Close enough to Chicago to enjoy the benefits but far enough away to avoid the problems, renting an apartment or other rental property in Oswego puts you in a sweet spot. On top of that, the city has been ranked highly in terms of top towns to live in across the United States, thanks to increasing job opportunities and good local economic strength. The drawback to this is that rental properties are highly desirable, and can be quite expensive.
While Oswego is close to Chicago, it is far enough away to make daily commute to the city a bit of a chore, especially with the lack of direct public transportation. A Park-and-Ride system can help, providing a shuttle to the nearby town of Aurora where you can catch a train in to Chicago. However, the amount of links necessary to catch, plus a limited time table, can make this prohibitive for many commuters. Spread across a fair amount of area, Oswego is large enough that motorized transportation is necessary, so look for a rental property with parking.
Northern Illinois is not known for temperate weather, and while Oswego doesn’t catch the lake winds that Chicago does, it still gets quite frigid in the winter. Make sure that, when looking at rental properties, they have sufficiently powerful heating systems to fight back the chill. Being at that odd latitude, Oswego also catches some hot, stuffy summer weather as well, so get used to wearing shorts in one month and breaking out winter gear the next month.
Oswego has suburbia down pat, with tons of retail spaces with the necessary parking popping up throughout the city limits. The downtown area has smaller, local shops and restaurants, although they are becoming fewer and further in between as retail grows along the major corridors. Renting an apartment in the downtown area will put you close to the river and parks, which are a center for activity in the warm months.
While there are plenty of properties available in Oswego on a continual basis, and you can get away with looking for something at the last minute, finding a property on a budget should not be put off. Many of the rental homes in and around Oswego are high-rent spaces, so if you’re working with even a modest budget, you’ll want to start looking a few months before moving.
Oswego is small enough that there really are no true neighborhoods, but simply downtown and the surrounding area, best differentiated by their positioning from the city center.
Town Center: Mostly shops and single-family homes on mid-sized lots, this is a well-established area that is made up of tenant-owned properties, with very few rentals to be found.
South Oswego: Centered around the Prairie Point Community Park, the South area has a number of developments, but then spreads out in to open land. There is easy access to downtown, as residents do not have to cross a river or major arteries to get there.
Northeast Oswego: With a little more room for people to stretch their legs, the Northeast has a number of parks to walk through, and the homes are not as clustered together as in many of the other areas.
West Oswego: With easy access to the major route as well as a number of convenient shopping areas, the West section of Oswego also falls towards the lower end of the price spectrum. Separated from the larger city of Naperville by Route 30, with Aurora close to the north side of it, this is the most convenient area for commuters to find rental housing.
Oswego has undergone a renaissance in recent times, transforming itself from a faceless suburb to a town on the rise. Lots of work has gone into the infrastructure, especially in downtown Oswego, where the historic district has been reborn into a walkable, mixed use area with small restaurants, shops and historic buildings sharing the same space.
Much of the work in Oswego has involved developing public use spaces, particularly a new library and the Hudson Crossing Park, a great area to walk and enjoy the outdoors. This walk was augmented by the Waubonsie Creek Promenade, which goes from downtown Main Street up to the new park, helping to make the center of Oswego walkable, although the rest of the city is still very car-dependent.
The city plays host to a number of festivals and fairs throughout the year. The old drag strip is still a big part of the town, drawing aficionados from near and far to the annual Drag Strip Days. The Prairie Fest and Wine on the Fox events also draw in folks from outside of town, while providing activities for those who live in town. During the good weather, from May through October, Oswego also hosts the Oswego Country Market every Sunday.