Moving to Chicago, IL? A 2020 Moving Guide
In the 1780s, “The Founder of Chicago” Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable first explored the City of Chicago. In the early 1800s, several wars occurred including the War of 1812 involving the United States, native tribes, and the British resulting in the Pottawatomie tribe forcibly removed and sent west. In 1837, the city of Chicago was incorporated and has since been one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
If you are thinking about moving to Chicago, check out our complete guide below. We have everything you need to know before moving to the Windy City from the cost of living to nightlife and dining options. Let’s get started.
What’s It Like Living in Chicago?
The City of Chicago is home to more than 2.8 million Americans, the third-most populous city in the United States. It’s also a hotspot for tourists, over 58 million people visited Chicago in 2018 making it the 2nd most visited city trailing only New York.
What’s the Cost of Living in Chicago?
The City of Chicago is an expensive place to live in. The cost of living index at 106.9, according to Best Places. This mostly due to housing, the median home price is over $241,500 7% higher than the national average (226,000).
If you plan on renting in Chicago, be prepared to save your money accordingly. The average rent price of a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,670, 13% higher than the national average according to Zillow.
Check out Nerd Wallets’ cost of living calculator, this a great resource to help you get an idea on how to budget your expenses prior to moving.
The Chicago Job Market Outlook
If the cost of living in Chicago puts a sour taste in your mouth, the job market is a little brighter. There are plenty of opportunities in the Financial and Business industry, many big companies are stationed here including JP Morgan Chase, Boeing, Ford, and Nestle. Although unemployment is slightly above average, at 4.3%.
If you are looking for job opportunities in the area, Built in Chicago is a great resource for finding start-up and tech jobs. The Muse also has a great article on how to land your dream job in Chicago.
Crime in the Windy City
Crime has always been a concern in the Chicago area. The city leads the nation in homicides but has seen decreases in the last three years from improved procedures and technological advancements. According to CNN, the Chicago PD credited support centers and improved security cameras and gun detection systems have led to a steady decline.
Transportation Around the Area
Whether you plan using a vehicle or not, there are plenty of different types of public transportation around Chicago.
The “L” Train System
The “L” is an elevated train system that provides for some great views of the city while adventuring around the city. Single fare rides on the “L” are only $2.50, weekly passes can also be purchased.
Metro Commuter Rails
The subway train is another convenient transportation option, the Metro commuter train can take you from Downtown Chicago to most of the suburbs outside the city. All transits operated on the Ventra Card, which you can purchase at the Subway Station.
Check out this Chicago Transportation guide for more information on getting around the city.
Prepare Yourself for Chicago Winters
Winters in Chicago can be brutal. Temperatures can fall well below 0 degrees and can feel even colder with the wind. Make sure you keep this in mind when looking at housing options.
Where to Live in Chicago
Your options for living in Chicago are endless. With over 200 neighborhoods, there is something here for everyone. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a family of 6, the City of Chicago has neighborhoods made for you. Here is a list of the best neighborhoods based on your interests.
This is a great place to live for recent college graduates and young professionals. It’s great for people who work in downtown Chicago, all train routes run through Lakeview. The average price for apartments is $1,655/month, 15% lower than the rest of Chicago.
Lincoln Park is the place to be. According to Curbed Chicago, it’s one of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods. The location is ideal, less than a mile from downtown and lakefront and there are so many things to do.
They have the Chicago History Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and many great beaches nearby. The average rent price for apartments is $1,862/month, 4% lower than the Chicago average.
The West Loop is a great place for people who love great dining options and beverages. The Girl and the Goat, Au Cheval, and Oriole are some of the best dining options in the area. The average price for apartments is $2,160/month, 21% higher than average in Chicago.
If you want a little bit of everything, Wicker Park is the place for you. It’s a great mix of family-friendly shops and parks, with many dining and nightlife options around the area.
The average rent price in Wicker Park is 2,542/month, 31% higher than the Chicago average. If your budget, Wicker Park is a great up and coming place to live.
Things to do in Chicago: Attractions, Dining, and Nightlife
If you plan on moving in Chicago, you won’t find yourself sitting around on a Friday night. There are endless things to do in Chicago, here’s a list of some of our favorite attractions, dining, and nightlife options around the area.
The Willis Tower has one of the tallest buildings in the world. Taking a day to take in the views atop the Willis Tower is something you will never forget.
One of the most iconic attractions in Chicago is Millennium Park. It’s free to the public and is home to the famous Chicago Cloud Gate (The Bean).
Whether you are a baseball fan or not, you have to experience a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
There is no question that Navy Pier is one of the best family attractions in Chicago. They have everything including an IMAX Theater, Cruises on Lake Michigan, rides and games, food and dining, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Best Restaurants in Chicago
Since 1948, Superdawg Drive-in has been a popular spot for Chicagoan’s looking for a retro-style diner. This drive-in diner is known for its exceptional Chicago-style hot dogs and crinkle fries.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
The name says it all. Honey Butter Fried Chicken is known for its hand-breaded chicken and famous honey butter.
Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza and there’s no better place to go than Burt’s Place. This place has been recognized as one of the best pizza restaurants in Chicago for over 25 years.
Three Dots and a Dash
Three Dots and a Dash is a well-known tropical tiki bar. They have a wide selection of cocktails and a room for private gatherings called The Bamboo Room.
The Violet Hour
Located in Wicker Park, The Violet Hour is a great place for grabbing a cocktail after work. You can also hold private events at one of their three experience rooms, and take a cocktail making class for those interested.
Cindy’s is located in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and known as one of the best rooftop dining option in Chicago. You can enjoy an evening meal while overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.
The Pros and Cons of Moving in Chicago
- Incredible Scenery
- Endless Things to do
- Lots of public transportation options
- High Cost of Living
- Traffic is a pain if you have a vehicle
- Be Prepared for brutal winters
More Resources on Chicago
Choose Chicago: Learn About Everything Happening in Chicago
Curbed Chicago: Home and Apartment information for living in Chicago
City of Chicago Website: Everything you need to know in the city.
The Chicago Sun-Times: Keep up with all the knows around the area