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LukeKY

Carbondale, IL

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Hi!

Since I might end up at SIU this fall, I thought I should get some info about this place!

How's life in Carbondale? Boring or exciting? World city or redneck hamlet?

P.S.: No offense to any rednecks reading this thread! ;)

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some people love Carbondale. some hate it. it is very much a college town; pretty much everything revolves around the university. it used to have a reputation as a crazy party school, although that has lessened in recent years. the house party scene is still really strong, and some of the best concerts are in basements. the local music scene is pretty strong (esp. the punk/indie scene and the jam band/hippie scene; there are a few good DJs and a few good MCs, but you have to seek them out), but few national acts make it here. the most popular bars are dance bars, but there are good alternatives. a few places have live music at least 3 or 4 nights a week. drinks are VERY cheap by national standards, especially Sun - Thurs (lots of places have "dollar nights").

the university sports programs are pretty strong. basketball is the biggest, but the football team has been a perennial I-AA powerhouse for the past 4-5 years. the baseball team is decent, but in a fairly small conference. there is also a Frontier League minor league baseball team.

the areas surrounding Carbondale can be great, especially if you like the outdoors. there are a lot of great places for hiking and camping. and St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis, and Paducah are all 3 hours or less away, so you can always take weekend trips to those places. the trains and buses all go to Chicago everyday.

the restaurant scene has improved tremendously in the past 2-3 years. there are high-end and low-end Asian restaurants (including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Indian), several great coffeeshops, breakfast places, and diners. there's also the traditional subs-and-pizza college fare (go to Quatro's early and often).

the mall kind of sucks, as does shopping in general. the major chains -- e.g. Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc. -- are all here, but the clothing options don't go far beyond Gap and Hollister. but that's not too big of a deal if you get most of your stuff on the internet anyways like i do.

what else do you want to know? i've been here for years, so i pretty much know everything about the place (there isn't much to know).

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Thanks for the info! Right now it looks like I'm going there!

What's the housing situation in C-dale?

P.S.: That Frontier League team in nearby Marion really might sweeten the deal! ;)

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I initially wanted to go to SIU to work on my Ph.D...but when I visited Carbondale, I personally hated it. It kinda made me depressed. However, I have also lived in other less than exciting towns and found that in the end, it really isn't where you are, but who you are with that will make your time fun! So I think as long as you have a strong grad community you'll be able to find the joy that must exist in Carbondale :)

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housing is very cheap by almost any standard. the closer you live to campus, the more expensive it is (of course), but even then rates are very reasonable. it is also fairly easy (and affordable) to buy a house, especially if you are willing to live outside of Carbondale in a town like Murphysboro (7 miles away) or Carterville (about the same).

i can understand not liking the area; if you highly value city life, then you won't like it here. also, not much of the town is new, and major developments are rare. but if you don't mind a college town atmosphere, it's an okay place to be.

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I'll also be going there this Fall.

They also have a limited amount of graduate housing there. Some of them are kind of far, but that was one thing that was a plus for me. I don't know how that compares to off-campus or in the surrounding area though.

I did my Master's at a school in another Southern college town. The thing that bothered me the most was the typical Southern bureaucracy, but I've learned to cope with that.

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4givn1:

Great, I guess I'll see you there then! ;)

Unfortunately, grad housing isn't an option for me.

ShamPain:

I've heard now that the housing situation is pretty crappy, lots of slumlords, etc.

The reviews of almost all apartment complexes on the various websites are scary!

Do you know of any reasonably quiet, pet-friendly decent places close to campus?

I know this might be a tall order! :(

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Have you tried looking on Craigslist?

The other school I got into didn't have any grad housing at all, but some of the students there found decent rooms for rent in houses, or apartments they liked off of there. You can search for cat- or dog-acceptable. The grad student I stayed with while visiting had found a room for rent in a house off of there, and her and her house-mates had a cat.

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Luke -

that is a tall order. obviously, the closer to campus, the more expensive. many places are pet friendly, although often an additional deposit or fee is required.

personally, i've never lived that close to campus. my last year there, i actually lived in Murphysboro, which is about 10 miles away from campus. it's a bit more remote, but rents are a lot cheaper and landlords are better. in any case, i don't know much specific stuff about the availability of housing next fall since i'm not in that market anymore. most people i know lived several miles from campus, and if you are willing to do that and drive or bike then your options improve very quickly.

whatever you do, do not rent from Mike Waddiak. i forget the name of his business, but i think it's "Heartland Rentals".

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There unfortunately isn't much on Craigslist for Carbondale! :(

My problem is that I most likely won't have a car (but a bike) in August, so the closer to campus the better!

I'm actually going to visit this weekend, so I'm gonna be able to look around in person.

Lewis Park looks good to me, but I've read awful reviews about the surroundings! Also wondering about Saint Germain and Campus Square Apts. Any thoughts on these would be greatly appreciated!

I'll definitely stay away from Heartland Rentals, thanks!

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Lewis Park isn't too bad. there are a couple of little strip malls right next to it that have a few decent restaurants, a coffee shop, a laundromat, etc. there are like three bars and a liquor store close by, so things can sometimes be loud at late hours. but if you enjoy nightlife, then you'll have easy access. it's also very close to campus.

i've only been in the foyer of St. Germain; never in any of the rooms. it seems alright, but i don't know that much about it. i don't know anything about Campus Square.

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Thanks!

I've actually been able to visit twice now, and after looking at a lot of places, we found a very nice house in a quiet neighborhood!

Saint Germain's apartments are very small (450 sq.f.), and we didn't like the atmosphere. Lewis Park is nicer, but not really a good deal financially if you look outside complexes.

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Hi,

I'm moving to Carbondale for my PhD, looking for a quiet apartment, either near campus (within biking distance) or near Saluki Express routes. I've had a bad experience with my current apartment near campus. There are lots of undergrad kids hollering around at night or vibrating the place with their music. Any suggestion for a place between $300-400 a month?

BTW, do Saluki Express busses have bike-racks?

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It was because of a nightmarish experience in off-campus housing previously due to noise as well, that I no longer consider off-campus housing. I don't have a car and can't ride bikes so I also need it on the bus route or within walking distance.

On-campus housing I found is generally better because they have pretty strict rules (including noise ones) that are enforced by the university (who has more control, and not by cops or management who just don't care). I will happily go with a much smaller, bare-bones apartment, deal with the stricter rules, etc. just for the quiet. I don't have any pets (don't have time for them) but if I did I'd let it stay elsewhere and go without just to avoid off-campus housing. And I know all the on-campus places are accessible w/o cars or bikes.

In my previous housing nightmare, I had to pay almost $2000 extra to bribe them to get out of my lease, even though it was destroying my mental and physical health, and pay rent for two additional months at two places, after being forced to play secrecy games and move all my stuff by hand down the street (in the summer heat down South) while being nosed around and harassed by the management at the place while doing so--just to get any sleep, recover some of my health and sanity back, and work on my schoolwork--because of the constant and serious vibration, noise, and thumping from all the apartments around me at one time or another. Not to mention all the doctors' and counseling bills I had to pay. The extra $100 or $200 for on campus housing for me is nothing compared to that, and so worth it.

This was also during and after having dealt with live squirrels in my apartment (not just in the walls)--hissing and growling at me, and getting killed in my laundry--while the management was slow to do anything.

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You've given a graphic description of my plight over my Master's time, except for doctors and stuff (and also live squirrels); I made life more tolerable by riding my bike around metroparks here. Still, I've had a real hard time ove rmy last semester as a result of sleep-deficiency.

It's not completely a matter of oncampus vs offcampus. I know of offcampus apartments here that are strict about noise. When you get into a management who is lax, you're in for trouble. That was my first mistake. Then, I got stranded by a lease with a room-mate that although is a PhD student and apparently mature (in age), prefers an undergrad lifestyle. Whe came to me to be my room-mate, I made it clear to him that sleep and cleanliness are very important to me and I just trusted his word. That was my second mistake. Again, there are off-campus apartments that have room-mate agreement as an attachment to their lease to prevent problems.

All the noise from neighboring undergrad kids aside, he's turned the apartment into a cafe/club/hotel. And worse, the apartment is more of a pigsty as far as cleanliness/tidiness is concerned. Once, he told me "It makes me upset when I see your room is so tidy". And I cannot afford to pay two rents. I try to stay away from home as much as I can. Fortunately, I have 24 hour access to my office at school. But I really can't go on like this over my PhD.

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Hi,

I'm moving to Carbondale for my PhD, looking for a quiet apartment, either near campus (within biking distance) or near Saluki Express routes. I've had a bad experience with my current apartment near campus. There are lots of undergrad kids hollering around at night or vibrating the place with their music. Any suggestion for a place between $300-400 a month?

BTW, do Saluki Express busses have bike-racks?

I'm planning to visit Carbondale in the first week of June to look for apartments. I would appreciate any suggestions/tips to find a quite place either near campus (within biking distance) or near Saluki Express routes.

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Thank you.

I remember from one of your previous posts that you didn't like the atmosphere at St Germaine. Can you explain more?

As you've probably visited some of the apartments, which ones are quiet?

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Saint Germaine seemed kinda ghetto to me, and definitely overpriced. $600 for a 450sqf. hole is just to much, even if some utilities are included.

We've only visited complexes and houses that allow dogs, so we were pretty limited in our choices. If you don't have a pet, you definitely have a lot more options!

We visited places like Lewis Park, Brookside Manor and Garden Park Apts, but we just didn't feel comfortable there!

Names that come to mind are Breckenridge Courts (good ratings, probably the most quiet!), Quadrangle Apts, The Reserve, Aspen Court etc, although like I said, we didn't go there since they have a no pet policy.

The apartment ratings side might also help you!

Good luck!

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Thank you. The ones you've named are rather on the expensive side.

Did you happen to pass by Lincoln Village or Hester Apartments or Ambassador Apartments?

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No, haven't been there.

What I've heard though is that in general, you should stay west of the railroad tracks (that cut the city in half). I agree with that.

Also, the area north of Main St. and east of Illinois Ave. doesn't make the best impression either.

A lot of grad students and faculty live either on the western outskirts of town or in nearby towns, especially Murphysboro. Rents there are a lot cheaper! This of course is only an option if you have a car.

Hope you find something good!

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yeah, i actually live in Murphysboro. i bought a house there for cheaper than 4 years' worth of typical rent.

if you can find/tolerate roommates, it's often better to rent a house than an apartment, even in Carbondale.

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What I've heard though is that in general, you should stay west of the railroad tracks (that cut the city in half). I agree with that.

Also, the area north of Main St. and east of Illinois Ave. doesn't make the best impression either.

A lot of grad students and faculty live either on the western outskirts of town or in nearby towns, especially Murphysboro. Rents there are a lot cheaper! This of course is only an option if you have a car.

Hope you find something good!

Thank you for your detailed zoning info.

Lincoln Village and Ambassador Apartments satisfy your "zoning" criteria. There are good reviews on Lincoln Village, but

Ambassador Apartments is closer to the campus (there's only one review on it from 2001).

Hester Apartments (Woodruff Management) is on the eastern part, behind the Rec Center. There were 2 lookwarm reviews on it (from 2004 and 2005).

There are some apartment listings here:

http://www.carbondalerent.com/

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yeah, i actually live in Murphysboro. i bought a house there for cheaper than 4 years' worth of typical rent.

if you can find/tolerate roommates, it's often better to rent a house than an apartment, even in Carbondale.

My bad experience with my current room-mate has made me somehow hesitant about sharing a place with a room-mate. He agreed with my conditions (quiet at night, cleanliness). My sleep cycle has been totally disrupted and I've been living in a pigsty for over a year.

I'm thinking about Murphysboro as an option. There's a shuttle bus (route 3) from campus to Murphysboro, although not operating during break, summer and weekends. And it goes just as far as Health Deaprtment:

http://www.siucstudentcenter.org/images ... oute03.pdf

Is there any reliable bus from other parts of Murphysboro to connect me to this?

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I found this on transport in and out of Carbondale:

http://users.midwestmail.com/nightlife/ ... trans.html

It's not up to date though. There's another daily train (Saluki, newly added) leaving Chicago at 9:15 am (arriving in C'dale at 2:45 pm) and moving from C'dale at 6:30 am (arriving in Chicago at 12:00 pm). Timings shift over summer (check on Amtrak.com). And the base round-trip fare for Saluki and Illini is $64. I agree with the author of the original post on one point: you cannot count on timeliness of these trains.

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