Renting in the Suburbs vs. Downtown

Renting in the Suburbs vs. Downtown

Suburbs vs. downtown living: Which to choose? Where a person chooses to rent an apartment is a major decision. Even the busiest people spend plenty of time in their homes. It serves as their home base, and people are typically locked into a rental for at least a year. So, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of renting downtown vs. the suburbs. It comes down to money, noise, excitement, convenience, etc. The way you feel about these things can help you decide which area is most suitable for you.

Pros and Cons of Renting in Downtown

renting downtown

Downtown living in a thriving city can be exciting. There’s proximity to a wide array of amenities and entertainment. Got a craving for some ethnic food at 11:30 on a Wednesday night? It’s easy to satisfy a craving when there’s a restaurant within walking distance. Delivery is just as simple.

The most popular restaurants and funkiest bars tend to be downtown. Living downtown means you’re either within walking distance or a short Uber or public transportation ride away from the excitement. The same goes for plays, concerts, and other cultural events and attractions. Stores of all types also tend to dot downtowns. Being downtown means easy access to a plethora of entertainment options and amenities.

In 2019 the average American motorist spent 99 hours waiting in traffic. Brutal! The numbers are worse in the vicinity of big cities. With many workplaces in cities, it’s hard to avoid traffic unless you live downtown. Downtown living allows you to avoid your car and traffic while commuting to work. Whether you bike or walk to work, you save time. And who couldn’t use more time?

In addition, biking or walking to work, rather than driving, is eco-friendly. A green commute is also less expensive and good exercise.

However, as you ask yourself if downtown living is worth the cost, there’s more to the story. Downtown areas are typically crowded. Every piece of real estate is occupied and valuable. Therefore, city rentals cost more, making downtown living synonymous with high rents and small spaces. You can forget about those spacious apartments typical of sitcoms unless you’re super rich.

Being around all the action has its cons as well. Downtown living is noisy. Whether it’s from the happenings on the streets or cars honking in traffic, it’s rarely quiet downtown. In addition to noise pollution, traffic creates more air pollution. Finally, there’s often little green space in downtown areas. If you want to go to a park, you will probably need to escape the downtown area.

Pros and Cons of Renting in a Suburb

renting in suburbs

The other side of the coin is suburban living. If you’re considering suburban renting, know that the cool factor is way harder to find outside of downtown. While there are cultural events and activities in the suburbs, they are less common.

Getting to nearly any event, restaurant, or bar requires you to drive your car. Public transportation is less frequent and less reliable in the suburbs. There may be options in the center of your suburb, but they tend to be limited.

As a result of less activity in the suburbs, it’s much quieter. You can enjoy quiet and nature in your backyard, on your front steps, or at a local park. Birds chirp, squirrels run free, and bees buzz. It’s rather pleasant. Suburban living is relaxed and quiet.

Other noises rarely heard in the suburbs are police and emergency vehicle sirens. Suburban living gives you a better chance for a full night of sleep, and crime rates are lower.

More space means suburban renting is typically less expensive. You’ll get a larger living space for the same money you’d spend downtown. In general, prices are lower in the suburbs. Bigger stores (again, more space) can sell items for less in bulk, leading to a lower cost of living.

However, it costs more to commute from the suburbs. You’re either paying a chunk of change to commute to and from the city for work, or you’re paying for a car and all the expenses that go with it. Beyond the monetary cost of commuting is the time it takes. As noted above, the time spent waiting in traffic is significant.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Between Downtown and Suburb Rentals

As you consider city vs. suburb living, there are many factors to weigh. As a renter, you may have more options in the city. However, the apartments tend to be smaller. If you are young and single, downtown living has much to offer to keep you entertained no matter the time or day. If you are more interested in quiet and green space, suburban living is probably the right choice.

Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget. Both downtown suburban and living offer pros and cons. Many people are happy in both areas.


Downtown living is exciting as you are near so many different things. Yet, the air and noise pollution and exorbitant costs can put a damper on the excitement. Suburban living means a more relaxed lifestyle – you’re lucky to find something open past 10:00 p.m. even on weekends, – but the cost in time and money to go out can be frustrating.

Suburbs vs. downtown living – still unsure? If you’re looking for excitement, downtown living is probably for you. If you enjoy peace and quiet, suburban living is a good bet. One last consideration is your family and friends. Sometimes having the people you care about nearby trumps everything else.

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