Chicago neighborhoods
July 26, 2013 10:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Chicago in a couple months and looking for recommendations about specific areas and neighborhoods. Snowflakey details follow.

Since my last Askme, I've made the decision to move to Chicago and am looking for places to live. I'd like to avoid the busy downtown areas and am hoping to find something in a quiet, friendly, safe neighborhood. I'd like to be able to go outdoors and not smell car exhaust or hear a ton of traffic noise. Basically, I'd like to not feel like I'm living in a huge city.

Based on previous advice, it sounds like Edgewater, Andersonville, Oak Park, and Ravenswood are the kinds of areas I might be interested in. Any other places I should consider? I'm looking for one-bedroom apartments, probably $1200 max. I'll be taking public transport to work (which is downtown), so easy access to bus/metro is a plus. Thanks in advance for any advice!
posted by phoenix_rising to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lincoln Square would be a good choice, too.
posted by Novus at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I live it Edgewater and love it! So highly recommended.
posted by Carillon at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2013

Andersonville, Edgewater and Ravenswood are fairly dense, but not anything like down town. I mention this because I grew up in Andersonville and Ravenswood and loved it up until I left in 2000. Now when I go home to visit I feel a bit overwhelmed by the traffic and the people. So you may want to consider that.

Oak Park is great, but decidedly more family oriented.

Excellent choice in moving to Chicago. Good luck.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:16 AM on July 26, 2013

One of the amazing things about Chicago is that you can go in a block or two from a main street with bus traffic and a rumbling train line and honking cars and suddenly be in a quiet little area with lots of trees and little bungalow houses and children making chalk drawings on the sidewalk and little old men in shorts and black socks trimming the hedges. Lots of the northwest neighborhoods (Irving Park, Albany Park, Ravenswood) are like this, and depending on where you are, can give you pretty great Brown Line access.

My advice would be to find a few Brown Line stops (maybe Damen-Kimball) and look on Craigslist for apartments within a half mile. Then do a google street view to see if the area meets your quiet residential requirements.

Another piece of advice, I have always lived in small buildings (walkups with just a few units, like maybe one per floor) and you tend to find those a lot in quiet areas with quiet people and families living in them. The big 50-unit (soulless) apartment rental buildings tend to be lived in by younger folks who maybe haven't quite settled down yet, so your neighbors are noisier, and they're also generally located on busier corners.

$1200 for a 1BR will give you lots of options.

Just a cursory look at Craigslist found me this, which is really close to a place I used to live. Area is very quiet, and there is a huge, beautiful park very close by with the river just on the other side. The walk up to the Francisco stop takes you through Ravenswood Manor, which is just a gorgeous neighborhood, and I think it would achieve what you're looking to achieve.
posted by phunniemee at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The suggestions above are good. You might also want to consider Logan Square. It's gorgeous, there are plenty of apartments in your price range, lots of great restaurants and bars, 15-minute ride on the Blue Line to the Loop. I've lived there for the past five years, and it's my favorite place to live and hang out in the city.
posted by smich at 12:23 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you expect to be commuting to the Northwestern Medical Campus for the foreseeable future (according to your previous AskMe), I'd suggest living off the Red Line - the station at State & Chicago is just a couple blocks from there, whereas if you took the Brown or Blue Line it would be a good 20-minute walk from the station to work (although you might be able to connect with our new bikeshare system). I used to live in Andersonville west of the Argyle station and I think you'd like it there - Clark St between Foster and Bryn Mawr has a very relaxed small town Main-Street-with-gay-bars vibe. $1200 should go a long way - I paid $850 for a nice 2BR that unfortunately came with a lunatic landlord. Scope out the area between Ravenswood and Broadway north of Argyle.
posted by theodolite at 12:59 PM on July 26, 2013

One nice thing about the northern Red-Line-adjacent neighborhoods (Edgewater, Andersonville, Rogers Park) is that you will be near the lake—and more specifically the beaches. Considering that the lake is pretty much the closest thing to "nature" that we have around here, that might be worth keeping in mind.

Will you have a chance to visit to look at apartments/neighborhoods before you commit to one?

I live in Edgewater and like it quite a bit. Rogers Park is even leafier and quieter, which sounds like it would be a plus for you, but living there will add a few minutes to your commute vs Edgewater.

Lincoln Square is also nice. It's very popular with young families, the stroller density is quite high. Welles Park is nice. The Brown Line seems to take a little longer to get into and out of the loop than the Red Line.
posted by enn at 1:56 PM on July 26, 2013

Oh, and $1200 should get you a pretty nice place in most of these neighborhoods, but there is a lot of pricing variation, so you may see some lousy places too. Don't get discouraged, and don't assume that because you go to view an apartment and it sucks, all of the other apartments in that price range will be equally bad. The last time I was looking for an apartment I saw a bunch of places that were both pricier and crappier than the one I ended up in, all within a few blocks of each other.
posted by enn at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2013

If you live around the Morse or Jarvis red line stops close to the beach, you can take the 147 express bus downtown every morning and get a gorgeous view of the lake each way on your commute and it's easy to hang out at the beach when it's warm. It makes city life bearable, for me. It's a very low-key area plus rents are pretty good up here. You can get something really nice in your price range.
posted by bleep at 8:11 PM on July 26, 2013

Off the CTA red line, I'd probably recommend against the Uptown neighborhood.
posted by garlic at 1:25 PM on July 28, 2013

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