Living in downtown Chicago can be tough to afford. An apartment in Near North Side recently made headlines when it rented for $45,000 per month (yes…per month!). Most luxury apartments in the downtown area aren’t that outrageous, but they can certainly be expensive.
At HotSpot Rentals, we’re here to help our clients find an apartment they love for a price they can afford. We promise that affordable apartments do exist in downtown Chicago! We’re experts in the rental market in the downtown area, so we’re familiar with the neighborhoods and buildings. Most of all, we know that living in a luxury apartment doesn’t have to be super expensive.
How We Do What We Do
Finding you a super nice, yet affordable apartment starts with learning more about you- what you like and don’t like, what you can and can’t live with (and what you can’t live without!), and of course, your budget. With those things in mind, we scour through what’s available – saving you tons of time and frustration.
When we’ve narrowed down the top contenders, we’ll personally show you what we’ve got. Since we’re not bound to any particular apartment building, we’re able to be more objective than those who represent only one property. If you don’t like our picks, we’ll come back with more. Finding the best apartment that you absolutely fall in love with and can afford is what we’re all about.
What Defines the LUXURY in Luxury Apartments?
What sets a luxury apartment apart from a regular, run-of-the-mill apartment? Luxury apartment features are more modern and likely to include:
Most apartments, luxury or not, have shared fitness centers. The difference is quality. Luxury residences have the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment like Peloton bikes, rowing machines, and yoga studios and classes.
If you’re like us, having to share a community laundry room is a deal-breaker. Most luxury apartments come with in-unit washer/dryers. On-site dry-cleaners or Tide Lockers (an app-based dry cleaning service) are also trending in luxury buildings.
The Finishing Touches
To find the finer furnishings – like stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, and kitchen backsplashes – you’ll need to look at luxury apartments versus regular models.
When your roommate has four legs and a wet nose, you’ll find that many apartments allow dogs and cats, but it’s the luxury residences that unleash the upgrades. Pet spas, grooming areas, dog runs and parks are some of the pet-perks available. Some buildings even have yappy hours!
Service and Security
Luxury apartments generally come with round-the-clock security, typically in the form of a 24-hour door-person. Concierge services are one of the common luxury apartment amenities as well.
Swimming pools, sundecks, lounge chairs, private cabanas, and access to gas grills are some of the many outdoor amenities you may find you can’t (or don’t want to) do without.
On-site Rental Services
Hourly rental services, like Zipcars and bicycles, are nice luxury apartment features that can make opting out of owning a car a viable option. Talk about saving some big bucks!
Home Theatre/Media Room
Entertainment can be quite expensive unless what’s showing is on your upscale apartment’s home theatre screen. Media rooms are convenient too.
Golf lovers who are serious about their swing will appreciate this comp, seeing it as one that can take them to the next level of their game.
Community Gourmet Kitchen
Foodies love the resource of having a shared gourmet kitchen at their disposal. It’s a fun way to entertain guests and meet neighbors too.
How to Find an Affordable Luxury Apartment Building
Here are some tips to help you cut corners and still come out winning:
1. Choose a more affordable neighborhood like South Loop, Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, Uptown, and Edgewater. Typically, the farther you get from the city’s center, the less you are likely to pay.
2. Compromise on space. Studio apartments in Chicago are an excellent option for one person. Going with a convertible instead of a true 1B/1B can be a lot less expensive too. Don’t get hung up on square footage, you can easily create an efficiently designed space. We’ve even put together some suggestions for small spaces.
3. Apartments with a lofted (one wall doesn’t reach the ceiling) second bedroom offer a stellar solution if you’re looking for some extra space. Lofts are almost always cheaper than those with two fully-enclosed bedrooms. The open area can usually be creatively filled with plants, decorative baskets, or other items that block a good amount of light and sound and provide privacy as well.
4. Try to lease between October and January when rent is at the lowest point of the year. Renting between March and September will almost inevitably cost you more because that’s when rents are at their highest.
5. Don’t forget to take advantage of the concessions. During the slower seasons, buildings tend to offer specials, such as 1 month free (or more), waived deposits, free parking, and rebates.
6. Get in on a “lease-up” – a promotion new properties run prior to opening as they attempt to fill up the units.
7. Rent as close to your job as possible. If you can walk to work and not have to pay for public transit or parking, you can save a ton of money.
8. Do NOT bring a car! Parking costs $200 – $300 per month. When you live in the city, you do not need a car. You will, however, want to make sure you rent in a neighborhood with conveniences such as grocery, drug stores, and restaurants within walking distance. Being close to public transit is a bonus!
9. Choose a building that is NOT the newest or fanciest one out there. While a property that was built five or ten years ago may not be quite as modern, it will usually have the same amenities and conveniences and will be considerably cheaper.
17 Luxury Apartments in Chicago You Can Actually Afford
Ready to find your new place? We’ll make it easy! Finding the best apartments in Chicago is what we do (and we do it for free!). We’re here to help, but first, take a peek through our top 17 picks of the nicest affordable apartments in Chicago.
1. Left Bank at K-Station (West Loop):
Although this building is ten years old, it’s still quite modern. Plus, it’s been upgraded within the last 2 years, so it has the look and feel of being very up-to-date. Here, you can opt for an upgraded unit, or cut costs by choosing a “classic” if you don’t mind having a little carpet under your toes rather than hardwood.
2. 1401 S State (South Loop):
This affordable building features industrial designed lofts, open concept, floor-to-ceiling windows, and amazing views. The amenities are a bit subdued but do include an on-site gym, great patio space, and a dog run. You can often get a 1B for under $1900 and a 2B for less than $2800.
3. The Shoreham at Lake Shore East (Lakeshore East):
If you want top-notch amenities, laundry-in-unit and don’t mind a carpeted apartment, this place is an excellent deal. The property is situated off the beaten path – between Millennium Park and Wacker Drive, just west of the Lake – so it’s like you have your own private neighborhood.
4. Arrive Lex (South Loop):
Located at Indiana and Michigan, this building sits at the far end of the South Loop, near McCormick Place. The units come in 1-3 bedroom options and are always well-priced. All units have washer/dryers and a balcony. The amenities aren’t too shabby either with a pool, hot tub, gym, yoga classes, and a 24-hour doorman.
5. Xavier (Old Town/Lincoln Park):
Who says an “eco-friendly” property can’t be affordable? Located near Division and Halsted and walkable to Old Town, Lincoln Park, River North, and River West, this building is bursting with good things. Units have washer/dryers, exposed cement ceilings for a rustic touch, and non-toxic paints and finishes. Amenities are bountiful too with a pool, gym, resident lounge, and 24-hour security on-site.
6. 330 S Wells (The Loop):
This historic building puts the luxury back in “efficiency” apartments and does so at a bargain price. You definitely give up space, but you get a washer/dryer, hardwood floors, fitness center, concierge service, a really nice co-work space, and roof deck. The location is fantastic with access to River North, West Loop, and the lakefront.
7. Arrive South Loop (South Loop):
Like Arrive Lex, this building is located at the southern end of the South Loop. You’ll find 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms. All units have washer/dryers, upscale kitchens with stainless appliances and granite kitchen islands, and a balcony with amazing views of the Chicago skyline. There are some really awesome amenities on the roof alone, like a deck with a wading pool, grill stations, and a huge dog park. Most 2B units have a 2nd lofted bedroom which makes them very affordable (often start at $2100 in the off-season).
8. Randolph Tower (The Loop):
If you’re looking for studio apartments in Chicago Loop (or even a 1-2 bedroom), you’ve got to check this one out! Talk about character! It’s a historic building re-imagined as a fabulous, yet affordable, luxury rental. All units have hardwood floors and washer/dryers. This very unique building is loaded with amenities. It boasts an indoor pool, great resident lounge, and fitness center. There’s even an on-site restaurant. The awesome location in the North Loop makes it convenient to practically everywhere.
9. Burnham Pointe (South Loop):
Located in the heart of the nostalgic Printers Row District, this era-inspired building is a bit older (10 years), but amenities have been completely re-done and are pretty impressive. All units have a balcony and washer/dryer. There are a shared catering kitchen and speakeasy-style clubroom. The walkability is fantastic. It’s close enough to the conveniences of the city but nestled in a nice little neighborhood for a quiet and cozy feel. Rates are almost always below market.
10. Bush Temple (River North):
If you’re interested in affordable apartments in North Side Chicago and don’t need a ton of space, here’s your hidden gem. This 1901 historic building (the Bush Temple of Music) is one of the town’s last surviving French Renaissance Revival buildings. It’s recently been transformed into brand new boutique apartments. Utilizing the trending retro-style, the units are small but efficient. The hotel-style amenities include a grand lobby, 24-hour fitness center, coffee bar, and rooftop deck.
11. Lawrence House (Uptown):
Operating on the same concept as Bush Temple (they are managed by the same company), if you are willing to sacrifice a little space and don’t mind an Uptown location, you’ll be able to save a bundle in rent. You won’t have to budge on luxury though. In the units of the beautifully restored historic building, you’ll find subway backsplash, washer/dryers, spa-like bathrooms with glass-enclosed rain showers. Amenities include a furnished rooftop terrace with stunning lake views, a huge fitness center with a boxing gym, and a fabulous heated swimming pool. Oh, there’s a dog run too!
12. Noca Blu (Logan Square):
Location is the key to this new addition to the Logan Square neighborhood. The area is still emerging, but it’s close enough to downtown to make it convenient. The Blue Line is super close too. The building has a unique blend of style and culture and doesn’t hold back when it comes to upgraded furnishings, like washer/dryers, hardwood floors, huge walk-in closets, and personal patios, balconies, or decks. For common space, there’s a club room, lounge, fitness center, sundeck, and secured entry. Not bad considering the potential for some serious savings on rent here.
13. Linkt (River West):
If amenities are not important to you, this property is a great value. There are a small gym and outdoor terrace, but that’s about it. The units are equipped with washer/dryers and have modern appliances, hardwood floors, and lots of natural light. This residence is one of the newest in the River West and Noble Square neighborhoods and has easy access to the West Loop, the Loop, and Wicker Park. Units are always well below market.
14. Roosevelt Collection (South Loop):
This low-rise building surrounds a shopping plaza in the heart of the South Loop. The units are very modern. They all have balconies and washer/dryers. You also get night patrol security, a playground, pet care, a rooftop lounge, and lake access. The 2Bs here are all lofted, which makes them ultra-affordable.
15. Sky55 (South Loop):
We’re still trying to figure out why this residence is so inexpensive. It’s 13 years old but has been very well-kept. All units have washer/dryers, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances. The amenities are a bit dated, but the gym is completely functional and they have one of the best pool/deck areas in the city. The location is unbeatable!
16. Alta @ K Station (Fulton market):
Perched on the Chicago River banks, there’s a lot to love about this residence, including its bargain rent price. While most units are carpeted (though some do have wood flooring), all apartments have laundry-in-unit, granite countertops, and condominium-style space. The building has tons of amenities – a pool, gym, theatre room, lounges, and cabanas.
17. Eight Eleven Uptown (Uptown):
This brand new building has amazing amenities and upscale apartments. The fact that it’s located in Uptown brings rental rates down below what this building would cost if it were located Downtown. Situated at Montrose and Clarendon, it’s perched right on the lake so you’ll have breathtaking views. From kitchen islands, washer/dryers, and stainless steel appliances in the units to amenities such as a 50,000 square-foot elevated pool deck, dog wash, outdoor dog run, game room, golf simulator, billiards, green-scape, and BBQ areas, this place has it all. Now’s the time to jump in!
At HotSpot Rentals, we’re here to take the stress out of your apartment search. We’d love to help you find your next new place that’s everything you want in a luxury apartment and is affordable too. Contact us today and find out what we can do for you.