Moving to a brand new city is confusing enough as it is– once you factor in the numerous neighborhoods to choose from (77 in Chicago, to be exact). Each one has a totally different feel and range, and picking out the perfect one for you is a tedious process. The first step of apartment hunting is determining your budget.
Luckily, there are tons of amazing neighborhoods in Chicago, no matter what cash flow you’re working with. We’ve rounded up a list of the median rental rates for a one-bedroom Chicago apartment in the most expensive and least expensive Chicago neighborhoods. Check ’em out:
The Cheapest Chicago Neighborhoods
South Shore: $682
South Shore may not get much attention, but it has more going on than you might initially think. It’s said that Chicago’s best Harold’s is here (that’s right– the best), and the blues scene is completely unparalleled.
It’s also worth mentioning that $600 for a one-bedroom apartment in a huge city like Chicago is relatively unheard of; in my neighborhood, most studios run for double that price. What am I doing with my life?
North Park: $776
Located just northwest of Lincoln Square, North Park is another neighborhood that you won’t hear much about unless you live here, but this residential neighborhood is adorable– and packed with tons of ethnic food options.
Easy access to the Brown Line means it’s not that far off the grid, and its remarkably Swedish influence makes it unlike any other neighborhood you’ll visit. It’s rumored there’s a Brazilian chocolate shop in North Park, too– it’s next on my to-do list.
Rogers Park: $917
Rogers Park is Chicago’s most northern neighborhood, which is why its rent falls a little lower than most. This area isn’t short of things to do, though– tons of music clubs, coffee shops and art galleries line the streets here in a sort of ethnic quilt. One of the most notable things about Rogers Park is that it’s one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the entire city.
Uptown is situated just north of Lakeview right off the Red Line. Many Loyola students call this neighborhood home, but it still has a unique and eclectic vibe along with an impressive jazz scene. While relatively freezing during the winter, its close proximity to the lake means one thing: beach time (boo yah).
See? There are plenty of neighborhoods in the city that won’t break the bank. That being said, the more centrally-located and bustling neighborhoods tend to be a little pricier. The closer to the L and Chicago hot spots an apartment is, the more it’ll cost you.
The Most Expensive Chicago Neighborhoods
Streeterville is one of Chicago’s smallest neighborhoods, but it packs some serious punch in terms of real estate. Nestled right along Navy Pier, it has easy access to the Loop, River North and Gold Coast all at once, plus some incredible views of Lake Michigan.
River North: $2,571
You know you’re in River North when you see the magnificent, mammoth Merchandise Mart and get a waft of chocolate from the nearby Blommer Chocolate Company. This is another neighborhood filled with gorgeous skyscrapers and 5-star restaurants, and it has a particular edge on the posh nightclub scene. Many professionals live in River North, and its gallery-laden streets are great for meandering on the weekends.
The Loop: $2,455
The Loop is Chicago’s central business district, an area that’s always pulsing with city life– from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., that is. It’s an incredibly convenient location if you work in the Loop or need immediate access to the L – this neighborhood was named after the train’s route, after all.
West Town: $2,213
This aptly named area of Chicago lies just west of the Loop, and it’s been an up-and-coming thanks largely to its quirky, eclectic vibe. This is a place you’ll find a hole-in-the-wall dive bar right next to an award-winning Rick Bayless restaurant … which will be nestled alongside a vintage book store and gourmet donut shop. You get the idea.
South Loop: $2,002
The South Loop, home to several colleges and Printer’s Row, sits close to Grant Park and the accompanying Buckingham fountain. With proximity to so many awesome areas, it’s no wonder the South Loop has some of the most expensive rents in all of Chicago.
One thing to note about this list: Streeterville, River North and unlisted Gold Coast all make up a community area called the Near North Side, which is collectively the most expensive and luxurious area of the city to live in.
Think of it like Chicago’s version of the Upper East Side– filled with designer shops, luxury apartments, and award-winning restaurants (plus the always-fabulous Magnificent Mile). West Town and the South Loop border the boisterous business district, but they have a totally different vibe.
If those rent prices aren’t within your budget, don’t sweat it– there are plenty of other mid-price bustling neighborhoods to check out, like Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Logan Square. In the Windy City, we’re all happy to live here.