Good for: City dwellers who crave a spacious interior and a little land
At around $150 a square foot, houses near the Blue Line—like this shiny five-bedroom recent gut reno with four bathrooms and a two-car garage—are Wicker Park on the cheap.
Good for: Commuters seeking calm near a lively downtown
In this northwest burb, a half mil can land anything from fussy Victorians to modern McMansions like this one, which has four bedrooms and a supersize deck.
Good for: Foodie families who want easy access to the Loop
This revamped 1970 three-bedroom ranch, like the dozens of ramblers in south La Grange, is biking distance from inventive restaurants, boutique shopping, and two Metra stations.
Good for: Architecture buffs angling for a room with a view
Even on the border of Lincoln Park, a reasonable amount of dough can score a lot of Mies van der Rohe, such as this two-bedroom 28th-floor penthouse with floor-to-ceiling windows in every room.