Top Places to Read and Work in Quiet

Some of us need a quiet space to work, away from the throngs of people rushing in and out of liminal spaces. Sure, a vibrant coffee house can be inspiring, but so can the silent beauty of nature and architectural wonders. Here is a list for all of you who need a quiet space, inspirational surroundings, or a secret getaway:


  • DePaul Library hallway – Though I don’t think this space officially has a name, it is a lovely area to sit in quiet (with the occasional loud group gabbing on their way through during busy hours). The stained glass and the wooden architecture always inspires me when I walk in there. There are benches flanking the doors leading into the library itself, but students like to sit up on the ledges lining the windows. It’s a nice way to keep out of the library if you have been there too much but still want to stay close to campus.
  • Third and fourth floors of Arts & Letters – Although the seating can be pretty competitive, these floors are definitely quiet (outside of the ten minute gap between classes letting out and classes starting). The views are nice from high up, and the sunlight can be comforting if you sit by the windows. (Just don’t fall asleep.)
  • Third floor of the Student Center – Not many people think to venture up here, but there is comfortable seating in the atrium of the third floor. Outside of events and offices, there isn’t too much traffic to this floor, and food is only a short walk down the stairs.


  • DePaul Center Adult Lounge – Located on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center (Loop campus) in the Adult Student Center, you can work here in relative quiet.
  • DePaul Center Loop Patio – This rooftop space is located on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center. When the weather is nice, it is a great space to get a lovely view of the city far away from the congested streets below.

Gardens and Nature


  • Winter Garden at the Harold Washington Library – On the 9th floor of this Loop library (easily accessible from the Brown Line at the Harold Washington Library stop) is a quiet room under a glass roof commonly referred to as the winter garden by patrons who frequent the space in the winter.
  • South Garden at the Art Institute – Despite being on Michigan Avenue, this garden is the perfect getaway from the city. With a fountain and spaces to sit amongst greenery, this space is sure to refresh your mind.
  • Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Designed by architect Alfred Caldwell, this location features a pavilion and lily pool for you to sit, reflect, and read. It is a National Historical Landmark, and it is a featured location on the National Register of Historic Places. This enchanted, hidden spot is located just north of the Lincoln Park zoo.
  • Osaka Garden – Originally a part of the Japanese Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, this Jackson Park garden is a lovely place to relax and read far from daily city irritants. This garden features beautiful greenery and bridges over the water so you can take a stroll around in search of the perfect spot.


  • Promontory Point – Located in Hyde Park, Promontory Point is a great place for enjoying the view of the city while getting away from all the noise. This quiet park should have some absolutely stunning views in the fall.

Libraries and Literary Spaces

  • Auditorium Library – If you want to get away from the DePaul library, Auditorium Library is a great destination. Located in the Loop, this Roosevelt University library has great views of Lake Michigan and Buckingham Fountain.


  • Harper Library – The University of Chicago’s library in Hyde Park looks like something out of a fantasy novel. This is definitely a great place to feel inspired!
  • The Poetry Foundation – Home to the Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization that celebrates all things poetry, this building is a great public space to work in. The public reading room has books for you to take off the shelves and delve into and spaces to read.