As far as big cities go, the Windy City is actually quite affordable–but it’s hard to be overwhelmed with financial elation when you’re shelling out $1,000 each month for a Chicago apartment. Luckily, there are lots of pockets in Chicago that are affordable, safe and close to plenty of nightlife and entertainment options. Here’s our Chicago neighborhood guide for those hoping to score a deal on a sweet pad:
Logan Square‘s identity has changed a lot within the past ten years. Once a sleepy neighborhood with a large immigrant population, this community is now teeming with young, hip Chicagoans that don’t want to pay top dollar for a home in the nearby neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown. Logan Square is also still home to plenty of immigrant families, giving it a true neighborhood feel. Rental rates in this hood are quickly rising, but you’ll get more space for your buck and be near the picturesque Logan and Kedzie boulevards.
Logan Square is serviced by Chicago’s Blue Line, giving residents easy access to all of the city’s neighborhoods. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) also services the area with a variety of bus routes, making transit a breeze. However, residents rarely need to leave the neighborhood unless they want to do so, as there are plenty of nightlife options, restaurants, shops and amenities within Logan Square.
Just beyond Logan Square is up-and-coming Irving Park. Because it is one stop farther down the Blue Line, it is still a bit more affordable than Logan Square, but still offers easy transit to the hot Blue Line locales of Wicker Park and Bucktown. Much of this neighborhood’s charm lies in its beautiful homes and suburban-like setting.
Though it is still distinctly urban, Irving Park has a much quieter feel that its noisier neighbors. If you’re looking for pretty tree-lined streets, old houses and a community vibe, Irving Park is probably for you. In addition to the area’s Blue Line and bus access, Irving Park offers direct access to Interstates 90 and 94, so those who need to drive to get to work will want to consider this convenient option.
Edgy Pilsen is quickly gentrifying as many young Chicagoans are discovering its artsy buildings, convenient location and affordable price tag. Pilsen is located just southwest of Chicago’s Loop, giving residents easy access to employment, entertainment and nightlife options throughout the South Loop, Little Italy, Chinatown and University Village (which is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago).
Pilsen’s eclectic charm is characterized by the authentic ethnic enclaves within the neighborhood, which add a rich diversity to this popular neighborhood. Artistic lofts, beautiful old houses and unique streets make Pilsen a one-of-a-kind place to call home.
Those looking to live on the north side of the city don’t have a ton of budget-friendly options, but Uptown is a great option for those who want to be close to neighborhoods like Lakeview, Wrigleyville and Andersonville without wanting to shell out a ton of cash. Uptown’s locale is its main draw, as is its access to Lake Michigan and the northern areas of Lincoln Park (we mean Lincoln Park the park, not Lincoln Park the neighborhood!).
If you’re new to Chicago, make sure to do your research in these neighborhoods before moving in. While certain areas are totally safe (and trendy), there are issues with crime in certain parts of the city if you aren’t willing to pay top-dollar.