Our advice is that you opt for an apartment on the Near West Side. You'll get the most space for your buck, and because it's so close to The Loop, you'll have access to the rest of the city. To see Chicago's official listing of the average cost of housing in its different neighborhoods, check out CityofChicago.org.

When you start visiting neighborhoods during your apartment search, you will need to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Is the rent affordable? Are the stores, shops, gyms, and bars in the area affordable? (No matter what they say ahead of time, most people spend their money in nearby establishments.)

  • How close is the El (which you'll have to use to commute to The Loop)?

  • What are the nearby schools like?

  • Who lives in that neighborhood? Yuppies? Students? Old smelly people?

  • Where will you park your car? If the apartment you're looking at doesn't include parking, how easy is it to park on the street?

And of course, one factor that deserves special attention is safety. A word to the wise: bring a friend/significant other/spouse/enemy with you and wander around the neighborhoods you're considering. You can get a pretty good idea of what life is like just by observing whether people walking past you are wearing ski masks in the summer. When in doubt about a neighborhood's crime rates and safety provisions, go to a local police station and do a little investigating of your own. Ask the cops for their opinions (believe us, they'll give 'em to you).

If you wanna learn more about your prospective neighborhoods and what they have to offer, check out http://chicagoneighborhoods.cc/ for a ton of links to Chicago landmarks, events, media, and other pertinent info for newcomers. Students, the site includes you too!

    SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW find an apartment in Boston?