Best place to retire: South Loop
Pros: New construction; quiet and less crowded
Cons: Restaurants and shopping not as plentiful as in northern parts of the city
Real estate: Two-bedroom condos sell for about $450,000. Two-bedroom rentals go for $1,700 to $2,800.A decade ago, Chicago's South Loop looked tired. Today it's a hot place to retire. Once-abandoned warehouses are now trendy lofts, and there's a growing collection of high-rise condos, restaurants and shops.
Bob Wilson, 65, moved there with his wife Karin, 64, from the suburbs last year when the couple found they wanted less house and more diversions. "We're very close to everything now," Bob says. "I feel like I'm always on vacation."
Indeed, hop a bus or subway in the South Loop and within 15 minutes you can be shopping on Michigan Avenue or catching a play in the theater district (and transit passes are reduced from $2 to 85 cents for seniors).
But there is a lot to do within the neighborhood too: Chicago's popular lakefront bike path snakes along the South Loop through Grant Park, and residents can walk to three major museums, as well as Soldier Field for football games.
For the basic necessities, Target, supermarkets and drugstores are a walk or quick drive away.
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