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Nestie Intro! Neighborhood recs? Moving to Chicago this winter!

Hello everyone!  My name is Maggie, DH and I are moving to Chicago this winter for work, so I wanted to introduce myself and get any neighborhood recs you might have for me..

I actually grew up in the 'burbs (Barrington until I was about 10, then my family moved to the area outside of McHenry).  I went to college in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and have been living in that area with DH for about six years, with the exception of a few months living in France.

I loved living in Paris while I was abroad, and am really excited to be moving downtown.  My dad has worked in Chicago all my life, but I'm not really familiar with the city myself.  I was wondering if you could give me some neighborhood recs?

Since we've never lived permanently in a city of more than 30,000 people, we want to make sure the neighborhood is safe and friendly.  We are pretty young (24 and 25) so being in a young, fun neighborhood is important to us.  We're more craft-beer types than clubbers, and are both musicians, so an artsy area is probably our best bet.  I will be working on Michigan Ave, so I want to be close to the El as well.  We aren't going to have a great budget, though...probably around 1,000/month for rent.

Any thoughts you have would be most appreciated!  Thanks! 

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Re: Nestie Intro! Neighborhood recs? Moving to Chicago this winter!

  • I highly doubt you will find anything for $1k /mo. I dont know city prices well but you cant even a nice apt in the burbs for that.  My bro is paying $1280 in the burbs for a decent apt- not even a great one but its in a nice area.  I would suggest Lincoln Park- that is a great area in the north side of the city, but pretty pricey I think.  Check out or contact a realtor that also finds rentals. 
    Favorite Flower

  • If you are are art and music and stuff Wicker Park and Bucktown are probably your best options.  And Revolution Brewery and Piece are there that have great craft brews.  Not sure on the prices there.  Lincoln Park might be too pricey for you.  When my husband I first moved to Chicago we moved to Lakeview by the Paulina Brown Line.  Totally safe neighborhood and close to Wriggleyville too.  Our rent for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen, dinning room and living room was $925/mo.  The kitchen was updated but no dishwasher.  I am sure you can find something under $1000 per month.  Most places you will only have to pay for electric, cable/internet and cooking gas (not heating gas).  There are many apartment hunter places that are free to look around apartments.  Also, since you are moving in the winter you might get a place that rents for 1200/mo only 1000/mo since they have gone with out renters for a few months.  Lincoln Square is also a nice neighborhood for you, might be too old but has a great music learning center.
  • We were looking at apartments in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area not too long ago. To give you some idea, the cheapest 2br/2bath we could find was $1700. Right now we live in Ravenswood (which is near Lincoln Square) in a 2br/2bath that's $1400 a month. We also pay electric, gas, and internet/cable. We don't have parking (not an issue where we are), but some places we looked it was about $100 a month more. They're both really good neighborhoods, tho, with lots of good food (and beer), plenty to do, safe, and easy to get downtown. 

    We used Apartment People to find the place we're living now, and for the most part they were great. There was a little confusion (we were coming from out of state and so they did most of the looking), but things have worked out ok. Apartment finding services are a good way to get some ideas at least.



  • Thanks everyone!

     Yeah, we don't need much in terms of our place.  We currently live in a studio, but we'd really like a 1 br from now on.  Around 700 sq ft would be ideal. but we're pretty flexible about it.  Only think we know for sure is that we want to live in a good location, near a park (so we can take our dog out!) 

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  • Our neighborhood (Ravenswood) is really dog friendly, and in the summer a lot of the restaurants have outdoor seating and you can bring your dog  =)  There's a fairly new restaurant called Fountainhead that has an amazing beer and whiskey selection, and two breweries nearby (Metropolitan and Half Acre). It's also a safe enough area that I can walk our dog alone at night.

    We did look at Bucktown/Wicker Park when we moved, but decided it was a little too busy for us. Ravenswood is a little quieter, but there's still plenty to do. It's pretty easy to get downtown from both. We live right on one of the express bus lines, and not too far from the brown line on the el. It takes me about 30 - 40 min to get to work, near Michigan and Chicago, depending on traffic and whatnot.  

  • Love Fountainhead!  Good Luck with your apartment hunting!
  • Before DH, I lived in Ravenswood and had a 1bedroom (800 sq ft) for $750. It was off Wilson and there were 2 buses that took me down to Michigan Ave. I was close to the brown el also. I prefer the el to any bus! We are in Edgewater now and like it. If we ever sell our condo, we'll probably move to Ravenswood or Lincoln Sq area.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Hi! I'm a newlywed and not a nest poster but thought I could share.

    You should consider Pilsen and Bridgeport, on the southside.  All down Halsted in Pilsen is just filled with art galleries. Pilsen still has unsafe parts in it but Bridgeport is more consistently families and university students.  It is quieter than the northside but much cheaper.  We have a beautiful old apartment (old wood wood work with a built in cabinet) 3 bedroom, heat included, and water included for $900 a month.  We live 2 blocks from Comiskey and the weekly farmer's market is at the end of our block.

    I recommend also driving/walking through neighborhoods to see how they feel.  Also, I know some landlords in our neighborhood don't list open units in the paper and simply put a "For Rent" sign in the window.

    Good luck!

     Edited because I listed Bridgeport as having art galleries instead of Pilsen. I also made it a little more specific where I live because some people confuse Canaryville with Bridgeport.

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  • You can definitely find a good apartment for 1k a month. My husband and I pay $850 and that includes parking but we live closer to Evanston since that is where we work.

     I second (or third) the vote for Ravenswood or Bucktown.

    Also, try looking on Craigslist, that is where we found our apartment! Good luck! 

  • You can find a decent apartment for around $1000 in Logan Square. We adore it.

    The neighborhood has a few historic boulevards, which have a lot of green space (great for dogs and picnics) and beautiful architecture.

    There are great restaurants here, including Revolution Brewery, which has a ton of craft beers and good food. The neighborhood is constantly growing and adding new cafes, restaurants and bars. Just recently this fabulous pizza place (Dante's) opened, and it serves NY style pizza. My husband is in heaven, as he is from NY and craves it often.  Some other places that we love are Bonsoiree (French), Chilapan (Mexican), 90 Miles (Cuban), Hachi's Kitchen (Japanese sushi bar), Brown Sack (cute little cafe/deli),  Fuego (Mexican, has fantastic margaritas), Lula Cafe (American New, serves a lot of locally sourced foods), Gosu (Japanese/Korean), The Boiler Room (pizza/bar), Anong Thai (Thai), Buona Terra (Italian). There are a couple of British gastropubs (Longman&Eagle, Owen&Engine), both of which have great beer and food menus.

    There is also a French bakery (La Boulangerie) that serves up some delicious crepes and sells even more delicious bread and pastries. Heavenly has some fantastic gelato. You can get great coffee and other beverages at Cafe Mustache, New Wave Cafe or Nothin' Less. The Dill Pickle Co-Op sells baked goods and ice cream (Nice Cream) from local businesses and functions as a grocery store that specializes in bulk and local foods.

    Basically, the neighborhood is a foodie's dream Wink

    It has a lot of families and young professionals and the el is easily accessible (blue line), as well as many bus lines. I can get downtown in about 15-20 minutes. You can get to O'Hare airport in less than 45 minutes, and there are two Metra lines that are easily accessible by bus. 

    There is a fabulous park that is dog-friendly (Palmer Square) and there will be a dog park built soon as well. The neighborhood itself is very amenable to dog owners (i.e. water bowls put outside businesses in the summer, dogs allowed at the farmer's market and in outside patios, etc.)

  • As for the artsy side of you, look into Wicker Park (going to be more expensive), Bucktown, and Logan Square (you could really like this neighborhood). They are all fairly safe as well. Be careful with Logan Square that you don't get close to Humboldt Park. That is not a safe neighborhood. I lived in Albany Park for awhile (also not safe) and have had many friends that have moved to Lincoln Square. It's a nice neighborhood, definitely affordable. The only thing is that it has a lot of families - less young couples. My husband and I moved to Wrigleyville/Lakeview and LOVE it. There are dogs everywhere (people joke that they hand you a dog when you sign your lease in lakeview). You could get close to the beach and then have great access downtown and also be close to the red line, which is a quick way downtown. You'll have to transfer with the brown line and there are more stops so it takes longer.

     Wrigleyville has the bar scene, but even a few blocks away from it has the cute restaurants, nice couples, safe neighborhood, etc. There are bar specials every night and they are all right next to each other, so we're always going for $2 burgers, $3 quesadillas, half off menu, etc. The Southport Corridor is nice and has the best of both worlds, but some place near Broadway would be nice for you because it's close to the beach with a huge park, and close to the el.  My husband and I used but is really good too, maybe better. If you decide on Lakeview, feel free to e-mail me - [email protected], and I can help you out on specific roads, safe areas, quiet areas, fun areas, etc. within Lakeview.  Good luck!

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