Living in windy Chicago has certain advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a bustling urban hub, you have made the best decision – moving to Chicago will suit you well. This is the capital of diversity and one of, if not the largest city in the Midwest. It is also the third-largest metropolis in the US after New York and Los Angeles. Despite its magnitude, navigating through the city is a piece of cake.
Before you finalize your moving decision and set your eyes on a certain Chicago neighborhood, you should get familiar with its specific lifestyle, its unique set of amenities, and the characteristics of residents who live there. Refer to the below guide, and hopefully, you will reach your decision and make up your mind. The birthplace of skyscrapers and leading architectural empires is on the wish list of many nomads around the US and the entire world. Here is what you need to know about living there.
Know the Cost of Living before Moving to Chicago
The first thing you should know about choosing this metropolis as your next home is that it won’t be cheap, especially if you are moving from a small town to a big city like this. This might be an urban hub that is cheaper than NYC and Los Angeles, but it’s also one of the most expensive places in the Midwest. Nonetheless, your income will most likely be higher, as well.
Finding a Job
Finding a job is not that easy, and the market is somewhat competitive. Unless you already have a job waiting for you here, you should do some research and start looking at job openings before you begin the relocation process. If you do not want to find a job in a new city right away, save enough money to cover the first couple of months – this will reduce the financial stress.
The main industries here cover finance, health care, and education. Over the years, the number of startup companies has risen significantly. Even though the competition is fierce, this is a giant metropolis, and there is something for everyone – you need to dig deep.
Chicago’s Public Transport – Join the City’s Commuters
Surprisingly, here you will find an excellent network of metro lines, and you can easily get from one part of the city to another one for no more than $3. Whether you take the bus or you choose the train, there won’t be delays and cancellations. Chicago Transit Authority, known as CTA, consists of eight train lines that run on schedule every day. Forget about the crowded metro with no place to sit, since this place is one of the cities with the best public transportation in the whole of the US.
Without a doubt, you will enjoy the ride above the ground where you can catch the panorama of the entire city. The CTA is known for its L trains, and if you are looking for a way to save some money, you should get a Ventra ticket.
Owning a Vehicle
With a commute system that operates seamlessly, do you need a vehicle? One of the downsides of this metropolis is the lack of parking spots. There are a lot of non-parking and tow zones. During the colder days, you can expect up to 40 inches of snow, which will cover most of the parking spots – just because you clean it, it doesn’t mean your car will go there. In case you clean the public parking space, someone else might take that place or reserve it by putting a chair or a stone – anything they can find. Besides, the parking fees are high, and it doesn’t pay off to pay almost $30 per day to have the spot. It’s just the way that things work. If, however, you find living without a car imaginable, make sure you find top-notch Chicago movers with reliable auto transport services.
Home Renting or Home Buying – Compare the Costs
After you move and start from scratch, it will take some time to figure out how to proceed – the next step is probably the property. Can you afford to buy a house in this Midwest giant? The average cost of buying a brand-new home here is around $300,000 – it’s a lot cheaper than in LA. Nonetheless, even these prices are not as low as you might think they will be.
If you are thinking about renting an apartment until you have everything figured out, you should know that the average rent cost is around $1800, much more expensive than anywhere else in the state of Illinois. Again, living in any neighborhood of this metropolis will be more affordable than in Los Angeles.
Pick the Right Neighborhood – Do They Differ in Cost?
This diverse metropolis has a vast number of neighborhoods, and each one of them differs in price. It is estimated that there are between 77 and 200 neighborhoods that are completely different. Some districts have a lot of immigrants, and some are more international – there is something for everyone’s taste. Some of the well-known expat communities are from Ireland, Germany, Poland, Mexico, and China.
The neighborhoods go as follows:
- North – the youthful and popular district where you will always have something to do. If you get bored, there is always the option to go shopping in Bucktown.
- West – a heterogeneous neighborhood with many traditional restaurants. Whenever you are in for a walk, take a stroll around Wicker Park.
- Downtown – if you are not a touristy person, you should skip this part of town – the streets are usually crowded with tourists. Still, there are many cultural landmarks here – the Millennium Park, Historic Theatre, and numerous art galleries.
- South – the hub of cultural activities. You can also find authentic Chinese cuisine in this neighborhood.
The downtown area of the metropolis is known as the Loop. As you might expect, this is the location of the most expensive neighborhood. Some of the most famous landmarks are located here as well.
Crime Scene of the Metropolis
This metropolis has been known for a higher crime rate for a long time. It does not come as a surprise, knowing that some of its famous residents were Al Capone and John Dillinger. However, crime levels have decreased in the last couple of years. The number of shootings has been reduced by more than 30%. Nonetheless, you should keep up with the latest news by reading the daily newspaper.
The Weather of the Urban Hub
It tends to get cold here – the wind is well-known to all the residents and is responsible for Chicago’s nickname, the Windy City. It will take you some time to get used to the weather, as sometimes even schools tend to be closed due to large amounts of snowfall. Nonetheless, summer days are definitely to be enjoyed to the fullest – Park District hosts numerous outdoor activities and live concerts every year as soon as the temperature goes up. Enjoy the beach at the shores of Lake Michigan whenever you see the sun come out!
The Days of October – Signs of the Colder Days in the Metropolis
The sudden drop in temperature usually starts at the very beginning of October, but the first snow is not expected before November. Since the cold weather is not predictable here, it is better to be prepared in advance. If you are determined to move, make sure you get some warm clothes, especially if your current home is in a warm place like California. You don’t have to sleep through the winter days; you need a good coat! After you survive October, you will get used to the picturesque winter.
International Atmosphere of the City
This is the perfect place for you if you want to meet new people. This international hub has easy-going and very friendly residents. You can make new friends in every corner of the metropolis.
Do You Like What You See – Watch a Video Tutorial
If you have never been here, maybe you should see what it looks like before you come. If you don’t have enough time to travel here before your move, look up some popular Chicago walk through and video tours. This is the easiest way to see some of the most popular attractions of the metropolis.
The Section Everyone Loves: the Cuisine of the Metropolis
Italian cuisine seems to be quite popular here. The three main dishes here include deep-dish pizza, Italian beef, and hot dogs. There is a great restaurant scene with diverse courses. The West Loop has many attractive restaurants that will take your breath away! Don’t forget to visit Pequod’s, Giordano’s, or Lou Malnati’s.
Moving to the Hub of Fashion and Culture
If you love shopping, this is the place for you. First-class fashion labels are just around the corner, waiting for you! Magnificent Mile is lined up with shopping malls and fancy boutiques of the world-famous brands – this is a must-do for every newcomer. If you hate the crowd, avoid shopping during the weekend.
Traveling out of the Windy City
If you are home-based here, you won’t have any issues traveling to the other states. There are two airports here – Midway International and O’Hare International. If you grab an early bird price, you can buy an incredibly cheap ticket to a neighboring state! You can get a train with ease as well. Amtrak is one of the busiest lines in the Midwest. Even though you live in an expensive metropolis, you will be able to afford cross-country travel from time to time.
Get Ready for the Relocation: What Does It Take
Everything would be a lot easier if someone else could tackle the entire process for you and mitigate any possible anxiety about the interstate move. You don’t have to lift a finger, and you can have your household moved to the neighborhood of your choice in Chicago and start meeting your new neighbors. If you are determined to move, you can hire the services of a professional relocation company to help you with the long-distance relocation, the packing and unpacking of all your things, and assist in anything else that encompasses the transition to another place. You should know that choosing the moving services of a reliable company will keep your mind at peace and all your items safe on the way to your future home. It is up to you to decide how much money you want to invest in the move, and therefore, how much money you should save to move out of state. Asking friends to help you out by, for example, throwing a packing party will be cheaper for sure, but the level of risk is greater.
After you determine your relocation budget and make a home inventory, look for a professional company, and think about the services you will need once you set the whole thing in motion. Most companies offer a moving quote that can help you check the costs before you sign the contract with a mover. Set your mind on the relocation several months before the actual date and create a reliable checklist for relocating to another state.