Moving to Chicago | City Guides | Long Distance USA Movers

Moving to Chicago – Important Things to Know Before Relocation

Chicago, Illinois – home to 2,720,000 citizens, two MLB teams, the Willis Tower (Sears tower for those who lived here before 2004) hot-dogs, and deep-dish pizza. If you are planning on moving to Chicago, there’s so much to see and learn. The adjustment will likely be hard, but after living in this metropolis for a while, you’ll fall in love and wonder why you haven’t moved here long ago. To help you get prepped for moving to one of the world’s greatest cities, we’ve got a guide for what you should expect before your relocation to the Chi.

Chicago downtown overlay
Upward street view of Chicago

Is Moving to Chicago in 2020 Worth It?

Are you wondering, “should I move to Chicago?” We can simply say yes, but why spoil the experience of getting to know Chi-Town with such a simple answer? Chi-Town is chock-full of great places to see, things to do, and activities to enjoy; it has terrific neighborhoods for young professionals, families, and even retirees. There are all kinds of foods from all over the world, and more pizza than most people can handle. Choosing to relocate to Chicago is a good choice in every aspect for interstate moving, no matter who you are or where you come from. So, should you relocate to Chicago? The answer to the question is – absolutely.

Get to Know Chi-Town Before Moving

Want to know what it’s like to live in America’s third-largest city? Get to know the Chi and all of the greatness it has.

The Cost of Living in Chicago

For some good moving to Chicago advice; before moving to Chicago, you should know how much it costs to sustain a decent life. Truth be told, the cost of living in Chicago can be high. Depending on where you stay, the expenses can go from moderately pricey to surprisingly expensive, especially if you are planning on staying close to downtown.

Is it Expensive to Live in Chicago?

A single person living in the Chi can spend $1,050 or more a month, not including rent, depending on the area they stay in. For a four-person household, the cost goes up to $3,800 a month, not including rent or mortgage payments, and the average household income is $55,200. If you are planning on moving to Chicago alone, you’ll have your hands full of expenses.

Also, depending on the price, apartments in Chicago can sometimes be a little cramped and you might not have enough room to fit all of your stuff, so you can either find out how to organize a garage sale before you move, or donate old appliances that you don’t need. If you want to keep all of your things, you can always opt for storage services from reliable long-distance movers.

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What Salary Do You Need to Live in Chicago?

As we mentioned before, the average household income is around $55,000. Still, you’ll have to factor in transportation, groceries, utilities, eating out, leisure, insurance, federal income tax, state tax, sales tax, etc. All of this can quickly add up to $95,000 or more depending on the location and your standard of life. If you expect to be comfortable in Chi-Town, you’ll have to have at most $96,000.

The Cost to Rent in Chi-Town

One of the many things to know before moving to Chicago is that it can be quite a long process to rent a property if you don’t know. So get familiar with how to organize important papers for renting and exactly what do you need to rent an apartment. You’ll also want to pay extra for moving insurance so that all of your belongings are covered.  The median rent value is listed at $1,100, and as we mentioned before, it depends on where you are renting. Some areas, such as Lincoln Park, can cost up to $1,300 or more, and that’s not including application fees and your deposit, which can be more than your first month’s rent.

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It can be expensive to live in Chi-Town, so be prepared

Is it Safe Relocating to Chicago?

Contrary to its recent reputation, Chi-Town is relatively safe. Like any other major city, some areas can be troublesome. One of the many tips for moving to Chicago is to get to know the areas that should be avoided. You should also practice general safety in Chi-Town and avoid going anywhere by yourself late at night, even if you stay in the best neighborhoods in Chicago. For reference, most communities known to have some trouble spots are further out west and south of the city. Just take basic safety precautions, and you will be clear of any trouble.

Chicago at night overlay
Crime in the metropolitan area has decreased by 30% within the last decade

Finding a Job in Local or International Companies in Chi-Town

Chi-Town is one of the best cities for finding a new job, but it’s very competitive, and employers expect nothing less than your best. It’s very important to put your good foot forward if you want to get employed. You can find a job just about anywhere in Chi-Town, but it will take a while to get a decent salary because of how cutthroat the competition is. There are natives who understand how business in the Chi is done in whatever field of work you’re seeking, so make sure your resume has something extra that most people can’t offer to catch the eye of your employer.

Chi-Town is very much a business city and always adapts with the newest trends and fields. Recruiters are all about what you can bring to the table. They’re looking for relevant experience and aren’t big fans of fluff in your resume. They will ask about the details, and if you can’t deliver, they’ll pass on you. Chi-Town recruiters look for loyalty within companies, so they’ll want to know your plans for work in the coming years. Not only are these excellent tips for finding a job in the Chi, but great if you’re wondering how to get a job in a new city in general.

The Best Job Markets in Chi-Town 2020

There are many fields where you can find employment in 2020. The city’s most prominent industries are business and professional services. Healthcare is also a massive industry, as well as technology, food, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing. Chi-Town is the top city for corporate relocation, so you can also find work at any start-up or major companies looking for employees.

Chicago's business district overlay
The job market is very competitive in Chi-Town, so you need to bring your A-game.

A Guide to the Best Places to Live in Chicago

If you’re still asking, “why move to Chicago,” perhaps we ought to take you through some of the best places to live in Chicago. Before you start shopping for moving services with a long-distance moving company, the first step in finding a great area to stay in is to see what matches your needs most. If you are looking for more of an upscale neighborhood near downtown, you can stay in River North or New East-Side. If you are looking for more of a tight-knit community, you can move over to Kenwood or Hyde Park. Whatever you are looking for in a neighborhood, you will quickly find it here.

Where the Best Neighborhoods in Chicago Are

To help you get familiar with Chi-Town better, here is a quick list of great neighborhoods for newcomers, so you can call long-distance movers and decide where is best for you.

  • Near South Side – Located right next to the south loop downtown, this neighborhood is an excellent location for families and young professionals. It has a mix of bars and restaurants to enjoy, as well as nearby Lake Michigan so you can go out for a walk. There are excellent schools in the area, and there are plenty of bus stops you can take to get to other regions of Chi-Town. The median home value is $410,000, and the median rent value is $2,000.
  • Logan Square – Further up north of downtown, Logan Square is perfect for young professionals. Many bars and restaurants have opened there in the last decade, along with new housing developments. There is plenty of access to public transportation as well as excellent public schools. The median home value is $362,000, and rent is $1,300.
  • Kenwood – This neighborhood is a great place to stay for families and sits right alongside Lake Michigan with great Chicago schools, easy access to public transportation, and lots of public parks to enjoy. The median home value is $294,000, and the rent value is $1,100.
  • Boystown – Located on the northeast side of Chi-Town, Boystown is a neighborhood made for college students and young professionals. There are plenty of great nightclubs, bars, and so much street food. The median home value $339,000 and the rent value is $1,350.
A teacher giving a lecture to students in a museum overlay
Chi-Town has some of the best neighborhoods to live for all types of people

Things to do in the Windy City

Now that you’ve gotten to know more about the great neighborhoods in the Chi, you’re probably wondering what there to do is. It’s a city filled with tons of possibilities. If you want to go out drinking, there are many bars and restaurants. If you are going to go dancing, the city is filled with clubs. If you are looking for a learning experience, you can visit many of the museums here. To narrow down your search, we’ll show you the best things to do in Chicago.

Best Places to Eat in Chi-Town

Chi-Town is the place to be when it comes to top-quality cuisine and the greatest-bad food street vendors you can ask for. Here are some restaurants in Chicago that you won’t want to skip:

  • Giordano’s Pizza and RestaurantNo other place on Earth makes pizza quite like Chi-Town. Deep-dish pizza is a staple here, and Giordano’s is a top contender when it comes to deep-dish. Other restaurants serve deep-dish, like Lou Malnati’s and Bartoli’s, but when it comes down to who’s better, there’s always a split between Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s.
  • Joy Yee Chinese RestaurantThis is a Chicago restaurant known for its many great dishes and a vast selection of smoothies and bubble teas. Located in Chinatown, you can go during the day and sit down and enjoy the delicious food – we highly recommend their tempura shrimp.

Fun for Kids in the City

If you’re moving with kids and you’re looking to take your little ones around the city, you will have wonderful luck as there is so much to do with kids in the town. Check out these locations that your kids will love:

  • The Museum of Science and IndustryThis museum is one of the most fun attractions for kids because of its interactive exhibits. You have sections dedicated to many aspects of science and history, linking back to the United States’ industrial era. Truly a fantastic experience for the whole family.
  • Lincoln Park ZooThe Lincoln Park zoo is one of the funnest places for your young ones to visit. They have animals from all over the world to see, and a few different petting zoos where kids can interact with animals.

Nightlife in Chi-Town

There are so many options available if you want to paint the town red and enjoy a nice night. Check out these great places to eat, drink, and be merry:

  • Sound BarLocated in the River North neighborhood, this club has everything you need for a great night out. They have two floors, both with full bars, lounges, and great music.
  • Zanies Comedy ClubHave a few drinks and get some good laughs in on your night in Chi-Town. Known as a comedy city, many great comics visit to do shows quite frequently. If you want to have a good time, Zanies is the place to go.
  • WhirlyballLocated on the edge of Chi-town, Whirlyball is one of the most exciting places to have birthday parties, social gatherings, or general fun. Imagine go-karts meets lacrosse – fun on its own, but better with drinks.
The Navy Pier Ferris wheel overlay
If you're looking for fun all day long, the Chi has it all

Get Familiar with Public Transportation

This moving to Chicago guide wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include Chi-Town’s very own public transportation. You can always drive around the city if you’ve hired an auto transport service, but Chicago city traffic can be often hard to deal with. Chicago public transportation is much more straightforward to navigate, and there are plenty of stops and stations. It’s important to note that even though it’s convenient, you will still have to add Ventra card costs to your monthly budget.

Navigating Each Section of the Metropolis

For a brief overview of the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), and general moving to Chicago tips is to get familiar with the bus, subway, and Metra-Rail systems. They are very simple to navigate. The bus system is a bit more accessible as there are stops all around the city. Buses usually cycle from 10 pm to 4 am the next morning and are numbered. The subway system has stops on certain streets according to the line you’re taking. Eight color-coded stripes travel through the different areas; the lines include red, blue, pink, yellow, purple, green, orange, and brown. The Metra-Rail system is a train system that has 11 lines that travel to different suburbs of the city, but you will have to pay for the tickets separately.

A subway station overlay
Learn all about the CTA and how it works

Experiencing the Climate in Chi-Town

If you’re moving across the country you should know that Chi’s weather is unpredictable. Spring and summer are usually quite lovely during the year, and it can get as hot as 84 degrees toward the end of summer. As beautiful as the climate is during those months, it’s quickly eclipsed by the cold during the fall and winter months. It has been known to rain a lot during fall, and the brutal winter cold can sometimes be early or late – anywhere from late October to mid-December. The lowest it can be is -35 plus wind-chill. The wind chill is the added temperature from the breeze the lake brings in – it’s not called the Windy City for no reason. Because of how the climate can be in Chicago, you’ll need to hire a packing service to pack clothes for the warm seasons and the brutally cold seasons.

Millennium Park's ice skating rink overlay
Chi-Town weather can be quite unpredictable

Chicago Schools and Education

The Chicago public school system has many private and public schools throughout the city. CPS (Chicago Public Schools) is the third-largest school district in the US. Your kids can also attend charter schools like the Chicago International Charter School in Bucktown. There are also magnet schools like Whitney M. Young Highschool in Near West Side, excellent public schools like Kenwood Academy located in Kenwood, and many privately owned schools like Park View Montessori School in Uptown. When it comes to higher education, there are many universities or community colleges they can attend, such as the University of Illinois in Chicago or DePaul University. The sky’s the limit for kids in the Chi.

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Chicago is known to have great schools

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Chicago

We’ve spoken a lot about how much it takes to live in Chicago, but what about moving? Before you contact long-distance movers, you’ll have to make sure you have a solid moving expenses checklist.

Getting adjusted to a new city can be tough to do, and being new in Chicago, you’re likely to have a lot on your plate. So why move to Chicago? As difficult as it can be to move to Chi-Town, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get settled and start enjoying the Windy City to the fullest.

Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

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