Pros, cons of off-campus housing options

Illustration by Ashiah Scharaga

The sink won’t stop dripping, the bike rack is filled with tire-less and seat-less bikes, your neighbor peeks out his window every time you leave for class and the only person you have to listen to your complaints is your pet fish, Gordo.

As the spring semester chugs along, the three most popular neighborhoods— Downtown, Nord Avenue and the Avenues north of campus — fill up rather quickly.

Here are some pros and cons of each to help you make a quick decision on where to live so you don’t end up in place with Gordo.



Downtown is conveniently located close to campus and the night scene. Popular bars like Madison Bear Garden and Riley’s are within walking distance of most downtown locations.

Downtown also presents a lot of space. Many large Victorian homes with huge backyards can be rented by students.

Having a social life is also easier, as most fraternities, sororities and student organizations are based downtown.


With an increased social life comes increased noise. Most Friday and Saturday nights bring loud house parties, large groups of people walking the street and the occasional police sirens.

It will also cost a pretty penny to live Downtown, as it is the most expensive out of the three.

Nord Avenue


Nord Avenue provides a quiet escape from the party scene for those who still want to live close to campus. Most housing communities on Nord are about a 10-15 minute walk to campus. There will be occasional parties, but not as many as there are Downtown.

A shopping center with Safeway, CVS Pharmacy and various restaurants is right down the street, making it easy to shop for groceries or grab a bite to eat. Prices are a little lower here, but it is because of smaller living spaces.


Although you get to escape the loud house parties, Nord has some other noises that could cause a problem.

The train is particularly close and could take some getting used to. The street also has a lot of traffic noise and is very busy.

Crossing the street and driving to the shopping center could be a little problematic at times. Spacing could also be an issue, as mostly apartments are offered and not many houses.



The Avenues are more quiet compared to the party scene as well. Mostly students reside here, but the occasional family can be found, which helps the low noise level.

The neighborhood also provides a nice housing selection. There are a couple apartment complexes, but good size houses are what mostly occupy the area. There are only a couple areas that are affected by traffic.


The Avenues area is probably the furthest from campus out of the three neighborhoods. Depending on where you live, you must pass Chico High School’s campus to get to Chico State. The high school creates traffic in the mornings and afternoons, and also East First Avenue is frequently busy.

Each area has its perks and downsides, depending on what the renter or buyer is looking for. The most important thing about housing is choosing what is best for your needs.

Nick Martinez can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.