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Moving To Chicago: Complete Moving Guide 2023

If you are making the move to Chicago, keep this moving guide handy. It covers all you need to know about this gem of the Midwest.
Moving to Chicago - Moving APT

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Chicago, also known as the “Windy City” is a beautiful place to live for people who want an urban hub without the cost or stress of a much larger city.

It is the tourist spot of the Midwest with an up-and-coming hip nightlife spot that people in their mid-30s are flocking to for the special vibes and speakeasy bars. 

In this guide, Moving APT have you covered with all the insider knowledge on moving companies in Chicago and local must-see places.

What’s Chicago All About?

Chicago is much cleaner than New York and more pristine than Los Angeles. Even at that, it still has some humbleness at the roots. There is plentiful public transportation, many jobs, as well as much diversity. 

This is why Chicago is a great option to consider for those that are looking for a new city. As cross country movers we have seen many people fall wary, but with our moving checklist, you will understand the costs of moving both socially and financially.

Despite the lack of access to an ocean, Chicago’s lakefront is one huge part of this city’s liveliness. It offers a scene of varied attractions, including a nice escape from the heat. With that said, be prepared for very cold winters, in good mid-west fashion.

Whether you are moving with your family to Chicago or relocating to another new city for a job, our team of Chicago movers has compiled a detailed moving guide for you. With our moving to Chicago fact list, you’ll never find yourself in the Windy City unprepared.

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Move to Chicago

1. Fun traditions

On St. Patrick’s Day, the city has doubled its celebrations by adding green dye to the city river since 1963. It attracts more than 400,000 people every year to see this green sight.

The best dance, blues, and outdoor food festivals in the country are here. Everyone in the family will find an event that excites them! Our team’s favorite is the annual Labor Day jazz festival in Millennium Park.

2. World-class sports culture

Sports are a huge cultural part of Chicago. About 15 sports teams can be found in Chicago, and it has been named the Best Sports City in the country three times.

The city’s National Basketball Association (NBA) team is the only Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan. Other big names in American football include the Chicago Rush (in Arena Football League) and the Chicago Bears (National Football League). Chicago has a few ice hockey teams as well and one team in the major league soccer.

Make sure to catch a game after your long-distance move to gain some Chicago pride and feel a part of your new city!

3. Great history and views

Chicago has been popularly known as a trade center since 1837. Its historical riches are based on its continuous contribution to American culture, politics as well as economics. Chicago’s Field Museum encaptures this well and is highly recommended.

There is a breathtaking skyline in Chicago you can’t miss, known for being a lab of architectural innovation. You will find many different combinations of old and new modern architecture.

4. Diverse food

The best food in the world is found in Chicago, hands down. From world-famous Chicago hot dogs to deep-dish pizza, there are numerous iconic restaurants in Chicago. Try “Millies Pizza in the Pan” for a local favorite.

Make sure you try out Chicago’s signature dishes. A lesser-known favorite is the Italian beef sandwich in Skokie.

5. Wild Rivers

There is no ocean beach in Chicago, but you can enjoy Great Lake Michigan instead. It is an internationally recognized lake and has a lot of rocky beaches.

Fun fact- It is also the only river in the entire world that flows backward! The reverse flow of the river is seen as a great engineering achievement.


There are over 500 parks in Chicago raising residents’ quality of life. The parks ranked highest are Garfield Park, Lincoln Park, Medill Park, Horner Park, Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Oz Park.

Aside from these, there are many bird sanctuaries as well as conservatories with free entrance.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Chicago?

Moving to Chicago will cost you anywhere from $700-$15000 or more. The cost of moving can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the distance of your move, the size of your home, and the services you require. 

There are many ways to move to Chicago. Either you can figure it out yourself in a DIY way, pack a moving container, or hire full-service movers. 

The table below breaks down what would cost you and how much.

Type of Service1 Bedroom2-3 Bedrooms4-5 Bedrooms
DIY/Truck Rental$350 – $2250$700 – $4250$1600 – $4850
Moving Container$750 – $2750$1200 – $5000$2400 – $7900
Full Service$1300 – $3900$1900 – $8800$3500 – $16500

If you want to find out more about the cost of moving, check out the following article.

Relocating to Chicago: Critical Knowledge

1. Weather

Due to Chicago’s location in the upper Midwest, its winters are extremely cold while summers are quite hot. The weather changes considerably every year. Experts expect global warming to affect the area drastically over the span of the next 30 years.

Temperatures during the winter months range between 150F and 300F, with many days of lower temperatures. Highs in summer start from 800F to 900F with many days every summer, exceeding 1000F.

Neighborhoods near Lake Michigan often experience milder temperatures. Try enjoying one of the many lakeshore beaches in Chicago, a good way to cool off from the heat on a summer day.

In terms of your move, it is important when booking long distance movers to understand that your vendor is giving you a fair and transparent cost, that they understand how to work in freezing temperatures, and won’t cancel at the last minute due to a snow storm.

2. Safety

Downtown Chicago is safer than many other cities at night because it is always filled with pedestrians at the dining and nightlife spots.

Downtown Chicago is home to many attractions, bars, restaurants, and parks, so it is always bustling and buzzing with people. Ensure you have an understanding of which areas are considered safe and which to avoid.

3. Deep Pockets Required

Living in Chicago is not cheap. The cost of living in Windy City is around 21% higher than the national average. The highest cost is housing, which is about 56% more expensive than in other parts of the country. The city’s average home price is $210,700, and the average rent is around $995 per month.

Chicago is in the heartland of the Midwest but without the cheap prices of the Midwest. It is one of America’s main big cities with lots to offer every crowd, but this comes with a heavy price. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to move to Chicago.

4. Renting an Apartment

There is reasonable competition in the Chicago rental market, so you need to plan on house hunting at least 45 – 60 days to your scheduled move-in date to allow you more time to find the right home.

Checking sites like Zillow, Padmapper and Craigslist can assist you with an understanding of what’s available, but you might have more luck by walking around your desired Chicago neighborhood and finding a “For Rent” sign on a window. Another option is to contact a broker or agent. 

Broker commissions in Chicago are paid by homeowners, so you won’t be charged at all when you work with one, and a broker may know of many listings you wouldn’t be able to discover on your own.

Daily Life in Chicago: Pros and Cons of Transport

Chicago is widely known for its efficient public transit and especially its train system, popularly called the “L” by locals. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority and it offers more than 140 stations all across the city and suburbs.

We were pleasantly surprised by how well public transit really works in Chicago, but never truly appreciated it until moving state-to-state.

Chicago has busy rush hours (from 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.), but fortunately, the CTA can move you to any part of the city at any hour, just name it.

Other options:

  • Choose the Pedway: The pedway or the downtown pedestrian walkway operates on the underground tunnel and overhead bridges with over 40 blocks in the Central Business District. This is one safe, convenient, and quick way to move around downtown (especially during winter) and is often used daily by many commuters.
  • Go with the L: The Chicago Transit Authority offers more convenient buses and elevated rail systems called the “L”. Trains are $2.50 per ride and buses are $2.25. For convenience, obtain a Ventra card.
  • Go for the Bike: Biking across town allows for more flexibility and great views. Biking has become so common in Chicago that Divvy, a new bike-sharing company, launched multiple rental locations across the city. Due to Chicago’s vastly flat terrain, biking is a great option. Don’t forget to pack your bike!
  • Call a Cab: Taxis in Chicago are plentiful and many of them accept credit and debit cards.
  • Share a Ride: Lyft, Uber, and many smartphone apps connect you with local drivers who will get you to your destination for a reduced price. If you have the time to spare and desire to save, check for other carpool options which will pick up passengers going the same direction. Uberpool is most popular in Downtown Chicago and finding a ride at any hour is possible.

Costs of Home Ownership in Chicago

In 2018, the average home value in Chicago was $228,500 while the average price of homes is now at $319,500. Looking to rent in Chicago? Home listing’s average price is $1,750, a bit above the national average, but much cheaper than cities like New York ($2,875) and Los Angeles ($3,650).

If you are determined to slow down, purchase a home, and live there for some time, this is a city area where homes are still affordable,” according to Skylar Olsen, a Zillow economist.

Chicago is where first-time homebuyers get the best inventory as well as the greatest income development opportunities.

This Midwest gem is a great place to invest in the region without worrying about being too far from basic conveniences.

Best Places to Live in Chicago

Chicago has 77 properly defined neighborhoods in 9 districts, each of which has different attractions, history, personality, and culture. Residents of Chicago settle in and stay loyal to their neighborhoods right from Lincoln Square down to Hyde Park.

Below are some of the top zones in Chicago to consider for relocation:

1. North

Northern neighborhoods in Chicago are youthful and clean. You will always have what to do, such as boutique shopping, catching a Cubs game, or grabbing a bite to eat in neighborhoods such as Bucktown, Uptown, and Wrigleyville.

2. West

The western sides offer something more of an eclectic feel. Enjoy yourself at ethnic restaurants and catch a glimpse at monuments, beautiful murals, as well as the churches of Wicker Park while you indulge in the multicultural atmosphere and world-famous sports games.

3. Downtown

This is where you will find all the leading tourist attractions. Millennium Park’s “Bean,” the Historic Theatre District, art galleries, Buckingham Fountain, shopping, and cocktail lounges all spread out on Michigan Avenue. Downtown Chicago makes for a fun day out on the town!

4. South

There are many cultural and social offerings located in Chicago’s Southern area. Diversity in this area is very clear from Bronzeville down to the Museum Campus located in the South Loop. Here you will find the Chinatown district known for its authentic foods and cheap handbags.

The Southern side of Chicago is less advised for families and singles as certain parts are crime-ridden. It is a great zone for a day trip, and full of DePaul University students, but best not to be here at night.

How is the Chicago Job Market?

If you are hunting for a job, there are different great employment opportunities in Chicago. Chicago boasts 27 Fortune 500 companies, including United Continental Holdings, Boeing, McDonald’s, Archer Daniels Midland, and Kraft-Heinz.

The top employers in Chicago are from the public sector. The federal, city, and county governments, along with public schools, are the biggest employers, based on Crain’s report. 

Some of the other top local industries include healthcare, trade, professional services, education, and transportation. According to multiple job recruiting sites, the median average salary sits at $73,000 yearly.

Pro Moving Tip For Families

If you have children, you will need to arrange for their school records to be transferred to their new school in Chicago. The best school districts in Chicago are districts #225, #125, and #203.

Welcome to the Windy City

Moving to Chicago can be a challenge and adventure. We hope our guide has helped you get excited and prepared for your move.

For your entire relocation needs, make sure you contact one of the highest rated Chicago movers to safely and professionally handle your move. They have worked with millions of customers in Chicago and all over the US who can speak to their workmanship. Have peace of mind during this time. Move with Moving APT to Chicago.  

Laura Roberts

Laura Roberts

Laura is a veteran content and copywriter for 12 years, with a degree in English Literature from Canadian ivy league McGill University. Having written for media and software and all things technology-focused, manufacturing, real estate, transportation, fintech, economics, politics, and freight factoring, this writing expert’s moved over 5 times locally and internationally and knows just what a complex move made easy is all about.
Green Group

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