Moving to Chicago on the cheap and looking for a studio apartment on the North Side? Already live in Chicago with roommates and want to get your own place, no matter how small? Though it’s at the very northern fringe of the city, the Rogers Park neighborhood is a friendly and bustling one, thanks to its diversity and its many cheap apartment buildings full of studio apartments. There’s also a “West Rogers Park,” but most Chicagoans use the term Rogers Park to refer to the area bordered by Howard to the north, Devon to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, and Ridge to the west, with the Red Line running north through the heart of the zone up to Evanston.
In a city notorious for racial segregation, Rogers Park remains a demographic anomaly, with near equal numbers of white, black, and Hispanic residents, as well as smaller but noticeable Asian and Middle Eastern minorities. It’s also a Chicago neighborhood in which independent businesses have historically thrived, even though some chain retailers and restaurants have found their way into the area. Rogers Park is undergoing gradual gentification and experiencing only a mild condo boom, with this kind of new development dramatically tempered by community activists who cherish the neighborhood’s eclectic feel and the sheer number of old apartment buildings and storefronts padding the blocks.
Rogers Park is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that boasts cheap, plentiful studio apartments. Though there are a few foofier buildings on Lake Michigan and a number of single family houses, apartment buildings of three to eight stories with smaller units (especially studio apartments) are extremely common. Rents for studio apartments in Rogers Park range from eye-popping lows of $450 to highs of around $700, depending on condition, proximity to Lake Michigan, and the “sub-neighborhood.” Some parts of Rogers Park are a little safer and cleaner than others, but overall, the neighborhood is more secure than many other parts of Chicago.
The more expensive studio apartments in Rogers Park are usually located near Loyola University and just north of campus along the lakeshore, but rents depend on many factors, so rules are not hard and fast. Many featured hardwood floors, old-style kitchens and baths, and other gleams of character while others have been updated and carpeted. Parking is at a premium and rarely included, but access to the 22 bus (Clark) and the Red Line make southbound commutes easy, if a little long.
Because there are so many apartment buildings in Roger Park, many are operated by some of Chicago’s larger property management companies, including Hunter, MLC, and Cagan. All of these companies have regular studio apartment vacancies for under $550. Other places to check out include RogersPark.com, Urban Equities, the Chicago Reader, and Craigslist.