One of several new rental buildings in downtown Chicago
For a closer look, launch the photo gallery »

With spring upon us, the rental market is starting to bloom, too. And renting downtown has never been hotter, with several swanky new buildings—EnV, 200², and 215 West—having opened in the past year.

But renting downtown is expensive. You might pay as much as 30 percent more than you would spend on comparable square footage in other city neighborhoods, even the very desirable ones, says Gayle Hallen, a veteran leasing agent with Chicago Apartment Finders, which just opened a new downtown office at 711 North State Street. But what you get for that premium pricing is the density of cultural offerings, quick access to the lakefront, and, if you work downtown, a shortened commute—“which gives you more time to enjoy where you live,” Hallen says.

On Tuesday, Hallen and I toured some standout downtown rentals, homes distinguished by their grandeur, their views, or, in this budget-conscious era, their price cuts. Click through the photo tour below to see some of the places we visited.