What's it like to live in or near Hammond, Indiana? Should I?
April 20, 2016 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Where to live in or near Hammond, Indiana?

I've got a potential job offer in Hammond that would start in about six weeks. My wife, baby son, and I would have to decide in the next two weeks, but only I will be able to visit before that, for about 2-3 days. None of us have ever been there, and each of us has only visited Chicago once (we both liked it). The job is good enough that we will basically definitely be going if I get an offer. But where should we live?

The job would be for 2ish years, and we would probably not stay in the area beyond that. I think we could pay around $1500 in rent, though less would be nice. I'd really prefer not to live in an apartment--a place with a backyard of some sort would be great. I'd like to live somewhere within about 20-30 minutes (or less) of the federal courthouse, which I think is in the center of town.

Also, besides proximity to Chicago, is there anything nice about the area? Parks? Bike trails, outdoor life? Should I live in another nearby town? I don't need to be in a cool area, just somewhere quiet where I can afford a decent place to live.
posted by skewed to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Munster, Indiana. It's the next town south. Bike trail. Lots of duplex rentals with yards in your range. 30ish minutes to Dunes National Lakeshore, but there are closer nice beaches with hiking trails. Hammond has a train into the city (that would be the City of Chicago). Memail me with questions.
posted by WesterbergHigh at 7:35 PM on April 20, 2016

I've only visited Hammond and don't really remember much about it - however, I just looked up some rental houses and it looks like you should pretty easily be able to rent a 2 or 3 bedroom for $900-$1200 a month - prices look like they're about $1100-$1200 in Munster.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:38 PM on April 20, 2016

Seconding the suggestion to look in Munster.
posted by Sublimity at 7:56 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

NW Indiana in general is a pretty quiet suburban area. Munster is nice. You can also look at St John or Crown Point. Crown Point had a nice central square if you enjoy that sort of thing, with some nice older homes.
posted by hydra77 at 8:55 PM on April 20, 2016

Yeah, Munster's a little nicer for houses. And definitely don't miss the Indiana Dunes (so underappreciated!). You get to take the South Shore Line, affectionately known as the "vomit comet," to Chicago. Its other terminus is South Bend. Goofy name aside, it stops on the Museum Campus in Chicago and at Millennium Park, which makes it really nice for day trips. Or you can go be tourists at the South Bend end and visit Notre Dame. (BTW the South Shore had really gorgeous classic travel posters back in the 1920s; reproductions are super-popular locally-flavored decor.)

It's basically a suburb of Chicago with lower property taxes and cheaper gas, and incessant jokes from the locals about "NWI, represent!" (North West Indiana -- see, it's funny because NWI isn't hardcore but it's more hardcore than the rest of Indiana? Anyway people from there find it hilarious and say it all the time.) For a while it had Indiana's largest gas station (I don't know if it still does) to serve all the Illinoisians coming across the state line for cheap gas, and working there was a rite of passage for local high school students. Often works as a conversation starters when someone say they grew up in Hammond!

It's kind-of an anonymous suburb(/post-industrial city) and is not, in itself, the world's most exciting place, but it's really pleasantly located 40 minutes by commuter train from downtown Chicago, and so close to the Indiana Dunes. Northern Indiana (and SW Michigan) actually have a number of nice parks and forest preserves and so forth for outdoorsy things (South Bend has an Olympic-level kayaking run on its river through town, I don't know why, but it's very popular). Chicago is ringed by the largest urban forest preserve system in the US, with hiking and horseback riding and orienteering and whatnot. And of course the beaches all along Lake Michigan. You won't lack for outdoorsy places to go, especially if you're willing to take day trips or weekend trips. (I find them relatively ideal with small children -- super-trendy beach vacation spots that were hot in 1920 are just nostalgic and quiet today, but you can still do all the beachy things, for relatively cheap, without overwhelming your kid.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:02 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Never lived there, been through it though, didn't seem like a nice place. I lived in Chicago for a number of years and Hammond does not have a good reputation in the city.
posted by amcevil at 7:04 AM on April 21, 2016

I lived in Whiting for a few months about 5 years ago. My house was a few blocks from the waterfont, right near the public library. I liked the town. It was very walkable and had lots of parks. I don't remember where I bought groceries and did other day-to-day things, but I don't remember those things being difficult or in bad areas. Chicago was an easy train ride away.

For what it's worth, I was living in Whiting and working in Gary, so that may have colored my perception.
posted by thewestinggame at 7:47 AM on April 21, 2016

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