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Ryan81
Nov 3, 2006, 7:11 PM
Born and Raised in Iowa, the first city I ever visited was Chicago. I was awe struck by the incredibly tall buildings and awesome skyline. It just seemed like such a cool place to live. I was 7 then, and have ever since wanted to live in Chicago. 18 years have passed...I have since graduated College with an Architecture degree, am married and currently live in Kansas City. I am working to make my dream of living in Chicago a reality.

I decided to start this post to lay the ground work for this upcoming move. All we need is a place to live and a couple jobs. The job thing shouldn't be too hard, but I have no idea where to live, and don't have the resources to fly to chicago all the time to check out places to live. I am looking for a neighborhood not downtown, but VERY near downtown. I want Downtown Chicago to be easily accessable. I want to feel like I'm part of the city. I don't know if I want to be any further away from the core of the city than wrigleyville, but what do I know?

All we need is a One bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that is very safe (for my wife's sake) perhaps off street parking, and a nearby train. Oh, and cost is important too. I am looking to spend around 800.00 per month. My wife and I are 25, so it would be nice to live in an area with people our age...this however is not essential.

- PRIORITIES
1. Safety
2. Cost
3. Location


I guess what I'm getting at, is to ask all of you (that live in Chicago) where you would suggest...either based on where you currently live in Chicago, or a location you know of that fit my criteria. Other questions I have for anyone who cares to reply to this is why do you like the area you live in. What are the benefits.

Help make this dream a reality, any information anyone could supply would be greatly appreciated.

-Thanks,
Ryan

Marcu
Nov 3, 2006, 7:17 PM
Logan Square might be a good option. It's got blue line el access and it's much more affordable than the other inner neighborhoods (eg lincoln park, wicker park, lakeview). Parking might be a bigger issue. You might be able to get a 1 bedroom for $800 but off-street parking will cost extra (maybe $100 a month or so).

Also, consider living in a neighborhood like Lincoln Square or Roscoe Village. It's not as close to downtown (maybe 30 min away by train) but you'll be able to get something of much better quality for $800 than you would in a closer neighborhood.

Finally, consider getting one of those apartment finder services. They are free for the tenant and they'll drive you around and show you the various neighborhoods and the various units. They are great for people just moving to the city. I personally don't recommend "Apartment People" but I have heard good things about some of the others.

Hope this helps. Good luck and let us know how the move goes.

Grego43
Nov 3, 2006, 7:36 PM
Good advice, Marcu.

Andersonville & Ravenswoood good as well. I lived in Ravenswood for 4 years in the mid 1990s, on Hermitage Ave. I was 2 blocks from the Montrose "L" station on the Brown line. Beautiful tree lined streets, well-kept multi-unit buildings with plenty of on street parking, lots of young people with kids. Walk to about a 20min walk to Wrigley Field, 20 minutes to the Loop via the Brown Line.

Good Luck! I wish I was your age starting out in Chicago all over again...its was a FANTASTIC life experience for me. When I can finally leave South Florida, I'm heading back to Chicago...until then, I have to be satisfied by a few visits every year.

forumly_chgoman
Nov 3, 2006, 8:02 PM
I would add edgewater and RP to the mix.....you can get quite nice apts for 800 or so a month esp in RP, now some will tell you oh RP....sorry RP = Rogers Park, some will tell RP is dangerous......this is actually a rather big myth, most of RP is quite nice there are a few dicey areas, but even these are generally improving.

RP has the advantage of great Redline access....the Redline is the "main" branch of the CHi L.....ie the redline runs north / south much of the length of the city....its is the L stop at wrigley and has several subway stops DT (downtown).

For 800 you can probably find yourself a nice 2bd, parking might be a little harder.....unless you find a building that has a garage.......look at 2 or 3 flats in particuliar, up to 6 flats is my general rule of thumb. In general stay away form larger tenement style building at least in RP.

Also RP has great Metra access...Metra is the heavy rail transport system in Chicago....I use it quite a bit to get to the Loop. Usinf metra it generally takes me about 25 - 30 min to the Loop door to door

I live in RP and was actually raised in RP, though I have lived elswhere in the city. The closer to Loyola U. that you are the more people your age there will be. RP isn't really a hot-bed on 20-somethings but there actually is a strong underground youth culture here.

Other areas like Lakeview (Wrigleyville --- I hate that term) will gemrally be more expensive. Wickerpark/ Bucktown you probably can still find some bargains but its getting tough -- andf these area have some real dicey areas as well, though just as RP most of it is quite nice.

LOgan square.....a little firther away might be a possibilty for you.


On the south-side, Pilsen if you don't mind living in a neighborhood that might seem quite "ethnic" -- at least for someone originally from Iowa ( I don't mean any offense by that). There are also areas west of the loop and south of the loop that might interest you.......however in general the transport coverage is not quite as good as mnay of the northside hoods

VivaLFuego
Nov 3, 2006, 8:35 PM
Ravenswood is a good suggestion; by Metra its only 13 minutes to downtown (on the brown line, it's anybody's guess these days).

Since Safety is #1, I would DEFINITELY NOT look at Rogers Park, Logan Square, or Pilsen. These are all areas where either myself or people I know have been mugged, assaulted, etc. RP has some niec areas to be sure, but the "bad blocks" are interspersed and especially for new transplants and someone who places safety as #1 I would just avoid it.

My recommendations, in addition to Ravenswood (Ravenswood is a big neighborhood that includes Andersonville and Lincoln Square, both lovely):
- check out Ukrainian Village, which is about as nice as Wicker Park but much cheaper (not quite as close to the train, though).
- Lakeview. A very large but very cool area, mostly people aged 20-40, and I'm positive you can find something you like in your price range. transit service is plentiful, very ped-friendly neighborhood, tons of retail/restaurants/nightlife/shopping, easy access to the lakefront. The area by the lake is about as "urban" as it gets, population densities mostly around 30,000 ppsm, and in some areas over 60,000! Actually, Lakeview would be my top recommendation to you.

You might surprised at the deals you can find in the "expensive" areas though, if you look hard enough and aren't too picky about the amenities of the apartment. Don't completely overlook Wicker Park, Old Town or Lincoln Park.

Great to hear you're moving here, I'm sure you'll love it. I've spent my whole life here and I'm always finding something new to fascinate me (and I have a pretty short attention span)

Attrill
Nov 3, 2006, 9:11 PM
I would definitely second the suggestions of Logan Square and Lincoln Square - both affordable and easy around from using the Blue or Brown lines. I haven't lived in Pilsen for 10 years or so, but I think it is a great area as well.

To look at crime rates in specific neighborhoods you can look at a couple sites:
http://12.17.79.6/
http://www.chicagocrime.org/
They both have maps so you can see reported crimes around any apartment you're looking at. Safety is best judged on a block by block basis in any part of the city.

Wheelingman04
Nov 4, 2006, 5:23 AM
He may also be interested in the near west side. UIC and Little Italy area? Can you local Chicago people tell him about the near west side?

brian_b
Nov 4, 2006, 5:37 AM
Near west side is nice, though I only live at about 600 west. Access to downtown is great (given that it is downtown).

I'd say that Lakeview is a great area, especially if you can find a place cheap enough east of Halsted and south of Addison. The access to transportation downtown, Lake Michigan, and Lincoln Park make this my favorite section of the city. It seemed extremely safe when I lived there. The only problem is finding an apartment with the right mix of size, condition, and price. It's no surprise that tiny apartments cost as much as they do!

jcchii
Nov 4, 2006, 2:29 PM
I was going to say roscoe village too.
I hadn't thought about little italy. that area is up and coming.
I don't know what prices are like. most of the new construction there looks like two-flats and condos

Chicago311
Nov 4, 2006, 4:54 PM
Congrats on your decision to move to Chicago. I grew up in, among other places, Kansas City and I have been living in Chicago for almost 6 years now. I've lived in two different parts of Lakeview and in Lincoln Park. I agree with the poster who said you should look at Lakeview first. Here's the reasons:

Aside from Lincoln Park, Lakeview is probably the "safest" neighborhood in Chicago. That's not to say that it's perfectly safe. It's also not to say that there aren't other relatively safe neighborhoods. But Lakeview and Lincoln Park are the most gentrified parts of Chicago right now. As a result, they tend to be the safest as well. Lot's of neighborhoods are pretty safe, but I think those two are the safest.

Generally speaking, Lakeview has more to do within walking distance than any other neighborhood in Chicago. Again, there are lot's of great neighborhoods that are very pedestrian friendly, but I think Lakeview is the best neighborhood if you want to be able to walk places -- even better than Lincoln Park.

Although Lakeview is more expensive than most other neighborhoods, you will be able to find a decent 1-bedroom apt. for $800 per month. Just remember that apartments here are different than in K.C. You don't get as much for you money -- especially when it comes to "luxuries" like big bathrooms, closets, and new appliances. You also will get a little less for your money than in some othe neighborhoods, like Roscoe Village, Uptown, Andersonville, etc.

Here's the thing. There are lot's of neighborhoods that would be great to live in. But for someone who is new to Chicago, who will be learning about the city, and who isn't familiar with their surroundings, I think your best bets are Lincoln Park and Lakeview. Lincoln Park is more expensive and the benefits of living there aren't much different than Lakeview. It's just a little closer to downtown. Yes, LP and Lakeview have a lot of yuppies. And yes, they are seen by some as being pretentious and snobbish. But until you become more familiar with the city, you will probably feel safer and more secure if you live in one of the two neighborhoods. You will also be close to the El, to buses, and to a ton of bars, restaurants, and shops. After you've been here a while, if you want to try a different neighborhood, you'll have some experience under your belt and you can move.

Do a google search for "chicago neighborhood map". You should be able to find a good one that shows all the different neighborhoods.

Just my two cents.

UrbanSophist
Nov 5, 2006, 4:59 AM
I agree. For a person who is new to the city, and wants to be in a super safe neighborhood, Lincoln Park, Lakeview both make a lot of sense. And Lincoln Park has the park as well. I think it would be a more fun Chicago experience as well, with more to do in the immediate area. If I was moving to Chicago for the first time, I would like to live in Lincoln Park.

That being said, you'll eventually learn the city and find lots of great neighborhoods and get a better idea of which part of Chicago best suits your wants and needs.

Marvel 33
Nov 5, 2006, 5:28 AM
I'm not sure if you could find an $800 apartment in Lincoln Park or even in Lakeview. Maybe for a vintage gardern studio-apartment in an older building but not a one bedroom.
In that price range I would probably go with Ravenswood, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Ukranian Village, Logan Square, Lincoln Square, some parts of Wicker Park and Roscoe Village. Of these neirbohoods my first choice would probably be Lincoln Square - wonderful neighborhood, active night life, a great variety of restaurants, safe, close to public transportation (brown line).
If you could spend little bit more ($1,000 - $1,200) then I would look in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Old Town or Bucktown.
Good luck!

asher519
Nov 5, 2006, 9:25 PM
I'm sure something could be found in Lakeview--at least on the edges of Lakeview--for $800. Though I left Chicago about seven years ago, I remember finding cute, little one-bedrooms in the $700-$900 range. Admitedly, rents have risen, but one must at least look.

I agree with Chicago311's view that Lakeview is the perfect "starter" neighborhood. In regards to safety, however, keep in mind that as you familiarize yourself with the city, it will become less of a concern for you. You'll begin to sense when an area's not-so-great and figure out what are the best streets to walk late at night. Also, living in a dense, bustling neighborhood like Lakeview lends itself to a feeling of security. It may also be of interest to know that Chicago actually has a lower crime rate than Kansas City (except in robbery). Like anyplace, it's more about knowing what areas to avoid than trying to find a place that's safe.

asher519
Nov 5, 2006, 9:27 PM
In addition...

I love Chicago and miss it dearly at times. Congratulations on your decision to move to this amazing place!!

CGP124
Nov 5, 2006, 10:49 PM
You can find 2 bedrooms for 1000 in LP, there were 2 or them on burling that I looked at before I moved into my place. And that was only like 2 months ago. Try craigslist too, sometimes it's a real run-around, but if you find one place that is a deal, then it's all worth it.

brian_b
Nov 6, 2006, 2:12 AM
I lived at the corner of Sheridan and Wellington in Lakeview 2 years ago in a large 1925 building. I had a smaller studio (650 sq ft) and paid $825 a month. However, I got to watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan every morning from a corner apartment with lots of light.

If you are just fine with no view, it gets cheaper.

Here are a few listings in locations I would recommend:
Great location, only a block from the Red and Brown line El stop
http://classifieds.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ViewAd?oid=oid%3A253313

Fantastic location, a quiet street in the best section of Lakeview. You will love the access to the lake and the park. A block east and you have busses downtown, a half mile west and you have the train to downtown
http://classifieds.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ViewAd?oid=oid%3A369594

A friend of mine lives in this building and he really likes it. The bedroom is actually a loft over the living area. The location is very good as well. Across the street from the Briar St theatre (Blue Man Group)
http://classifieds.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ViewAd?oid=oid%3A354918

Another quiet street in the best section of Lakeview. I don't like the apartment finding services, but they may be worth it for someone new to the city
http://classifieds.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ViewAd?oid=oid%3A123025

brian_b
Nov 6, 2006, 2:40 AM
One last thing...

There are a good number of condos in the South Loop that were purchased by investors. Now that the market has slowed, they are finding it more difficult to sell for the type of profit they wanted and are now offering the units for rent, usually listed on the MLS with an agent (so they aren't as easy to find on the Reader or Craigslist). I really like the South Loop area south of Roosevelt and east of State. I'm seeing a lot of 1BR units in the $1100-$1400 range. These are brand-new (and most have never been lived in) condo-quality units that would sell for $275,000-$350,000. If you can stretch that far, send me a PM when you are closer to moving here and I can give you a listing of what's available.

chicubs111
Nov 6, 2006, 4:05 AM
Would it be safe to assume that the north side of chicago is very safe..Parts of the west side are safe and some are bad (more like 50/50 good to bad)...the south side overall is dangerous (I know there are pockets of good neighborhoods but im just saying overall). I really hope the day comes when you can walk pretty much any street in chicago without any fear or hesitaion of you getting mugged or something like that.

Ryan81
Nov 6, 2006, 6:10 PM
I just wanted to periodically thank anyone who is taking the time to reply to this post. I think it will prove to be very helpful when the time comes to make a decision. My internet connection at home was down over the weekend, so I was not able to check to see if anyone had replied. I am very suprised at the amount of comments that have been made thus far.

Thanks again, and continue to post anything additional that you might think of.

-Ryan

Ryan81
Nov 6, 2006, 7:07 PM
Does anyone live near any of the colleges? That seems like it would be an ok place to live

forumly_chgoman
Nov 6, 2006, 8:00 PM
Would it be safe to assume that the north side of chicago is very safe..Parts of the west side are safe and some are bad (more like 50/50 good to bad)...the south side overall is dangerous (I know there are pockets of good neighborhoods but im just saying overall). I really hope the day comes when you can walk pretty much any street in chicago without any fear or hesitaion of you getting mugged or something like that.

^^^^NO!


Well of the "major" colleges ......campuses outside of DT....Loyola is in RP, Depaul is in Lincoln Park (LP), UIC is south and west of the loop, and IIT is about 3 miles south of the loop.

Of these the area around IIT is still the worst though it is coming along and better than it was say 10 years ago when all the projects were still standing.

Overall the area around Depaul is probably the safest ( and in general by far the most expensive), but when you lookat numbers it is nominally safer than the area directyly around Loyola which is in RP.....despite the view of at least one forumer most of RP is quite safe, there are a couple of hotbed areas.....Juneway Jungle, Morse L area that make its numbers worse than it otherwise would be......anyhow hell I was jumped in LP on fullerton, by 3 puerto ricans, that does not make me label LP unsafe I was just unlucky.

The UIC area is kind of wierd and hit / miss....it is decidely different than it was 8-10 years ago and there is a lot of development goinmg on.....it is close to cool area in the west loop / greek town.......but it can get dicey over there as well.....but again in general you will be fine

j korzeniowski
Nov 6, 2006, 11:13 PM
(Ravenswood is a big neighborhood that includes Andersonville and Lincoln Square, both lovely)

that is incorrect. as a resident of lincoln square, i should point out that lincoln square is one of the 77 official community areas of chicago. ravenswood is a part of lincoln square; likewise, andersonville is a part of the larger edgewater district.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_neighborhoods#North_Center_.2805.29

back on point:

viva is right in that those are great places to live, heh heh.

chicubs111
Nov 6, 2006, 11:49 PM
Is the little italy section of chicago safe? I know its on the west side near greektown.

DeadManWalking
Nov 7, 2006, 2:44 AM
Are you a member of kcskyscrapers.com Ryan81?

Ryan81
Nov 7, 2006, 5:53 PM
Are you a member of kcskyscrapers.com Ryan81?

I am now...I'll have to check it out to see if there is anything worth while. The Sprint Center should be fun to watch.

left of center
Nov 10, 2006, 2:49 AM
Is the little italy section of chicago safe? I know its on the west side near greektown.

Definatly. Its inhabited mostly by college students who attend the nearby University of Illinois at Chicago. Taylor St (the main drag) is full of Italian restaurants, as well as a plethora of bars and other nightlife options. Overall, straying too far south and west of this neighborhood, things do tend to get dicey. Otherwise, its not a problem. Ive been in this area many times, especially late at night, and have never felt threatened or afraid at all.

FILA20
Feb 3, 2007, 6:52 AM
i just moved here also from atlanta and i am curious what areas of town are good to look for restaurant/bartending jobs- that will be profitable ?

MayorOfChicago
Mar 23, 2007, 2:37 PM
I actually moved here from Iowa about 5 years ago. I had no solid clue about the city, didn't have a job, and picked a random place.

I ended up in Logan Square for my first 3 years and loved it. I never once felt the slightest bit concerned for my safety at all, some people say it has high crime, but I certainly didn't see this being true. Just be normal and think before acting and you'll be fine almost anywhere.

The rent is pretty cheap, the people are very down to earth and nice, and the blue line will take you downtown. I lived at Fullerton and Kedzie right on the boulevard, it was awesome. Like having a park outside you house.

People in Iowa kept going on and on about the cost, etc, and how would I survive here. Yeah right, this city is a piece of cake once you move here and just get a handle on your life. I say just go for it before you wake up one day and wonder why you didn't "do this years ago".

Lakeview is also nice, you can find a 1 bedroom for $800, it might not be amazing, but it'll get you through until you get your life in the city on track.

migueltorres
Jun 1, 2007, 9:49 PM
When I first moved to Chicago in the year 2000 I ended up living in the Hyde Park neighborhood. I lived on a building right on the lakefront, 17th floor with an awesome view of the downtown skyline, free and accessible parking on the street or in the Chicago Park district's parking lot for premonitory point. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made and it made me fall in love with Chicago really fast. Just two blocks from a train station I could be downtown in 15 minutes, or 10 minutes by driving. I have since moved a bit south, I had a great opportunity to buy something in the South Shore neighborhood, and although 3 years ago I was one of the "early adopters" of the new generation moving into that neighborhood and it wasn't as safe as i would've liked, my risk paid off and now I live in a booming neighborhood with great people in my building and skyrocketing property value. I will live downtown some day, for now I'm building up my career and saving money so one day I can achieve this goal. Chicago for me is the most beautiful city in the world and I've adopted it as my home city...

The south side of Chicago is often viewed by many as the "forbidden zone", but I can say for my own experience that it is not true for the closest mile to the lake. Very peaceful, awesome lakefront trail and tons of parks and green spaces (and still very affordable!).

Hope this helps...

Nowhereman1280
Jun 2, 2007, 4:44 PM
Couple of points.

Though Loyola University itself (meaning the classroom buildings) is in Rodgers Park, 75% of the student housing in actually in Edgewater. I lived in Loyola housing just inside Edgewater all last year and it was great! I would actually recommend at least looking at/considering Edgewater since it is much cheaper than its more expensive neighbors to the south. Yes there is sparodic crime in this area, but nothing more serious than occasional hooligan's grabbing someone's cell phone from their hands late at night.

$800 of rent in Edgewater can get you a lot. I'd say the best area in Edgewater is along Brwn Mawr between the lake and the El. I actually have a friend from College that lives in a highrise apartment on the lake at Brwn Mawr and Sheridan. It is a two bedroom apartment on the south east corner of the 22nd story with two full baths one of which has a sauna. The entire place was recently redone and the familyroom and kitchen both overlook the lake and have a view of Downtown to the south. The rent on that unit is $1400 a month all said and done and I believe that comes with garage parking for his car. Now that being a 2 bedroom with amazing views and everything, I'm sure you could find something 1 bedroom with not as sweet views and no sauna in the area for $800 easy. I really like that area and anywhere between the El and lake is basically safe. Also, you are 2-4 blocks from both the El and the Lake if you live anywhere between the two in that area.

You might also want to take a look at Uptown which is the next neighborhood south from Edgewater along the lake. Its still a little shabby at times, but is one of those neighborhoods that seems posed for some great new growth.


i just moved here also from atlanta and i am curious what areas of town are good to look for restaurant/bartending jobs- that will be profitable ?

Well I don't know how hard it is to get hired in these areas, but I would suggest checking out Clark Street from Basically downtown to Belmont and the Rush Street Area in the Gold Coast. Those are definitely two of the hotter area's in town IMO.

Nowhereman1280
Jun 2, 2007, 4:47 PM
One other thing, I'm frigging pumped because I am going to be moving to the Gold Coast for next school year and am not going to be paying ridiculous rents because of it! I'll be in the brand new LUC housing down there on the 19th story looking East along Pierson (with a direct view of the watertower) and south down Wabash (with a direct view of Trump). I'm pretty psyched about that...

honte
Jun 4, 2007, 6:53 PM
Would it be safe to assume that the north side of chicago is very safe..Parts of the west side are safe and some are bad (more like 50/50 good to bad)...the south side overall is dangerous (I know there are pockets of good neighborhoods but im just saying overall). I really hope the day comes when you can walk pretty much any street in chicago without any fear or hesitaion of you getting mugged or something like that.

As a South Sider, I have to take this to task. Many parts of the South Side are rough, but this statement about the majority of it being unsafe is patently untrue. If you take the time, you will find tons of interesting and perfectly great areas on the South Side. Also, may are improving at an incredible pace. None of them are like Lincoln Park, but that's not to say they should be written off entirely.

Now, to Ryan's main question, I would just like to mention that no one has included the Near North Side / Old Town in the list. I am sure this is because of the costs of those neighborhoods. However, if you are willing to look hard, you can find great deals. Two friends of mine (both women) rent an apartment at North and LaSalle for $825. It's a huge two-bedroom in what was a very opulent 1920s building. The price is low because it's on the first floor, and there is a negative perception of the building because it is on two busy streets. But actually, their apartment is very quiet and a great place to live.

So, my suggestions to any newcomer to Chicago are:

1. Look hard and you will find what you are looking for. It's a huge place. Don't settle for something because you get nervous or are in a hurry. I had a close friend who did this, and it was a disaster.

2. Don't judge a neighborhood by its commercial streets. These streets can be a big indication of how you'd personally like living in an area, since they tell you what your shopping culture will be like. But many of our neighborhoods are very beautiful in the large residential districts, while the commercial strips that run through them can be a bit rough around the edges. This might be more of good advice for exploring Chicago rather than house hunting, but I think it's worth keeping in mind. Don't limit yourself or your appreciation of the place!

3. Look into the style of housing you want. This can be a big determination in terms of what neighborhood you choose because obviously things change from 'hood to 'hood. Ravenswood has a decidedly more SFR, people-watering-their-lawns kind of feeling to it. It's cute and quaint. It's not necessarily the feeling of living in a big city though. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a smaller building with a detached garage, the Near North is obviously not the place.

If I were moving to Chicago all over again, I would check out Pilsen (but not if safety is your #1), Hyde Park (but not if being close and connected is your #1), and Logan Square - which is where I happily spent the first 4 years of my time here, and pre-gentrification too. It's a much nicer place now than it was then. But ideally, I would like to find that steal of an apartment on North and LaSalle that my two friends have found. Have fun!

PS Congratulations on your wise decision. Chicago is a truly amazing city, and if you work with its flaws a little, you will not be disappointed!

Beck4ABigChicago
Aug 7, 2007, 3:14 PM
aight, I thought this was kinda cool that you were doing this, so I will throw my 2 cents in (without having time to read the previous posts really, so sorry if I repeat). I moved here a couple years back for law school, it was something I always wanted to do but could never find the right opportunity. when opportunity never presented itself on the job front I quit my job (in beautiful Boulder CO) and went back to school. Anyway, my point , and this has been said by someone else, is to just do it. If it sucks, move back to Iowa, blow out of town on your lease, have a good life. But you'll never know. However, I will tell you from my experience, I cannot imagine ever leaving now that I have been here a couple of years. Nightlife, jobs, architecture, cubs, bears, etc, etc.

So what I did the first year I was here was rented in the loop. I was a little too far south in and about the financial district which was quiet and boring, but an easy L ride somewhere more fun. Now while I would not necessarily suggest living where I did, I might suggest that you try to find something inexpensive very near downtown for the first year while you feel out the different areas. If it were me, I would try near north and old town or even greektown. Now, greektown is suppose to be the next greatest place on earth, but in my opinion it is nowhere near at least at this time. However, what living there will do is force you to leave your home, explore the different neighborhoods and nightlife and see what you like. If you end up in Wicker Park/Bucktown/East Villiage, (western neighborhoods) etc they are great places to be and it is my experience that you will spend most of your time there (which is not a bad thing, it is a nice area, higher crime, but not bad).

However, depending on your $$$ limits, the western neighborhoods would be the furtherest I would move. Now don't everybody yell at me at once, but as a younger guy who likes to mix it up on the weekends at a minimum I would never, ever, ever, ever to to lincoln square, ravenswood (not even part of the city as far as I am concerned), edgwater, uptown, Rosco Villiage, and I could go on.

So all in all, just as MY opinion, I would start not much further than Lakeview, head south thru Wrigleyville (where you can rent some real dumps for cheap if you like living like a college student...and honestly who doesn't), and maybe end your search down in the South Loop where some of these new high rises are going up. Now, I say this bc I had come from a smaller city and I really wanted to live the downtown experience rather than the neighborhood experience. I live in Lincoln Park now (which I highly recommend) where you can get great views on the east side near the zoo and stumble upon some great rents if you get lucky.

Thats all I have. Good luck, you'll enjoy it out here, at least for me it was nothing I had experienced before.

Mr Man
Nov 17, 2007, 5:05 AM
Come out to the O'Hare neighborhood! We're Chicago's fastest growing community by land area. We're annexing new suburbs all the time. There is not much to do in this westside neighborhood, but you got the blue line and I-190.

In all serious, there is some good affordable rentals. Parking isn't a problem. This former Edgewaterian misses the red line, Clark street, and the 147 though.

surfchicago
Jan 7, 2008, 11:46 PM
It is possible to get something decent for $800 per month, but you may need to spend a little more. As far as safety goes, there is no neighborhood in Chicago that is 100% crime free. You shouldn't have any problems if you're alert and use common sense. Unfortunately, the CTA train stations can be magnets for criminal activity, but it's less of a problem during peak rush hour times. Ride the trains before you make your move. Some of the lines are safer than others. Money can be saved if you consider areas that are west of the lakefront like Logan Square or Wicker Park. You'll probably want to check everything along the lake from Diversey to the north to Roosevelt to the south. It might be a good idea to tour these areas during different days of the week and different times of day. There is probably a lot of information on the Web. One thing that can probably be very helpful is Google Streetview. They did good work photographing just about any neighborhood in town, and you can bring up the 360 degree photos while checking out the maps.

drdave88
Jan 14, 2008, 6:37 AM
born and raised in the close burbs, i have owned in logan square for over three years now and love it.

when looking to move, i always suggest moving closer to the city when you start and move further away if it is not your taste. i prefer the west side in areas like wicker park and bucktown based on the fact that people here are more creative and unique vs the north areas like wrigley and lakeview where the younger crowds (early twenties) tend to feel more frat and preppy oriented. Lincoln park is a nice spot and has the half prep, half uniqueness feel. both logan and lincoln square are nice, but i consider them more on the dull side as there is less exciting nightlife to be offered - a pro or con to a new married couple. I don't suggest moving to the south loop as new comers, i think that area is best suited for a seasoned chicago vet.

you've gotten some major responses, don't forget to tell us where you end up!

vxt22
Jan 30, 2008, 8:25 AM
Well, I'm going to have to disagree with many of these folks who say that the Southside is sketchy. I personally live in an IIT dorm, but I enjoy walking, often alone, at all hours of day or night throughout Bronzeville and Douglas. I've not felt threatened or scared at any time, and I'm but a slim 19 year old chap.
Perhaps I've a skewed sense of self-preservation or something, but I actually found all areas of the southside to be interesting places, including 63rd street, 47th, 35th and many areas around them.
I wouldn't recommend all of these areas to you, but I'd definitely check out Bridgeport, which is less 'ethnic,' and perhaps a little closer to what you're looking for. The loop is but a short orange or green line ride away. Orange is particularly close up near Archer.
I'd also agree that Pilsen is a fine, friendly area. I think many of these people tend to exaggerate the dangers of living in Chicago. I've found the city to be quite safe. Either I've been lucky or something. I do know that Douglas is a much different place than it was in the 90s...
Overall Chicago is a great city to live, and as long as you and your wife generally stay together most of the time, I'd say most of the city is your playground. Not that you shouldn't be careful, but it isn't the whole "the Southside of Chicago is the baddest part of town..." thing anymore.

Nowhereman1280
Jun 24, 2008, 4:41 AM
Have you moved to Chicago yet Ryan?

ChicagoChicago
Oct 29, 2008, 3:11 AM
Ryan81,

Not sure if you moved to Chicago yet, but my wife and I moved here from Charleston, SC in June 2007. We absolutely love it! We live in Lakeview, near Paulina and Belmont. Let us know what you decided.