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The 20th-century residents of Calumet City eagerly traded the area's infamous notoriety as a bootlegger's paradise for a modest, low-profile existence. Their efforts to redefine the area show in the city's breathtaking parks and casual, family-oriented entertainment. Calumet City's location roughly 23 miles south of Chicago grants residents the benefits of urbanization, but the area proudly offers suburban amenities, including its many neatly landscaped residential streets and living expenses lower than those in Chicago.
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As of September 2018, the average apartment rent in Calumet City, IL is $705 for a studio, $791 for one bedroom, $950 for two bedrooms, and $1,074 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Calumet City has increased by 1.3% in the past year.
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Living in Calumet City
American cuisine dominates the dining scene in Calumet City, but a decent selection of international restaurants adds variety. Burnham Avenue and River Oaks Drive offers the highest concentration of restaurants, but take time to check out other eateries scattered around town. For mouth-watering takeout, dine on generous portions of pork tips, brisket and turkey legs at 4 Little Pigs Bar-B-Que Pit. The Cajun-style sandwiches take the spotlight at Tilly's Po'Boys, but locals pile in for other Southern staples, including gumbo, fried green tomatoes and banana pudding. Stop in for a bacon and shrimp or buffalo bleu cheese shrimp po' boy, or choose the build-a-salad option for a lighter meal. Whether you order the big or huge po' boy size, you pay only a little more than you would at a fast-food joint for these popular loaded sandwiches. Don Pedro draws a loyal midday crowd for lunch specials and low-cost platters of Mexican food. Feast on chile relleno, a meaty taco and a side of rice and beans, or a tantalizingly overstuffed burrito for under $10. Finish your day with a margarita and an authentic Mexican dinner of mole poblano chicken or enchilada suizas.
The cooks at Nicky's Gyros have mastered no-fuss food, which explains why this family-owned restaurant has been around since 1986. Locals rarely spend more than $10 to fill up on tasty fast-food-type favorites, including burgers, gyros and buffalo wing platters.
True to its anti-Prohibition past, there are dozens of bars in Calumet City. In fact, you can find many of them planted in the middle of residential blocks, so locals simply walk to the nearest bar in many parts of the city. For laid-back entertainment in town, catch a flick at Lansing Cinema 8, or stake out a lane at Castaways Bowl. The bowling alley stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends, and locals frequently have pizza delivered from Windy City Pizza Works next door.
Calumet City originated as West Hammond and mainly housed European farmers and factory workers in the late 19th century. An influx of Polish immigrants caused a massive population increase in the early 20th century, and the Prohibition era triggered further growth by attracting bootleggers capitalizing on anti-alcohol laws in nearby Indiana. West Hammond was infamously known as "Sin City," spurring residents to advocate for a renewed identity. Although the area was renamed Calumet City in 1923, the community still struggled to wipe out much of the infamous bar scene until the 1990s.
Despite its racy past, modern-day Calumet City has transitioned into a primarily residential area with limited commercial recreation. Drive to Chicago or Indiana to catch the latest performing arts shows at venues such as Theatre at the Center. Attend Festival of the Lakes in Hammond to enjoy live music and events ranging from fishing derbies to 5K races.
Calumet City locals frequently use cars to navigate this moderately walkable city and opt for public transportation when commuting. Most foot and bike travel take place near the northeast and central regions where many schools, bus routes and parks lie in walking distance. In addition to having bike-friendly roads, the area has a well-developed greenway trail system that runs the entire length of the city and connects to neighboring Indiana towns, providing safe, uninterrupted bike routes.
Since Pace bus routes, such as the 364, 358, 355 and 353, mainly stick to Burnham Avenue, Wentworth Avenue, River Oaks Drive or Sibley Boulevard, they aren't practical options for traveling deep into residential neighborhoods. Fortunately, these routes do provide convenient connections to Hegewisch Station or the Metra Electric rail line for a 30- to 40-minute commute to Chicago.
Free public parking accommodates this driver-oriented community. Calumet and other nearby towns have few or no cab companies, and the area lies outside the Uber service area. Highways surround the city, so locals can head straight up I-94 or Route 41 towards Chicago. Drive south to access I-80 for east-west travel to the Orland Park area or Indiana.
Living costs in Calumet City fall about 15 percent below the Chicago average, and the local apartment market carries a median one-bedroom rent of $786. Gas prices in town cost about 4 percent more than the nationwide average, while you need to spare about $10 for a trip to central Chicago when using public transportation. Expect to pay $2 to $5 for a pint of beer at nearby pubs.
Residents take care of diverse shopping needs at River Oaks Shopping Center and River Oaks Center mall in southwest Calumet City. This low-key area doesn't have many high-end or boutique stores. However, popular franchises such as Target, the Children's Place, Payless and Sheikh shoes cover your everyday needs without stretching your budget.
Wander through It's Just Serendipity in downtown Hammond to browse a unique collection of memorabilia, antiques and home goods. The owners describe their store as a "treasure trove for accidental discoveries." On any given day, you may find baked goods alongside gift baskets and handmade jewelry.
Local guys expand their wardrobes at Big Time, a clothing and shoe store that sells business and casual wear. If you love boots, check out the store's inventory of exotic-skin boots that range from python to ostrich.
Calumet City residents have no trouble finding places to buy groceries. Ultra's Foods, Aldi and Sam's Club provide one-stop shopping for locals near the south end. Meanwhile, Pete's Fresh Market, 1st Choice Market and City Food Market allow quick grocery runs if you live closer to the north end of the neighborhood.
Travel outside the city if you devote some of your budget to farm-to-table shopping. Zeldenrust Farm Market hosts a small roadside market in Chicago Heights, while Orland Park offers an ongoing market with about 40 vendors. When you visit Chicago proper, stop by the 61st Street Farmers Market on Saturdays to find fresh goodies year round.
Calumet City's countless parks, recreation centers and fitness centers provide all the space and equipment you need to get closer to nature, shed a few pounds or maximize family time.
Kick back at the public pool or ride a towering slide at Finneran Water Park. The tot pool and splash pad provide safe play for young children, and you can pick up snacks on-site at the concession stands.
The Cook County Forest Preserve area combines multiple park facilities in an easily accessible location on the city's central west side. For $5 or less per person, locals visit the Green Lake Family Aquatic Center to cool off in the splash pool or lazy river. Ride your bike or jog with your pet along Burnham Greenway's 2.5-mile path through a wetland and prairie nature preserve. Explore the wildlife, forest terrain and cultural exhibits at Sand Ridge Nature Center. The center regularly organizes fun nature excursions, treating children to educational adventures.
Memorial Park satisfies your athletic side with fields for baseball and softball and open greenery for exercising or playing catch. A sand-play section and playscape keep the kids entertained, but you can also pay $1 admission to enjoy mini golf, batting cages and a splash station at the onsite Family Fun Center. In early fall, Memorial Park hosts a marathon and 5K race for locals who love running or power walking.
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Ginger Ridge Apartments1954 Memorial Dr, Calumet City, IL 60409$725 - 1,110 1-3 Bed Available 09/30/18844-849-6106
Sandridge Apartments5 158th Pl, Calumet City, IL 60409$885 - 995 1-2 Bed Available Now844-293-2703
1906 Pulaski Rd Unit #3ECalumet City, IL 60409$1,025 Condo for Rent Available 10/30/18844-895-9791
15038 Minerva Ave Unit 1SDolton, IL 60419$850 2 Bed Available Now708-841-8888
1677-85 State St1677-1685 State St, Calumet City, IL 60409$955 - 1,020 2 Bed Available NowNew
1329 Hirsch AveCalumet City, IL 60409$1,250 House for Rent Available Now9 hrs
393 Clyde AveCalumet City, IL 60409$1,250 House for Rent Available Now9 hrs
486 Buffalo AveCalumet City, IL 60409$750 1 Bed Available Now9 hrs
1249 Cunningham DrCalumet City, IL 60409$1,200 Condo for Rent Available Now9 hrs
442 155th StCalumet City, IL 60409$1,150 House for Rent Available Now9 hrs
1881 Michigan City RdCalumet City, IL 60409$1,000 Condo for Rent Available Now9 hrs
486 Buffalo AveCalumet City, IL 60409$950 2 Bed Available Now9 hrs
575 Ingraham AveCalumet City, IL 60409$975 House for Rent Available NowNew
1037 Wentworth AveCalumet City, IL 60409$1,425 House for Rent Available NowNew
Spacious Single Family Home for Rent913 160th Pl, Calumet City, IL 60409$1,450 House for Rent Available Now10 hrs
326 Clyde Ave326 Clyde Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409$1,250 House for Rent Available Now10 hrs
801 EuclidCalumet City, IL 60409$900 House for Rent Available NowNew
326 Clyde Ave326 Clyde Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409$1,250 House for Rent Available NowNew
Spacious Three Bedroom Available Unit 1575 Ingraham Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409$975 3 Bed Available Now1 day
448 Hirsch AveCalumet City, IL 60409$1,565 House for Rent Available Now1 day
Spacious Three Bedroom Available Unit 9111 Memorial Dr, Calumet City, IL 60409$975 3 Bed Available Now1 day
Apartments for Rent in Calumet City, IL
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