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 by listening to some of our moving to Chicago tips.
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 work and 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 in Chicago.
The first thing you should know about choosing this metropolis as your next home is the cost of living in Chicago. You should know that it can be a costly place to live in, so you should prepare a budget and see how much money you can save before getting moving services, especially if you are moving from a small town to a big city like this. Making a checklist for relocating to another state or creating a home inventory can help you reduce your expenses.
Even though the city is cheaper than NYC and Los Angeles, it’s still considered one of the most expensive places in the Midwest. But the income is also higher, so it can cover all the necessary expenses. There are also many taxes that you need to keep in mind, which might be something you might not think of while you plan your relocation. The city has an extra sales tax that includes the state tax of Illinois which is the second-highest in the US.
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. So, if your plan is to rent an apartment in some of the desired neighborhoods, just go for it!
As the third-largest city in the US, the city’s job market is very competitive. Unless you already have a job waiting for you here, you should do some research and start looking at the 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 and any possible anxiety about moving to another state.
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 just need to dig deep.
This diverse metropolis has a vast number of neighborhoods, and each one of them differs in price so finding the best place to live in Chicago will need a lot of research.
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.
Some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago are:
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.
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’re going to enjoy the ride above the ground where you can catch the best 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.
With a commute system that operates seamlessly, do you even 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 area 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 unimaginable, make sure you find top-notch Chicago movers with reliable auto transport services.
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.
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 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, people are usually 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.
Chicago is the perfect place for you if you want to meet different people. This international hub has easy-going and very friendly residents. You can make new friends in every corner of the metropolis. There are plenty of things to do in Chicago, like visiting different museums, take a walk along the river, go to the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Shedd Aquarium, ride the Centennial Wheel, or just enjoy some of the best restaurants in Chicago.
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 walkthrough and video tours. This is the easiest way to see some of the most popular attractions 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. Find the restaurant that suits you the best and enjoy the food!
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.
If you are home-based here, you won’t have any problems 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.