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9 Affordable Apartments In America’s Priciest Cities

affordable apartments for rent
Dreaming of big-city living? These amenity-packed apartments deliver maximum bang for your buck.

What do San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY, have in common? The median price for a rental in either city is $4,495 per month! Ouch, right? But don’t resign yourself to a lifetime of PB&J dinners just yet — and don’t put yourself at risk of paying too much. Instead, get your apartment search off on the right (and educated!) foot by using Trulia’s handy Heat Map and search by “Rental Price.” Once you identify the median rent in your target city, you’ll be well on your way to uncovering that bargain-priced, hidden gem of a rental that’ll turn your big-city dreams into a reality.

And if those dreams include visions of Philadelphia, PA, Boston, MA, or seven other of the country’s most expensive metropolitan areas, consider this roundup a head start on your apartment search.

1. Living for the nightlife

$1,780 to $2,168/month, Broadstone at Brickell

Standing tall in the heart of Miami, FL’s business district, Broadstone at Brickell, a sleek and sultry apartment community with two floor plans under the city’s median rent of $2,200 per month, appeals to the “work hard, play hard” kind of renter. Uber-modern units are decked out in luxe finishes like quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, while private terraces overlook the glittering Miami cityscape. Access to the resort-style outdoor pool (with cabanas, no less) is included in the rent, but those who prefer salt to chlorine can make the short trek across Biscayne Bay and plunge into the turquoise-blue waters of South Beach.

2. Made in Lower Manhattan

$2,775/month, 15 Cliff St. #4, New York, NY 10038

Barn-wood-style plank floors, built-in breakfast bars, and blond cabinetry decorate the apartments of 15 Cliff, a rental community in New York’s bustling Financial District. Coming in well under the city’s $4,495 median rent, the studios max out at a tight 455 square feet (this is NYC, after all). But the rooftop sun deck — complete with views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges — offers additional space to loosen a necktie after a long day on Wall Street.

3. Let there be light in LA

$3,500/month, Instrata Sunset Vine Tower

Could natural light be considered an amenity? The industrial-chic apartments in Instrata Sunset Vine Tower, a glass high-rise in Hollywood with one-bedroom lofts under the area’s $4,000 median, have it in spades. It’s a happy byproduct of the floor-to-ceiling windows that come standard-issue in each loft-style unit. (The abundance of glass is good for growing houseplants, but it’s even better for returning amazing views of the Hollywood Hills!) Take the elevator down to street level for a dip in the saltwater pool, then grab a bite to eat from one of the on-site restaurants.

4. Luxe living near Lake Merritt

$3,094/month, Merritt on 3rd

San Francisco is just a 25-minute drive away, but Merritt on 3rd, an 18-story apartment building in Oakland, CA, provides more than a few reasons to stay put. First is the location, just a stone’s throw from Oakland’s crown jewel, Lake Merritt. Second are the building’s amenities, which include a Wi-Fi lounge, a pet park, and an outdoor pool that’s heated year-round. As for the apartments, several of which sneak in just under the city’s $3,097 median rent, expect an open layout, vinyl plank flooring, quartz countertops in the kitchen, and views of Oakland and San Francisco Bay.

5. Wake up with a view in Boston

$2,265 to $2,675/month, 315 on A

Prefer to start your day with a cup of coffee and a sunrise view? Opt for an east-facing studio loft at 315 on A, a LEED-certified apartment community in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. Starting at $2,265 per month (under Beantown’s median rent of $2,750), select studios promise stunning views of the morning sun as it rises over the Boston skyline — in addition to such niceties as Nest thermostats, hardwood floors, stacking washers and dryers, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Head up to the rooftop “sky lounge” at dusk, and you’ll be able to bid the sun adieu (until morning!)

6. Everything under one roof in the Windy City

$1,435/month, One East Delaware

If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of realizing you’re out of [insert name of missing ingredient here] while cooking, you’ll appreciate the fact that Chicago’s One East Delaware, which offers a studio floor plan that is just below the city’s median rent of $1,500, boasts an attached Potash Market. The grocery store joins a handful of businesses (a Starbucks, a salon, a fitness studio …) that have set up shop within the Near North Side apartment building. Meanwhile, designer-inspired kitchens, roomy closets, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private balconies define the space within each apartment. Did we mention the attached parking garage?

7. Close to the T in Cambridge

$2,563 to $2,857/month, Axiom Apartment Homes

Close to two T stations, Axiom Apartment Homes, a LEED-certified apartment community with several layouts under Cambridge, MA’s $3,200 median, is made all the more appealing by its super-convenient Kendall Square location. Inside the mid-rise building, units deliver all the goodies you’d expect from a modern apartment: granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, and wood flooring, to name a few. Communal spaces include a resident Wi-Fi lounge, a 24-hour fitness center, and a courtyard with a fireplace and Zen-style landscaping (say it with us now: Om …).

8. City living with a small-town feel in Philadelphia

$1,015 to $1,120/month, Chestnut Hill Tower

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of Center City Philadelphia, life at Chestnut Hill Tower moves at a slower pace. That’s due to the building’s location in Philly’s affluent and historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood, which swaps skyscrapers for wide open spaces — most notably, the 1,800-acre Wissahickon Valley Park. (And let’s not overlook the bounty of boutiques, restaurants, and coffeehouses that line Chestnut Hill’s cobblestoned Germantown Avenue!) Newly renovated units (including a studio floor plan for less than the $1,200 median rent in the City of Brotherly Love), tennis courts, and a swimming pool are also part of the package at this 18-story luxury high-rise.

9. Recently renovated in the ATL

$1,075 to $1,340/month, 1000 Spaulding Apartment Homes

This apartment community in Atlanta, GA’s Dunwoody section, which offers several floor plans for less than the city’s median rent of $1,375, has recently emerged from the other side of a multimillion-dollar renovation. The upgrades are most easily seen in the new-and-improved fitness center and swanky resident lounge, the latter of which is tricked out with flat-screen TVs and Apple computer workstations. Outside is a “bark park” and a resort-style saltwater pool with cabanas, while the apartments come equipped with washers and dryers, and subway tile– and granite-adorned kitchens.

Which of these affordable apartments for rent catches your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments!