Ah, Chicago—the windy city—a bustling metropolis that’s as rich in history as it is in diverse culture and architectural splendor. Chitown is home to the Chicago Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs. It’s also a hub for food, arts, and business, boasting world-renowned jazz and blues scenes, and offering the best deep-dish pizza you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
Thinking about moving to Chicago?
Chicago’s rental market is vast and eclectic. From the high-energy downtown scene to quieter, leafy suburbs, the best Chicago neighborhoods offer a unique blend of amenities and atmospheres.
As you’ll see on our tour of the best neighborhoods in Chicago to rent, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic city.
Best Areas to Rent in Chicago’s Downtown
Downtown Chicago is a bustling city center that offers business, entertainment, and culture. Ideal for those who want to be in the thick of it all, it’s the essence of big-city living. Whether you’re into high-rise apartments or historic lofts, downtown Chicago offers a range of living options close to all the amenities a renter could need.
Want to live right by downtown?
Positioned within Chicago’s Near North Side, River North boasts a world-class art scene, housing the largest concentration of art galleries in the U.S. outside of New York City. But it’s not just art; River North is also a nightlife and dining mecca, featuring an eclectic mix of some of Chicago’s top restaurants and nightspots.
With its proximity to downtown, ample public transit options—via the Red, Purple, and Brown Lines—and easy access to DuSable Lake Shore Drive and the Kennedy Expressway, River North is ideally situated.
It offers high-rise living with a view, a vibrant retail and dining scene near to the Magnificent Mile, and all-around accessibility to parks, museums, and galleries. Popular Chicago neighborhoods include:
- Gold Coast
- Old Town
If you’re a renter who’s drawn to the hustle and bustle of downtown living but craves a slightly sleepier area than River North, the South Loop offers an intriguing blend of the cosmopolitan and the serene. It’s high-rise, low-key living, accessible by the Red, Green, and Orange lines, as well as the Stevenson Expressway.
With lakefront views, South Loop is home to Chicago’s Museum Campus, which boasts several of the Windy City’s premier museums and art galleries. Other highlights include:
- Printer’s Row
- Motor Row
- Soldier Field
- McCormick Place
West Loop and Fulton Market
Once an industrial meatpacking zone, the historic West Loop has reinvented itself as Chicago’s tech and dining hotspot. Ideal for young professionals, it offers high-end eateries and tech job opportunities within walking distance.
Greektown adds ethnic flair, and public transit in the area makes getting around the city a breeze. It’s the epitome of live-work-play in urban Chicago. West Loop is accessible via:
- The Pink Line
- Harlem Green Line
- Forest Park Blue Line
- Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways
Chicago’s North Side is a microcosm of city life, teeming with diverse neighborhoods and attractions. This makes it a popular destination for both residents and tourists alike.
Lake View is one of Chicago’s most desirable North Side neighborhoods and the target destination for a significant percentage of young professionals who are new to the city. Located a stone’s throw away from Lake Michigan, it’s home to a vibrant retail, restaurant, and nightlife scene. And, for outdoor enthusiasts, Lake View has both parks and beaches—Belmont Harbor and Lincoln Park, in particular, offer especially scenic views and green spaces perfect for weekend activities.
If you’re a Cubs fan, Wrigleyville will be your home away from home. This happening area surrounding Wrigley Stadium is densely packed with bars, pubs, restaurants, and more.
With easy transit options via the Red, Brown, and Purple L lines, Lake View strikes a balance between electric city life and lakeside leisure.
Lincoln Park stands out as an upscale, cultured neighborhood that offers more than just lakeside attractions. Home to DePaul University, this area is teeming with college students and younger professionals, reflected in its late-night bars, coffee shops, and diverse eateries.
The neighborhood’s centerpiece is its namesake, Lincoln Park—a nearly 1,200-acre haven that’s the second-most visited urban park in the U.S.1 Here, you’ll find the free Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, elevating the area’s family-friendly appeal. And, for beachgoers, North Avenue Beach is just a short stroll away.
Searching for the best deep dish in town?
Then look no further than Pequod’s famous pan-style pizza with its iconic caramelized crust. It’s Chicago’s most awarded and recognized pizza and has been ranked as one of the top five pizzas in the country.
With easy access via the Brown, Purple, and Red L lines, and close proximity to downtown, Lincoln Park offers a sophisticated living experience, making it ideal for families, students, and young professionals alike.
North Center and its quaint sub-neighborhood, Roscoe Village, offer a suburban feel within city limits, distinguished by leafy streets and a calm atmosphere. While other neighborhoods, like Lake View and Lincoln Park, might offer a more vibrant nightlife, North Center provides a quieter, family-friendly environment for renters.
But don’t mistake quiet for boring. The area has a lively retail and restaurant scene sans the clamor of downtown. And, if you’re craving outdoor activities, Clark Park is 22.42 acres of green space along the east bank of the Chicago River that offers1:
- Riverside walking trails
- A kayak-friendly dock
Conveniently accessible via the Brown Line and the Kennedy Expressway, North Center is ideal for those looking for a peaceful but spirited community, complete with easy transit options to the city’s more busy hubs.
Accounting for nearly two-thirds of Chicago’s land area, South Side is a diverse, largely residential area where you can find neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Kenwood.
Hyde Park is where academia meets lakeside living. Home to the University of Chicago, it’s a bustling commercial district, filled with retail, restaurants, museums, and attractions. But it’s not all books and business; nature also beckons. Hyde Park is surrounded by several parks, including Washington and Jackson parks, among other lakeside greenspaces.
Fancy a sunset picnic?
Head to Promontory Point, a peninsula that stretches into Lake Michigan. And for the culture aficionados, don’t miss the Museum of Science and Industry or the Frank Lloyd Wright-crafted Frederick C. Robie House.
With varied transit options, including express buses to The Loop, the Metra Electric Line, and easy highway access, Kenwood is ideal for students, professionals, and anyone who appreciates a bustling community within a natural setting.
Blessed to be working with a larger rental budget?
Just north of Hyde Park, you’ll find the affluent neighborhood of Kenwood—the place where President Barack Obama’s Chicago home is located. Kenwood is a lovely neighborhood designed for those who crave leisurely strolls on tree-lined streets and a less lively residential environment.
While it may lack the varied entertainment options of Hyde Park, its reserved character makes it a perfect retreat for renters looking for some respite from the frenetic energy of big-city living. So, if you’re looking for an upscale experience combined with peace and quiet—all while staying in proximity to downtown—Kenwood checks those boxes.
The West Side of Chicago often flies under the radar, overshadowed by the city’s more renowned neighborhoods. Yet, it’s a hidden gem teeming with cultural diversity and historic landmarks that make it quite appealing for would-be renters.
West Town offers an off-the-beaten-path vibe with its array of boutique shops, art galleries, and diverse dining options. Easily accessible via public transit and close to downtown, it’s an ideal spot for those who want to be near the action but still enjoy a sense of community.
Nestled in Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, West Town marries the historic with the hip, offering a blend of architectural gems that range from vintage buildings to sleek, modern developments. Over the years, it has seen several waves of immigrants, which has shaped the neighborhood into a unique cultural milieu.
A notable example is the Ukrainian Village—an up-and-coming spot for renters. This sub-neighborhood within West Town is rich in cultural significance, serving as the home to such landmarks as:
- The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art
- The Ukrainian National Museum
Put simply, it’s a pocket of the city where heritage thrives.
Wicker Park and Bucktown
Situated on the outskirts of West Town, Wicker Park and Bucktown serve as living testaments to Chicago’s ever-changing cultural fabric.
Historically, these neighborhoods have been home to a robust Polish population. But in recent years, these areas have been developed and revitalized. Think old-world pierogi joints meeting trendy vegan cafes; it’s a blend of generations and cultures that somehow coexists seamlessly.
Wicker Park, especially, is a hub for eclectic attractions, offering:
- The 606 Trail
- Iconic music venues
- A blend of culinary delights, from high-end dining to late-night dives
So, if you’re the type who appreciates both yesterday’s architecture and today’s street art, Wicker Park and Bucktown are where Chicago’s storied past and dynamic present collide.
Secure the Best Place to Live in Chicago With Common
Whether you’re drawn to the lakefront beauty of Lincoln Park, the vibrant city life of River North, or the quiet streets of Kenwood, there’s a Chicago neighborhood for every lifestyle and budget.
Need help finding the best place to rent in Chicago?
That’s where Common comes in. Our coliving rentals in Chicago are designed to match your budget while providing all the amenities you need. Experience a furnished rooftop and free community lounge at Prairie by Common in the South Loop. Or, explore the pool, spa, and game room at The 808 Cleveland by Common, located in River North.
No matter what you’re searching for, reach out to us today to find a living space that you can call home.
- The Official Website of the Chicago Park District. Lincoln (Abraham) Park. https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/lincoln-abraham-park
- Chicago. Facts & Statistics. https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/about/facts.html
- The Official Website of the Chicago Park District. Clark (Richard) Park. https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/clark-richard-park