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Posted: 6/3/2005 11:23:24 AM EDT
I'm not moving to Chicago (at least not full-time) but my wife is for a year for a job. She will be working in Downtown Chicago by the Northwestern University Med School (near the Water Tower and Navy Pier). She is also taking our young son with her. She hopes to live close (walking distance) to work and have child care at or near work. How hard is it to live downtown? Any pointers to relatively inexpensive apartments? From what I can tell so far all she will be able to afford is a 1-bedroom.

How hard and expensive is parking downtown? Sometimes I'll go out there for a long weekend and might drive.

Any pointers to good places to eat or have fun would be appreciated. I have lots of questions about Chicago. My brother has lived there for a couple of years but he lives in the far-out suburbs and his wife just had a baby and he's really got his hands full so he can't help much.

I know the IL governor sucks and the Chicago mayor is a corrupt, leftist gangster. I don't plan to bring any guns along. Chicago, IL looks like hell for a gun-lover.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/3/2005 2:45:52 PM EDT
Congratulations, your wife has picked probably the second most expensive area in the city to live. I used to work there for a few months myself (Erie & State).

There is no "inexpensive" housing within walking distance of anything there, except for a transient hotel type of place on State that may still be there.

Parking is available, and will be over $20 for 8 hours or so. For a full day or two, I'm not sure. Monthly parking will easily be over $200/mo, so now might be a good time for her to lose any illusion she may have had about bringing a car with her. The good news is that you can probably take a train from the airport, and not have to deal with having a car when you come to see her.
Link Posted: 6/3/2005 7:00:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
I'm not moving to Chicago (at least not full-time) but my wife is for a year for a job. She will be working in Downtown Chicago by the Northwestern University Med School (near the Water Tower and Navy Pier). She is also taking our young son with her. She hopes to live close (walking distance) to work and have child care at or near work. How hard is it to live downtown? Any pointers to relatively inexpensive apartments? From what I can tell so far all she will be able to afford is a 1-bedroom.

How hard and expensive is parking downtown? Sometimes I'll go out there for a long weekend and might drive.

Any pointers to good places to eat or have fun would be appreciated. I have lots of questions about Chicago. My brother has lived there for a couple of years but he lives in the far-out suburbs and his wife just had a baby and he's really got his hands full so he can't help much.

I know the IL governor sucks and the Chicago mayor is a corrupt, leftist gangster. I don't plan to bring any guns along. Chicago, IL looks like hell for a gun-lover.

GunLvr


As a native Chicagoan, I can help with that. I know lots of places to eat including Ed Debevic's(50's cafe) Rock and Roll McDonalds. As far as fun places, you won't be disappointed with downtown Chicago, with Navy Pier and museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd Aquarium, I could fill a whole thread with the cool places to go downtown and elsewhere in the city.

Apartments? Check out ApartmentGuide.com, there are places downtown that are fairly cheap if you look hard enough.

Parking?
Link Posted: 6/3/2005 7:01:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/3/2005 7:03:24 PM EDT by deej86]

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
I'm not moving to Chicago (at least not full-time) but my wife is for a year for a job. She will be working in Downtown Chicago by the Northwestern University Med School (near the Water Tower and Navy Pier). She is also taking our young son with her. She hopes to live close (walking distance) to work and have child care at or near work. How hard is it to live downtown? Any pointers to relatively inexpensive apartments? From what I can tell so far all she will be able to afford is a 1-bedroom.

How hard and expensive is parking downtown? Sometimes I'll go out there for a long weekend and might drive.

Any pointers to good places to eat or have fun would be appreciated. I have lots of questions about Chicago. My brother has lived there for a couple of years but he lives in the far-out suburbs and his wife just had a baby and he's really got his hands full so he can't help much.

I know the IL governor sucks and the Chicago mayor is a corrupt, leftist gangster. I don't plan to bring any guns along. Chicago, IL looks like hell for a gun-lover.

GunLvr


Also, stay away from the city's west side and try to not get off the Dan Ryan expressway till you link up with I-57
Link Posted: 6/3/2005 11:30:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/3/2005 11:35:33 PM EDT by BiGGieNick]

Originally Posted By deej86:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
I'm not moving to Chicago (at least not full-time) but my wife is for a year for a job. She will be working in Downtown Chicago by the Northwestern University Med School (near the Water Tower and Navy Pier). She is also taking our young son with her. She hopes to live close (walking distance) to work and have child care at or near work. How hard is it to live downtown? Any pointers to relatively inexpensive apartments? From what I can tell so far all she will be able to afford is a 1-bedroom.

How hard and expensive is parking downtown? Sometimes I'll go out there for a long weekend and might drive.

Any pointers to good places to eat or have fun would be appreciated. I have lots of questions about Chicago. My brother has lived there for a couple of years but he lives in the far-out suburbs and his wife just had a baby and he's really got his hands full so he can't help much.

I know the IL governor sucks and the Chicago mayor is a corrupt, leftist gangster. I don't plan to bring any guns along. Chicago, IL looks like hell for a gun-lover.

GunLvr


Also, stay away from the city's west side and try to not get off the Dan Ryan expressway till you link up with I-57



let's clarify and say don't get of fthe Dan Ryan from Comiskey till I-57. ;)

Parking is going to kill you. Reserved parking spots will run you $350/month...so "normal" parking lots are going to run you $200-300/month providing they have room in their lots (i.e. not waitlisted).

i will second what someone else said as your wife choosing the second most expensive place to live in at Chicago.

You will need to come to Chicago with your wife and walk around that area to get a feel for what it's really going to cost.

but the good news is that NWMH is close to the chicago ave. exit on the red line so she can live anywhere close to the red line or any other El line and it'll be an easy commute to work. i hope she doesn't have to work late nights or anything. also, there are certain parts along the red line that are definitely NOT good places to live...so it's best to just come to chicago to check it out.

feel free to ask any more questions as they come up and i'll try to answer them for ya.
Link Posted: 6/4/2005 10:10:26 AM EDT
Thanks for the help. It does sound like the area around River North is pretty safe even at night. Are the El and city buses unsafe at night? Right now she is talking about going there by herself to check things out which is not a great idea in my opinion.

I have driven through Chicago many times on my way to and from Minnesota and the South side along rhe Dan Ryan does seem like the world's largest ghetto. It starts in Indiana and seems to continue all the way downtown.

For parking I can always ditch the car out at my brother's place and take a 35-minute Metra train ride into the city. Apparently some El stations also have parking lots which allow 24-hour parking for around $1.50. Is El parking that safe or sensible?

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/4/2005 2:30:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Thanks for the help. It does sound like the area around River North is pretty safe even at night. Are the El and city buses unsafe at night? Right now she is talking about going there by herself to check things out which is not a great idea in my opinion.

I have driven through Chicago many times on my way to and from Minnesota and the South side along rhe Dan Ryan does seem like the world's largest ghetto. It starts in Indiana and seems to continue all the way downtown.

For parking I can always ditch the car out at my brother's place and take a 35-minute Metra train ride into the city. Apparently some El stations also have parking lots which allow 24-hour parking for around $1.50. Is El parking that safe or sensible?

GunLvr


Red Line unsafe? Yeah. I wouldn't travel any EL at night.

The Metras are very safe.
Link Posted: 6/4/2005 2:47:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/4/2005 2:56:08 PM EDT by BigBore45]

Lord,there's no job in the world worth moving to Shitcago
Link Posted: 6/5/2005 6:08:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BigBore45:
Lord,there's no job in the world worth moving to Shitcago



I sort of feel the same way. My brother has been there for a couple of years and really likes Chicago (but he lives way out in the burbs). I never liked then place and the anti-gun politicians make it somewhere I'd never relocate permanently. This job is a 9-month assignment and a very good opportunity and it will lead to a much better job someplace nice (somewhere smaller in the South or West we hope) in mid-2006. This is a case of swallowing some medicine to wind up someplace better than DC or Chicago next year.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/6/2005 11:14:54 AM EDT
I would recommend that you and your wife use a service to locate her apartment. I've had success with these folks:

http://www.apartmentpeople.com

You tell them what you're looking for, they line up several apointments and drive you around to see them - free of charge. Good deal.

Regarding parking, you will get raked over the coals parking downtown. However, in many circumstances you will be able to find permit, metered, or free street parking in residential areas. Availablity of such parking could be a criteria in your apartment hunt.

Objectively speaking, you don't see a whole lot of violent crime on the CTA - although it does happen, of course. With a healthy dose of situational awareness, my girlfriend and I are both very comfortable using it every day.

While ther are plenty of downsides to living in this city, there are also several upsides. One major upside is the culture. I'd be hesitant to give specific recommendations without knowing more about what you're looking for, but this is a good resource for "things to do":

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/

If your wife is concerned about being armed while in Chicago, she could, concievably, get a FOID and then a city permit for a legal long gun. Might be a bit of a hassle for a one-year stint, but some folks really don't like to be without personal arms
Link Posted: 6/6/2005 7:31:13 PM EDT
Thanks for the apartmentpeople link, we will definitely check them out. It looks like rents in the rest of Chicago are a lot lower than in the north of the Loop area. Wife doesn't feel comfortable being more than a walk from work since she'll be commuting with the kid too. The parking is mostly an issue when I drive to Chicago to visit (hopefully with the dog along too).

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/7/2005 7:12:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2005 7:13:40 AM EDT by NakPPI]
Trying to live downtown is silly IMO. You get raped with housing costs and parking. You're much better living on the North Side, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, etc. You will have cheaper parking and a larger place to live at lower costs. It's only a 20-30 minuted Bus/Train ride from any of those places and really it's not a big deal, I sometimes do it 4 times a day.

Edit: General rule for Chicago safety, the higher the number of the street, the worse it is... So, 18th Street is so-so, it's near UIC and such. However, 110th street... Don't go without a tank.
Link Posted: 6/7/2005 8:46:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2005 8:53:15 AM EDT by GunLvrPHD]

Originally Posted By NakPPI:
Trying to live downtown is silly IMO. You get raped with housing costs and parking. You're much better living on the North Side, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, etc. You will have cheaper parking and a larger place to live at lower costs. It's only a 20-30 minuted Bus/Train ride from any of those places and really it's not a big deal, I sometimes do it 4 times a day.



That looks better to me too, but my wife doesn't want to deal with a bus or CTA with the small child in tow (she expects to use day care downtown but I wonder if day care in say Wrigleyville would be cheaper). Again, looks like she will not have a car there, and it some ways that makes sense--re-registering a car from MD to IL and back again would be a huge hassle. I hope to visit by car sometimes.

It also looks like I might be able to stash my car at Midway Airport for about $8-12 a day depending upon which lot I use.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/7/2005 1:27:25 PM EDT
dunno if within your price range...but check out www.mcclurgcourt.com. they have a wide range of prices with a wide range of different sized 1 bdrm apartments. i'll be in chicago on june 11...yay for me
Link Posted: 6/7/2005 3:13:52 PM EDT
If you want to live in the loop you're looking at a miniumum of 1000 a month. That would be a closet too.
Link Posted: 6/7/2005 9:51:25 PM EDT
GunLvrPHD

You will be fine. Let her live as close to work, as she needs to be comfortable. I’m sure you will reach a fine compromise. As others have said, staying close to the trains make good sense.

Parking at Midway is a little extreme. If you are in town for weekends you will be able to find legal street parking almost anywhere after you learn what hood she is moving to and scope it out. Don’t let the anticipation of a “non problem” ruin what is going to be a fun time for your family.

Go the lakefront and bring a picnic lunch. Pull said child in a wagon around Oak Street or Lincoln Park.

Find daycare that does not shoehorn you into a multi-month contract before you know if your wife, or said child is happy with the scenario.

Oh yeah… try and skip the winter.

JR
Link Posted: 6/8/2005 5:32:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2005 5:35:12 AM EDT by GunLvrPHD]

Originally Posted By racecar:
You will be fine. Let her live as close to work, as she needs to be comfortable. I’m sure you will reach a fine compromise. As others have said, staying close to the trains make good sense.

Parking at Midway is a little extreme. If you are in town for weekends you will be able to find legal street parking almost anywhere after you learn what hood she is moving to and scope it out. Don’t let the anticipation of a “non problem” ruin what is going to be a fun time for your family.

Go the lakefront and bring a picnic lunch. Pull said child in a wagon around Oak Street or Lincoln Park.

Find daycare that does not shoehorn you into a multi-month contract before you know if your wife, or said child is happy with the scenario.

Oh yeah… try and skip the winter.



Thanks, and that is good advice. I don't like change much and try to micro-manage it when it happens. My wife is just the opposite, and I can guarantee I'll be packing her stuff for her at midnight the night before we leave for Chicago.

I am still concerned about street parking, I'll be doing it with out of state plates and I assume that out-of-state cars attract thieves and vandals (I expect that Chicago low-lifes are at least as bad as Baltimore low-lifes).

We are hoping daycare won't be a big problem apart from expense, Northwestern U seems to have a good center on their med school campus and reserves spots for employees.

I am from Minnesota so the Chicago winter doesn't bother me but my wife is going to be miserable. I am a little worried about whether she will be able to do things outdoors with the kid in the middle of winter.

Thanks,

GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/8/2005 6:21:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thestrasbourggoat:
I would recommend that you and your wife use a service to locate her apartment. I've had success with these folks:

http://www.apartmentpeople.com

You tell them what you're looking for, they line up several apointments and drive you around to see them - free of charge. Good deal.

Regarding parking, you will get raked over the coals parking downtown. However, in many circumstances you will be able to find permit, metered, or free street parking in residential areas. Availablity of such parking could be a criteria in your apartment hunt.

Objectively speaking, you don't see a whole lot of violent crime on the CTA - although it does happen, of course. With a healthy dose of situational awareness, my girlfriend and I are both very comfortable using it every day.

While ther are plenty of downsides to living in this city, there are also several upsides. One major upside is the culture. I'd be hesitant to give specific recommendations without knowing more about what you're looking for, but this is a good resource for "things to do":

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/

If your wife is concerned about being armed while in Chicago, she could, concievably, get a FOID and then a city permit for a legal long gun. Might be a bit of a hassle for a one-year stint, but some folks really don't like to be without personal arms hr


+1

Pretty sage advice (you really from AK?).
Link Posted: 6/8/2005 7:09:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NakPPI:
Trying to live downtown is silly IMO. You get raped with housing costs and parking. You're much better living on the North Side, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, etc. You will have cheaper parking and a larger place to live at lower costs. It's only a 20-30 minuted Bus/Train ride from any of those places and really it's not a big deal, I sometimes do it 4 times a day.

Edit: General rule for Chicago safety, the higher the number of the street, the worse it is... So, 18th Street is so-so, it's near UIC and such. However, 110th street... Don't go without a tank.



West of Western on 110th is fine. East.....
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 8:06:13 AM EDT
Big Update....Thanks to the gracious help of an ar15.com member who is a realtor in Chicago my wife found an apartment she can afford three blocks from her new job in the River North area.

I'll be out that way from time to time but I doubt I will be able to attend any shooting events since my guns can't travel to Cook County or the City of Chicago.

Thanks for all the help.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 8:20:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Big Update....Thanks to the gracious help of an ar15.com member who is a realtor in Chicago my wife found an apartment she can afford three blocks from her new job in the River North area.

I'll be out that way from time to time but I doubt I will be able to attend any shooting events since my guns can't travel to Cook County or the City of Chicago.

Thanks for all the help.

GunLvr


No problem.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 10:00:27 PM EDT
Just thought I'd quickly mention that the EL is safe and convenient. I take it all the time. Just don't go to the south side.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 9:39:10 AM EDT
There is an apartment building I used to live at which I just recently noticed they are leasing. I paid under $1000 (I think it was like $870) about 3 years ago for a one bedroom. Place is not necessarily modern, but is clean and somewhat spacious. I don't have the phone number, but the address is 55 W. Chestnut, and it is on the corner of Dearborn and Chestnut, which is one block north of Chicago Avenue. Convenient to CTA red line and #22 and #36 which are both relatively safe.

If you want, I can look through my old papers and get you a phone number.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 7:04:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
I can always ditch the car out at my brother's place and take a 35-minute Metra train ride into the city.
GunLvr



I used to drive to Wilmette and take the north line in to Howard and transfer @ the Howard terminal. Then I just drove to Howard. If I couldn't I'd take the C&NW (Metra) to Davis St. & switch to the L.

Where's your Brother live that's "far out" in the 'burbs but only 35 minutes on Metra?
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 9:11:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tango7:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
I can always ditch the car out at my brother's place and take a 35-minute Metra train ride into the city.
GunLvr



I used to drive to Wilmette and take the north line in to Howard and transfer @ the Howard terminal. Then I just drove to Howard. If I couldn't I'd take the C&NW (Metra) to Davis St. & switch to the L.

Where's your Brother live that's "far out" in the 'burbs but only 35 minutes on Metra?



Elmhurst. It feels pretty far out but I guess Chicago sprawls out a lot farther. I figure it will take 1 hour to drive there from downtown.
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 11:58:10 AM EDT
Okay, I am back from settling my wife+child in Chicago. It was a very tiring, busy trip. The neighborhood seems very nice and everything they need is in easy walking distance. My thanks again to Mike for helping her find the apartment.

Parking for downtown visits is sort of rough. I was able to get a few days of free parking at a Northwestern U which helped and on future visits it looks like Elmhurst allows overnight parking in their downtown garages for $1 a day. Otherwise it looks like $19-22 is as cheap as downtown parking is on a weekend.

People are a lot friendlier even in downtown than they are out East. I don't like the high sales taxes and anti-gun laws but otherwise Illinois was pretty nice and Chicago was much cleaner and safer than I remember it.

Also spent some time in Elmhurst where my brother lives--what a beautiful community.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 5:23:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Okay, I am back from settling my wife+child in Chicago. It was a very tiring, busy trip. The neighborhood seems very nice and everything they need is in easy walking distance. My thanks again to Mike for helping her find the apartment.

Parking for downtown visits is sort of rough. I was able to get a few days of free parking at a Northwestern U which helped and on future visits it looks like Elmhurst allows overnight parking in their downtown garages for $1 a day. Otherwise it looks like $19-22 is as cheap as downtown parking is on a weekend.

People are a lot friendlier even in downtown than they are out East. I don't like the high sales taxes and anti-gun laws but otherwise Illinois was pretty nice and Chicago was much cleaner and safer than I remember it.

Also spent some time in Elmhurst where my brother lives--what a beautiful community.

GunLvr

Yup, us Illinoisians are friendly peoople. Glad everything went well.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 10:45:19 PM EDT
Glad I could help!!!

Be sure to let them know that if they need anything to go ahead and give me a call anytime. I think the building they're in is a good fit & hope the move went smoothly.


Elmhurst is a great town - I grew up there and my parents still live there. The commute via METRA is pretty quick and the highways in off-peak times are good but during rush-hour, it can be a nightmare.

Take care and call or e-mail if there's anything I can do.
Mike
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