Chicago can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t from the area. Thankfully, it’s a city of neighborhoods, which makes exploring easy. Below are some excerpts about various Chicago neighborhoods from a few students in the program. Students also live in the South Loop, Lakeview and Lincoln Park.
Right before the program started, I had an apartment in Little Italy. I loved it because I stayed on Taylor, which is where all the food places are located. It’s a great location if you’re a commuter because you’re literally walking distance from the #157 Taylor bus, the blue line, the pink line, the #12 Roosevelt bus, and the #60 bus. Depending on how west you go, rent ranges from $750-1400. It’s a combination of young starter families and college students. – Andrea Watson
I live in Lincoln Square near the Lawrence Avenue Brown Line. I would not really recommend this neighborhood for incoming students. It is clean and safe and some of the buildings are pretty, so basically it is the perfect place to live if you are a mom or dad. If any prospective students are also new moms, then they should move to Lincoln Square. Otherwise, it doesn’t have a nearby grocery store, it takes about 45 minutes to get to Columbia via the Brown Line, and most of the bars are lame. I like where I live, but it is definitely not ideal for a Columbia grad student. – Patrick Smith
This is a nice little up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to some of the ritzier neighborhoods but still has a lot to offer in the way of cheap restaurants, quiet coffee shops, and fun activities (some of which are free!). All the basic necessities—laundry, groceries, household products, etc.—can be purchased nearby, always within a short walk or bus ride.
I have always felt safe walking around my neighborhood at most times in the day, although I am a strong believer that one should always be on their guard, as crimes can happen any time, any place. There’s a lot of young families in my neighborhood, although a younger, single crowd is slowly moving into the area. – Jennifer Tranmer
Known to me as the land of cheap rent, tons of food options, and a variety of vibrant murals throughout the streets, I give you Pilsen. This neighborhood is only a 20-30 minute train ride into the South Loop on the Pink Line depending on where you stay. Pilsen has everything from local grocers to barbershops/hair salons to the Rudy Lozano Library. Although recognized for a rise in gentrification to some residents, Pilsen maintains a strong Hispanic presence that attracts people from all over the city for food, festivals, and cultural art. –Yvette Cruz
Yes, I said it. You can live in the suburbs. I live in a western suburb called La Grange and have a quicker commute than many neighborhoods in the city. It is adorable here, and I love being in the city for work, but it’s nice to have a quiet place to go home to. The area is full of historical houses. I live in a charming third floor apartment with original hardwood floors and built in cabinets. It is literally the most whimsical place I have ever lived, and it’s only a five minute walk to the train. And even though it’s a suburb, the downtown area is full of independent shops and restaurants. It’s not all chains and strip malls—promise. You would have to have a few roommates though; my rent is about $1250. – Katie Kather
Chicago can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t from the area. Thankfully, it’s a city of neighborhoods, which makes exploring easy. Below are some excerpts about various Chicago neighborhoods …