreystones, two- and three-flat buildings, and multi-unit condos. The many bars and restaurants contribute to a vibrant nightlife and hometown spirit.
  • Ravenswood – Popular for its affordable homes, Ravenswood has experienced a renaissance and has mass transit that easily connects to the Loop.
  • Bucktown & Wicker Park – Housing runs the gamut from beautifully renovated townhomes to inexpensive, spacious lofts. Area features galleries, bohemian cafes, comic book shops, and restaurants ranging from expensive chic to down home and unpretentious.

Where should I look?

Try apartment finding agencies, Chicago Tribune newspaper, The Reader weekly paper, walk around neighborhoods that interest you, word of mouth, Craigslist, or other rental and property web sites.

Apartment Finding Services include Chicago Apartment Finders chicagoapartmentfinders.com; Apartment People apartmentpeople.com; The Apartment Source theapartmentsource.com; RelocationCentral by Cort (formerly Relcon Apartment Finders) relocationcentral.com/chicago–apartments.html; and Homestead Group thehomesteadgroup.com.

Getting Around

There are very few areas of Chicago that can’t be reached by public transportation. Visit transitchicago.com for schedules, detailed maps and an online trip planner.

  • The “el” – The “el” is an elevated and underground rail system that covers the city and a bit beyond. It’s both easy and safe to use. Please visit ventrachicago.com for further information.
  • Buses – Where the “el” doesn’t reach, you’ll almost certainly find a bus that will take you to your desired location. Take a look at transitchicago.com for schedules, as well as maps.
  • Metra – Need to get out to the suburbs? Check metrarail.com and you’ll likely find that The Metra suburban commuter trains, metrarail.com, can get you to the suburbs and there’s also a suburban bus service, operated by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

Things to do

All of Chicago’s best museums have free admission days throughout the year if you are an Illinois resident. Take advantage of these! ’15

It always depends on who you ask, but don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path! Chicago is smaller than NYC, but has just as many hidden gems. ’13

Read Eater to see what is new in Chicago!

  • Nightlife – unwind after a long week (or day) at Sedgwicks, Zella, The Trinity Bar, Cubby Bear, Darkroom, FOUR, Funky Buddha Lounge, The Barrelhouse Flat, The Drawing Room, Matisse, The Mid, Narcisse, Rednofive, Rockit Bar & Grill, Studio Paris, Three Aces, The Fifty/50, Underground, Whiskey Bar & Grill, and Y Bar
  • Parks –Enjoy the outdoors or join in beachfront activities North Avenue Beach at North Avenue at Lake Michigan; Oak Street Beach at Oak Street at Lake Michigan; Lincoln Park Zoo at Fullerton and Lincoln Parkway; Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Randolph; Grant Park at Michigan Avenue and Madison; and Navy Pier at 600 East Grand Avenue.
  • Chicago’s Sport and Social Club – A great way to meet new people and get involved in sports, this group organizes sports teams, who are sponsored by bars and other establishments around the city. Learn more at chicagosportandsocialclub.com.
  • Professional sports – Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Wolves.
  • Museums – You can explore everything from history and art to astronomy and sea life. Best of all, many institutions offer free days.
    • Museum Campus (museumcampus.org) o Adler Planetarium (adlerplanetarium.org) o The Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu/aic)
    • Chicago Historical Society (chicagohistory.org) o The Field Museum (fieldmuseum.org)
    • Museum of Contemporary Art (mcachicago.org) o Shedd Aquarium (sheddaquarium.org)
    • Museum of Science & Industry (msichicago.org)
  • Live music – You’ll find live music throughout the city. The Reader and metromix. chicagotribune.com have listings.
    • House of Blues (hob.com)
    • Park West (parkwestchicago.com) o The Metro (metrochicago.com)
    • Double Door (doubledoor.com)
    • Riviera Theatre (rivieratheatre.com) o Allstate Arena (allstatearena.com) o United Center (unitedcenter.com)
    • Ravinia Outdoor Venue (ravinia.org)
  • Movies – From national releases to art house films, there’s always a lot to choose from. o City North: Brew & View at the Vic, Facets Cinematheque (art house films), Landmark’s Century Centre, Music Box (art house films), Pipers Alley, 3 Penny, Village, Webster Place
  • Downtown: Esquire, Gene Siskel Film Center (School of the Art Institute), Navy Pier (Omnimax), River East 21

Chicago - By the Numbers

  • Alumni: 3,795
  • Students: 397

Stay In The Know with Your Chapter!

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