Whether you buy or rent, location can make a big difference for your budget. Rents are higher the more in-demand a zip code is, whether you’re searching in the city or the suburbs. (Especially in cities experiencing a boom in development, where suburbs get pricier as more commuters move in.) The good news? In these areas, it’s still usually cheaper to rent than buy. The bad news? You’ll have to allot more of your budget to rent. For the following popular zip codes, setting $ 2,600 as your ceiling gives you plenty of attractive options near all the things that make the region so popular.
60614: Chicago, Illinois
Compact one-bedroom in a majestic 1920s building
$ 1,925-$ 2,000/month
If you were driving along N. Lincoln Park West, it would be easy to assume the Lincoln Park neighborhood would appeal to Rich Great Aunt types—looks gorgeous, but shuts down after dark. On one side of the street, there’s the beautiful (and huge) park that gave the area its name, and on the other, there are grand, old apartment buildings. But this zip code is an entertainment-lover’s paradise. Within a mile, you can take in a performance at the famed Second City Theater, catch a concert at Lincoln Hall, or get down at legendary blues club Kingston Mines. If you’d rather take it easy, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the gardens of the Lincoln Park Conservatory are basically your backyard.
One of those fancy-looking buildings is the ornate, 1920s-era Belden-Stratford, where you’ll find this one-bedroom apartment. With an incredible view of Chicago and a fantastic sushi restaurant right in the building, who could ask for more?
02360: Plymouth, Massachusetts
Modern apartment in one of America’s oldest towns
$ 2,365-$ 2,490/month
Plymouth is the largest municipality by area in Massachusetts, covering a total area of 134 square miles. In other words, it’s a very big town—from the famed Plymouth Rock in the waterfront Cultural District to The Pinehills, which is like a town-within-a-town. It developed around the very fancy Mirbeau Inn & Spa and the Pinehills Golf Club. Planned for maximum picturesque-ness, every house and business looks as if it was transported from a New England movie set. The most popular hangout might be The Village Green. This stretch of lawn is the perfect place to sit and take in the scenery—or events like the annual Reindog Parade every December. (It’s exactly what it sounds like: Dogs dressed up for the holidays.)
You can live right in the middle of the idyllic scene in this very modern two-bedroom apartment at Hanover at The Pinehills, which offers the perfect complement to life in a quaint, historical town: contemporary amenities.
28269: Charlotte, North Carolina
Contemporary high-rise overlooking a ballpark
$ 1,925-$ 2,150/month
Little by little, the Queen City has evolved from feeling like a suburb with a few tall buildings to an actual metropolis. The skyline is changing in Uptown (the city center) at a rapid pace—five towers popped up in 2017 alone. The fast-growing neighborhood is flush with fun, including Bank of America Stadium, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Uptown, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. The food scene is notable too, including the eclectic Ink & Ivy, featuring modern American eats.
One of those brand new buildings is The Ascent, a shining blue high-rise apartment building, which includes this open-concept, one-bedroom apartment. (All one-bedrooms are below the $ 2,600 mark, so hunt around for the best view.) From The Ascent you can catch a baseball game from the rooftop lounge—or possibly your living room if you pick the right unit.
07310: Jersey City, New Jersey
Cozy loft that’s minutes to NYC
Jersey City might as well be a part of New York City. It’s right across the Hudson River and has the same kind of luxury towers and brownstones. Lots of Jersey City residents work in New York, which makes sense, because if you catch the PATH at the right time, you can be in the West Village in fewer than 10 minutes. And you don’t even have to go that far in search of urban adventure. In the Exchange Place neighborhood you’ll find plenty of rentals within walking distance of two PATH stations, a ferry, a light-rail line, but also downtown Jersey City—where plenty of indie restaurants, bars, and art galleries await.
You’ll also find this trendy studio in the Modera Lofts. Though the unit is tiny, the building’s unique offerings, like a ground-floor art gallery and rooftop screening space, make up for the square footage.
75070: McKinney, Texas
Roomy three-bedroom in an artsy town
If you love the idea of being near a city but prefer a small-town lifestyle, McKinney is the city for you. Despite being home to just under 170,000 people, the tree-lined streets, historic downtown and tight-knit community (particularly when it comes to artists) make it feel like a small town. Here, you won’t have the same number of options for entertainment than you would 30 miles south in Dallas, but it’s peace and quiet you’re after, you can’t beat it.
If you snag this spacious three-bedroom at The Venue Craig Ranch, however, you can play endless rounds at the TPC Craig Ranch golf course across the street.
30043: Lawrenceville, Georgia
House-sized apartment in a family-friendly zip
Like Dallas, Atlanta has experienced a boom in city development. But since it’s long been a commuter city, rents can be as high in the suburbs as they are downtown. As a result, more people are moving to the outer-ring suburbs—particularly, Lawrenceville. Located 30 miles outside of Atlanta, Lawrenceville is the oldest city in the metro area. It’s particularly family-friendly, with convenient shopping, spacious living options, and some of the highest-ranked schools in the region.
You’ll find two such schools—Maxwell High School of Technology and the Gwinnett School of Mathematics and Technology—one mile from the newly-built 1760 Apartment Homes. There, you’ll find this 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment that offers as much class as it does space.
90046: Los Angeles, California
Pet-friendly pad near iconic venues
West Hollywood is home to some of the most famous clubs, bars, venues, and landmarks in the country. There’s the famed music clubs The Viper Room, Whiskey a Go Go, and The Roxy; the star-making comedy showcase The Comedy Store; and the legendary Chateau Marmont, all on Sunset Boulevard. If you want slightly less notorious venues for an evening out, nearby Santa Monica Boulevard has quirkier offerings, like the farm-to-table Laurel Hardware restaurant (in a former hardware store) and the ’20s-inspired supper club Delilah. The neighborhood also hosts the Lee Strasberg drama school and the L.A. Pride Parade and Festival every June.
Between Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, you’ll find The Crescent at West Hollywood, an upgraded apartment community where you’ll find a small one-bedroom unit with a patio. At $ 2,482, it’s affordable enough to start living the Hollywood dream.
Originally published April 26, 2017; updated January 8, 2018. Methodology: Trulia examined all properties that had been viewed between April 2016 to April 2017 to determine the most frequently viewed ZIP codes. These rentals are a selection from properties in those areas.
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