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basille

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Guest klf214

Also, are there streets that I should avoid with U of C housing? I noticed that some of the apartments are located south of Midway Plaisance. Is that area ok?

Are their grocery stores in this area? Sorry if I'm asking too many questions!!

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Basille--I'm considering U of C for the MPP program at the Harris School. I noticed above that you recommeded graduate student housing? Have you seen any units? What were they like? I know, most of the time people do not recommeded that you stay in graduate student housing so I found your comments surprising! Thanks!

Normally I would agree with you, but I actually think the U of C grad housing is excellent. They have a large number of apartments, their buildings are pet friendly, and the rents are very affordable. :)

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Also, are there streets that I should avoid with U of C housing? I noticed that some of the apartments are located south of Midway Plaisance. Is that area ok?

Are their grocery stores in this area? Sorry if I'm asking too many questions!!

I have friends in the MPP program, btw. :)

Anyways.... your school is located to the south of the Midway, on 60th Street, but there isn't much beyond that point. It almost immediately becomes Woodlawn.

If you wish to be closer to shops, restaurants and grocery stores, I would recommend the housing closer to 51st (Hyde Park Blvd), 53rd, 55th, etc. There are a number of apartments in that vicinity. Parking is a bit nightmarish, but I have several pals that rent spaces. I think they are first come first serve, so I would investigate both the apartments and the parking spaces once you decide that you are accepting U of C's offer.

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This blog is just too long to read it all, so sorry if my skimming missed an answer to this. I am 99% sure I am moving to Chicago to attend U Chicago. I will be living with someone who will be attending Chicago kent for law school. We think probably Lakeview or Lincoln Park. I was wondering if the hassle of getting a space for a car or the hassle of taking public transportation down is worse. So basically, living in these areas should I sell my car and use public transportation or keep my car and find parking spaces that will not be overly expensive?

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Guest klf214

I'm wondering the same thing. I was told that you don't want a car because parking is crazy and very expensive. Also, it takes a good chuck of time to commute to UofC, which can be a hassle. However, when it's freezing cold outside, you don't want to be waiting at bus stops and the El outside. And you might not wanted to be limited to living in the Hyde Park area. Is this right? What do others think?

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Guest GoIllini

Well, peoples' definition of "crazy" and "very expensive" depends on where they're coming from, I guess. I live in Chicago and have a car. When I first moved here I lived in Lincoln Park (like almost all newly minted grads moving to the city, it seems). There's permit parking, which means you have to buy a City of Chicago sticker ($75/yr) and a permit for your neighborhood ($25/yr, I think). You can also TRY to find covered or off-street parking, but in LP or Lakeview, that's likely to run you a good $100/month. Finding street parking can seem difficult at first, and I'd never describe it as "easy", but once you know the rhythm of the neighborhood, you shouldn't have TOO much trouble. What I mean is, 1) if you're either in LP or Lakeview, you'll have a really hard time finding a spot on the weekends, especially weekend nights. Don't move your car unless you have to at those times. 2) you have to be willing to park a couple blocks from where you live. If you always want to be parked right in front of your apartment, it's probably not going to happen. 3) watch out for street cleaning days, snow routes, etc. Tickets start at $50 and go up from there. When I lived in Lincoln Park, I only used my car maybe once a week, either to get groceries, or to go to a neighborhood not as well served by public transportation, and that worked fine for me.

I've never had to commute down to Hyde Park, but I would imagine that you'd have problems finding (safe) parking during the day there. I mean, I don't know how they've got it worked out, but unless you want to pay the meters every day that you're down there (usually 50 cents to $1/hr) or buy a permit to use university lots (if they even let you do that), I don't imagine that there's a lot of non-metered on-street parking, and you certainly don't want to veer too far off the beaten path.

If you're planning on driving to school, find a place closer to the lake (near an exit for Lake Shore Drive). If you're planning on using public transportation, find a place close to the el. They are not one and the same.

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This blog is just too long to read it all, so sorry if my skimming missed an answer to this. I am 99% sure I am moving to Chicago to attend U Chicago. I will be living with someone who will be attending Chicago kent for law school. We think probably Lakeview or Lincoln Park. I was wondering if the hassle of getting a space for a car or the hassle of taking public transportation down is worse. So basically, living in these areas should I sell my car and use public transportation or keep my car and find parking spaces that will not be overly expensive?

I lived in LP and commuted to Hyde Park, so I think I can be of some help. :)

I started out by communting via public transit. The way that I would do it would be to walk to the Fullerton red line stop and take the train to 55th Street. That would take about 40 minutes. I'd generally be waiting 3-5 minutes for the train if I timed my walk correctly. Plus 10 minutes for walking to the train station. So... 55 minutes thus far. Then I would take the #55 bus. I seemed to always be waiting about 5 to 7 minutes for that. I would take the bus down to Ellis Ave... about a 10 minute ride. So, now we are up to an hour and 10 minutes. Then I would walk down Ellis to get to my school. About another 10 minutes. So... when all was said and done, it was about an hour and 20 minute commute.

$75 per month unlimited CTA pass.

Then I decided to drive because spending almost 3 hours a day on public transportation became very tiring. So I got a free car and paid the $100 to park it in my hood (city and permit stickers). Honestly, the cost was never a factor. The biggest factor is time. Living in Lincoln Park, if I was not in a spot by 8PM, I was guaranteed to be driving around for at least 20 minutes looking for a spot. Or I could park blocks away and then walk the 20 minute walk. But in any event, parking took time. My husband would come home at 9pm, and I would meet him downstairs and bring the dog so that we could at least get a final walk in for the evening since he never got closer than 3 or 4 blocks to the apartment. On the weekends, I never moved my car because it was so difficult to find a space. Thur night, Fri night, Sat night... forget it. It's not hard to find parking. You'll find it. It's just really time-consuming and you may have to eventually settle on a spot far away. I actually really hated it, but that was me. I have lived in a much quieter hood now for a year and I love it because I can actually park my car on the same block.

If I sound melodramatic, I don't mean to be, but both my husband and I found it extremely tiring after awhile. Of course, some people never seemed bothered by it at all. And most of the time, it was a livable, if not ideal, situation. But if you had a ton of groceries or you were tired or it was cold, it was really a pain to not have a car close by.

Ummm... Hyde Park is kinda similar. I only ever find parking to the south of the Midway. In the Woodlawn hood. I park there, but it seems to make other people nervous. At U of C you can buy a spot in one of the lots. It'll cost you about $600 a year, I think.

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Guest klf214

I think I'm going to go to DC--seems much easier, just have to get rid of my very new car.

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EEEEEEK! Don't let parking be the reason you turn away from Chicago! More specifically, don't let ME be the rain on your parade. :)

I just wanted to mention that it is a challenge and that it takes getting used to. LP and Lakeview are very, very popular neighborhoods, so the parking is rough. But there are many, many pluses to those neighborhoods as well. There is a reason they are popular. They have a great amount of things to do, have some very nice apartments, have a very young scene and are very centrally located in the city. They are great neighborhoods. They are just very densely populated, so parking is rough.

It's tough - probably one of the biggest things that U of C people talk about is where to live. My pals that live on campus bemoan the lack of things to do and the way it feels disconnected from the rest of the city. My pals that live off campus, myself included, complain about the commute. Can't win! :) Geographically, Chicago is quite large, so the northside neighborhoods and Hyde Park sometimes feel like they are worlds away. Basically with a car or with public transportation, there are going to be some hassles. That's part of living in a large city... particularly one as spread out as Chicago is.

I hope I didn't come off as unpleasant.... that was not my intent. I just wanted to share my experiences commuting to U of C. Via public transit, it is time consuming. Via car, not as bad for the actual commute, but then you have to deal with parking at both ends. If you want to park by, say 61st and Eliis, you should be fine. There will be spots. That is in the Woodlawn neighborhood. I've never had a problem there to date. Otherwise, U of C is pretty tight in regards to parking as well. I think a lot of people drive because many of the grad students choose to live off-campus and drive to U of C.

GoIllini was correct - you will see how your particular block works and you will learn when to park, when to move and when to stay put. If you use your car intermittently, then any neighborhood would be ok. But if it is a daily thing, expect to have "parking time" factored into your day. That's what we did - hence the 9pm "car parking/dog potty" walk.

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Guest Guest

I've lived in Lakeview for the last four years in 3 different apartments. I thought I'd suggest one idea I hadn't seen anyone mention. Two of my apartments had a parking spot behind the building; one I paid extra for ($50/month which is really cheap for Lakeview) and one that was included with the rent. Having lived both ways, its totally worth the extra cash in neighborhoods where parking is a problem. Looking for street parking makes me mental as do all the hassles that go with it (street cleaning, restricted parking in the winter, tickets, walking 5 blocks in the middle of winter etc). Its definitely possible to live in Lincoln Park/Lakeview without a car, but everytime I'm moving a lot of stuff (grocery store) or going some where out of the way (Target) I'm thankful I have it.

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It seems I will be moving to Chicago:

1) I have lived in the south my whole life, will I die from the cold? How do people survive in the winters? I am completely serious. What kind of coat should I buy?

2) Is 15,500 enough to live? (I know, just live cheaply, but thoughts or experiences are helpful.)

3) Is lincoln park really yuppie and trendy? Are there non-white people there?

Thanks much.

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Guest GoIllini

1) You need a really heavy coat. You will probably need some kind of coat/jacket from October - May, but that's not to say it's terribly cold that whole time. I know a lot of transplanted Southerners here, and they all love Chicago. Everyone complains about the weather, but really, if you know its coming and just brace for it, it's not that bad. This past winter we only got one real snow (10" sometime in December).

2) It would be very tight, but doable to live on 15,500. It depends on your willingness to either live in less trendy parts of town, your willingness to live with roommates, and your expected expenses outside of basic rent/phone/food/utilities, etc.

You want to get an apartment with heat included in the rent, 'cause if you don't your heating bills can add between 100-200$/mo. to your expenses. It is possible, in Lincoln Park & Lakeview to find small, but not terrible studios for $700 incl. heat (you'll see ones advertised for lower but unless you want to live in a dark closet for a year, they're probably not for you). I live in Lincoln Square, which is further north, and pay $750 for a large 1-bdrm (it would probably go for about $1100 in Lincoln Park). So anyway, my monthly living expenses, including rent & utlities & food & CTA card are about $1150/mo.

3) Lincoln Park is really yuppie and "trendy" for the preppy set. There are not a lot of non-white people there. Wicker Park/Bucktown is really "hipster" and "trendy" for the "alternative" set. Both skew pretty young - lots and lots and lots of undergrads/recent grads/etc. Most people I know live in one of those neighborhoods for a couple years, then tire of the scene.

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Guest GoIllini

1) You need a really heavy coat. You will probably need some kind of coat/jacket from October - May, but that's not to say it's terribly cold that whole time. I know a lot of transplanted Southerners here, and they all love Chicago. Everyone complains about the weather, but really, if you know its coming and just brace for it, it's not that bad. This past winter we only got one real snow (10" sometime in December).

2) It would be very tight, but doable to live on 15,500. It depends on your willingness to either live in less trendy parts of town, your willingness to live with roommates, and your expected expenses outside of basic rent/phone/food/utilities, etc.

You want to get an apartment with heat included in the rent, 'cause if you don't your heating bills can add between 100-200$/mo. to your expenses. It is possible, in Lincoln Park & Lakeview to find small, but not terrible studios for $700 incl. heat (you'll see ones advertised for lower but unless you want to live in a dark closet for a year, they're probably not for you). I live in Lincoln Square, which is further north, and pay $750 for a large 1-bdrm (it would probably go for about $1100 in Lincoln Park). So anyway, my monthly living expenses, including rent & utlities & food & CTA card are about $1150/mo.

3) Lincoln Park is really yuppie and "trendy" for the preppy set. There are not a lot of non-white people there. Wicker Park/Bucktown is really "hipster" and "trendy" for the "alternative" set. Both skew pretty young - lots and lots and lots of undergrads/recent grads/etc. Most people I know live in one of those neighborhoods for a couple years, then tire of the scene.

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Thank you so much for your answers! They were very helpful. I have a roommate and we are hoping to live close to DePaul. I'm planning on working in the summers and I can eat cheaply so hopefully it will all work out. Thanks for the advice about having heat included. I'm excited about Chicago, I've heard wonderful things, I just really cannot fathom that kind of cold. People complain here if it's below 60 degrees.

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Does anyone have any suggestions about finding a job (temp restaurant or something) and an apartment? I want to move up for the summer before I start (prob June 1st move in) but I would need to find a place before I move obviously and I don't want to spend a few weeks or more looking for a job and relying heavily on savings. Is it possible to find an apartment and a job in a couple days visiting in mid may?

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Does anyone have any suggestions about finding a job (temp restaurant or something) and an apartment? I want to move up for the summer before I start (prob June 1st move in) but I would need to find a place before I move obviously and I don't want to spend a few weeks or more looking for a job and relying heavily on savings. Is it possible to find an apartment and a job in a couple days visiting in mid may?

Are you planning to live in Hyde Park? If so, I would really consider the U of C grad apartments. They are very nice and very affordable.

If not, I mentioned the names of some apartment finder services in the very first post - they can be VERY helpful... especially if you are an out-of-towner. And there is no cost to you. They do everything - drive you around, process the application for the lease, get you the keys. It's nice. Craigslist is always an excellent option as well. So is Chicago Reader. In fact, you can also check both of those sites for job opportunities, too. The Trib and the Sun-Times, IMHO, are not very helpful.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/

http://www.chicagoreader.com/

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It seems I will be moving to Chicago:

1) I have lived in the south my whole life, will I die from the cold? How do people survive in the winters? I am completely serious. What kind of coat should I buy?

2) Is 15,500 enough to live? (I know, just live cheaply, but thoughts or experiences are helpful.)

3) Is lincoln park really yuppie and trendy? Are there non-white people there?

Thanks much.

You could consider Logan Square. It's my hood. I love it. It's more affordable though it has its share of issues in some parts. It's good if you want to live in the Blue Line train. Do you want to live close to your university? Living by DePaul can be expensive. And it is very congested, but there is a lot to do, so there are benefits and challenges. I also like Lincoln Square, though it has been getting pretty popular as of late. I also like Pilsen a lot, but that too has been getting more popular - though still witha few rough patches around the edges. Logan Square, Lincoln Square and Pilsen have some nice, afforable apartments. Lincoln Square is a bit further north, though.

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Are you planning to live in Hyde Park? If so, I would really consider the U of C grad apartments. They are very nice and very affordable.

If not, I mentioned the names of some apartment finder services in the very first post - they can be VERY helpful... especially if you are an out-of-towner. And there is no cost to you. They do everything - drive you around, process the application for the lease, get you the keys. It's nice. Craigslist is always an excellent option as well. So is Chicago Reader. In fact, you can also check both of those sites for job opportunities, too. The Trib and the Sun-Times, IMHO, are not very helpful.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/

http://www.chicagoreader.com/

I am planning on living either in Lincoln Park or Lakeview. I am a little wary of not checking out places myself. I don't want to get there and realize the place is a hole and also be paying an extra fee for the apartment services. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Small town girl moving to the city makes for a nervous situation. Plus, a little nervous about signing a lease and not knowing if I'll be able to quickly get a job. *sigh* all this and trying to do an honors thesis and graduate and such. Thanks very much everyone for the help I'm sure I'll be bugging you more and if anyone knows job statistics or has an idea of how likely it is to quickly get a job, I would be ecstatic to know.

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I am planning on living either in Lincoln Park or Lakeview. I am a little wary of not checking out places myself. I don't want to get there and realize the place is a hole and also be paying an extra fee for the apartment services. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Small town girl moving to the city makes for a nervous situation. Plus, a little nervous about signing a lease and not knowing if I'll be able to quickly get a job. *sigh* all this and trying to do an honors thesis and graduate and such. Thanks very much everyone for the help I'm sure I'll be bugging you more and if anyone knows job statistics or has an idea of how likely it is to quickly get a job, I would be ecstatic to know.

Oh... if you like Lincoln Park or Lakeview, then I would definitely call the Apartment People. They are really excellent for that area. They know the apartments and the landlords that they work with inside and out. http://www.apartmentpeople.com/ And they are free for you. All apartment -finder services are free to the person searching for the apartment. The landlord pays the company to show their place.

Basically, you tell them what you are looking for. They create a list of apartments that match what you are looking for, then drive you around to look at them. They can tell you about the neighborhood, too. They'll take you out as many times as you need to find a place you like. When you do find a place, you do everthing through them, which is excellent. You fill out the lease application there, pay your deposits and 1st month's rent there and then get the keys from them. I highly recommend them. I've used them, as have many friends. Plus, most of their apartments are in LV and LP, so you'll have a lot to choose from.

As for jobs, just start scouting about three to four weeks in advance of your trip - let people know you'll be coming to town and that you'd like to meet with them to talk about their openings. This is how I have looked for jobs from out of state. What kind of job are you looking for? If it's retail/restaurant/cafe type jobs, you'll have little problem getting one of those in LP or LV. It's a very active area.

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Thanks! That was really good advice and really calmed my nerves a bit! Since I'll be starting grad school in the fall, I wanted a job that would be easy to hold just for the summer and would be non-academic since I will have a grueling first year ahead. So I was looking for restaurant jobs and such and it's nice to know that it will not be incredibly difficult. I'm from Cleveland and a few years ago when the economy in Cleveland was one of the worst in the nation. I couldn't find ANY summer job that summer and so I am a little weary of moving somewhere and not having a job. I don't need a high paying job, just enough to get by for the summer and from what you said that seems like it should not be a wild goose chase. YAY! Excited about moving now!

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I meant to include these in the last post... info about Lakeview and LP.

Lakeview: http://www.lakeviewchamber.com/

Lincoln Park: http://www.lincolnparkchamber.com/residents/

Lets you see the millions of places you could conceivably find work. :) I'm not kidding when I say they are two serious shopping and eating meccas!

And FYI - Leona's restaurants always seem to appreciate hiring grad students. I've had several friends work for them. There are many in the city... you might want to contact them. http://www.leonas.com/

Plus I had some friends that worked at Goose Island... they made some nice tips. http://www.gooseisland.com/index.asp

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