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Old 04-09-2015, 11:15 AM
 
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I will be graduating from Iowa this May, and will be working in the Broadview/Hillside area. I've heard some good things about Oak Park, and have been searching for places there. Since I'm not from the area, I need some help. Is Oak Park a good/safe place to live? Are there safer areas within OP than others? I'm 22 and want to live somewhere where there are things to do, and would like to occasionally go out on the weekends. I also don't want to be too far away from the city. Would Forest Park be better for young professionals? Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:22 AM
 
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Both Oak Park and Forest Park might be a bit dull for you (they are more family-oriented areas compared to youth-filled city neighborhoods on the North Side of Chicago), but you should be relatively safe in either. Oak Park does border the poverty-stricken Austin neighborhood of Chicago, which has a very high rate of violent crime. But it is generally more upscale and nicer than Forest Park. If you stay further away from Austin Avenue and pay attention to the neighboring buildings before signing a lease, I would pick an apartment near Downtown Oak Park if I were you.

I will add that I had two 20-something female friends who rented an apartment directly ON Austin Avenue in the 1990's, and neither one of them ever had any issues with crime or safety. And crime rates were higher then than they are now.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Near West Burbs
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Both are nice choices for your situation. Forest Park has a more lively nightlife scene, and has a more blue collar vibe, but still has a mix of upscale bars and dining next to sports bars and dive bars. The key is to be within half a mile of Madison Ave in Forest Park and half a mile from Lake St between Harlem and Oak Park Ave in Oak Park. Otherwise it becomes family oriented and quiet rather quickly. I will add that Forest Park, while only the next town west, shaves 5 to 10 minutes off your commute time as the Des Plaines Ave on/off ramp is far less congested than Harlem Ave and Austin Blvd heading west and coming back east. It's also a but less expensive in terms of rent. I lived there for 3 years and loved it; a solid choice based on your job.

With that being said, the real action in Chicagoland is still very Chicago-centric. Even such suburban singles "hotspots" (such as Forest Park, Downtown Naperville, Four Lakes in Lisle) are not nearly as happening as anything you'll find in the West Loop/Wicker Park areas of Chicago. If you can handle the extra commute time, Wicker Park and the UIC area are two more happening areas that aren't too far from 290.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:21 PM
 
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I think the more prudent thing would be to rent in Oak Park or Forest Park. Explore the city of Chicago for a year or two and see if you want to make the move there. Its not a safe in many areas and it would be a commuting headache.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:25 PM
 
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Depending on where your job is it may make more sense to focus on Chicago itself. Though lookout_kid is correct about relative safety of Oak Park same thing could be said for many parts of Chicago.
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Old 04-10-2015, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Depending on where your job is it may make more sense to focus on Chicago itself. Though lookout_kid is correct about relative safety of Oak Park same thing could be said for many parts of Chicago.
OP is working in Broadview/Hillside as per original post
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:05 AM
 
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Oak Park is very safe. Forest Park is very safe. It's not Iowa cornfields, but if you are reasonably aware of your surroundings you will never have issues. We lock our front/back doors here, lock our cars, don't leave things out in the open in your car (like a computer!) that might tempt someone to take.

I would live in Forest Park, close to Madison Street where there is a lot to do. You will still be able to take advantage of Oak Park, since it is adjacent. Rent will be cheaper in Forest Park, and you will have easy access to the expressway to get to work by staying in that part of town. Also, easy to get to Chicago by driving or public transportation from here. Have a bike. Drive or Bike to Trader Joe's/Costco/Whole Foods/Jewel etc... which aren't far.

Welcome to Illinois.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sfcambridge View Post
I would live in Forest Park, close to Madison Street where there is a lot to do. You will still be able to take advantage of Oak Park, since it is adjacent. Rent will be cheaper in Forest Park, and you will have easy access to the expressway to get to work by staying in that part of town. Also, easy to get to Chicago by driving or public transportation from here. Have a bike. Drive or Bike to Trader Joe's/Costco/Whole Foods/Jewel etc... which aren't far.

Welcome to Illinois.
I'd still pony up for Oak Park, and be near Harlem and Lake if possible. I have a feeling that our 20-something will be going out in Chicago more than Madison Street in Forest Park anyway. DTOP has more practical options for daily life.

Forest Park is just a little bit sketchy, with about 30-50% higher crime than Oak Park in a typical year. Madison Street is great, but I really don't like much of the rest of town. It's dreary.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Depending on where your job is it may make more sense to focus on Chicago itself. Though lookout_kid is correct about relative safety of Oak Park same thing could be said for many parts of Chicago.
+1. Check out Tri-Taylor. Rent is very affordable still and you're right by the nightlife on Taylor in Little Italy and the Blue Line to get elsewhere in the City. Getting to work will be a snap as you're right on 290. I lived in Oak Park and if I was 22 I would not live in Oak Park. Forest Park doesn't offer a young person much more beyond a strip of bars. If you're a chronic drinker it might be ok but for any other endeavors, Chicago will blow it away.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:17 PM
 
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Default Exactly !

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRU67 View Post
+1. Check out Tri-Taylor. Rent is very affordable still and you're right by the nightlife on Taylor in Little Italy and the Blue Line to get elsewhere in the City. Getting to work will be a snap as you're right on 290. I lived in Oak Park and if I was 22 I would not live in Oak Park. Forest Park doesn't offer a young person much more beyond a strip of bars. If you're a chronic drinker it might be ok but for any other endeavors, Chicago will blow it away.
It is not so much that Forest Park is just for drinkers but live music is about 9999x more choices in Chicago and things like live comedy / theater are just about non-existent. Even the few arty places in Oak Park, Berwyn or other suburbs pale in comparison to what Chicago offers.

Saving ten to twenty minutes ain't worth it at your stage of life! If OP had kids to worry about or spouse maybe dissent tradeoffs make sense...
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