A guide to renting a home or apartment in the South Loop

Guide to the South Loop

Renting a home or apartment in Chicago’s South Loop

South Loop boundaries

The South Loop spans the area from Jackson Blvd (300 S) south to the Stevenson Expressway, and from Lake Michigan west to the Chicago River. You’ll often see references to South Loop sub-neighborhoods – Burnham Park, Central Station, Chinatown, Dearborn Park I / II, Museum Park, Prairie District, Printers Row – most of which take their name from major recent developments.

Time-saving tips

If you’re looking to pay less than $1,000 for a studio apartment, or much less than $2,000 for a 2-bedroom – the South Loop is probably not for you. If you’re looking for a vintage apartment in a smaller building, the South Loop is definitely not for you. Single-family homes and townhomes are rarely available for rent in this area. If you’re looking for a 3-bedroom, you have very few options, unless you rent in a condo or townhome building. If you know you want to live in a large apartment complex, you can compare all of them in our South Loop apartments at-a-glance grid.

Chicago, South Loop lakefront, photo by Michael Kardas

Why the South Loop?

The major attractions of the South Loop are its proximity to the Loop and to the lakefront parks. It’s also relatively affordable, compared to the near-north neighborhoods and closer-in Loop locations. Some tout the Museum Campus (Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium) as major attractions but, honestly, how often are you likely to visit these draws?

The South Loop is home to Columbia CollegeRoosevelt UniversityEast-West University and the downtown campus of DePaul University. The colleges offer a variety of nearby student housing options.

The South Loop’s racial diversity is a draw for many. It boasts the highest percentage of African-Americans and Asians of any of the downtown neighborhoods. Chinatown is tucked away in the southwest corner of the South Loop.

Chicago, South Loop entertainment venue, photo by Michael Kardas

A renter’s market

The South Loop is very much a renter’s market today, due to the recent opening of several major rental projects, and a booming market in condo rentals resulting from a building boom during the past half-dozen years, A number of the major projects are offering rent concessions in the form of one to several months’ free rent, free parking, reduced security deposits and more. The rents quoted below for apartment complexes do not necessarily reflect current incentives. Check with any building you’re interested in for the latest offers.

Chicago, Northerly Island park, photo by Michael Kardas

Housing options

The great majority of the housing stock in the South Loop is found in high-rise apartments and condos. Single-family homes and townhomes are rarely available for rent. Two- to 6-flat and other smaller buildings are virtually non-existent. There’s a wide selection of lofts, but most of them are condo.

In addition to traditional rentals, the South Loop also hosts a number of student and senior housing projects, and a variety of hotels. Other short-term rentals can be found in several high-rise buildings.

South Loop alternatives

Depending on your location preferences, you might also look at the Loop, Lakeshore East / New East Side, the West Loop, Fulton River District and Streeterville.

How to shop for South Loop apartments

Craigslist as a source has been destroyed by 1,000s of repetitive ads placed by apartment rental services touting the same few projects.

Apartment complexes.

If you want to rent in a large apartment complex you can easily narrow your options to the few that best meet your needs using this guide. Condos, homes, townhomes. If you want to rent in a condo building, or rent a home or townhome, the local Multiple Listing Service is your best source.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Reside Chicago February 21, 2011 at 8:56 AM

The South Loop area has definitely seen a resurgence in recent years. It can be a bit more pricey then neighboring neighborhoods as mentioned in this article. For individuals looking for proximity to this neighborhood without all the expense, the South Shore neighborhood, just south of the South Loop, offers some very reasonable prices for apartments. It’s also just right down the street.

Reply

Joe Zekas February 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Just down the street?

Totally misleading. It’s a totally different place, and no one should pay any attention to landlords trying to bait you into a radically different area.

Note to Reside: you lose credibiliity by abusing our comments in this way.

Reply

Goody February 22, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I agree with Joe Zekas, south shore is by no means “just down the street” from the south loop.

I mean really.

Reply

Wilson February 22, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I know the South Loop. The South Loop is a friend of mine. South Shore, you’re no South Loop.

Reply

Rick Goode November 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Just down the Street? I live in South Shore and is NOT “just down the street.” It takes 28 min. via METRA, and hour via CTA and is different economically and racially. It has lots of crime and few resources. Travel at your own risk.

Reply

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