Best Neighborhoods to Live in Chicago

Feb 16th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Best Neighborhoods to Live in Chicago

Moved here 2 years ago and live in Lincoln Park. Will be moving - looking for 1 - 2 bedroom apt. in a cheaper area. Am in late 40's and don't know many people. Anybody have suggestions on areas to live with apt. cost from $700 - $1200.
Annis is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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All my answers would be quite different than Lincoln Park and all my knowledge is of the South and SW sides.

Do you work downtown? What kind of commute? How do you feel about building density? Do you want/need to have a car? Do you take buses or just els? This would help people answer as they all would be factors.

And I have to say that I think Chicago is difficult for people who don't have connections here. It's not only my opinion. We were rated near the lowest for meeting new people and dating- regardless of age. Only Washington D.C. was rated worse.

Have you roamed Chicago during your residence in Lincoln P.? What style of neighborhood are you looking for? Mostly family, bungalows or single family homes, or ones with great density and almost all high rise apartments etc.?

If you tell Chicagoans that and a little about your out of work interests, we may be able to help more easily.
JJ5 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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Lincoln Square (4000-4800 North, 1200-1600 West) or Oak Park would give you the neighborhood feeling of Lincoln Park without the high prices. Both have El trains to downtown.

Checkout and for listings.
patg is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 08:26 PM
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If you are wanting to stay on the north side, I think that Lincoln Square or Ravenswood would be good neighborhoods for you to look at. Both of those a nice areas with apartments in that price range with easy access to the LOOP (if that is where you work) and if you live close enough to Lawrence and Ravenswood (1800W) then you can take the Metra downtown in half the time it takes for the CTA to get there. Lincoln Square also has a lot of amenities such as the Old Town School of Folk Music, etc. that are quite nice, and it is not too far from another neighborhood I like, Andersonville (which is another choice you might consider)... Another option to consider if Logan Square (where I will probably be moving when and if I move out of my place in Ukrainian Village), especially if you can get a place on the boulevard ... and finally, you might check out my neighborhood of Ukrainian Village, it is a bit less accessible via public transportation, but if that is not so much a concern of yours (it is actually my biggest pet peeve as I do not have a car) then it certainly a good place to look as well. Another area to consider is west-town, the areas off of the ‘grand’ or ‘chicago’ stop off of the blue line, which another area that I am considering moving to myself. Good luck, there are plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from. Some of these areas have a bit of a different feel from Lincoln Park, but all of them are pretty good in my opinion.
Vittrad is offline  
Feb 17th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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If you don't mind a short El commute to the loop, I'd recommend Evanston. We loved it.
HonestAbe is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Good questions - I work downtown - north end of the Loop. Do not have a car so need to be near CTA.....I take the El's because I am currently near a station. I love the neighborhood I'm but I need to reduce my rent. I want to be within walking distance of restaurants & other amenities. I prefer a walk-up to a high rise. Thinking about the Humboldt Park area.....
Annis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Annis, Lakeview is still a bit less expensive than Lincoln Park (about $100-$200 per month on the average for comparable size) and gives all you want definitely within that price range for a one-bedroom, as long as you stay off the Drive. Even consider Wrigleyville north or west of the ballpark or the N. Southport area.

If you're interested in east Lakeview, I'd recommend north of Belmont and south of Addison because there is both a Treasure Island and Jewel in the immediate vicinity. All of the streets in that vicinity, with the exception of Hawthorne, have many low-rises with elevators or walkups.

When the weather warms up a bit, why not just take a little jaunt up here and walk from the inner drive west over to Broadway and maybe even further west a bit. Easily done any given weekend.

You can easily connect with either an express bus down LSD or the Red Line at either Belmont or Addison. I think it will be really important in the very near future that you have an alternate mode of transportation than just the El what with the imminent closing of the Brown Line stations and the work being done on the tracks which will affect the Red Line service for months on end.

I do agree with the suggestions about Lincoln Square, Andersonville, etc., however, I think that those areas are just now entering the time that rents will skyrocket. A co-worker of mine who lives in Lincoln Square whose rent last year was $750 (1 BR) had to vacate his apartment building because it was going condo. His new apartment was over $900 for a similar size. Such is the price of the "new and improved" Chicago neighborhood.
exiledprincess is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 07:46 PM
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Annis -- where in Humboldt park? Some areas are okay and some are best avoided (and most of Humboldt park is pretty far from the 'el').
Vittrad is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:24 PM
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I second the suggestion to check out Logan Square -- accessible to the Logan Square and California blue line stations. Apartments directly on the boulevard are very expensive but smaller apartments on the side streets, right off Logan Blvd. are as cheap as $800/month for a 2 br. (I've paid almost twice that for a large 3 br right on Logan boulevard but it's for 1500+ sf). My suggestion would be to drive around the area and look for rental signs. The nicest apartments don't need to get advertised and there are many within your price range, particularly around $1200.

I also love Humboldt Park and spend quite a bit of time there in the summer but it's true, not very convenient to the el. California stop is the nearest station (and that's not close if you're not near Palmer Square) although the bus is always a possibility, although my BF won't even consider the bus. Problem with Humbodlt Park is that it's pretty overpriced for the neighborhood, particularly if you want a place directly on Humboldt Boulevard. The surrounding streets off North that are not directly lining the Park are still a bit thrashed (but it varies street by street) and I would think the contrast with Lincoln Park would be huge for you. Anything near the park itself would be great, IMO, except for the issue of public transportation.

In the Spring and summer, there are throngs of people/neighbors and dogs on the green belt areas of Logan Blvd -- pretty social space if you ask me, and a large window in terms of age. Most of my neighbors are in their 40s and late 50s although there are plenty of hipster kids as well. If you don't like dogs, this neighborhood might be one you'd rather avoid. I met lots of people when walking my dog around when I first moved to Chicago but my job has really flexible hours so it wasn't a problem to re-locate the old guy to Chicago with me. Food options in Logan Square are rather limited to mediocre Mexican places, esp. if you have to walk.

A neighborhood that I love is Rogers Park -- totally affordable rents, really excellent ethnic food of all sorts, diverse neighbors, lively neighborhood feel, close to the lake. Many of my colleagues take the el from here -- I think they transfer from Red to Blue line. It's a little far North for me but it's my dream neighborhood in every other aspect.
fishee is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions!!!
Annis is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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I lived in Rogers Park and it was great. Our place was two blocks from the lake. It wasn't absolutely the safest place in the whole world. I would joke that it was perfectly safe because that is where all the robbers lived and they would go to Lincoln Park to work. I haven't lived there now for about 7 years so maybe it has improved (we lived a block away from the Jarvis el stop on Greenview?, well Green-something). We had a cute 2-bedroom, 1 bath for $850. It was great being so close to Evanston.
kelliebellie is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 03:36 PM
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ExiledPrincess - thanks for the info. on Lakeview. I now live at the south end of Lakeview and north end of Lincoln Park. Really want to stay in this area and the recommendations for Lakeview are very helpful.

Thanks again!!!!!
Annis is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 07:04 AM
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You're very welcome, Annis. I love this area too.

I think that sticker shock will set in for a lot of folks very soon in the "fringe" areas, as more and more people move there and condos conversions mount. The rents have stabilized here somewhat but heating costs and taxes do take their toll.

I think you should pick up a copy of the Reader for some info, but I still think just walking the neighborhood is your best bet. Just start on Melrose and walk west, zigzagging north.

Check out the bulletin board at the Treasure Island on N. Broadway. Lots of info there too on sublets to give you ideas of the price and amenities!

Good luck, future neighbor!
exiledprincess is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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exiled -- and it is a damn shame too.
Vittrad is offline  
Mar 5th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Amen to that, Vittrad. From one who used to live a "fringe" area -- Lakeview.
exiledprincess is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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Come just a bit N to Uptown! Sheridan, Wilson or Lawrence red line stops. New Borders bookstore, near new restaurants (Magnolia Cafe, AnnaMaria Pasteria, RIques, Tweet, new Driftwood bar) and the Green Mill, and easy walk to Andersonville or Wrigley.
Much more affordable and still safe.
eroz is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 07:02 PM
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I'm amazed at the transformation of Uptown. I remember it in the 1980's.
Vittrad is offline  
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