There is very little to dislike about living in DePaul, aside from the high cost of real estate and property rentals. As with most neighborhoods that exist in the shadow of universities, apartment homes are in high demand by both professionals and student residents alike. This can, of course, make your search for apartments a challenge. Duh! To beat the university professors and others who want to live here, you'll need to act fast. Just think of it as your chance to best a teacher.
What You'll Need
To nab a rental apt in DePaul, you'll need to be organized. Gather everything - yes, everything - that tells a landlord to pick you over any other applicant. What this includes is up to you. Just don't offer up your oldest kid for collateral. Not only is this illegal, but your child will never forgive you. To most normal people, proof of tenant suitability includes letters of reference, credit report, bank statements, proof of income and verification of employment. Oh, and money. For DePaul, you'll need lots of money, considering that most landlords will expect a security deposit that is the same as one month's rent plus one month's rent in advance. If you have a pet you can't live without, you'll need extra money for a pet deposit. Don't worry. You can have your pet do dishes to pay you back. If it's a cat, good luck with that! The minute you find something you like, be prepared to jump on it because it won't last long.
Where to Live
You can expect to pay a premium for a small apartment, flat, or studio apartment for rent no matter where you live in DePaul. And don't expect to find various neighborhoods because DePaul itself is a neighborhood in Chicago.
That being said, the beautiful architecture and multitude of theaters, shops, restaurants, and bars make residing in this enclave truly a privilege for those fortunate enough to live here. Just east of the DePaul University campus are historic Queen Anne-style row houses with ornamental Victorian facades, stately and traditional brownstone walkups, old townhome rehabs, as well as new condominium developments and newer structures designed by Chicago's architectural elite.
DePaul residents enjoy all the amenities of other Chicagoans. There is a lot to see and do in this area.
A Shopper's Delight
The tree-lined streets of Armitage and Webster offer a wide selection of boutique stores and retail establishments. To the south and west, DePaul is bounded by Clybourn Corridor, another prime shopping area characterized by its bounty of playful and modern buildings. A testament to the city's industrial heritage, the area is full of turn of the century manufacturing plants and soot-stained brick buildings revitalized as luxury loft condominiums and retail spaces. Within this area, you will find Clybourn Galleria, a prominent shopping complex made up of various retail and office establishments. Popular stores can be found on this stretch of Clybourn, such as Crate & Barrel, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Gymboree, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath and Beyond, Webster Place Cinema, Pier 1 Imports, and Restoration Hardware, among others.
Dining, Nightlife, and Entertainment Options
As is typical of areas surrounding colleges and universities, reasonably-priced watering holes are thriving and plentiful, catering to both DePaul University's student body and the professional crowd that work in and around the neighborhood. During happy hour, Irish pubs such as Kelly's Pub, McGee's, Shoes Pub, and The Barrelhouse Flat are teeming with folks buying cheap drinks and eats. Play your cards right and you could be one of them.
The selection of fine dining options is just as numerous and eclectic. Allende Restaurant serves up fine Mexican cuisine, while the Bourgeois Pig Caf specializes in Vegan delights. These are just a couple of worthy mentions -- from Thai to Japanese to Italian, the DePaul area dining options represent virtually any cuisine you could desire. One establishment worth mentioning on its own is Charlie Trotter's, the Michelin two-star rated restaurant voted the 30th-best restaurant in the world and 5th-best in the United States by Restaurant Magazine in 2007. This DePaul fixture is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the world.
For fans of the moving picture, several options exist in the DePaul neighborhood to satisfy their movie cravings. Regal Webster Place 11 shows the latest Hollywood blockbusters, while Facets Cinematheque on West Fullerton Avenue screens indie films, with a retail store next door renting out obscure and hard to find titles to film buffs.
Art buffs frequenting the area can visit the great DePaul Art Museum, while nature and science lovers can hop on a short bus ride to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. A short distance east of DePaul is Oz Park, a popular place to play tennis or go for a bike ride. You can also walk your dog here; just pick up whatever he discards. Folks don't take kindly to stepping in poo.
Another benefit to being in a university setting is that the environment is very walkable. Errands and daily tasks can be accomplished on foot, with a variety of services within close proximity to the university. On any given spring or summer day, you can see an abundance of undergraduate students, dog walkers, joggers, shoppers, and mothers with strollers and/or children out and about performing their daily rituals. With a walk score of 82, transit score of 70, and bike score of 71, driving is hardly a necessity in this neighborhood. (If you're lazy, that's another conversation!) Furthermore, excellent public transportation and numerous bus lines make traveling beyond DePaul convenient and efficient. The CTA Red Line and Brown Line also serve the neighborhood, stopping at the Fullerton station and Armitage, respectively.