Oh My God...DO NOT go West like these people are recommending. The neighborhoods mentioned in several posts were "up and coming" in 2007 which in this economy is translating into " backsliding." As a single female, you will be MUCH better off in the Gold Coast. You are not going to feel or be safe anywhere on the West side. It is absolutely not "high end." It would be best to get something cheap and cheerful in the suburbs by work and then something fabulous for the weekends in the city. Good luck!
Good luck on the move!
For chic urban lofts & interesting high rises try: West Loop, South Loop or River North
For something going on outside your door every second try: Streeterville or the Gold Coast
For a high end, lower density approach try: Lincoln Park
To comfort you upon your return, there is really only one area that will give you the ease of commuting (290) access and the slightest feel of NYC, and that is River North or the West Loop. West of Wells to the River, between Chicago and Kinzie, or West of Halsted, between Lake and the 290, east of Racine.
I can't believe people recommended anywhere outside of Chicago for being a "manhattan feel". Those answers alone may want you to reconsider your move to Chicago. You'll see. Wait until your first commute to your new cubicle. Have the blindfold ready.
A good compromise for you might be the Oakbrook/Hinsdale area. World-class shopping, dining, and extremely easy access to public transportation and the expressways. It's located close to the halfway point between Carol Stream and the city, somewhat closer to Carol Stream.
Another option is Naperville, IL. This city has a lively downtown center, with lots of bars, shopping, and restaurants. There are multiple train stations, and fairly easy access into the city.
If you ultimately choose to live IN Chicago, I would definetly recommend a short-term rental. You might find that A. the commute to Carol Stream isn't worth the hassle, and B. Chicago is "made up" of a bunch of different neighborhoods, each with its own character & charm. The caveat is - it's very expensive and parking is a nightmare.
Feel free to call/email me directly with ANY questions you might have. I've lived in the Chicagoland area my entire life - both in Chicago, and it's suburbs, and know all the different "scenes" very well. Also, you can search for rental properties in different areas on my website http://www.SelectiveBuyer.com. Wishing you all the best in your move and career!
Prospect Equities Premier
1) Would you prefer parking, taking the cab, or train to the airport?
2) Would you be most likely traveling from the city or from Carol Stream?
3) Do you prefer short cab rides to party spots in the city or within walking distance?
4) Do you get frustrated in traffic?
5) How far is the job form Wheaton Train station?
Not sure how familiar you are with the area. We have 2 different train systems. 1) which can take you from Chicago to Wheaton. and another from Chicago to O'Hare. So, I would recommend finding a place in the city with close access to both train systems.
Being close to the airport (O'Hare) , you would be just about in the middle (the City and Work) (+/- 40 min drive to work and +/- 40 min drive to the city (with little traffic). (longer when the snow hits and summer construction)
If you live in Carol Stream and want to party in the city after work, you are looking at least a 2 drive (or more, Friday rush hour starts right after lunch). Or can do a train ride from Wheaton to Chicago (less then an hour).
You do have several options. Really depends on the social scene you want. Is there another planned visit before moving out, to figure out the where to settle?
All the best!
Work with a Realtor - it will make your search much more efficient. Enjoy Chicago, I''m sure you will love it. Should you need any help, contact me.
If you want a more "neighborhood" feel - Bucktown/Wicker Park. Has the shopping/restaurant/bar scene with less tourists. Chicago's "hipster" type hoods. Close to expressway. On blue line which will take you to airport. A bit more variety in housing styles depending on your budget.
Good Luck and let me know if you need any help.