The windy city. Mud city. City by the lake. Chi-town. Whatever you want to call it, Chicago is big. Both in size and in history. It promises all of the things that New York City does, just at a lower price. And who doesn’t want to try the famous Chicago cuisine? But, as it is with every city, there are pros and cons of moving to Chicago. Here are a few things that will hopefully help you tip the scale.
Pros of moving to Chicago
If you are a constant flyer or you just like easy flying access to international countries Chicago is the city for you. Buy having enormous air traffic provided buy O’Hare International Airport, the world’s second-busiest airport and by having the largest hub in the railroad industry Chicago proudly calls itself the Heart of America. Forget about layovers. Get ready to have a direct flight to wherever you want to go. This is especially helpful if you are moving from a foreign country. Visiting home will be a breeze.
You like going to the beach, but hate having to take a 2-hour car ride to get there. Well, Chicago is the city for you. Being situated on the shore of Michigan lake you will enjoy the long, warm summer days in a style. Beach parties, barbecues, and festivals will be there for you to enjoy. And if you want to relax, no problem. 45 km of the beach will give you enough room to find a calm place unwind. There is always some serenity in having a skyscraper 100 meters behind you, while you enjoy the feeling of the sand and the sound of waves.
If you are a baseball fan you will feel right at home. Chicago was named the “Best Sports City” in America in 1993, 2006, and 2010 by Sporting News. The city hosts two Major League Baseball teams: the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. With them, you have the 1985 Super Bowl XX winners Chicago Bears who have won more games than any other NFL team in history. And if you’ve heard about NBA, you’ve heard about Chicago Bulls and their 1990’s leader Michael Jordan. So be prepared to join your fellow sports fans in rooting for your new home teams.
Cons of moving to Chicago
Getting accustomed to the weather
When it’s warm in Chicago its nice and warm, but get ready for some cold winters. Having an average temperature of -5°C (21°F), Chicago is harsh come winter. Don’t be surprised if all your friends go into a half winter hibernation half depression mood when winter months arrive. Also, don’t be surprised if you join them.
Parking and traffic
Forget about your car. Being big as it is, it might come to mind that a car will be a great asset when you come to Chicago. But no. Huge traffic jams will make your commute way longer than it should be. And even when you get to your desired location, finding a parking space will be a nightmare, even if you are a parallel parking master. You will soon find out that public transport is the way to go around Chicago, and your car will be a thing of the past. And if in some instance public transport won’t do, there are always cabs that accept debit or credit cards, or you can try downloading Uber or Hailo.
If you are moving here because you found a job, great. But otherwise, be warned. Chicago is a beehive, and don’t be surprised that connections land more jobs than good resumes. There is a lot of people, and all of them want jobs so the competition will be fierce. Don’t expect to find a job in the first months of your arrival.
Final things to know before coming to Chicago
Get a bike
Chicago has great public transport and is also very bike friendly. Not having a car can turn out to be a good thing. Especially if you start enjoying those deep dish pizzas and Chicago hot dogs a bit too much and need to burn off those few extra calories. Get a bike, and drive yourself around town. There is a lot of history and culture to explore, and a bike will put you at just the right speed to see it all.
Moving to Chicago will be an endeavor, so you should try to help yourself. You will need a lot of different types of clothing. From very warm coats and jackets for the cold winter months to the comfortable, thin shirts for those summer heats. You will need it all. If the first season that will greet you in your new hometown is winter, get an electric blanket. Trust us. Don’t worry about spring and fall, since they practically only last a couple of days.
Study your neighborhood before you start living in Chicago
Chicago has 77 very distinct neighborhoods. Each with its own mix of cultures and habits. And since you’ll be living in one of them, it is a good idea to find out more about your future residential area before and local cost of living before you move there. We are a social being, which means that our environment will affect us and our perceptions. So it’s a good idea to find out how your future environment will affect you.
Chicago is big and its wild. Coming from a small city can be a bit overwhelming. Having so many cheap or free cultural activities and festivals, you should never find yourself bored. People in Chicago are famous for being surprisingly nice, considering that it’s a such a big city. It is cheaper than New York City, but that doesn’t make it cheap. Average rent being $1,651 and the average cost of living being $949 you are looking at $2,600 per month that you’ll need to make in a highly competitive job market. The smart thing to do is to have some money saved up before moving to Chicago. Even if you have a job, unexpected things will pop up, that will require your financial investment. Be smart and be safe.
“This is my kind of town, Chicago is, my kind of town, Chicago is, my kind of people of too.”