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basille

Chicago, IL

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Hello! I moved here in August and live on about $1,700 a month. Definitely not the easiest, but totally possible. I currently have roommates but want to live alone next year, so I'm willing to pay extra. You can find studios around $750-850 and some one bedrooms around $900 in the outer edges of the city. I prefer the northern part of the city anyways. However, I did move from Pittsburgh where the cost of living is significantly lower, so it was a sad change. Taxes on groceries and stuff like that are also fairly high. 

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On 1/11/2018 at 7:40 AM, raul.carmo said:

Hey guys, I was wondering if it's possible to live decently through a PhD in Chicago with ~2k USD per month, and if possible, how the condition will probably be like (sharing a room, sharing an apartment, living by yourself etc).

I am in Hyde Park (not the cheapest not the most expensive neighborhood) and do that easily, but it depends on how much you eat out/drink/spend on extra stuff. In college housing areas like HP a big tip is to see if you can post-pone or move up your move-in date to be off the university move-in schedule.  Rent prices gone up $100-300 if you have a desired move-in date between June and September. My friend and I looked at two apartments with the exact same 2-bedroom layout & upgrades  (kitchen, dishwasher, and bath) but one had a sept 1 move-in date at $750/month and the other, an Oct 1 move-in at $650 with better light. It’s easy to find temporary housing if you’re willing to move twice and look to find cheaper housing. If you’re part of the U Chicago community (you have an email) then you can also access the Marketplace which is the most efficient place to find listings in HP area.

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I will be attending DePaul in the Spring, and my program is based at the Loop Campus. I will be commuting by bike and public transit. There are some cheap, large, cat-friendly apartments in North Lawndale, which is quite close to the Loop. However, I've been reading online that North Lawndale is one of the worst parts of the city. I'm used to living in fairly unsafe areas, such as South Africa and West Oakland, CA. What I've been reading about North Lawndale seems very intense, but I also think people tend to be a bit dramatic when discussing crime in Chicago. Is there anyone who is used to living in places that are a bit rough around the edges able to give me a perspective on North Lawndale? Is the cheaper rent and shorter commute worth it?

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12 hours ago, KrmDePaul said:

I will be attending DePaul in the Spring, and my program is based at the Loop Campus. I will be commuting by bike and public transit. There are some cheap, large, cat-friendly apartments in North Lawndale, which is quite close to the Loop. However, I've been reading online that North Lawndale is one of the worst parts of the city. I'm used to living in fairly unsafe areas, such as South Africa and West Oakland, CA. What I've been reading about North Lawndale seems very intense, but I also think people tend to be a bit dramatic when discussing crime in Chicago. Is there anyone who is used to living in places that are a bit rough around the edges able to give me a perspective on North Lawndale? Is the cheaper rent and shorter commute worth it?

I've lived in Chicago for a couple years now (congrats on DePaul, I love my school!) and agree that people are kind of dramatic--with one caveat. The time you spend in areas with both excessive crime and excessive police (like North Lawndale) does significantly increase the likelihood of your being victim to a crime, whether it be on purpose (muggings outside CTA stations) or accidental (witnessing or becoming involved in a crime that doesn't involve you). What kind of budget are you looking for? In Chicago, there are a good deal of apartments in areas that are safer that can accommodate your need for space and pet friendliness. If you don't mind living further from transit, check Hermosa Park and Humboldt Park; remember that you can also take Metra downtown from stops throughout the city, though it isn't as frequent as the CTA. As a rule of thumb, if you can get 3-4 roommates in a 4-5 bedroom apartment, you're gonna be paying much less and can stay in a safer area. 

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14 hours ago, KrmDePaul said:

I will be attending DePaul in the Spring, and my program is based at the Loop Campus. I will be commuting by bike and public transit. There are some cheap, large, cat-friendly apartments in North Lawndale, which is quite close to the Loop. However, I've been reading online that North Lawndale is one of the worst parts of the city. I'm used to living in fairly unsafe areas, such as South Africa and West Oakland, CA. What I've been reading about North Lawndale seems very intense, but I also think people tend to be a bit dramatic when discussing crime in Chicago. Is there anyone who is used to living in places that are a bit rough around the edges able to give me a perspective on North Lawndale? Is the cheaper rent and shorter commute worth it?

 

I can't speak to South Africa or West Oakland, but I would not recommend living in North Lawndale.  Here's an interactive crime map so you can look at the types of crimes in that area:

https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Crimes-Map/dfnk-7re6/data

 

In general, I would suggest living a little further away, but close to the train line.  You'll probably be looking at Roger's Park, which is on the north side of the area, or somewhere south of there.  Here's the search string that I used on Trulia.  Compare available apartments against the crime map.  Generally, the west side and south side are the more dicey neighborhoods.  Feel free to tag me if there's a specific neighborhood you'd like my 2 cents on.

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On 2/10/2018 at 11:12 PM, KrmDePaul said:

I will be attending DePaul in the Spring, and my program is based at the Loop Campus. I will be commuting by bike and public transit. There are some cheap, large, cat-friendly apartments in North Lawndale, which is quite close to the Loop. However, I've been reading online that North Lawndale is one of the worst parts of the city. I'm used to living in fairly unsafe areas, such as South Africa and West Oakland, CA. What I've been reading about North Lawndale seems very intense, but I also think people tend to be a bit dramatic when discussing crime in Chicago. Is there anyone who is used to living in places that are a bit rough around the edges able to give me a perspective on North Lawndale? Is the cheaper rent and shorter commute worth it?

Agree with latemeg. Would also say that depending on budget West Pilsen is a good in between (and cheaper that a lot of Pilsen). My sister lives in Bridgeport (just south of the river from Pilsen) not convenient for transit (but biking is a solid option). It's more affordable than a lot of areas and has a nice community feel.

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Jumping on the bandwagon, I know Chicago is a queer friendly city, but is there any advice where to live based on that information? where not to got? etc. Thanks! 

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I'll likely by attending UIC in the fall and have friends all over the city. I love a lot of their neighborhoods, especially on the northern side of the city, but in terms of convenience and affordability, we will be moving to Pilsen. There are amazing restaurants and bars, but also a less crowded and more comfortable atmosphere. I also like that good chunks of it are not completely gentrified. It reminds me a lot of where we live now.

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On 2/21/2018 at 11:02 AM, Bschaefer said:

Jumping on the bandwagon, I know Chicago is a queer friendly city, but is there any advice where to live based on that information? where not to got? etc. Thanks! 

Boystown is the “traditional” queer neighborhood, but would be a not so fun commute if you’re headed to UIC. That being said, I think anywhere within the city would be chill. Stereotypically, most nightlife is on the north side, it is also a much whiter, privileged, and gentrified part of the city. South side is more diverse, less nightlife, but not abesnt, and more affordable. If I were going to UIC, I wouldn’t want to go north of Ukrainian Village/Noble Square (commute south on the 90/94 is brutal) it’s doable if you have a reason to be north (ie family, partner, etc) but not ideal

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Hey, everyone! I'm a Southerner considering attending Northwestern (Evanston campus, but I'd like to live in North Chicago). Just wondering what life in the city is like in the winter. Do people just sort of hole up inside and try to bear it, or are there fun parts to the cold months?

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This is my first Chicago winter (I live in North Chicago). Everyone keeps telling me that it hasn't been bad (so far). I did invest in a really nice heavy coat before I came. One of my professors gave us a winter pep talk and emphasized not wearing your heaviest winter coat until it's really cold. It's the wind that makes life miserable. 

 

I will say I find myself less motivated to do these in the winter evenings, but I do think I've adjusted pretty well. If everyone else can do it, I can do it! 

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There is definitely less motivation to go outside, but the city itself is comparatively active in the winter. I see people running along the lake all year long, even with strollers and wind guards/fleece shields covering the babies. People still go out to parties, clubs, public transit it solid (even from Evanston down to the city). Winter doesn’t stop people, but you are more likely to choose destinations specifically and less likely to go on a pub crawl. It really is up to you. The city is still there in the winter with all it has to offer (it’s just inside instead of on the patio or in the park, etc).

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On 2/23/2018 at 10:42 AM, AllieKat said:

Hey, everyone! I'm a Southerner considering attending Northwestern (Evanston campus, but I'd like to live in North Chicago). Just wondering what life in the city is like in the winter. Do people just sort of hole up inside and try to bear it, or are there fun parts to the cold months?

There's plenty of fun to be had in the colder months, it's just a different set of activities than in the summer. Comedy, music, theater, and drinking never stop, and depending on your interests you can find some pretty wonderful winter-specific activities. Some more popular winter activities include things like skating in the park, the Christkindle Market (which is fun even if you don't really do the Christmas thing), Zoo Lights, TBOX (if you're into the Wrigleyville scene), etc. Many museums have free or discount days in the winter and the regular city life - music, comedy, theater, bars, great restaurants, nerdy meetups, midnight showings, etc. - is still thriving. There aren't as many street festivals as you'll find in the summer, but it's a great city year-round if you can take a little bit of a chill. 

If you're going to Northwestern and living in the city, you'll probably end up somewhere in Rogers Park, Edgewater, or Uptown. These are really fun parts of the city that have been growing and changing a considerable amount in recent years. That also puts you close to both Northwestern and Loyola, so there will be other grad students around looking to hang out and burn off some stress. Come join us - you're going to love it!

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I'll likely be attending U Chicago for my MPP (Harris) next fall. Assuming that I can incorporate Metra into my travels, how crazy is it to live in a north/northwestern neighborhood like Lakeview, Logan Square, or Wicker Park while studying at U Chicago? I'm coming to Chicago from NYC and I really found that Hyde Park really lacks the atmosphere I've become accustomed to over the past 6-7 years in NYC. Even Morningside Heights where I spent 4 years as an undergrad at Columbia feels more vibrant/urban than Hyde Park. 

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I will very likely be moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern and am trying to get a sense of the livability/commute from various neighborhoods. I know Rogers Park is a popular one (we even had current students take us on a walking tour), but I'm kinda eyeing places off the express Purple stops. As a queer Asian American I'm especially curious about the area around Belmont (due to its proximity to Boystown) and Wilson (due to its proximity to "New Chinatown"/Little Saigon). Is it likely to find a room to rent out (not a 1br or studio) in either of those areas for ~$700/mo, and does anyone have experience with/advice about the commute to NU from there during peak or off-peak hours? Also, any advice for places to look for rooms other than Craigslist and Facebook groups?

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On 3/9/2018 at 2:19 PM, Policy.Planner.NYC said:

I'll likely be attending U Chicago for my MPP (Harris) next fall. Assuming that I can incorporate Metra into my travels, how crazy is it to live in a north/northwestern neighborhood like Lakeview, Logan Square, or Wicker Park while studying at U Chicago? I'm coming to Chicago from NYC and I really found that Hyde Park really lacks the atmosphere I've become accustomed to over the past 6-7 years in NYC. Even Morningside Heights where I spent 4 years as an undergrad at Columbia feels more vibrant/urban than Hyde Park. 

I'm dealing with the same issue. I spent a summer in a program for UChicago and I loved it! But what I mostly loved was that I spent most of my time in Logan Square, Pilsen, Wicker Park, etc. instead of Hyde Park—which gets so boring. I'm mostly worried about commute (especially in the winters) if I choose to live further up. 

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On 3/12/2018 at 1:15 PM, deshypothequiez said:

I will very likely be moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern and am trying to get a sense of the livability/commute from various neighborhoods. I know Rogers Park is a popular one (we even had current students take us on a walking tour), but I'm kinda eyeing places off the express Purple stops. As a queer Asian American I'm especially curious about the area around Belmont (due to its proximity to Boystown) and Wilson (due to its proximity to "New Chinatown"/Little Saigon). Is it likely to find a room to rent out (not a 1br or studio) in either of those areas for ~$700/mo, and does anyone have experience with/advice about the commute to NU from there during peak or off-peak hours? Also, any advice for places to look for rooms other than Craigslist and Facebook groups?

As a queer man I enjoyed living in Edgewater, and found myself going out in Rogers Park and Andersonville much more than Boystown. In addition to being much more affordable than Boystown, any of the Far North neighborhoods also tend to be safer (with the exception of northern Rogers Park, near Howard). Apartment People ( https://www.apartmentpeople.com/) is a pretty convenient resource for finding housing. Just for comparison, I paid ~$950 for a 1BR in Edgewater, two blocks from the "gay beach" (Hollywood). Anywhere around Belmont runs at least $1200+ for a decent 1BR. Studios run about $100-200 cheaper in their respective neighborhoods.

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Commuting to HP for Uchicago is doable from the north side, but not ideal. Plan on it taking about 40 minutes to get down to HP on a Weekday in morning traffic from Lincoln Park. Closer to an hour if your driving down from 90/94. And an hour-hour and a half if busing/metra. And similar back. If you can make sure your driving during non traffic hour times that time can be cut in half or a third. If you want something in between check out Pilsen. its still on the south side so you won't deal with traffic but has more of an "urban feel". West loop is kinda the dining area and nicer bars, if you can afford it. 

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Hello friends,

I was recently admitted to DePaul University. The stipend they offer me is $18,700 for 9 months and I am just wondering how much of a struggle living on that will be? For reference I lived in NYC all my life so I have a general idea what it is like living in a big city. 

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19 minutes ago, Sparkybob said:

Hello friends,

I was recently admitted to DePaul University. The stipend they offer me is $18,700 for 9 months and I am just wondering how much of a struggle living on that will be? For reference I lived in NYC all my life so I have a general idea what it is like living in a big city. 

It should be very doable. You can find a bedroom in a 3 bed apartment for around ~$500 per month in Rogers Park, which is not too long of a commute from Lincoln Park. Also, since you’d be attending a university in the city proper, you’d be able to get a discounted pass for the L train system and CTA (called a U-Pass) that allows for unlimited rides for college students. Groceries wouldn’t be too bad either, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country right now and can manage on $25 per week in groceries (just groceries - I budget another $30ish for eating out for myself each week) so Chicago should be around the same if not a little bit cheaper. Your money will run you a lot further in Chicago than it would in NYC, in my opinion. 

Edited by shiningorb

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11 minutes ago, shiningorb said:

It should be very doable. You can find a bedroom in a 3 bed apartment for around ~$500 per month in Rogers Park, which is not too long of a commute from Lincoln Park. Also, since you’d be attending a university in the city proper, you’d be able to get a discounted pass for the L train system and CTA (called a U-Pass) that allows for unlimited rides for college students. Groceries wouldn’t be too bad either, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country right now and can manage on $25 per week in groceries (just groceries - I budget another $30ish for eating out for myself each week) so Chicago should be around the same if not a little bit cheaper. Your money will run you a lot further in Chicago than it would in NYC, in my opinion. 

Thanks for the advice!

Do you think it is possible to save money on such a stipend? 

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I have a stipend slight smaller than yours (18,000) and live in the northern part of the city. I've always been frugal, but I've been extra careful since starting my PhD with budgeting. I have been able to save money--one, because I set it in my budget and, two, because I don't feel the need to spend every cent in my monthly budget if at the end I have money left over. Next year I'm going to find a studio which will make my housing more expensive and I doubt I can save as much (if any), but it was a decision I had to make for my own happiness.

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26 minutes ago, emhafe said:

I have a stipend slight smaller than yours (18,000) and live in the northern part of the city. I've always been frugal, but I've been extra careful since starting my PhD with budgeting. I have been able to save money--one, because I set it in my budget and, two, because I don't feel the need to spend every cent in my monthly budget if at the end I have money left over. Next year I'm going to find a studio which will make my housing more expensive and I doubt I can save as much (if any), but it was a decision I had to make for my own happiness.

That is good to hear! Did you have any problems commuting to your school?

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