Shifting to a new city can be intimidating, particularly if the move happens to occur with short notice, giving you little or no time to prepare for it. In such a case, it’s best to look up some specific things to consider about your destination city so you know what you’re in for.
WHY MOVE TO CHICAGO?
Moving to Chicago can be justified based on a number of reasons. For most people, some of the common reasons behind moving to this city are listed here.
- Getting a new job in the city
- Furthering education
- Shifting to the city because your spouse got a job there
- A transfer to Chicago from an existing job
Aside from these obvious reasons, Chicago is also a great place to live. So, if you’re looking for a change of place, or if you’re interested in moving to a new city, Chicago may be just the right choice for you.
20 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE MOVING TO CHICAGO
Here’s a list of the top 20 things to consider and know about Chicago before you move there.
1. THE WINTERS CAN BE CRUEL
The first thing you’ll hear when you tell someone you’re moving to Chicago is that the winters in the city are too cold. It can be particularly grueling if you’re a newcomer, especially if you haven’t lived in cold places before. However, after a winter or two, you’ll get used to it.
2. BUT SUMMER’S ALWAYS AROUND THE CORNER
Just as the winters are distinct in their own way, Chicago’s summers are some of the best times in the city. The weather is simply incredible, and everyone you know and see will want to be outdoors during those sunny months because there are lots of spaces to soak in the sun.
3. THERE’S A LOT TO DO OUTDOORS
And speaking of summer, there’s a lot of stuff to do in the city’s outdoors. Although there’s no ocean or substantial open terrain, Chicago does have plenty of spaces where you can soak in the beauty of nature, like conservatories, parks, nature reserves, and even the stunning river.
4. THE THEATER’S A HUGE ATTRACTION
Chicago owes its thriving theater life to companies like Steppenwolf and the Hypocrites, among others. Some of the best plays and theater acts are rooted in this city, and if you’re moving to Chicago, you certainly need to soak in what the theater has to offer you.
5. CHICAGO’S LAKE IS THE CITY’S FAVORITE SPOT
What Chicago lacks in terms of an oceanfront, it makes up for with many miles of expansive beaches strewn along its lakefront. The lake also has biking and running trails, and offers a view that’s breathtaking. This is where the city’s pulse beats with a vigor that you’ll have to experience to understand.
6. THE CITY’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM IS WELL-DEVELOPED
One of the many wonderful things about moving to Chicago is that transit becomes easy and infinitely more affordable. The city has a well-developed network of trains and buses that can get you to just about everywhere in Chicago. There’s also an improved bike-lane, and bike and car sharing options, making this one of the most eco-friendly cities.
7. OWNING A CAR CAN BE PARTICULARLY EXPENSIVE
If you’re moving to Chicago and decide to get a car for yourself, it can be quite expensive. The city is dotted with tow zones and “no parking” signboards. Parallel parking is also next to impossible in the city. Parking itself is an expensive affair, and parking permits may be needed in the place where you live.
8. BE PREPARED FOR BLOCK PARTIES
Winter may be a time to stay indoors, but the people of Chicago make up for that in spring and fall with giant parties being thrown in every other house in each neighborhood. Block parties are particularly common, and it’s a great way to discover how friendly the city’s people are.
9. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD WILL DEFINE YOUR IDENTITY
You’ll find that the city has four distinct areas: north, south, west, and downtown. Each neighborhood has its own distinct personality, and where you settle in will eventually shape your identity in the city. Residents in the city are always loyal to their neighborhoods.
10. THE CITY IS A FOODIE’S PARADISE
If you thought Chicago is only all about hot dogs and deep-fried dishes, you’ll be surprised to discover that the city has a variety of cuisines to offer foodies. It ranges from greasy, satisfying food, delicious meat dishes, to vegan delicacies and five-star dining experiences; the city has it all.
11. THERE ARE TOO MANY RESTAURANTS TO CHOOSE FROM
Given that the city is a paradise for foodies, it’s only rational that there are diverse and distinct restaurants offering a variety of foods on every street. The assortment in the fare is a reflection of the diverse population that the city sustains and nourishes. You may want to live near a grocery store, so you can resist the temptation to order in every night.
12. CHICAGO IS A CITY OF RENTERS
Buying a house in the city can be quite expensive. So, if you’re moving to Chicago, renting is the safest and most economical option. Newcomers and younger folks also rent out and even share their space with roommates to cut costs.
13. CHICAGO LOVES ITS SPORTS TEAMS
Aside from the weather, the next big thing that defines Chicago is the city’s love for sports. Right from major sporting events to loyal, die-hard fans of the city’s many professional teams, the love for sports of various kinds is everywhere in the city. It’s best if you pick a team and join in the fun.
14. THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS STRONG IN THIS CITY
It’s no secret that Chicago is a city that’s defined by its neighborhoods. The people in the city have a strong and commendable sense of community and are always friendly and helpful. It’s especially helpful if you’re new to the city, because a warm welcome can always help you ease in quickly.
15. THERE’S A LOT ON THE SCENE FOR MUSIC LOVERS, TOO
When you’re talking about the city that witnessed the birth of the blues, you cannot help but bring in the incredible musical scene. The city is a wonderful breeding ground for new talent and a great place to catch star acts. There’s a lot of rock, pop, gospel, alternative rock, and rap music to enjoy in the many musical venues in Chicago.
16. AND YES, CHICAGO IS QUITE SAFE
In the distant and recent past, several unfortunate incidents of gun violence have been reported in the city. So, if you’re moving to Chicago, you may be apprehensive. However, most parts of the city are safer today than they have ever been before.
17. YOU CAN EXPERIENCE SUBURBIA RIGHT IN THE CITY
If you’re interested in moving to Chicago and buying a home in the suburbs, you may find that these houses are quite far removed from the heart of the city. Fortunately, you can purchase houses that resemble those in the suburbs within the city itself, complete with large backyards and ample, expansive spaces.
18. FINDING YOUR “HYGGE” CAN BE HELPFUL
“Hygge” essentially means enjoying the good life with good people. It may be a Danish concept, but in Chicago, you’ll find that the people in the city embody this idea like nowhere else in the world. It’s as simple as playing board games together, sharing a meal, or spending an evening with friends.
19. YOUR WARDROBE MAY NEED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE
Moving to Chicago also means that you may have to revamp your wardrobe a bit, especially if you’re not from a place with cold weather. Winter wear is indispensable, but you also need to be equipped for summer. Also, considering the excellent gastronomy in Chicago, you may even need bigger pants.
20. IT WON’T BE LONG BEFORE YOU LOVE THE CITY
And lastly, moving to Chicago may seem like a downer initially, but within a few weeks, you’ll see how the city grows on you. It won’t be too long before Chicago starts to feel like home. And then, you’ll fall irrevocably in love with the city.
PROS AND CONS TO MOVING TO CHICAGO
Just like it is with every other city, moving to Chicago comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Before you make the move, it’s best to evaluate the pros and cons to decide how you feel about the change.
THE PROS OF MOVING TO CHICAGO
THE CONS OF MOVING TO CHICAGO
Despite these advantages, moving to Chicago can also come with a few downsides, as listed below.
Knowing the upsides and downsides that moving to Chicago brings with it can help you plan your move accordingly. In a nutshell, if you’re shifting to the city, you’ll be pretty much set as long as you’re okay with renting a house instead of buying one, and with using the public transit system for a while. These are small changes that are easy to get used to. And when you look at the larger picture, it means that you get to live in one of the best cities in the world.