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Almost 70 miles west of Chicago along I-88 sits Dekalb. Most residents,work, live and play in Dekalb itself rather than commuting to Chicago. For this reason, a wealth of businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues exist in Dekalb. The city also holds Northern Illinois University. The students of this large college make up much of the population of this town. The presence of the student body noticeably colors the otherwise quiet atmosphere of Dekalb. The town also contains a smaller airport and several parks, though residential housing makes up most of the city's land area.


Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Dekalb, IL is $590 for a studio, $667 for one bedroom, $793 for two bedrooms, and $911 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Dekalb has increased by 2.3% in the past year.

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38 Walk Score® Car-Dependent
0 Transit Score® Minimal Transit
60 Bike Score® Bikeable



Numerous restaurants operate within the borders of Dekalb, serving food from a variety of culinary traditions. Many of these restaurants cluster around Highway 38, especially near the university. Here, one might find restaurants such as Pita Pete's Healthy Eats. This deli specializes in wraps and vegetarian options with a focus on healthy eating. The restaurant centers around a large ingredient bar where customers can pick and choose the exact toppings they want on their dish. Pita Pete's falafel also enjoys popularity among Dekalb's diners.

Egg Haven Pancakes & Cafe on Sycamore fulfills Dekalb's breakfast needs. This well-liked restaurant specializes in dishes such as French toast and eggs benedict, though Egg Haven's fresh-squeezed orange juice also deserves mention. Egg Haven serves large portions and often experiences lengthy wait times during peak hours on weekend mornings.

A handful of upscale eateries exist within Dekalb, including the Mikimoto Japanese Steakhouse. This unique fusion restaurant serves a blend of Japanese and American dishes, such as sushi or pepper steak. The Mikimoto Japanese Streakhouse cooks in the hibachi tradition, where the chef cooks the dish at the table and often performs tricks and show moves. This not only entertains guests but also makes it possible to order custom dishes prepared on the spot.

Most of Dekalb's nightlife destinations center around live music and operate close to the university. One of the most popular music venues is Rosy's Roadhouse. This establishment features a large, well-decorated bar and a large dance area. Alternatively, visit Molly's. This popular bar draws huge crowds almost every night of the week, especially on karaoke nights on Tuesdays. Molly's provides a bus/shuttle service to safely bring inebriated customers home.


Due to its proximity to Chicago, Dekalb first rose to prominence as a central trade point for farmers in the surrounding rural areas. Agriculture dominates much of Dekalb's history. 1895 saw the birth of Northern Illinois University; the university soon grew in prominence for nursing, engineering and music degrees.

Music shaped the history of Dekalb in many ways. The town held the Melville Clark Piano Company, which built the massively successful Wurlitzer organs during the 1970s. The town remains musically oriented, thanks to music venues like Otto's and the university's convocation center. Dekalb's city government regularly throws music- and arts-oriented events, most notably Corn Fest. This free music festival occurs in late August and has become a point of pride in Dekalb's culture.


Residents of Dekalb typically drive to get around the town. Interstate 88, Highway 23 and Highway 38 service the community. In the commercial districts of Dekalb, public parking can be difficult to locate, though plentiful free side street parking exists in the residential areas. Even at peak hours, traffic in Dekalb never gets too congested. This means bicycling and walking remain viable options for travel in Dekalb, despite the low number of biking lanes in most areas other than the university.

Several taxi services exist within Dekalb, and drivers commonly frequent the commercial areas near Northern Illinois University looking for fares. Though Uber does not typically cater to the town, drivers from Chicago occasionally make the trek at high costs. The government also offers a public transportation service called DSATS with routes throughout the community and to the neighboring city of Sycamore.


Compared to Chicago, cost of living in Dekalb rates significantly lower. For example, a one-bedroom residence in Dekalb costs roughly $600, nearly half the rate Chicago proper charges. Dekalb's grocery stores and bars charge slightly lower prices. A bar may only charge $3 for a beer.

Gas also costs less in Dekalb than Chicago. Dekalb's gas prices average about 4 percent less than the a national average.


Dekalb holds numerous shops, especially along Sycamore Road in the eastern section of the community. Several boutique shops operate near the university, including one of Dekalb's best music boutiques, Ax in Hand. While this establishment deals mostly in guitar equipment and accessories, it also sells products pertaining to a handful of other instruments. Ax in Hand distinguished itself by specializing in vintage gear before any other music shop in the Midwest, selling rare gear from the '60s and '70s.

Culture Shock punk shop sells funky knickknacks and gifts, hard-to-find men’s and women’s clothing, kitschy housewares and good old-fashioned vinyl records. Half rock 'n roll boutique and half record store, this establishment only opens on Saturdays and Sundays for limited hours, but it proves well worth the wait.

Several grocery stores service Dekalb, including an ALDI, Walmart and Schnuks. Dekalb's citizens travel to the neighboring city of Sycamore to visit the farmers market there for fresh produce.


The city of Dekalb is fortunate enough to hold several parks. The most well-recognized of these, Prairie Park, occupies a large lot of land in south central Dekalb. This park contains a disk golf course, an arboretum and a good deal of pathways.

Dekalb holds dozens of small city parks scattered throughout the neighborhood. These parks typically contain just a playground, open area and walking path, but their sheer abundance adds immeasurably to Dekalb's appeal. Brooks Park on Sangamon Road and Raymond Park on Pond Avenue exemplify this style of city park.


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Dekalb Apartments for Rent

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1400 Twombly Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115
1 / 32
28 min
$500 - 800 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
University Plaza
900 Crane Dr, DeKalb, IL 60115
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$470 - 850 Studio - 3 Bed Available Now
1 wk
829 Greenbrier
829 Greenbrier Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115
$400 Studio Available Now
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427 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115
$330 1 Bed Available Now
122 Harrison St
DeKalb, IL 60115
$300 5 Bed Available Now
1 day
616 Bush St
DeKalb, IL 60115
$450 1 Bed Available Now
1 wk
632 N 11th St
DeKalb, IL 60115
$825 2 Bed Available 09/01/17
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315 Augusta Ave
DeKalb, IL 60115
$330 1 Bed Available Now
880 Regent Dr
DeKalb, IL 60115
$825 Condo for Rent Available Now
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161 John St
DeKalb, IL 60115
$335 House for Rent Available Now
1 day
Ashbury East
807 W Taylor St, DeKalb, IL 60115
$699 - 765 2 Bed Available Now
2 wks

Apartments for Rent Under $900 in Dekalb, IL

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