The Best Neighborhoods for Renters

What makes a place one of the best neighborhoods for renters? It has to have it all -- from inexpensive rent to a reputation as a top hot spot. Best of all, they have not only been vetted for coolness, but they are safe, central and and all-around worthy of a list like this.

Have you ever thought about what neighborhood you would rent in if you could move anywhere in the country? Where can you get a delicious cheeseburger, a cheap whiskey sour and then head to your home down the block -- a fabulous two-bedroom, the second room of which you get to use as a home office?

For anyone thinking about moving or anyone who just needs more neighborhoods to fantasize about renting in, here is the crème de la crème, as determined by AOL Real Estate:

9. The East Village, New York

While nearly all of Manhattan has by now become a "rich man's island" with its overblown rental costs and even overpriced hot dog vendors, there is still a small piece of the apple still renter-friendly. "The East Village is the perfect mix of people," says Kate Linton, a thirty-something woman who recently moved down from her too-expensive loft on the Upper West Side. With the East side subway-free, the East Village has avoided much of the gentrification that has so substantially changed the face of the rest of the city. Linton agrees: "There are students, young singles, families, artists, old timers- and you'll never be bored as long as you're up for a stroll."

8. Silver Lake, Los Angeles

The Silver Lake neighborhood in L.A. ranks number eight on the list because it doesn't have the sprawling suburban feel for which the L.A. has become known. "Well, for one, it's walkable," says Robyn Morrison who has lived in the neighborhood for two and a half years. "It also has hills and trees, which is
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pretty rare in a lot of parts of L.A." Morrison also values the pockets of working-class Hispanic populations dotting the area. "And there are a lot of cool brunch places, lots of cafes, not to mention the great mix of architectural styles in the nice houses up on the hills."

7. Ashmont, Boston

Back in the day, Dorchester had to be pronounced "Doh-chestah" if you knew what was good for you. "It's got a rep for being pretty gritty and dangerous," says Wendy Simard, a local for the over two years, "but we're in a great part of it. The neighborhood of Ashmont is undergoing a renaissance of sorts." While the rents aren't the cheapest you can find, you will definitely get a lot more for your money than you would in Jamaica Plain or Cambridge not to mention all the perks you get of a cool up and coming neighborhood. "And," adds Simard, "the red line is nearby and can shoot you easily into downtown Boston, which is nice."

6. Bouldin Creek, Austin, Tex.

"The coolest neighborhood in Austin is South Congress, because that's where everything's at," says twelve-year resident Chris Rose. "T'aint cheap, though!" Which is precisely where Bouldin Creek comes in. Adjacent to the trendy SoCo neighborhood, Bouldin Creek has some gentrification, but not enough to bring in the chain coffee shops. In fact, the local caffeine stop, the Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse and Cafe, has a mission of community action. A neighborhood coffeehouse with a mission is one any renter can get behind. And their patio can be described as funky. What more could you want?

5. North Philly, Philadelphia

Home to Temple University, North Philly is one of those places that offers a little of everything. From students and young families to a diverse and thriving international communities, this Philadelphia neighborhood has managed to remain reasonably priced while continuing to attract an exciting array of restaurants, bars and other businesses. "I lived there for five years and loved it," says Jennifer Gilmore. "Sometimes I wish I could go back."

4. North Center, Chicago, IL

The best place to live in the city of Chicago is the North Center neighborhood. "It is reasonably priced and feels like a neighborhood," says Jennifer Miller who has lived there for 4 ½ years. The neighborhood is adjacent to a lot of the cities greatest bars, restaurants and cafes-and getting to them is walkable. "From Lincoln Sq. to Ravenswood, Uptown and Andersonville. Friendly neighbors and a lot of diversity," adds Miller.

3. German Village, Columbus, Ohio

"Columbus is one of the only cities I have ever lived in that seems to improve on itself," says four year resident Joy Field. In particular she likes German Village, a small area just east of downtown that continues to maintain cobbled streets. "It's really so quaint and the homes are very old-world," says Field. "It isn't the cheapest neighborhood in the city, but for the money, it's truly the best." Dotted with acclaimed restaurants, such as the New York-style Katzinger's Deli and Schmidt's Sausage Haus, the area is teaming with delicious food and comfortable watering holes. Then there is The Book Loft, the greatest 32-room new- and used-book store in the world. When you tack on that German Village is around the corner from the Brewery District, what more could a renter ask for?

2. Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A longstanding cultural center for Brooklyn's African-American population, Bed-Stuy is finally coming in to its own. "Macon Street is this microcosm of a perfect neighborhood," says Sarah Willcox, a Brooklyn resident for six years. "From the greatest Italian restaurant, Saraghina to Peaches, another awesome neighborhood joint, this is the next great Brooklyn hood." Added bonuses: Parking is a cinch and a newly refurbished neighborhood tennis court doesn't hurt.

1. Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.

"There aren't many neighborhoods in D.C. that feel truly diverse," says Jamie McDonald, an area resident for ten years, "but Mt. Pleasant falls within the small diverse core where new and old, black and white and Latino all mix it up." While it has plenty to offer in terms of restaurants and fun, its main attraction is the relatively affordable housing along with some, nice quiet, tree-lined streets . It's also centrally located and therefore within easy reach of any of D.C.'s other trendy neighborhoods. "Mt. Pleasant, while standing on its own as a nice place to live," adds McDonald, "really brings it all home by being at the center of everything in D.C. that you really want or need."

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:
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