Many people don’t realize that Chicago is the third-largest city in the country.
The largest, New York City, draws in people from all over the East Coast. Los Angeles, the second-largest city, draws people in from the West.
But all those people in middle America looking for the big city experience end up heading to Chicago. Living in Chicago is something almost every Midwesterner considers. So should you make the move?
Ever since the pandemic hit, thousands of residents have been fleeing these large cities, Chicago included. This is creating plenty of opportunities for spring city-dwellers.
Should you consider moving to Chicago? Keep reading below for the honest truth about the Windy City.
Living in Chicago; The Good
When it comes to urban living, few cities compare to Chicago. There’s an ample amount of things to do in Chicago during every season (yes, Chicago has all four seasons).
Here’s what current and former residents say they love about living here.
Easy to Navigate
The city is huge, but it’s easy to navigate. Chicago has an excellent public transportation system, including buses and trains.
Most people that live and work downtown don’t bother with cars since they are unnecessary. If you do plan to drive downtown every day, expect to sit in plenty of traffic and have a very hard time parking.
The city is also very bike-friendly. Year-round, you’ll see countless cyclists navigating the city streets. Dedicated lanes and trails help keep cyclists safe.
There are many different neighborhoods in Chicago, each with its own flair and style. Logan Square is one of the most popular, as it happens to be the hippest area to live and spend time.
Neighborhoods like Lakeview allow you to be close to Lake Michigan. And apartment buildings and condo towers allow you to live directly in the loop.
Enjoy All 4 Seasons
Alright, this point makes both the good and the bad list. But we’ll focus on the positive aspects for now.
Chicago experiences the best of all four seasons. Summer is perfect for spending time on Lake Michigan. It also brings countless events and festivals, like the famous Lollapalooza every August.
Fall is crisp and the trees take on beautiful colors. The winter is mild for being so far north. You’ll get snow, but you usually aren’t buried in it.
Access to Nature
Chicago is a massive concrete jungle. But it offers plenty of green (and blue) space.
Downtown Chicago sits right up against Lake Michigan, providing you with plenty of access to incredible views. Boating and paddling are common activities. And the multitude of piers, docks, and beaches allow for great fishing as well.
The city is also home to some of the best urban parks, which are great for picnics, bike rides, hanging a hammock, or jogging.
The food scene in Chicago rivals that of any iconic food destination, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo included. While it’s famous for its Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs, there’s so much more to the city.
In fact, the city has been voted the best city for foodies in America. Even the James Beard Awards move from New York City to Chicago.
One of its most famous restaurants, Alinea, was named the best restaurant in America thanks to its scientific approach to molecular gastronomy.
But you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy Chicago’s food scene. If you know where to look, you can find amazing eats for just a few bucks.
If you want to experience a culinary mecca, Chicago is a great place to be.
Sports, Sports, and More Sports
If you like sports, and we already know you do, then Chicago is the place to be.
The city is home to some of the most beloved teams in the world of sports, including the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox. And the number of soccer fans in the US is growing, thanks, in part, to the Chicago Fire.
Living in Chicago; The Not-So-Good
Not everyone loves living in the Windy City. As mentioned earlier, with the rise of remote work, many city dwellers are fleeing the urban jungle.
So what is Chicago like, from the perspective of those who moved away?
While some people love the four seasons, many people hate them. Well, they usually only hate one season; winter.
January has an average daily high of 31 degrees. Buckle up, it’s going to be a long few months. And wear good boots because the sidewalks will have a nice layer of ice on them.
And after you go on your first walk around the city, you’ll notice an unusually high number of homeless people asking for money. You’ll just need to get used to that.
And being a big city, it’s no stranger to crime. There are certain parts of the city more susceptible to violence and crime. For the most part, they can be easy to avoid but you’re never that far away.
Every big city, or any sized city for that matter, has its problems. It’s up to you to determine what you are willing to put up with and what you aren’t.
Making the Move
Are you convinced that Chicago is the place for you? Are you ready to start planning a move?
Buying a house in Chicago can be difficult. With limited inventory and a dedicated class of lifelong Chicagoans, competition is high.
Luckily, there are ways to buy homes in the area. There are even ways to buy cheap houses online in Chicago.
It’s all about knowing where to look and being able to move fast when an opportunity presents itself.
If you want to increase your chances, buy a house in winter. Fewer people are wanting to move when the snow is falling, so you may face less competition from other buyers.
Life in the Windy City
Living in Chicago is an experience. For many Midwesterners, it’s a dream come true to get out of the small town they grew up in.
While it’s not for everyone, you’ll meet countless people in Chicago who absolutely love living there and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Will that be too?
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