How close can I get to downtown Chicago for $900/month in rent?
January 24, 2010 6:17 PM   Subscribe

How close can I get to downtown Chicago for $900/month in rent?

Can you give me an idea where in Chicago I should try looking for a new apartment? Here's what I'd like:

* $900/month including parking (or very easy, reliable street parking)
* 1 bedroom
* no roommates
* as close to downtown as possible while still having a place that's relatively nice -- granite and stainless steel are not necessary, but I don't want it to feel like a college student's apartment
* in-unit washer/dryer would be ideal, but at a minimum there must be a washer/dryer in the complex
* less than a 10 minute walk to any el stop would be a plus
posted by pitseleh to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I live on the northeast side of Pilsen just south of UIC, about 2 miles from downtown. It's a 2 bedroom, $1050/mo, washer/dryer, dishwasher, central ac/heat, finished attic, reliable free street parking. Pilsen is a neat place, but is getting more gentrified by the minute (unless that's what you're into).

As a data point.
posted by phunniemee at 6:23 PM on January 24, 2010

I paid $900 a month with roommates for a place in Printers Row (8 minute walk from Sears Tower). But without roommates, that cheap and close with no roommates is impossible.
I would check out or to help find an apartment. Even if you don't take their recommendations, it's free and much easier to get a feel for the city if there's someone to drive you around.
posted by earlsofsandwich at 6:26 PM on January 24, 2010

I love, although I haven't used it for Chicago (should be good though - it pulls primarily from Craigslist but also several over places. Gives you lots of filters and all on top of google maps - so you can see train stations)
posted by alaijmw at 6:37 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

Within 20 minutes commute by El. The farther away you're willing to live the higher quality fixtures and finish. Stay away from the companies like Apartment People that help you find places. They cost landlords extra money, and thus tend to attract apartments that don't rent without the extra sales push. Craigslist and classifieds have the best listings.
And Google maps is a fantastic tool for finding the nearest el stop to a given address.
posted by centerweight at 6:50 PM on January 24, 2010

Do you need a bedroom or would a studio work?
posted by shrimpsmalls at 6:57 PM on January 24, 2010

I would prefer a one bedroom, but it can be small.

alaijmw, that is a fantastic site! It is pretty much exactly what I need to get a sense of prices in each area.
posted by pitseleh at 7:05 PM on January 24, 2010

You can probably live in a small studio in the Presidential Towers for around $1000. Thats just a couple blocks west of the loop. If you want more than 500sq ft, I imagine you can do pretty well in Greektown or near UIC or in West Town for that kind of money and still find a decent place.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:28 PM on January 24, 2010

I had a 1.5 (previous tenants used the office as a second bedroom, but it was small) in Bucktown about 5 minutes from the Metra and 15 from the blue line for $900 a month

Overall, it was a decent place, but they kind of stopped renovating before they got to the bathroom, which looked like something from summer camp
posted by Oktober at 7:36 PM on January 24, 2010

My friend had a similar setup as the one posted by phunniemee, in Boystown.
posted by lhall at 7:43 PM on January 24, 2010

You should also looking at apartment complexes close to UIC's west campus, namely Medical District Apartments and Medical Center Apartments. The former is more expensive of the two but also better in terms of general construction and location (off Taylor Street/Little Italy) while the latter is just across the road from the CTA Blue Line's Medical District Stop which is a ten minute train ride to the loop.
posted by sk381 at 7:46 PM on January 24, 2010

If you want to look around UK Village (Damen/Augusta), I have a 2 bedroom (decent, not spectacular) for $750/mo, and I know that my landlord has something similar for rent next door. 10 mins. from either the Division or North/Damen Blue Line stops, tops. Mefi mail me for additional details if you are interested.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 8:07 PM on January 24, 2010

Nice? Near downtown? Parking? Near public transit? For 900?

You must be one of the faculty at UIC! The bad news is that I don't think such a place exists.

For 900$ you are looking at:

Tri-Taylor - Dicey neighborhood, good odds neighbors will be insomiac medical students & most places look like flop houses and the kicker is that it is not super close to downtown.

UIC/Little Italy - neighborhood is ok* 1 bed for 900$ is getting you a college flat or something like this (small attic apartment: certainly not "rare"). I've looked at many units in this area and were generally disappointed, and we weren't looking for gold facets or anything.

Pilson- I am generally reticent to recommend Pilson, if you are hispanic, or in the art scene or a UIC student then you already know about it - otherwise there's the gentrification issue phunniemee (which you'd be contributing to) and a host of other issues - one usually not mentioned is the fact that the ancient Fisk coal plant is in that neighborhood - so the air quality can be lousy. That said - if I were a hip young cat looking for new digs - I would check out some of the loft spaces along Halsted - far from public transportation, limited services (ie grocery stores) but check this out: fancy loft living

West Loop: the down: few services means you may starve in many areas here - and limited parking - the up is new/rehabed units. Pricey.

South loop: NO parking & SMALL. desperate developers & condo flippers looking to stay afloat means reasonable rates on new & nicer units - expect studios and smaller spaces (700sq FEET!)

*for Chicago. It ain't idyllic or peaceful.
posted by zenon at 8:38 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could try Bridgeport. It's spotty but near the stadium it's decent. At least parking shouldn't be an issue.
posted by stormpooper at 8:49 AM on January 25, 2010

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