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Old 05-03-2015, 12:22 AM
1 posts, read 979 times
Reputation: 10


Hey everyone,

I'm just about to accept a job working for the VA Hospital in Hines, so I'm looking to find a place in the western suburbs. My partner has a car, but he'll be using it for his job, and I'll need to be able to take public transit. The thing is, I don't know the first thing about these neighborhoods. We both live in Minneapolis right now, but we're both originally from small towns, so Chicago seems a little intimidating. I'm primarily concerned about finding a neighborhood that has average or below crime, and that'll tolerate low-key homosexuals (in an interracial relationship; that's sometimes been an issue) living next door.

Both of us are boring; we don't go out very often, and Netflix binging is our idea of a fun weekend. We like good cheap food.

Where would be a good neighborhood for us to live in? We'll be doing a weekend trip soon; are there any spots we should visit?
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:53 AM
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,505,593 times
Reputation: 3991
What is your budget? Renting or buying?

Honestly, I don't know how you are going to commute to the VA. It isn't close to the train and Pace bus service is not that great. Just as an example, you could drive to the VA from Elmhurst in 17 minutes. To get there on public transit today (Sunday) would take an hour and 7 minutes. That's a huge time commitment.

Where is your SO's job? Is it possible it is more transit friendly? Is another car a possibility?
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:08 AM
276 posts, read 446,663 times
Reputation: 181
You will get many who recommend Oak Park given it's proximity to Hines VA, diversity including strong LGBT vibe, etc. They are not wrong and Oak Park fits the bill. However if you're purchasing a home, taxes suck, if you're renting an apartment, parking sucks. Oak Park is very tolerant (unless you happen to be republican LOL). Oak Park has higher crime than other burbs I would recommend, but that is due to proximity to Chicago. Not a deal breaker but you list crime as one criteria.

The truth is, in many if not most areas of suburban Chicago, nobody cares about who one is married to or partnered with. Where you reside will be determined by employment, budget, access to schools (if needed), and type of housing stock you want. Those should be your driving factors. In every suburb there will be at least some people if not many whom you and your partner can befriend. Or, you will discover such friends in nearby areas: no burb is an island. By and large nobody will care if you are a same sex interracial couple. And anyone who does will keep it to themselves and is probably in an older demo. You'll be fine.

Given the Hines gig, I would broadly suggest the following burbs:

Oak Park
Forest Park
La Grange
La Grange Park

These all have good metra access, Oak Park and Forest Park also have the CTA to get into the city. IT's also feasible to live in the west loop or south loop if you're partner has a job in the city, but probably best to be in burb close to the hospital.

Good luck, you two will be fine, you will find a community, nobody will care. Best wishes!
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:10 AM
276 posts, read 446,663 times
Reputation: 181
….I missed the point that you need public transit to the VA Hospital. That won't be fun as Nikita points out. You'll need a car or basically move walking distance to the hospital….
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:24 AM
2,581 posts, read 3,141,406 times
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Take a look at Oak Park. It is close to the VA. And Oak Park is popular as being a diverse suburb, in every sense of the word.... politically/economically/racially/housing types and styles/socially etc.... Oak Park borders Chicago so it's easy to get downtown by train or car. But if you like being homebodies, you have all you need in Oak Park. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco are all close by and a nice assortment of restaurants.... a summer farmer's market and a co-op is coming.

Oak Park is served by multiple trains lines - the Green line, the Blue line and Metra (faster commuter that goes directly downtown) as well as a few buses. They are convenient for getting to Chicago. The commute to Maywood/Hines VA is not very efficient by public transportation.... too bad you don't have a car. I think you should talk to folks at Hines in case they offer some shuttle services from the trains. Still .... not a great option. If your hours will be atypical or long, I would seriously think about getting a car for your commute... regardless of where you live.

Some will warn you about Oak Park being more "urban" as a suburb, with smaller lots and more nuisance crime (eg. don't leave your car door unlocked), but this is exaggerated. If you were living in Minneapolis, you will do fine in Oak Park. In fact, some suburbs will seem to sleepy for you I suspect. Oak Park is a nice balance. Riverside and Brookfield are also options, depending upon your budget and desired atmosphere.

I think of Minneapolis as more progressive than Chicago, for what its worth.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:30 AM
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,972,763 times
Reputation: 3820
There are two Pace bus lines that run past Hines VA from the Forest Park blue line terminal. I would suggest looking to live within walking distance of that station. Forest Park is adjacent to Oak Park so you'll be able to enjoy many of the same amenities.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:12 PM
3,783 posts, read 5,530,294 times
Reputation: 2084
Oak Park or Berwyn is good. Taxes are very high in Oak Park, and its mostly family oriented. There is a growing community of same sex couples in Berwyn which is full of vintage bungalows and other period type homes they can be bought at a very reasonable price. Easy access to city, shopping and restaurants.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:44 PM
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,972,763 times
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Also, its important to take into account where your partner will be working. The Chicago metro area is significantly larger than the twin cities, so if Forest Park/Oak Park is very far from his job site, you might have to consider living elsewhere and buying another car.
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Old 05-03-2015, 01:51 PM
3,783 posts, read 5,530,294 times
Reputation: 2084
If you can live within a few blocks or walking distance to Roosevelt Road there is mostly likely a bus going directly to Hines.

You can look for places in South Oak Park, Berwyn, or Forest Park as they all border on Roosevelt Rd.
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Old 05-03-2015, 03:55 PM
Location: Tri-Cities
495 posts, read 571,626 times
Reputation: 223
I'm echoing Forest Park. Plus it has the transit center, which is super convenient.
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