Author Topic: Chicago Info  (Read 3062 times)

Gondolin

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Chicago Info
« on: February 24, 2017, 10:37:32 AM »
Hello all,

My SO is in the running for a big promotion and there is rather suddenly a non-trivial chance that I'll be moving to Chicago soon.

Any locals who can point me towards good neighborhoods or provide insight on the local housing and tech scenes?

SO's new job would be way downtown (between River North and the Lake) so we'd be looking to live either downtown or somewhere long the red line that would give us access to the Chicago/Clark T-stations.

Thanks in advance!

Edit: We would be renting. Red line Chicago and Clark/Division are the stops nearest SO's workplace so we would likely need red/brown line access. However....she might get a parking spot with her position at which point she could drive in a short distance for any direction and I would be looking for jobs which are public transit/bike accessible. Lots of stuff up in the air right now.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 01:35:09 PM by Gondolin »

Tris Prior

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 11:54:25 AM »
Do you mean the Chicago/State red line stop? If his job's near there, you could also look along the brown line; he'd get off at the Chicago/Franklin stop and have to walk a few blocks but, well, if you're going to live here best get used to walking. :) Brown line neighborhoods are nicer, homier, and generally have lower rents than the neighborhoods along the red line. I used to live in North Center, which I liked a lot. Ravenswood/Ravenswood Manor are also good choices. I like Lincoln Square a lot but that's a little pricier.

If you do need to stay near the red - I'm actually trying to find a new apartment along there right now, and it's been tough. We're looking for a 2-bedroom for under $1500 that isn't a high-rise and aren't finding a whole lot. Part of that is time of year though; most leases aren't up in winter because of our crap weather. There will be more in the spring.

Anyway, neighborhoods I like along the red include Andersonville ($$$), Edgewater (we're hoping to end up here) and Rogers Park (we probably will end up here due to cost). Rogers Park is the farthest north and has good areas and bad areas. But people who live there seem really proud of that fact and genuinely seem to like the area.

I currently live in Uptown and do not recommend it; there is a lot of gang violence around me, particularly shootings, and this is the main reason we want to move.

South of Uptown you've got the really expensive fancy neighborhoods - Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast. Of those, Lakeview is probably the least pricey but the vibe is very aging-fratboy and bro-y and it's near Wrigley Field. I lived there for many years and got tired of the drunk Cubs fans peeing on my front stoop. I otherwise did like the neighborhood in terms of lots of stuff being within walking distance.

I personally would not want to live downtown as it's crowded, noisy, and the rents are high - but YMMV. I like the neighborhoods better.

This is all assuming you want to rent. I can't speak to ownership, other than property taxes are super high here and I believe the mayor either has put through, or is about to put through, yet another hike.

Hope that helps! What's your price range?

Gondolin

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 01:49:14 PM »
Quote
Do you mean the Chicago/State red line stop?

Yes? Red line between 'Grand' and 'Clark/Division'.


Quote
What's your price range? ...We're looking for a 2-bedroom for under $1500 that isn't a high-rise and aren't finding a whole lot.

The mere possibility of a 2-bedroom for less than $2000 excites me. We live in DC/NoVa now and rent a large 1 bedroom for $2k (utilities not included). Ideally, we'd like to shave a few hundred dollars off our cost of living but, could afford up to ~$2,200 without impacting savings rate.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 01:52:19 PM by Gondolin »

Tris Prior

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 02:25:55 PM »
Yeah, we're not quite as expensive as DC. Yet.

Based on what I'm seeing in my search right now, if you're OK with spending $2200 on rent you should be fine and it becomes a question of what you're looking for in a neighborhood and an apartment.

This being the MMM forum, I of course feel the need to say that you do not HAVE to spend that here to get a decent apartment, especially if you are OK with a large 1BR 1BA like you have now, instead of a 2BR. Is there anything that's on your wishlist as far as neighborhood and apartment amenities?

You mentioned utilities - here, water is almost always included in rent, in my experience. Heat frequently is as well - though the tradeoff is, you won't be able to control the temperature yourself. Cooking gas, electric, Internet are generally not (though tomorrow we are looking at a place where cooking gas is included - not that it's very expensive but OMG, if we didn't have to personally deal with the gas company that would be fantastic as they are super incompetent and took 6 months to sort out an error THEY made.).


chesebert

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 02:40:39 PM »
I live in the Goldcoast. Family loves the area and totally worth it. Why drive when you can stroll to work? Many highrise units have the lake view and it's fantastic.

PepperPeter

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 03:21:36 PM »
I'm on the border of Old Town and Near North.  It's a little hipster for my taste but the location is great and really close to downtown.  I either walk or take the bus to work.  I'd live in Ravenswood personally - and my favorite breakfast place is in that neighborhood.

Tris Prior

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 03:51:32 PM »
PepperPeter, which breakfast place? I loved Marmalade when we lived near there.

Sigh. I really like Ravenswood and miss that area a lot. Technically we could move there and I could take the Metra (I work in Evanston), but Metra is so much more expensive than CTA, and I'd need a CTA pass regardless for my non-work travels.

PepperPeter

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 06:42:53 PM »
PepperPeter, which breakfast place? I loved Marmalade when we lived near there.

Sigh. I really like Ravenswood and miss that area a lot. Technically we could move there and I could take the Metra (I work in Evanston), but Metra is so much more expensive than CTA, and I'd need a CTA pass regardless for my non-work travels.

Over Easy Cafe on Damen. They have these crazy French toast specials that change every weekend. I've never been to Marmalade - I'll have to give that a try!

rhadams1988

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 09:04:44 PM »
If I worked in River North, I would live in Old Town. It's close to everything and you could potentially walk or bike to work. It's got a great neighborhood feel, though it's still a little pricey. If you were to go further north on the red line or brown line I echo some other people's comments about Andersonville and Ravenswood/Lincoln Square. These neighborhoods are a nice place to raise a family and they're cheaper than living closer in.

Full disclosure, I live in Bucktown which is Northwest of the loop along the blue line, but I've lived in Lincoln Square and Lakeview in the past.

No matter where you live, get a Divvy membership. It's $100/year, but it's amazing to be able to bike pretty much anywhere in the city and leave your bike there.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 09:20:55 PM »
What kind of housing are you looking for?  High rise?  Walk up?

It's worth noting that the bus is a really reasonable option in Chicago, and that opens your search area to River West/Noble Square/Ukrainian Village.  Anything along Chicago/Division sounds like it would work.  Wicker Park is also an option, but it's gotten really upscale/bro-y in the past few years.

I would say there are three types of neighborhoods in Chicago - high rise/urban ($$$), super cute and walkable ($$), and regular residential neighborhoods ($).  The ones I mentioned definitely fall into the third category, so it really depends what you are looking for.  A 2 br is about $1600/month. There are restaurants in Noble Square, but not a ton of them.  But everything is ridiculously accessible in my opinion, so it's not like you can't easily get to everything the city has to offer.

Also, we can all give opinions, but it really depends on your taste.  Living on the Mag Mile is my personal version of hell, but I have no idea if you'd feel the same way.

What flavor of tech are you in?  Feel free to PM me, my wife and I are both in somewhat tech-related industries and I'm happy to answer questions.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 09:22:36 PM »
No matter where you live, get a Divvy membership. It's $100/year, but it's amazing to be able to bike pretty much anywhere in the city and leave your bike there.

This x100.  I actually use a combo of Divvy, the bus, and walking for my commute and love the flexibility.  You can get a deal on Divvy on Groupon too.

chesebert

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Chicago Info
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2017, 12:18:46 AM »
Quote
Do you mean the Chicago/State red line stop?

Yes? Red line between 'Grand' and 'Clark/Division'.


Quote
What's your price range? ...We're looking for a 2-bedroom for under $1500 that isn't a high-rise and aren't finding a whole lot.

The mere possibility of a 2-bedroom for less than $2000 excites me. We live in DC/NoVa now and rent a large 1 bedroom for $2k (utilities not included). Ideally, we'd like to shave a few hundred dollars off our cost of living but, could afford up to ~$2,200 without impacting savings rate.
I really suggest you live in the Gold Coast. Nice 1BR apartment in the area can be found between 1-2k a month. You will have a 10min walk to 2 specialty grocery stores and 1 large grocery store (Jewel Osco) on the corner of Division and Clark (scheduled to open in the summer 2017). Your SO can of course walk to work and spare her the misery of redline in the morning. You are also within walking distance to a couple of beaches and if so choose walk to Lincoln Park (20-30min depending on where you live). Did I mention Gold Coast is the safest neighborhood in Chicago. There are also 2 Marianos within 10-15min public transit and Aldi is one stop on the Red Line  + 10min walking. Uber to anywhere you actually want to go is like a $3-5 affair.

During summer months you can take a stroll to the beach and watch fireworks every weekend. If you so choose you can get atop of your building's terrace and watch air and water show or sunrise over Lake Michigan. 

Life is easy in the Gold Coast. Why do the hard mode when you can maintain your SR and enjoy the best part of Chicago.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 12:32:59 AM by chesebert »

Abe

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2017, 01:03:45 AM »
I vote for Gold Coast also. It's a great location for workers in the downtown area but not as dense, so a bit quieter. When we were looking the housing was considerably more than where we decided on in Wicker Park, but now it's a wash.  If my work was easily accessible from there, we would've lived there.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2017, 08:09:11 AM »
Reading these comments is making me want to move to Chicago!

EconDiva

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2017, 08:51:16 AM »
I live in a high rise in the South Loop at Michigan Avenue and 11th.  I have a nearly 800 sq ft 1 br/1 ba for $1573 monthly.

I'm one block from the red/orange/green line at the Roosevelt stop which is I think is 6 stops or maybe something like a 13 minute ride to the Chicago/State stop. 

Building has 24 hour doorman, parking (additional fee), cleaners, shipping room, central heat/air, pool, billiards room, business room, reservable conference center, gym, gas grills/lounge area, wine room and a few other perks.  Trader Joe's is at my backdoor and so is Jewel.  I can walk to the Roosevelt Collection area which has a theatre and a bit of shopping.  It's also walkable to the lake.  I love my apartment but not the price.  I will miss it dearly but am moving back home next week to work remotely full time and save $$$$. 

If I moved back here this would be my primary pick - South Loop.  I like the fact it's located extremely close to touristy stuff but not in the heart of it or in the heart of a business-y type district where everyone who isn't working there leaves the area after 6 pm.  It's extremely walkable and you can catch a taxi or an Uber any time.  My building is pet friendly and so is the area since the park is across the street.  Also, I've found Chicago to be a very segregated city and I like the diversity this area and my building has.  I found Rogers Park to also be diverse but I had bad experiences living there and I just didn't like the feel of the neighborhood but that was just me.  I paid less in rent there though. 

Good luck in your search!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 08:56:47 AM by EconDiva »

Tris Prior

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2017, 09:24:37 AM »
I found Rogers Park to also be diverse but I had bad experiences living there and I just didn't like the feel of the neighborhood but that was just me.  I paid less in rent there though. 

Hey, if you don't mind me asking, which part of Rogers Park were you in? I admit I don't know the neighborhood terribly well and that there are good and bad areas. I have a friend who lives near Devon Market and loves it, but I've also heard horror stories of some bad pockets - and given that I'm trying to move out of Uptown because of the frequent shootings, I don't want to walk into another bad situation. I've vended at Glenwood Arts Fest for like the past 5 years, at the Morse red line, and that area felt OK to me..... but 1 weekend in summer during a festival can't really give you the complete picture of what the neighborhood is actually like.

Sloeginfizz

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2017, 11:25:19 AM »
I live in a high rise in the South Loop at Michigan Avenue and 11th.  I have a nearly 800 sq ft 1 br/1 ba for $1573 monthly.

I'm one block from the red/orange/green line at the Roosevelt stop which is I think is 6 stops or maybe something like a 13 minute ride to the Chicago/State stop. 

Building has 24 hour doorman, parking (additional fee), cleaners, shipping room, central heat/air, pool, billiards room, business room, reservable conference center, gym, gas grills/lounge area, wine room and a few other perks.  Trader Joe's is at my backdoor and so is Jewel.  I can walk to the Roosevelt Collection area which has a theatre and a bit of shopping.  It's also walkable to the lake.  I love my apartment but not the price.  I will miss it dearly but am moving back home next week to work remotely full time and save $$$$. 

If I moved back here this would be my primary pick - South Loop.  I like the fact it's located extremely close to touristy stuff but not in the heart of it or in the heart of a business-y type district where everyone who isn't working there leaves the area after 6 pm.  It's extremely walkable and you can catch a taxi or an Uber any time.  My building is pet friendly and so is the area since the park is across the street.  Also, I've found Chicago to be a very segregated city and I like the diversity this area and my building has.  I found Rogers Park to also be diverse but I had bad experiences living there and I just didn't like the feel of the neighborhood but that was just me.  I paid less in rent there though. 

Good luck in your search!

Howdy neighbor! I live just a block or two away from you. Yes, living in the south loop is great. We love it here. So nice be close to the lake and the museums. Also, in addition to the convenience of being so close to the el, the bus is super convenient, with bunches of different lines just blocks away. Our building doesn't have quite so many amenities as yours but we still have a 24hr staffed front desk, a gym, and an on-site dry cleaners that doubles as package receiving.

When we looked, we looked at west loop, south loop, and the loop proper. Actually we looked just about everywhere that met the criteria of "more or less 1mile from where Mr. Fizz works" and south loop won out for convenience and stuff to do over all of our other options.

EconDiva

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2017, 11:37:21 AM »
I found Rogers Park to also be diverse but I had bad experiences living there and I just didn't like the feel of the neighborhood but that was just me.  I paid less in rent there though. 

Hey, if you don't mind me asking, which part of Rogers Park were you in? I admit I don't know the neighborhood terribly well and that there are good and bad areas. I have a friend who lives near Devon Market and loves it, but I've also heard horror stories of some bad pockets - and given that I'm trying to move out of Uptown because of the frequent shootings, I don't want to walk into another bad situation. I've vended at Glenwood Arts Fest for like the past 5 years, at the Morse red line, and that area felt OK to me..... but 1 weekend in summer during a festival can't really give you the complete picture of what the neighborhood is actually like.

I was on Greenleaf Avenue...2 blocks from the Rogers Park Metra stop.

I had issues with live bats in my building over many months (posted about it previously on here).  But the bats are common over there and that was just my unlucky scenario as I know others who live in RP and of course none of them had experienced the unfortunate scenario I had gone through.

I think besides that it was just my personal preferences that were the issue.  I prefer newer apartments to the older "charming" ones that are often found in Rogers Park.  I was not next to the red line train station...I was like 5-6 blocks away so without a car it was highly annoying having to bring groceries home via the bus or walk home with them from the Red line Morse stop.  The building I lived in had off site property management which I'm not used to, and I felt a disconnect between the management and the tenants meaning I didn't have great communication without having them on site.  The building itself was dark and creepy inside although the unit itself was very nice.  The grounds outside the building were not up to par *for me*...and I was surprised to see animals like skunks, rabbits and possums fairly frequently as moving from the south, I thought I was no longer amongst the wildlife LOL

I found my apartment overall to be nice and fairly priced although they did try to jack the rent up 12% my first year there.  The advantage for me was being a block from the Metra as I needed it for work but I didn't find there was much I did in RP and would always be on the Red Line coming down south and near South Loop, etc.  I had moved from SL to RP and just prefer SL I guess.  I had also lived at 6401 N. Sheridan Rd and that location was a tad bit better as it was just maybe 2 blocks to the Loyola Red Line Stop.  But prices there have gone up since I moved from there 3 years ago and quite honestly I just find that place to be way overpriced for how old and mediocre they are.

EconDiva

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2017, 11:42:08 AM »
I live in a high rise in the South Loop at Michigan Avenue and 11th.  I have a nearly 800 sq ft 1 br/1 ba for $1573 monthly.

I'm one block from the red/orange/green line at the Roosevelt stop which is I think is 6 stops or maybe something like a 13 minute ride to the Chicago/State stop. 

Building has 24 hour doorman, parking (additional fee), cleaners, shipping room, central heat/air, pool, billiards room, business room, reservable conference center, gym, gas grills/lounge area, wine room and a few other perks.  Trader Joe's is at my backdoor and so is Jewel.  I can walk to the Roosevelt Collection area which has a theatre and a bit of shopping.  It's also walkable to the lake.  I love my apartment but not the price.  I will miss it dearly but am moving back home next week to work remotely full time and save $$$$. 

If I moved back here this would be my primary pick - South Loop.  I like the fact it's located extremely close to touristy stuff but not in the heart of it or in the heart of a business-y type district where everyone who isn't working there leaves the area after 6 pm.  It's extremely walkable and you can catch a taxi or an Uber any time.  My building is pet friendly and so is the area since the park is across the street.  Also, I've found Chicago to be a very segregated city and I like the diversity this area and my building has.  I found Rogers Park to also be diverse but I had bad experiences living there and I just didn't like the feel of the neighborhood but that was just me.  I paid less in rent there though. 

Good luck in your search!

Howdy neighbor! I live just a block or two away from you. Yes, living in the south loop is great. We love it here. So nice be close to the lake and the museums. Also, in addition to the convenience of being so close to the el, the bus is super convenient, with bunches of different lines just blocks away. Our building doesn't have quite so many amenities as yours but we still have a 24hr staffed front desk, a gym, and an on-site dry cleaners that doubles as package receiving.

When we looked, we looked at west loop, south loop, and the loop proper. Actually we looked just about everywhere that met the criteria of "more or less 1mile from where Mr. Fizz works" and south loop won out for convenience and stuff to do over all of our other options.

Hi there!

Glad you're enjoying the area as well...I honestly can't think of a better place to live in Chicago.  I will so miss walking to the lake and then jogging down the lakefront all the way through the city during warmer weather.

I had also looked at West Loop...especially because there's a Metra stop near there and I take Metra to work.  In hindsight maybe I should have looked harder there but I was pressed for time.  My 1br is cheaper than the studio I was looking to live in in West Loop.  So now I have to take the El to the Metra which is a huge pain (but I won't be doing that for much longer since I'm moving now).  I just feel like I do so much off the Red Line which is why I chose this particular building.  Actually, I had lived here in this building once before so this is my second time living here; it just fits me perfectly :)

Tris Prior

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2017, 02:38:29 PM »

I had issues with live bats in my building over many months (posted about it previously on here).  But the bats are common over there and that was just my unlucky scenario as I know others who live in RP and of course none of them had experienced the unfortunate scenario I had gone through.

I think besides that it was just my personal preferences that were the issue.  I prefer newer apartments to the older "charming" ones that are often found in Rogers Park.  I was not next to the red line train station...I was like 5-6 blocks away so without a car it was highly annoying having to bring groceries home via the bus or walk home with them from the Red line Morse stop.

Noted - if we view an apartment in RP, especially around the Metra, we will ask about bats. I would not have thought of that. I like bats but do not want them in my actual home! And, I personally like the old charming buildings and am used to hauling groceries many blocks so that's no big deal to me.

So, no major safety issues or violence in that neighborhood, then? (I mean, beyond the usual level of city crime, and I could tell you stories of stuff that's happened at the Fest, haha.... ).

Getting back to OP's questions - so much of this depends on what's important to you in an apartment. Like, ability to walk to work, type of building desired, what sort of neighborhood you like. It's interesting reading about everyone else's likes and dislikes - I personally hate the Gold Coast as it seems snooty to me, but I know a lot of people love it and it is generally safe. When Boyfriend and I find ourselves in one of the wealthier neighborhoods one of us always says "We don't make enough money to be allowed to walk down this street!" haha. 

The great thing about a city like Chicago is that it's so diverse with many different neighborhoods, there's something for pretty much everyone.

Gondolin

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2017, 07:08:49 AM »
Thanks all for the replies! Lots of good info here.


Quote
What flavor of tech are you in? 
Defense. Beyond a NG site in the suburbs there doesn't appear to be any content in my current industry. I'll probably end up changing industries but, I have an odd mix of skills and domain knowledge that's going to make the job search interesting.


Quote
Getting back to OP's questions - so much of this depends on what's important to you in an apartment.
Accessibility of public transit and non-Whole food grocery stores are the most important thing. Beyond that, much will depend on where my workplace would be. We'll be looking for a place that minimizes both our commutes.

Quote
I really suggest you live in the Gold Coast. Nice 1BR apartment in the area can be found between 1-2k a month. Aldi is one stop on the Red Line  + 10min walking.

This sounds ideal. Hopefully, I won't end up working in some far off suburb!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:13:53 AM by Gondolin »

Gondolin

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2017, 03:44:37 PM »
SO got the job!!! But....they lowballed her offer a bit so on to the salary negotiation!

30N6

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2017, 07:30:27 PM »
Defense. Beyond a NG site in the suburbs there doesn't appear to be any content in my current industry. I'll probably end up changing industries but, I have an odd mix of skills and domain knowledge that's going to make the job search interesting.
If you decide not to change industries, that NG site may not be too bad (plus, they're hiring like gangbusters). There's a company shuttle from the nearby Metra station (Arlington Park), and living near the Clybourn or Ogilvie stations would provide your wife an easy commute. It would be over an hour for you each way, but the Metra is much nicer than the CTA--you could even sleep on the train if you wanted to.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 07:32:43 PM by 30N6 »

Laurenji

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2017, 10:38:04 PM »
Hey! I live in Chicago!

Btw, the Chicago stop on the Red Line is not really considered "way downtown" - I honestly wouldn't consider it downtown at all.

I live in Roger's Park. At my previous job, I took the red line to Grand, which was about a 40-50 minute commute. That's a little long for a lot of people . . . BUT our rent is $950/mo for a giant 2 bedroom. So, you know, there's the trade-off. I love it up here.

Laurenji

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Re: Chicago Info
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2017, 10:48:14 PM »
Also, if your SO's work is anywhere close to the lake, they could easily ride their bike on the Lake Shore trail to get there. It's a beautiful bike path that goes right next to the lake and has no stoplights, and it's pretty easy to access as long as you live close-ish to the lake. Back at my aforementioned previous job, I would ride it down from Rogers Park and it would take roughly the same amount of time as the train, maybe 10 minutes longer (and I'm not a very fast biker).