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Moving To Chicago: Complete Moving Guide 2024

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

In this article

Chicago boasts one of the most vibrant urban experiences in the United States. Chicago, with its beautiful skyline, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles. With a rich culture and a dynamic lifestyle, similar to the world’s most popular cities, millions dream of calling Chicago home. But is it worth all the hype?

Chicago has a low cost of living by the standards of a typical metropolitan area, but still higher than the majority of US cities. With such diverse cuisine, rich culture, and surprisingly low housing costs, unlike most big cities, Chicago does live up to the dreams of millions. However, like most metropolitan areas, it has its shortcomings too.

If you are considering moving to Chicago, be prepared to face the worst traffic jams of your life. In Chicago, taking public transport instead of traveling in your vehicle would be a better option. Besides, winters here are merciless. Moreover, the high crime rate has certainly been a concern for Chicagoans lately.

Despite its downsides, the city offers plentiful opportunities for those looking to start a career in a big city.

Let’s see if it is a city worth settling in for you.

1. Cost of Living in Chicago

You can’t call Chicago a cheap city to live in, but then again when was a cosmopolitan area ever cheap? So, Chicago does have around 20% higher cost of living than the overall national average.

Food, healthcare, and transportation all have a higher cost than the state’s average as well as the national average. However, utilities cost you 2% lower than Illinois’ state average and 11% lower than the national average.

In short, there is a price for living in a city as diverse and rich in culture as Chicago. While yes, this price is higher than the national average, the cost of living here is still much lower than in other big cities in the US, like New York, thanks to the low housing prices and severe weather.

2. Cultural Hub of the US

Chicago is deemed as one of the top cultural cities nationwide, and rightly so. You’ll never be short of cultural events no matter which part of the city you reside in. It’s a culturally happening town oozing with cultural events.

If you have any interest in cultural activities, you should be aware of the plethora of cultural hubs in Chicago, including its museums and theatres. Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Natural History Museum are not only renowned nationwide but around the world.

Make sure you get to watch live performances at any of the three monumental theatres of Chicago such as the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre.

Chicago is also a city of music. Especially in the summer, every other day, Chicagoans gather for a live musical event. Whether it be a jazz event, Chicago Blues Festival, or Lollapalooza, music is a way of life for Chicagoans.

2. The Tantalizing Chicagoan Cuisine

Moving to Chicago means settling in the nation’s third most “delicious” city. Even if you aren’t a foodie by nature, you just can’t help falling for the mere variety of cuisine making Chicago’s streets aromatic. You get easy access to food from around the world with innumerable eateries offering authentic cuisine from different countries.

You surely won’t be able to resist the ever-famous Chicago’s local deep-dish pizza. Next, loaded hot dogs here are second to none. Food in Chicago might not be among the most affordable but it certainly is among the most delicious ones with unmatched variety.

Public Transport-A Cure for Chicago’s Traffic Problems

Just like other big cities in the US, Chicago faces the worst traffic jams. This means being stuck for hours and hours every day as you drive to work or back home. Chicago, however, is perhaps the only state where public transport is more advisable than moving around in your car.

Local public transport in Chicago is among the country’s top transportation services thanks to the high standards maintained by the Chicago Transit Authority. An overwhelmingly high majority expresses satisfaction with the quality of transport service in the city.

It has all the facilities you’d like to experience in a highly comfortable transport. Ditch the long queues, free yourself from the worries of finding a parking space, and above all, you won’t need to leave ridiculously early for work to make up for the hours lost in traffic jams.

Moreover, Chicagoans admire the metro as one of the most efficient ways of traveling from cities to suburbs and back. This is something many Chicagoans do daily.

3. Housing Prices In Chicago

You might not expect it from a big city like Chicago, but housing prices in the area are much lower than in other big cities. In the year 2024, the median price for a house in Chicago sits at $336K. This is incredible by all standards of a gigantic city and those moving here from big cities would appreciate it in true sense.

Lower housing prices here may have something to do with harsh winters, which we’ll talk about in the next section. Anyhow, owning a house in Chicago is an achievable dream no matter the reason, especially keeping in view that the city has on average high-paying jobs.

4. Chicago’s Winters are Savage

The winter weather is one of the major cons of living in Chicago. Winters here can be brutal, both physically and mentally. Stuffing jackets, blankets, furry coats, gloves, and scarves can be tiring.

It gets below zero and the neighborhoods are deserted for most of the day. The temperature in most parts of the city may fall below 30 °F on a daily basis and shoveling snow every morning can be a challenging task.

Once the autumn sets in, the city gets quieter. You can’t help but feel isolated and even depressed. Outdoor activities come to a halt. This can be challenging particularly for the new settlers and for those who love to socialize.

However, the locals have gotten used to it, and, perhaps, you may as well after spending a couple of winters here.

5. High Crime Rate- Is the Concern real?

Lately, Chicago has become notorious for an increasing crime rate including violent crime. This is one of the most concerning factors for those considering moving to Chicago. Where there is some truth in it, media hype also has to do with this notoriety.

If you are moving to Chicago, consider doing some ground research about areas to avoid. The entire city doesn’t face the same crime rate and being a bit vigilant can help reduce the risk.

6. Chicago’s Diverse Job Market

Chicago has a promising job market as it is home to many thriving industries. It welcomes professionals from varied professions. Some of the most in-demand professions in Chicago include finance, healthcare, engineering, pharmaceuticals, business, education, and transportation.

Chicago is among the very few metropolises that offer the combination of affordable living and low housing prices along with a well-planned public transport network, and promising job opportunities. However, coping with its severe winters and increasing crime rate along with the worst traffic congestion problems can be a real challenge.

But, if you are looking to take advantage of the massive opportunities within the city, your move to Chicago should be a relatively easy one, with the low housing costs giving you plenty of options, and the elite public transportation system easing your commutes when you first get to the city. Chicago is a beautiful city, with great food, music, and a surplus of culture.

Emily Kirschenbaum

Emily Kirschenbaum

Emily is an experienced writer covering a variety of topics. Having moved many times, she has become an expert on all things moving-related, both local and long-distance. When she's not still unpacking boxes from her last move, Emily is sharing her knowledge to help make other people's moves as stress-free as possible.
Green Group

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