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basille

Chicago, IL

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what is the cost of living like, from a grad student perspective? I'll be living in one of the UofC apartments, and my monthly stipend will be around $1600 or so after tax -- will that be enough to get by?

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what is the cost of living like, from a grad student perspective? I'll be living in one of the UofC apartments, and my monthly stipend will be around $1600 or so after tax -- will that be enough to get by?

Basille's the expert here, but from the estimates I've seen, $12,500 to 14,000/year gets you the bare essentials (not including car insurance, gas, and whatnot) -- you should be in fine shape! I'm planning to make do with $1500/month before taxes, and so far it doesn't seem impossible.

Look earlier in the current thread, and see this threadfor more detailed discussions and itemized cost-of-living estimates. Good luck!

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I know someone mentioned Bridgeport earlier, but I was wondering about safety. What is the crime like on the south side? Craigslist is listing places a lot less expensive than http://www.apartmentpeople.com/ranges.asp has. What is up with that? (I'm looking for places near UIC for a friend.)

Well, the one thing I can say about Bridgeport is that it is "in transition" which is Chicagoese for gentrifying but still rough around the edges. It buts up to some tougher areas and has gone through various periods of ups and downs. It was a strongly Irish-Catholic neighborhood in the 50s and 60s (home to current Mayor Daley), then took a bit of a tumble with the rest of the area, then started to come back in recent years due to the gentrification of the surrounding UIC area. The nice thing about UIC is that it is right off the blue line, so your friend could expand their search to other neighborhoods that are more solidly gentrified... if that is an area of concern for your friend. Neighborhoods like Bucktown and Wicker Park have been "transitioning" for a few years, so there are more safer areas there. Some areas of Logan Square as well... particualrly the ones closest to the boulevards and to Bucktown/Wicker Park. All of these are accessible by blue line and would be about a 20 minute commute via train.

Ultimately, I find that the Chicago Crime Database (CCD) will give a fairly nice idea of crime surrounding a possible apartment. So, when your friend finds the address of a place they like, run it by the database and see what the crime stats are. This is a renter's market - for the most part you don't have to worry about snatching up an apartment the very first second you lay eyes on it (unlike, say Boston or New York). So, one could take a look at the apartment, take a look at the neighborhood (if possible, visit during the day and then drive by at night) and then run the address through the database. It's about as secure as one can get to finding a place that addresses their safety needs.

CCD: http://www.chicagocrime.org/

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any thoughts on how easy it is to live without a car in chicago? is it necessary to live close to the el, and then still a hassle? do a lot of people do it? thanks!

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Guest GoIllini

A lot of people manage just fine in Chicago without a car. THe main things that will make your life easier are to either 1) live by an El 2) live by a major busline (as in, if you're mostly going to be traveling N-S, live by a convenient N-S route) and 3) make sure you're not too far from a grocery store. You can check out the CTA's website (transitchicago.com) for route information - it's especially useful if you want to plug in potential addresses and where you'll be going to see about how long your commute will be.

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I'm going up to Chicago in a week or so for a couple days and trying to find a job and an apartment to start June 1. Do you think that's doable? If not the job (waitressing, so not that stressed), is at least it likely I'll be able to get an apartment? I've never had to do a long distance hosuing search before.

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Guest GoIllini

I don't think it will be a big problem. When I first moved here, I had ONE DAY to find a place and get a lease signed (or at least start the credit check process), and that was a mere 2 weeks before I was going to move. So it's possible. To make things less stressful, I'd recommend narrowing down the neighborhoods you want to look at beforehand.

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Thanks! Got that covered... lakeview or lincoln park, and we've got an appointment with the apartment people. Glad to know it's possible :D

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I've lived in or around Chicago my entire life, so here's my 2 cents. We're leaving Chicago around the end of June, and we live in Hyde Park (UChicago). We rent a 3BR townhouse with 2 parking spaces from some very nice doctors for $1500/mo. We used to live in an apartment closer to the hospital (a few blocks away), but we got really irritated with the rental company, who utterly refused to fix anything, and the other tenants, who were all undergrads and had loud obnoxious parties (even during the week) and were generally loud and obnoxious even when by themselves (apparently no one told them that UChicago is the place fun comes to die).

If you have a family or roommates and want a quiet place, you're more than welcome to come see our townhouse (I promise I get absolutely nothing for this - I don't get any money and our lease goes through the end of June, so we don't need to sublet). I'm right next to the grocery store and the Metra, so we can get downtown pretty quicky. If you want to know anything about rental companies in Hyde Park, let me know.

Be aware when it comes to public transportation in Chicago - it's not that rosy, unless you live on the line that you need to get from Point A to Point B. My husband used to take it places, and it was a huge hassle, as he needed a combination of two trains and two buses, and he had to walk several blocks between train stations. The walking wouldn't be bad if it wasn't so freakin' cold here in the winter. And if you have to take the buses at the same time as the high school kids are going to school, it's an absolute nightmare (all the high school students take the city buses - there are very few "school buses", so they're overcrowded and you have to put up with the kids - as a former public school teacher, that's no picnic, I assure you.)

I can't remember if this was mentioned, but also be aware that Chicago is very spotty as far as safe neighborhoods/unsafe neighborhoods. A few blocks will be beautiful, and then you cross the street and it's ghetto, then a few blocks later it's fine again. I can't stress the importance of not renting a place until yougo see it. Hyde Park around the university is OK (I'd say from 50th to 59th and from Cottage Grove to the lake) but anything beyond there you need to check out. In Kenwood (just north of Hyde Park, around 43rd to 49th) there are TONS of old mansions - yes, mansions - where all the rich people in Chicago used to live. But in places they abut apartment buildings that are not, shall I say, the kind of neighbors I'd like to have. So please visit anyplace before you rent. The "safe" area I mentioned, though, has tons of police presence (both Chicago cops and the university police). I still wouldn't walk around after dark anywhere that wasn't the main streets, but I can't think of anyplace in Chicago where it's truly safe to do that.

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Guest PeterB

I am planning on attending UI-Chicago starting this fall, and my wife is working in Oak Forest. Does anyone have some thoughts about neighborhoods on the South side of Chicago, particularly Beverly or Morgan Park? I have friends who recommended these neighborhoods, as there was a Metra stop nearby, and that one could walk to the 95th St. Red Line CTA station.

Or would it be more advisable to live in the suburbs? I have heard various things about Evergreen Park, Hometown, Oak Lawn, etc., and most people say that they tend to be very suburban.

Finally, does anyone know whether UI-Chicago students get a discount on Metra fares? I can't seem to find this out. Many thanks for all the advice.

If anyone wants to email me, hit me at pbratt15athotmail.com.

Sincerely,

Peter

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Thanks again for the advice on using the apartment people. They totally rock and we found a nice cheap place in Beuna Park/Wrigleyville (blocks from teh stadium, so excited :) ).

PS- Anyone need a room for the summer? I'm gonna need to sublet my roommates from June - Mid August.

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Wrigleyville? Blech. Unless you like loud drunk people at night in front of your house, no parking, and people peeing in your yard in the afternoon...

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Technically it's Buena Park. But, it's on the border. It seems to be a pretty quiet residential area from what we saw, but maybe I'm wrong. Also, the street I'm on has permit parking, so that should limit the parking dilemma. It seemed to have a lot of open spaces. Hope so :D . But, I'm coming straight from undergrad, so I'm used to drunk people and we're off a side street across from a hospital parking lot, so I don't see our street being too horribly rowdy.

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Guest Michelle

Petral, I lived for two years at Broadway and Belle Plaine on the border of Wrigleyville and Buena Park and I wouldn't worry about the Wrigley crowd. They usually don't wander that far north. The problems that DespSeekPhd is describing only really apply to people who live within a block or two of the field, and you'll have some distance from all that. But you're still walking distance if you want to go to a game, which is great. Parking in that neighborhood is horrible regardless of whether the Cubs are playing, so I would get that parking permit for sure and plan on not moving your car too much on weekends. Other than that, the neighborhood is great, and is really being built up as of late. Welcome to Chicago! If you have any other questions about that neighborhood, I'd be happy to help.

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I will be moving to Chicago next week to attend the Uof Chicago. I have been assigned grad housing through the school and I'm rather worried that I'm renting an apartment before seeing it. It's on S. Dorchester and I'm hoping someone has info about it. I believe the name of the apartment building is Gaylord Also, if you can tell me how close I am to shopping, what bus is available, is it within walking distance to Swift Hall in the winter? I guess I'm looking for as much info as I can get. Thanks!

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I currently survive on less than that each month and some months are tight I haven't starved. My rent with heat and electricity is 800/month (1 bedroom) which leaves $1200 for food, incidentals and fun! I live in Hyde Park (U of Chicago) and I know some students who pay even less for rent.

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I will be moving to Chicago next week to attend the Uof Chicago. I have been assigned grad housing through the school and I'm rather worried that I'm renting an apartment before seeing it. It's on S. Dorchester and I'm hoping someone has info about it. I believe the name of the apartment building is Gaylord Also, if you can tell me how close I am to shopping, what bus is available, is it within walking distance to Swift Hall in the winter? I guess I'm looking for as much info as I can get. Thanks!

Where on S. Dorchester? 53XX?If so, I actually lived in that building a few years back while doing an MA at UChicago. (There are also two dorms on 51st and at the corner of Dorchester).

For 5300: There are 1 bedrooms and studios there. I had a one bedroom--it had pretty nice. It came furnished with a nice desk, a crap couch, and a big comfy bed (can't make promises what you'll receive). The kitchen was small. Otherwise, it was fine living there. I saw a couple of the studio's in the building. Smaller, obviously, but livable (except for one I saw which was for some reason huge).

Ah, I just read and saw you're living in the Gaylord--that is indeed the building I lived in. I liked it--I think it's well located. 53rd Street has a bunch of stores and restaurants, so you'll be close to those. It's also really close to the grocery stores in the area--the co-op fruit place that has apparently become a full-fledged store on 53rd and Woodlawn and what will eventually be a Treasure Island (not sure when) on 55th.

To go downtown, you can walk to 51st pretty easily and over to Lake Shore (?) to get the 6--it's pretty available. There are buses that go straight to campus nearby, but I never once used them. I like to walk, for one reason. Secondly, it's not too far of a walk. Although, of course, that is a subjective judgment, so you should check it out for yourself. It might be a ten minute walk depending on your speed.

Also, the maintenance guy is funny.

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I lived in Hyde Park for quite awhile and, although I didn't live in graduate housing myself, had several friends and neighbors who did.

All the UofC properties are well-cared for. They are also pretty cheap for the neighborhood. The co-op mentioned on 53rd St. has closed and reopened as a produce market mid-January. They carry produce, meats, and fish. A cafe is going to open next door. The main co-op on 55th and Lake Park closed as well. Treasure Island is supposed to open at the end of February, but I don't know if that is currently on schedule. That will be in the 55th St. spot, which was the main co-op store. However, assuming you will have a car, I often went to the Dominick's in the South Loop. Dominick's had bid for the 55th St. location as well, and I wish they had won, because it's a better store than Treasure Island in a lot of ways (plus really cheap pizza on Fridays). Oh well.

As mentioned, 53rd St. is one of the main streets in Hyde Park, and it has a ton of restaurants and shops. 57th St. is the other street with shops, especially bookstores. Be aware that if you need to get to a Target, the closest one is South Loop - not hard to get to from Hyde Park, but not close enough to walk. Other box stores with cheap household stuff is further away - sometimes much further away. Plan those trips carefully, because it's impossible to take a quick run there.

You are only a few blocks from the lake, the beach, and the Point. If you run or bike, you can do either on the bike trail that goes along much of the length of the lake in the city. City festivals in the summer are common, especially in Grant Park (downtown) - about 10-15 minutes from Hyde Park depending on traffic. The Museum of Science and Industry is also within walking distance, and the Oriental Institute on campus is awesome.

Safety - lock everything up. Always. Things are stolen regularly in the entire neighborhood. Don't leave anything valuable in your car. I wouldn't walk around alone at night - there often aren't enough people out for it to be safe - but the campus has a safe ride system. Also, the campus police patrol constantly - you can't go two blocks without seeing them - and there are emergency phones everywhere. The campus bus system will take you from your building to campus, and thank goodness for that, because walking a few blocks in a Chicago winter is not fun!

I suspect you mean Swift Hall (not Smith Hall, which doesn't exist). It's on the main quad, about 57th and Ellis. The Campus/Kenwood bus hits both there and at 53rd and Woodlawn, so that would likely be the best option for you. Walking between them - it's not close (about 7 blocks), but in warm weather you could do it if you so chose. A lot of people choose to bike, and there are plenty of bike stands. Just lock it up! In the winter, I would not make that walk. Take the bus. Here's the bus map for that route: http://www.transitchicago.com/maps/bus/bus/172.pdf

And the other campus transportation maps: http://facilities.uchicago.edu/transppa ... -192.shtml

Evening routes are listed as well.

I loved Hyde Park and would live there again.

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Thanks Historygirl and Rollinson for the information but somehow you picked up my post which was made 2 years ago :!:

Here's a question for you though - did either of you attend the Divinity School? If so, did either of you apply for the PhD program or have any information; such as - internal candidates are chosen first and then external?

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You can easily live on less than $2000 per month. I get by on considerably less than that, and I live in a pretty upscale neighborhood (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). My biggest suggestion is to live with someone else, be it a boyfriend/girlfriend or roommate. Also, the person who said that you can't have less than an hour's commute is wrong - live somewhere further north and as close as possible to the red line, and you should definitely be able to do it in less than an hour, especially if you catch a purple line express. I've been able to get to Northwestern from my apartment in less time than that, and I live a few miles north of the loop.

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Thanks Historygirl and Rollinson for the information but somehow you picked up my post which was made 2 years ago :!:

Here's a question for you though - did either of you attend the Divinity School? If so, did either of you apply for the PhD program or have any information; such as - internal candidates are chosen first and then external?

lol.

My bad. I hope your Gaylord experiences were good.

The closest I got to the Divinity School were a couple of classes I took there and the coffee shop...which reminds me of my need to buy a "Where God Drinks Coffee" t-shirt. Otherwise, I do not know the details on that one. Sorry.

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Hey there

First of all, thanks for all of this effort. Since I am an International Student who has never been to Chicago its great to get a general overview and it makes me feel a lot more comfortable with the prospect of flying out to the big bad city.

Anyways, I am trying to do some pre-screening of the different neighborhoods and housing options for me, but I was wondering if you all could give me some general pointers which areas I should consider. I got accepted by Northwestern (and boy am I still elated about that) and I would prefer to live closer to campus, rather than closer to Chicago. However, since I am used to commuting, I also would not mind a direct commute. (on the redline, right?) I don't mind partying, but since I doubt I will have all that much time for it, being close to the "action" is not a necessity. I would however prefer to avoid the rougher neighborhoods, because I am still somewhat intimidated by the imposing nature of US cities.

I think I should be able to spend between$700 - $800 on rent ( plus utilities?) and I would prefer to live by myself. A studio is ok, although a one bedroom would be really great, too.

Do you have any pointers on neighborhoods I should look into?

Also, on a more general thing, help me to get excited about Chicago , so tell me what YOU think makes Chicago unique and great?

Thanks in advance for all your help ( and also for all the pointers already given)

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