Meeting place, cultural community center, residence and hotel, the International House is a refreshing alternative to the typical youth hostel. For its residents and global visitors, the "I House" offers concerts, films, political discussions, mixers and celebrations. For non-profit groups, the institution offers help planning and executing events in five attractive gathering spaces ranging from the spacious wood-paneled Assembly Hall to the open, casual Coulter Lounge.
The International House's aim to foster an atmosphere of respect and intercultural exchange draws year-round residents to the institution's 500 rooms, most of which share common bathrooms. Short-term stays, when available, range from $52 per night for a single (generally outfitted with a twin-size bed, a desk and chair, bookshelves, a dresser and wardrobe) to $100-$125 per night for a deluxe room, or $280-600 per week.
Students, interns and visitors, many of whom learn English as a second language at the English Language Institute, hail from more than 50 countries. I House's considerable roster of prominent alums include publisher Katharine Graham and poet Langston Hughes.
The effortlessly gothic building on the Midway Plaisance was constructed in 1932 by John D. Rockefeller and now belongs to the University of Chicago. Its campus and the Hyde Park neighborhood are easily accessible by shuttles and CTA buses.
Centerstage Reviewer: Justin Sondak