If you want an older house or a small apartment then the city center, which was recently gentrified, is just the place for you; most of the houses here were built in the '50s and '60s, with a few more modern places available. Some would call these buildings old, but you should just say they have character. The rest of the town has more modern houses built in the last 10 to 30 years, including some nice apartment complexes.
Every part of the town has a good number of houses, so if you need a decent sized 3-bedroom house for rent, you'll have a lot of choices. Or, you can choose between 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments throughout McHenry. And while the prices range from moderate to high for Illinois, you can still find some good deals with a bit of searching.
While the vacancy rate is not exactly high, you can usually take a day or two, possibly even a week in the city center, to shop around, talk with your potential neighbors, and get a feel for the area.
Plan your search to take about a week or two, or three weeks if you really want to go all out on house hunting. To get the best deal and save time, have your list of references, proof of employment, and credit report ready to hand over; that way if you see the 2-bedroom apartment of your dreams you can get it right away. Also, dress nicely and smile: landlords like renting to people that seem nice.
Since it's a small place, there are only three neighborhoods in McHenry, so don't stress over where to live. Throw a dart and see what comes up.
City Center: As mentioned above, this is the oldest part of the town so the houses have a lived-in look. You won't find an apartment complex here, just box stores, small chain stores, houses, and some smaller apartments.
Elm St.: Lots of studio and 1-bedroom apartments for rent here. There's not much else to say: its a pretty ordinary place.
McHenry Shores: An enormous neighborhood that is larger than the rest of the town.
McHenry is 50 miles away from Chicago, and there's a convenient train from downtown McHenry to downtown Chicago. Day trips and weekend trips to the city are very common. Hunting, fishing, picnics, and other outdoor activities are also very popular when it's warm, while skidooing, skiing, and ice fishing are done in the cold, cold winter.
With all the chain stores and box stores, shopping isn't a problem, and there are lots of restaurants along with a few nice bars to eat and drink at.