Ahhh, college. No matter what your age, a thriving collegiate community can greatly enhance the quality of life of whatever town it is in.
But not all college atmospheres are created equal. The best college towns will provide the perfect mix of intellectual curiosity and tomfoolery. As long as you’re willing to put up with occasional spectacles of public drunkenness, then the following cities are the best college towns to search for apartments for rent.
If you’re looking for apartments for rent a new city, it can be very difficult to get some good inside info on what it’s actually like to live in certain areas. Promotional websites will spoon feed you fluff on how fantastic their own area is, while you’ll only find hyperbolic and unreliable statements on internet message boards. How do you sift through all the misinformation? Here are five great blogs to help you get a feel for what life is actually like in the five most populous cities in America:
1. New York City, NY
New York City is absolutely enormous, and with the millions of different opinions of NYC floating around on the internet, finding reliable information can be like picking a snowflake out of an avalanche. Thankfully, there’s gothamist.com, a site which offers news, commentary, and insight about everything happening at ground level in all the NYC neighborhoods. Definitely required reading if you plan to move to the Big Apple.
2. Los Angeles, CA
With all the Hollywood drama surrounding Los Angeles, it can be difficult to find a blog that isn’t solely concerned with what purses the latest young starlets have been wearing. You can find excellent information about where to eat, live, and play at laist.com, a site dedicated to LA lifestyle and not the stylish lives of certain Hollywood inhabitants.
3. Chicago, IL
One of the most informational and reliable blogs those seeking to live in the City of Big Shoulders can read is chitownliving.com, which has real estate tips, specific neighborhood news and reviews, and other helpful articles. Make sure you look up the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to on chitownliving; you’ll get all the inside info you need to make a smart decision on your apartment.
4. Dallas, TX
The most comprehensive source for all things involving the city of Dallas is dallasobserver.com, which has local news, nightclub reviews, and happenings in and around Dallas, even the low-down on particular neighborhoods.
5. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia is completely untangled by the good people at philebrity.com. This site gives you irreverent but reliable info on Philadelphia lifestyle and occurrences, and can be a great compass to help you figure out what neighborhoods to find apartments for rent in the City of Brotherly Love.
Using Padmapper and one of these sites, you can make an informed choice on where to live. Go forth and search for that apartment with confidence.
When trying to find apartments for rent in different cities, one of the biggest draws to a particular town is its music scene. But no matter how long you browse through apartment listings, you won’t find any good information on a city’s music scene within. While any city is never more than a few hours away from its next live concert, there are many factors which can really improve its reputation as being a music haven.
What makes a great music town? If a city was a birthplace of a particular genre of music, if it has amazing music venues on every corner, if it’s the origin for many influential bands….the list goes on. While these factors are great individually, some lucky cities feature the more of them simultaneously.
Without further ado, here are the 3 most outstanding musical cities in America, with notes about where their local movement shave been, what the future holds, and where to live if you want to be a part of these great civic cultures.
New York City, NY
New York City really has it all. Bands flock to it to carve a bite out of the Big Apple’s prodigious music scene. This whole music thing isn’t new for New York City, either. Starting with Tin Pan Alley at the outset of the 20th century, New York City has been the epicenter to more forms of music than any other American city.
Genres like Blues, Jazz, American Folk, Punk, and Disco have all had New York City as a hotbed at some point in their existence. It is also the undeniable birthplace of Hip Hop, one of the most popular musical forms in the world today.
New York City has produced some of the most famous acts in American music history, and is still thriving today.
Where NYC Music has Been:
In 1979, pioneering group the Sugarhill Gang released the first rap song to achieve mainstream success in “Rapper’s Delight,” thus paving the way for future NYC Hip Hop icons like Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z to make their mark on the genre:
Sugarhill Gang- Rapper’s Delight
New York City is also widely known as a hub for the Indie music scene, thanks in large part to wildly popular bands like the Talking Heads. Their hit song “Once in a Lifetime” is a great example of the kind of originality of many great NYC bands over the years:
The Talking Heads- Once in a Lifetime
Where NYC Music is Headed:
There are countless new bands in New York City making a name for themselves in today’s Indie music scene. One band that has been gaining attention from hipsters across America lately is Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear:
Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks
There are also new NYC bands that demonstrate enormous influence from the city’s Disco and Punk scenes, a prime example being the immensely popular band LCD Soundsystem.
LCD Soundsystem- Dance Yrself Clean
Best Music Neighborhood: Williamsburg. This Brooklyn neighborhood has witnessed the rise of a thriving music scene in recent years. Williamsburg is the birthplace of acts like TV on the Radio, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Scissor Sisters. There are also countless dive bars for up-and-coming bands to perform in, so you never know when you’re seeing the next big thing on a night out in Williamsburg.
Seattle is known for three things: inclement weather, mega-companies like Microsoft and Starbucks, and a musical revolution that caused the entire city to wear flannel. Despite being tucked away in a remote corner of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has made a disproportionately large impact on American music. Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix started turning people on to Seattle music in the 1960s, and it continued to thrive in the following decades.
A cultural explosion took place in the city in the late 80s and early 90s with Seattle bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. This created an enormously successful music industry in Seattle, with acts like The Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, and Death Cab for Cutie rising to prominence in recent years. Thanks to Sub Pop, the widely successful independent music label based in Seattle, the city shows no signs of drying up. Here’s a listen of some prime examples from the Emerald City:
Where Seattle Music has Been:
God of the Guitar Jimi Hendrix demonstrates his superhuman abilities in his 1967 hit “Little Wing.”
Jimi Hendrix- Little Wing
The song that started a music revolution that became synonymous with Seattle: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit
Where Seattle Music is Headed:
The rising popularity of Band of Horses, who blend rock with a touch of country, is indicative of Seattle’s continued success in the music business.
Band of Horses- The First Song
Fleet Foxes, who quickly received international acclaim after they released their debut album in 2008, feature Beach Boys-esque harmonies that border on musical perfection:
Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal
Best Music Neighborhood: Capitol Hill. This hipster’s paradise is home to countless music venues, most notably the famous dive known as Neumo’s. The tiny venue has hosted the likes of Pearl Jam, Radiohead, the Flaming Lips and many more over the years, and still hosts nightly shows to this day. Capitol Hill has had many new apartment complexes built in recent years, so finding cheap apartments for rent should be very easy in this vibrant neighborhood.
San Francisco, CA
When it comes to music scenes the San Francisco Bay Area is often overlooked. One glance at the city’s rich musical pedigree, and you’ll be at a loss to figure out why that is. As the birthplace of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, San Francisco became a hotbed for some of the most famous bands of that tumultuous decade.
While hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury to “tune in and drop out,” iconic psychedelic bands like Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Grateful Dead developed what became known as the “San Francisco Sound.” This sub-genre characteristically featured extensive improvisation in live performances and a heavy electric bass, and is still being emulated by musicians today.
In the 80s San Francisco’s music scene hit a little bit of a dry spell, but there has been resurgence lately. The famous “Hyphy” rap movement with artists like E-40 and Mac Dre allows San Francisco to have one of the nation’s most distinctive Hip Hop cultures. And the recent re-emergence of local rock bands has San Francisco looking ahead to many years filled with great new music.
Where San Francisco Music has Been:
In the 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, a cornerstone text of hippie counterculture, Jefferson Airplane released a song that would become the anthem of the decade in “Somebody to Love.”
Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love
“Suzie Q,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, offers a perfect example of the aforementioned ”San Francisco Sound.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival- Suzy Q
Where San Francisco Music is Headed:
Despite releasing their first album in 2009, Girls have an old school sound that seems firmly rooted in Northern California culture:
Girls- Lust for Life
Big Echo, the second album from San Francisco’s the Morning Benders, is definitely in the running for many “Top 10 Albums of 2010” lists.
The Morning Benders- Excuses
Best Music Neighborhood: Haight-Ashbury. While the Summer of Love was over 40 years ago, Haight-Ashbury still has a truly unique culture that is teeming with music performances. As long as you’re ok with all things hippie, Haight-Ashbury can be the perfect neighborhood to satisfy your musical cravings.
If you’re a music fan looking for a place to live, these three cities abound with musical performances and opportunities. Get out there and explore what these cities have to give, they won’t let you down.
Anyone who has traded in evergreens for skyscrapers and fall foliage for subways knows that the urban jungle doesn’t quite hack it when it comes to real nature. And while city life has it perks – coffee shops on every corner, ethnic food, public transportation – there is a part of everyone’s soul that craves rolling hills and fresh air.
A rooftop garden would be a good substitution to a National Forest, but you and I both know that something like this
Image courtesy of Thomas Milne (via Flickr)
is not always in the budget.
However, creating an indoor jungle inside an urban jungle is easy – and best of all, green thumbs are not a pre-requisite. There are plenty of leafy greens that live year-round, thrive in low lighting, and are next to impossible to kill. Even better news: there are a handful of potted plants that go a long way in purifying the air from car exhaust and industrial smog (I’m looking at you Los Angeles) so your home can become a haven of good health.
So you’ve found it: that perfect pre-war/loft/converted-warehouse/fill-in-the-blank that you’ve coveted since your first viewing of Flashdance. Sure, it might be pricey, and don’t even get me started on the water pressure, but it’s your dream home, right?
Many of us can adapt to creaky floors and five stories with no elevator in the name of apartment paradise, but any girl (and those guys who own more than one suit) will balk when they discover that their casa is closet-less. Sorry folks, but turn-of-the-century smelters did not have as much need as you do for a spacious walk-in.
So what do? Turn down the perfect pad out of duty to your shoe collection? Or get creative and enter a realm of never-before-experienced hipsterdom? I’ll be you can guess which one I vote for.
Open closets are great when you have gorgeous clothes you guests can croon over.
Colorful clothes are pieces of art. Image courtesy apartmenttherapy.com
You have $1,200 in your pocket and a messenger bag on your back. What is that going to get you? Well, it depends on which neighborhood you plan on parking your fixie in. Take a look at these hipster hotspots around the country and figure out which one is right for you.
$1,200 Apartments for Rent in All Sorts of Cool Cities
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
$1,200 can get ya: Studio apartment, maybe a one bedroom, definitely a few blocks from the heart of hipsterdom. 450 – 700 square feet. If you’re lucky you’ll be near a subway stop, but don’t count on it. Let’s face it: you probably are in Bushwick – which isn’t so bad – but you still say “Williamsburg.”
It's factory-chic. Images courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com and craigslist.com
It has happened in every apartment for rent I have ever moved in to. You skip down the steps to greet the post man on your first day, all excited to see what sort of letters and post cards you’ve been sent. Low and behold your mailbox is full – heaping even!
The problem: none of it’s for you. It’s all the past tenants’ mail, going back for years upon years upon years. Some are kind of fun (free National Geographic!), some are horrendous (Life Insurance-R-Us!), all of it is a waste. The worst part: chances are you’re part of the cycle.
None of it is for you. Mwahahaha.
In the process of moving, we always forget to notify someone of our departure – traditionally that’s just the way it is. This checklist is designed to help everyone succeed with a No Mail Left Behind move.
A Mover’s Notification Checklist
Thing to Cancel then Renew at Your New Place
There are things you need to cancel when you move out. Chances are a land lord will have a role in some of these processes, but make sure you double check for yourself. The last thing you want is your name on someone else’s bill.
Local club memberships
Local newspaper subscription
Things to Transfer
Other things you will want (or need) to keep around: prescriptions, your subscription to The New Yorker, your tax return. Each item will probably have its own process for updating your contact information and mailing address, but hopefully most of it can be done online.
One of the keys to finding great apartments for rent is searching for a neighborhood that’s conducive to your particular interests and lifestyle. For example, if your idea of a good time is going out to a few happening nightclubs and maybe seeing a live concert, then living in a neighborhood that’s home to the city’s largest retirement community might be a bad idea. If sports are near and dear to your heart, then it would be a great move to put yourself in a thriving sports atmosphere near a major ballpark. Here are three neighborhoods that could be a veritable shangri la for sports afficianados.
Wrigleyville- Chicago, IL
Home to Wrigley Park and those lovable losers the Chicago Cubs, Wrigleyville is one of the best neighborhoods in America for baseball fans. Wrigleyville features a generally younger demographic, and is filled with some of the nation’s best sports bars like The Cubby Bear and Slugger’s. Getting in and out of Wrigleyville is a piece of cake, as it is serviced by Chicago’s highly efficient El-Train. Sports isn’t the only thing to do in Wrigleyville- the neighborhood’s Irish heritage causes it to be one of the best places in town to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Despite being so close to a landmark as historic as Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville apartments won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Wrigleyville tends to be one of the best places in Chicago to look for reasonably cheap apartments. If you’re a high roller, though, spring for the apartments that overlook the field- the Holy Grail of apartments if you’re a Cubs fan.
Orchard Park- Buffalo, NY
The Pride of Buffalo
Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Buffalo, NY knows one thing about its friendly inhabitants: the Buffalo Bills are about as close to the town’s official religion as a sports team could possibly get. While many NFL stadiums nowadays are located in the downtown areas of their respective cities, Ralph Wilson Stadium is actually located in the pleasant suburban neighborhood of Orchard Park. Indeed, a drive through the streets of Orchard Park initially seems like a drive through Anytown, USA, but when all of the sudden an NFL stadium crops up on a random street corner, you know you’re someplace special. The Buffalo Bills fans are known for having one of the best tailgate scenes in the NFL, but the best pre-game party could be thrown from the comfort of many of the cheap homes for rent in Orchard Park. The Bills aren’t the only outlet for fun in Buffalo; the town’s proximity to the beautiful Niagara Falls makes it all the more appealing.
Wicked Neighborhood for Pats Fans
If a team is going to have the gusto to claim they represent a multi-state geographical region, then they had best be successful. In recent years, the New England Patriots have done exactly that. But despite their lofty achievements, their home stadium is located in the quaint Boston suburb of Foxborough. At first glance, it might seem absurd to have an NFL stadium in such a quiet down, but upon closer examination Foxborough really is the perfect place for Gillette stadium. On non-gamedays, Foxborough is indistinguishable from any other small quintessentially New England town. It only makes sense, then, that the Patriots aren’t named after a city but the entire region. Being only a 30 minute drive from Boston allows Foxborough to have all of the amenities of a big city without the hustle and bustle headache. Indeed, Foxborough might just be the quiet sports fan’s pigskin paradise
While many other professional sports stadiums are located in great neighborhoods, these three areas provide the best overall experience. Don’t take our word for it, though. With internet apartment finders like Padmapper, it’s easier than ever to view apartment listings in any great sports neighborhood.
You may notice that a lot of duller-looking markers have appeared on the map. What’s going on? I’m trying something new out.
Since the Beginning…
Since the beginning, PadMapper’s policy has been to show only the listings where it’s confident in the location of the listing. This means that listings with an address like “W 24th St., New York, NY” were never shown, since they could be anywhere on the West half of Manhattan at the 24th St. level. If you care about the exact location of your place, that was no good. So, PadMapper showed just the high quality stuff.
This created a problem, though – some people decided they couldn’t rely on PadMapper alone, since it wasn’t showing everything available. This went doubly for the alerts. Something had to be done.
Now, when PadMapper’s not sure about the location of a place, it will still be shown, but instead of bright red, the marker will be a washed-out shade of red, indicating that it’s a second-class citizen in the map world, and that that rental isn’t necessarily right at that spot. The street view and walk score tabs aren’t necessarily going to be very representative… use them at your own risk.
So that takes care of the ones with crummy addresses. What about listings without addresses, you ask?
I’ve got something for you there, too – now PadMapper now tries to infer the location of an address-less place based on its neighborhood and city. It’ll appear somewhere in the neighborhood, and it’ll come up in alerts, but don’t expect the street it’s on on the map to be the one it’s on in reality.
To make sure you don’t mistake these for the more precise ones, not only is the marker color different, but the listing bubble has a big red and bolded “Location is Approximate” on the ones it’s not sure about.
I’ll probably add a filter to let you select whether the imprecise ones get shown, so that you can be picky at first, and then you can get less picky if you run out of high quality ones to browse through.
Please let me know if you love or hate the change by dropping me some mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it’s time to move your stuff across the country, what’s the cheapest way to do it? Do you pay a moving company or rent a moving truck? What about moving pods? There are tons of options to get you and your things from point A to point B, and PadMapper is here to help.
All packed up... now what?
Using a hypothetical moving situation, I set out to find how much it would cost to move one person’s studio apartment (1,000 lbs. of stuff) from Seattle to New York City. The imaginary apartment for rent is on the third floor and the total trip is rounded off at 3,300 miles.
Before you move into your new apartment, check out our list of the cheapest and easiest ways to move across the country.
The Moving Company
There are a million moving companies on the internet, and you’ll get a dirty vibe from just about all of them. First of all, finding a quote is impossible without divulging your phone number and email address. Thinking nothing of it, I submitted my information to a moving company resource provider and within five minutes my email was bombarded with six different solicitors asking about my moving situation. They’re ruthlessly invasive and they’re notorious for moving scams, but when they do their job, they’re a necessary evil.
The average moving company charges roughly 74 cents per pound and a per-mile fee that varies from company to company. A sneaky additional moving fee of roughly $100 per flight of stairs to move anything above the first two flights can sometimes catch you by surprise.
Total estimate: $2500.
If you plan to move it yourself, using a rental truck service is the best way to travel with your stuff every step of the way. One problem: you have to travel with all of your stuff throughout the entire trip in someone else’s truck.
Most companies designate the 10’ truck as the “apartment mover.” The average truck this size has roughly the following dimensions:
Volume: 400 cu. ft.
Max load: 2,800 lbs.
Gross weight: 8,600 lbs.
Empty weight: 5,700 lbs.
8 – 11 MPG on Unleaded fuel
Including up to a 10 day rental and use for 3,300 miles, a rental truck will roughly cost $1,100, plus the $750 cost for fuel.
Total estimate: $1850.
Moving POD companies will bring a large moving container ranging in size from 8’x7’x7’ (size of a large walk-in closet) to 8’x8’x12’ (size of three to four bedrooms) and generally charge a flat moving fee without the hidden costs of gas and extra mileage. However, since pods are typically moved using 18-wheelers, you may have to pay an extra fee to get your pod onto a smaller truck and into the city.
One other benefit of moving pods is that you can stagger the delivery of the moving pods to allow you more time to load or unload your belongings, which might also result in a storage fee.
Total estimate: Brand name POD services will cost roughly $4,000 and non-branded POD services run $3,000.
Other Moving Options
One option many movers are overlooking is the ability to ship via Amtrak. Shipping your boxes through this national train service will cost roughly $67.00 for the first 100 lbs. and an additional $.57 for each additional pound. The only downside of shipping through Amtrak is that they’re unable to ship furniture or electronics. While this is a limited option, shipping by Amtrak is a great solution for many who are driving to their destination and plan on purchasing apartment furnishings when they get there.