Looking for an apartment involves a lot of guesswork — if you believe Craigslist, absolutely everything is "steps from shopping and transportation!" If you want to figure out how to maximize walkability and minimize commute, you have to actually schlep over there. Or, now, you could just hit the web.
PadMapper integrates rental listings, Google maps, and Walk Score, with the result that for every available apartment you can instantly see street view, price compared to the local median, and — critically — how walkable the neighborhood is and what's nearby.
It's addictive, even if you're not moving imminently. I've already picked out places in Brooklyn, Cambridge, and Seattle. Gotta have options.
If you're lucky enough to be searching for a place in the San Francisco Bay area, you can do even better. The One Bay Area interactive map will show you what neighborhoods you can live in to minimize your commute while staying within your price range.
Then you can plug those neighborhoods into PadMapper and find one that's close to a coffee shop! Perfect.