University of Chicago


Faculty and students have racked up more than 80 Nobel prizes within U of C's hallowed halls. The economics and physics departments lay claim to most of the awards. The campus is well worth a stroll, offering grand Gothic architecture and free art and antiquities museums.

The university’s classes first met on October 1, 1892. John D Rockefeller was a major contributor to the institution, donating more than $35 million. The original campus was constructed in an English Gothic style. Highlights of a walkabout include the sculpture-laden Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, serene Bond Chapel and Henry Moore's bronze Nuclear Energy sculpture.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chicago attractions

1. Bond Chapel

0.08 MILES

Built in 1926, the exquisite 150-seat chapel is worth a peek for its harmonious use of architecture, sculpture, woodcarvings and stained glass.

2. William Rainey Harper Memorial Library

0.14 MILES

Once inside the building, head to the East Tower's 3rd floor, where the reading room (called the Cathey Learning Center) offers a terrific chill-out spot…

3. Oriental Institute

0.17 MILES

The University of Chicago's famed archaeologists – Indiana Jones supposedly was based on one – cram their headquarters with antiquities they've unearthed…

4. Nuclear Energy

0.19 MILES

The nuclear age began at the University of Chicago: Enrico Fermi and his Manhattan Project cronies built a reactor and carried out the world's first…

5. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

0.22 MILES

The building's exterior will send sculpture lovers into paroxysms of joy – the facade bears 24 life-size religious figures and 53 smaller ones, with even…

6. Robie House

0.25 MILES

Of the numerous buildings that Frank Lloyd Wright designed around Chicago, none is more famous or influential than Robie House. Because its horizontal…

7. Smart Museum of Art

0.27 MILES

Named after the founders of Esquire magazine, who contributed the start-up money, this is the official fine-arts museum of the University of Chicago. The…