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Why renting in Chicago's South Loop is a great bang for your buck

When I moved to Chicago from Indiana, nobody could change my mind about wanting to live on the Northside. For me, it was non-negotiable. When my Chicago-based friends suggested I consider renting in the South Loop, I just looked at them and rolled my eyes. 

I should have listened. 

Fast forward a few years – now I’m a Chicago leasing agent and spend my days helping people find their perfect apartment in their ideal neighborhood. And whenever I tour the South Loop, I kick myself for not renting there! The buildings are new, the transit is accessible, and the lake is right there. And oh yeah… you can’t beat the lower rent. 

A map of Chicago's South Loop compared to the North Side

Let me humbly walk you through some of the great things I missed out on by not moving to South Loop.

Mo’ Money in Yo’ Pocket

There are two important factors that have kept the rent low in the South Loop

First, the neighborhood has seen a development boom over the last 10-12 years. It’s proximity to the lake, parks and entertainment, paired with the fact that it actually has the room to grow, have made the darling of downtown neighborhood development.  

The second is competition – when a neighborhood is hot, property developers follow, and new luxury apartments are opening in South Loop at a rapid pace. 

Combine a booming neighborhood with a booming apartment market and voilà – you get great apartments for a reasonable price. 

Upgrades for Everyone

New apartments in Chicago offer updated features that older developments just don’t have. Prepare yourself for floor to ceiling windows, modern kitchens and appliances, hardwood floors and even some modern loft-style spaces. 

Luxury apartments keep raising the bar with unreal amenities as well. Full fitness centers and rooftop decks are standard while basketball courts, movie screening rooms and dog spas are becoming the new normal too. 

You read that right – dog spas! Bring your dog along when you move to the South Loop; there are so many pet-friendly rentals, plus four dog parks within walking distance. 

Alta Grand Central Apartment's Pet Spa
No, that’s not your new bathroom, it’s the luxury dog spa at Alta Grand Central apartments in the South Loop.

Let’s do the math. I did a quick comparison of one bedroom apartments in River North and you can get a comparable apartment in the South Loop for about 10% less. That could be $200 or more in savings… per month!

The Lake and…Oh Those Views!

The South Loop’s proximity to Lake Michigan is similar to lots of other popular downtown neighborhoods, but its views are hard to beat. Some neighborhoods, such as Streeterville, are packed with so many high-rise buildings that the beautiful lake views can be drowned out. South Loop’s mixture of high, mid and low-rise buildings, let the lake view shine. In fact, two South Loop properties landed on our list of the 7 best apartment views in downtown Chicago.

A view of the rooftop pool and Lake Michigan at from downtown Chicago's Eleven 40 luxury apartments
The bright and sunny view of Lake Michigan from Eleven40’s rooftop deck. It’s gorgeous!

This broad mixture of building types and open spaces, such as Grant and Roosevelt Parks, offer great sightlines of both the city and the lake. Practice waving at boats instead of office workers in your neighboring building! 

Remember that 10 percent rule? I checked on it for Streeterville and that savings jumps up to about 20% when you choose to live in the South Loop..

Getting Around

Some neighborhoods, including mine on the North Side, are lovely to live in but a pain when you need to get out. My friends never told me I would need to pack a picnic if I wanted to access the main highways from my current place.

South Loop though, is so easy to get in and out of. 

If you’re commuting in the city, South Loop has a ton of easily accessible transit options. At the Roosevelt station, you get the Orange, Green, and the non-stop running CTA Red Line. There’s also a handy Blue Line stop at Clinton. 

The neighborhood includes three Metra Stations and easy access points to all four major highways, including 90/94, 290, 55 and 41 (Lakeshore Drive). 

City Parking is Expensive

Back to those Indiana roots – when I moved to Chicago, I was not prepared for a monthly parking fee that exceeded my car payment. But, as they say, that’s life in the big city. If you don’t need that car, you might want to ditch it and get a bigger or nicer place to live. 

But if you do need parking, the South Loop offers some of the best options in the city. It’s the cheapest and you can actually get street or permit parking. This is a great amenity that’s unheard of in neighborhoods such as Lakeshore East where the only option is much more expensive garage parking.

Let’s Make the Move to South Loop

Well guys, have I convinced you? If you want to learn more about this fantastic downtown neighborhood, read up on everything from its history to its best restaurants in our Ultimate Guide to South Loop

And if you’re thinking about a move to downtown Chicago, team HotSpot’s leasing agents are standing by to help you find the best bang for your buck in South Loop. Give us a shout and let us help make your hunt for the best apartment in Chicago a breeze. 

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