Chicago, with its vibrant culture and dynamic cityscape, offers a lot, but living in such an urban hub can be costly. Wondering about rental prices in Chicago? On average, studios go for $1,572 per month, one-bedrooms at $1,907 and two-bedrooms at $2,558. If these prices are beyond your budget, don't worry.
If you're in search of a more pocket-friendly option that still keeps you within reach of Chicago's energy, you're in the right place! We're thrilled to present to you 10 of the most cost-effective suburbs surrounding Chicago. These areas range from serene, small-town atmospheres to bustling, vibrant communities, offering a diverse array of living experiences. Read on to find your potential new, affordable home in one of these affordable Chicago suburbs.
Average rent for a studio: $1,450
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $950
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,400
Distance from Chicago: 17 miles
Leading our list of affordable 'burbs in Chicago is Oak Lawn, a suburb boasting affordability and proximity, only 17 miles southwest of Chicago. It offers substantial savings, especially with one-bedroom apartments. Oak Lawn is not just about affordability; it's a community rich in recreational activities and cultural events. The Oak Lawn Park District hosts numerous community events and sports leagues, while Wolfe Wildlife Park provides nature trails and birdwatching opportunities. The downtown area is a hub of activity with its eclectic mix of local eateries, boutiques and seasonal farmer's markets, reflecting the suburb's unique charm.
Average rent for a studio: $890
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,005
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,195
Distance from Chicago: 45 miles
Joliet, a suburb with a robust historical background, is our next top pick. About 45 miles southwest of Chicago, it offers rents significantly lower than the city's. Joliet is not just budget-friendly; it's rich in history and culture. The Old Joliet Prison, now a museum, offers a unique glimpse into the past, and the Rialto Square Theatre, known for its stunning architecture, presents a range of performances. Joliet also boasts the Harrah's Joliet Casino for entertainment and a bustling downtown area with an array of dining and shopping options.
Average rent for a studio: $922
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,162
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $2,142
Distance from Chicago: 10 miles
Just 10 miles west of Chicago, Oak Park combines affordability with cultural richness. This suburb is renowned for its architectural heritage, particularly the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum. Oak Park's charm extends to its vibrant arts scene, with galleries and theaters and its commitment to green spaces, as seen in the expansive Oak Park Conservatory. The suburb's bustling downtown area offers a diverse range of dining, shopping and entertainment options, making it an attractive place for those who appreciate both history and modern conveniences.
Average rent for a studio: $2,022
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,375
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,450
Distance from Chicago: 15 miles
Skokie, located 15 miles north of Chicago, is an affordable option that doesn't skimp on amenities. This suburb is known for its cultural diversity and community-focused events. The Emily Oaks Nature Center offers an oasis for nature enthusiasts, while the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park showcases impressive outdoor art. Skokie's vibrant downtown area features a range of shopping and dining options, and its renowned school system makes it a great choice for families.
Average rent for a studio: $1,260
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,400
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,980
Distance from Chicago: 40 miles
Aurora, about 40 miles west of Chicago, is known for its lively urban atmosphere combined with more affordable living costs. Home to the Oakhurst Forest Preserve and the historic Paramount Theatre, Aurora offers a range of outdoor and cultural activities. The city's downtown area is a mix of historic and contemporary, with various shopping, dining and nightlife options. Aurora also hosts several festivals and community events throughout the year, reflecting its vibrant community spirit.
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,533
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,844
Distance from Chicago: 30 miles
Arlington Heights, 30 miles from Chicago, offers a blend of suburban tranquility and urban amenities. Its downtown area is a bustling hub with a variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment options. The suburb also features multiple parks and recreational facilities, making it an attractive place for outdoor enthusiasts and families.
Average rent for a studio: $1,433
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,573
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,900
Distance from from Chicago: 33 miles
Schaumburg, situated 33 miles northwest of Chicago, is a suburban haven balancing a slightly longer commute with affordable living. It's home to the Spring Valley Nature Center & Heritage Farm and the sprawling Woodfield Mall, one of the largest shopping destinations in the region. Schaumburg also boasts a variety of dining and entertainment options and is known for its well-developed park district and community services.
Average rent for a studio: $1,836
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,600
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,902
Distance from Chicago: 20 miles
Des Plaines, a suburb known for its affordability and proximity to Chicago, offers a blend of urban and suburban living. The Des Plaines Theatre provides entertainment options, while the downtown area is filled with shops and eateries. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Prairie Lakes Park, offering scenic beauty and recreational activities.
Average rent for a studio: $1,207
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,652
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $2,300
Distance from Chicago: 15 miles
Evanston, just 15 miles from Chicago, offers a relaxed lifestyle with plenty of activities, making it an easy pick among the best affordable Chicago suburbs. Known for the Northwestern University campus, this suburb has a college-town feel with historic architecture and events. The Evanston Art Center and The Lakefill, with its stunning skyline views, are highlights, making Evanston an ideal suburb for those seeking a mix of culture and tranquility.
Average rent for a studio: $2,020
Average rent for a one-bedroom: $1,820
Average rent for a two-bedroom: $2,311
Distance from Chicago: 35 miles
Naperville, a dynamic suburb 35 miles west of Chicago, is known for its vibrant community and scenic beauty. The Naperville Riverwalk and the Naper Settlement are popular attractions. The city boasts a lively downtown area with shops, restaurants and cultural venues, making it a sought-after location for those who desire a mix of suburban charm and urban amenities.
These suburbs offer more than just affordability; they are communities rich in culture, history and amenities, providing an enhanced quality of life. From quaint streets to bustling local businesses and peaceful parks, there's a perfect fit for everyone – families, professionals, and retirees alike. These suburbs don't just ease your wallet; they enrich your life, fostering close-knit communities where lasting friendships and memories are made. Here, the spirit of Chicago is alive in a more accessible, affordable form, where the true value of a city is reflected in its people and the warmth of the community they create.
Thinking of transitioning from renting to owning? Explore our guide to the most affordable Chicago suburbs for homebuyers.
Methodology: Affordability is based on whether a suburb’s one and two-bedroom rent was less than Chicago and under 45 miles from downtown Chicago. Average rental data from Chicago rental market trends on October 26, 2023. Population data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.