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Moving to Chicago – Things to Know Before Your Relocation

August 27, 2020
Posted in City Guides / By Jane Davis

If you decided you are moving to Chicago, you are probably not so much concerned about the weather, but rather about some more important stuff, like, where to find the best deep-dish pizza. Information like that is essential, too, so stay tuned to find out everything you should know before relocating to the Windy City.

Let us guide you on your journey of exploring the capital of Illinois.
If among many great cities you picked Chi-Town, take a look at our guide before relocating.

Chi-Town is probably the oldest nickname since it dates back to the late 19th century, as well as the nickname Mud City because this place used to be flat mud terrain. Today, Chi-Town is far from muddy, since it’s the third-most-populous place in the US and an important hub. With around 9.5 million people in its metro area, also known as Chicagoland, this is also the third-largest metro area in the US. Let’s go through some things you would probably want to know before making such an important decision as relocating to Chicago.

Is It a Good Idea to Move to Chicago?

If you are still at that stage where you’re wondering, Should I move to Chicago, we can’t really make that decision for you, but we can point out some of the perks that could help you settle down your mind. Living in Chicago has its pros and cons, so make sure you are aware of all of them before you move to Chicago.


How Much Does It Cost to Move to Chicago?

The cost of interstate moving depends on several factors, but the most important one is the distance between your old and new homes. Then there is the amount of stuff you’re shipping, various moving services such as packing or renting storage, and auto transport. In case you’re moving out for the first time, or you never tried shipping a car cross country, you should get familiar with the costs, especially if you’re moving out of state on a budget. These services are handy and worth the money, but make sure to include them in your budget, so there are no last-minute surprises.

Whether you're relocating for work, fun, or love, we'll help you get all information you need as a newcomer.
Are you relocating local or long distance? The cost of relocation depends on many factors.

Is It Expensive to Live in Chicago? Cost of Living Index and More

According to Numbeo, a website that compares various costs in different cities, a single adult needs around $1,000 per month, for various expenses, without the rent. Based on the data from the same source, the cost of living in Chicago index is 83.14, so when you compare it to other major cities, it can actually be considered affordable. In case you manage to find a job before you move, everything will be much easier when it comes to finances. You could afford to explore some of the best restaurants in Chicago or enjoy Chicago nightlife to celebrate the start of a new chapter in your life.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Chicago?

This is one of those questions that just does not have one correct answer because we all have different needs and priorities. On average, living with $60,000 per year is manageable, especially if two household members are employed. The location dictates the rent, and that is where the most significant amount of your salary will go. Whether you’re moving to some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago or suburbs of Chicago, make sure you can afford to stay there.

What is the Average Rent?

For such a large metropolis, housing is not so expensive, so you might be able to find a good deal easier than you thought. But keep in mind that Chicagoans like to think that where they live defines them in a way, so pick your future neighborhood wisely. Let’s take a look at some average rent prices.

Rent Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre Rent Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre Rent Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre Rent Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre
Chicago $1,840 $1,210 $3,610 $2,220
Life in a popular neighborhood close to restaurants, bars, and trendy places can be expensive.
Are you looking for a neighborhood on a central location, close to restaurants, work, etc? Or would you rather move further to save a few bucks?

What to Know Before Moving to Chicago

Every place has some features that are distinctive and specific, or simply unique to it. We gathered a few useful information that might help newcomers, so let’s take a closer look at them.

Things to Know Before Moving to Chicago

Bad weather

Chi-Town earned its nickname the Windy City fair and square. Winters are known for being extra cold and windy, but still, that doesn’t stop people from moving during winter months.

Deep-dish pizza

Something you certainly won’t be missing in Chi-Town is pizza. The famous deep-dish pizza is baked in a pan that gives it a signature high edge, allowing more space for extra cheese, tomato sauce, and everything else your heart craves. Start with Giordano’s or Bartoli’s pizza, and let your stomach guide you.

Parking dibs

If you do want to drive a car, you’ll notice that driving is not the only problem around here. Finding a parking spot even in front of your building can be a tricky task, so locals tend to make the so-called parking dibs during the winter. They’ll clean their parking spot and make a reservation by placing some chairs, ropes, and any other barriers they can come up with so that their empty spot will wait for them.

24 beaches

Winters are scary, but what about summers in Chi-Town? The fact that this city on Lake Michigan has even 24 beaches is often neglected, but we’re certain that thinking about these beaches and upcoming summer is something that will keep you warm during the winter. We strongly recommend North Avenue Beach, Leone Beach, and Oak Street Beach, but as a local, you’ll have enough time to explore them and pick your favorite.

Mob history

One of the most famous gangsters of all time, Al Capone, operated right here in Chi-Town. He was a part of the Outfit, Chicago’s branch of the US mafia scene, that settled in Chi-Town during the early 1900s, around the same time when a massive influx of Italian immigrants occurred. Although the Outfit is still active, Chi-Town can be considered as a safe place, but make sure to check the crime rates for neighborhoods you are interested in.

Sporty city

Chi-Town is home to several professional teams, and locals are very passionate when it comes to rooting for their home team. So, pick your sport, and become a fan of the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears, White Sox, or Cubs.

The Loop

The Loop is a nickname for the Downtown area, encircled by CTA’s elevated train tracks.

Cities like Chi-town have numerous options for outdoor activities, so start from your neighborhood and continue exploring everything Chi-town has to offer.
Find your favorite park or a beach close to your neighborhood and enjoy some time outside.

Moving to Chicago Alone – How to Cut the Costs

When moving to a city alone, you are probably looking to settle down in some of the best neighborhoods for young professionals. However, while you won’t have to think about the cost of all romantic things to do in Chicago, living alone can be quite pricey. Whether or not you are moving for college, consider finding a roommate to cut the moving costs.

In case you are looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, consider selling or donating some unwanted items, finding free packing supplies, and asking friends to help you instead of hiring professionals. Doing a DIY move can sometimes be equally expensive, so make sure you can manage to do it within your budget. If you are relocating for a job, check out the leading employers in Chicagoland, and explore your options.

Want to start a new life alone? Don't hesitate to take the next step and move to Chicagoland.
Relocating alone can be challenging, but it's an adventure worth taking.

How to Move to Chicago With Kids – Is Chi-Town Family-Friendly?

Whether you are moving while pregnant or already have children, you couldn’t have picked a better place to raise a family. Besides the fact that there are plenty of things to do in Chicago with kids, there are some excellent education opportunities and safe neighborhoods, which are the essential criteria when relocating with kids. Besides, Chi-Town is very walkable and has numerous green areas, parks, playgrounds, beaches, museums, and other kid-friendly and free attractions. So if you are thinking about raising a family here, you’ve made a good decision.

The Best School Districts

If securing top-notch education for your children is a priority, then consider the proximity to some of these school districts when you go house-hunting:

  • Glenbrook High Schools District
  • New Trier Township High School District
  • Hinsdale Township High School District
  • Niles Township Community High School District
  • Naperville Community Unit School District

Which Section of the City Is Good for Families?

Some areas are better than others when it comes to kid-friendly features, safety, and overall life quality, so consider some of these areas for raising a family in Chi-Town:

  • Beverly
  • Edgewater
  • Hyde Park
  • Sauganash/Forest Glen
  • Edison Park
Chicagoland has some excellent communities for raising children.
Relocating with kids means their needs come first. Keep that in mind when choosing where to settle down.

Fun Facts You Should Know Before Your Relocation to Chicago

When a place has such a long history as Chi-Town, which was first mentioned in 1688, as Chigagou (literally onion field in Algonquian), you can certainly find a lot of interesting facts about it. We gathered a few of them to share with you and learn something besides the usual facts.

Interesting Facts to Know About Chi-Town

Looking for some stats and facts that will make you feel more like a local? Here is some information that you can casually mention to your friends to impress them with your knowledge and invite them to come over for a visit:

  • In 1871 a massive fire destroyed one-third of Chi-Town.
  • There are more than 200 miles of bike trails and 26 miles of lakefront.
  • The first elevated railway in the US debuted in Chi-Town.
  • Walt Disney and Hugh Hefner are only some of the famous Chicagoans
  • At the Field Museum of Natural History, you can see Máximo the Titanosaur, one of the largest known dinosaurs.
  • There are almost 200 art galleries, more than 250 theaters, and around 60 museums.
  • There are 580 bike share stations.
  • Urbs in horto, meaning a city in the garden, is a motto adopted in the early 19th century, and it refers to the city’s extensive park system.
It's always good to know some extra information besides the standard ones.
You will discover many more interesting facts on your journey to become a Chicagoan.

Will I Need a Car After I Relocate to Chicago?

Many can’t imagine living without a car, but like in any other metropolis, the traffic here is crazy. If you manage to find a home close to your work, you can walk or ride a bike, but if you are a bit further, consider relying on public transportation. Chi-Town has the third-largest commute time for a round trip, with 58.5 minutes. If you are moving to the suburbs, having a car will certainly be convenient, but think twice before you decide to drive to work every day.

How Public Transportation Works

Luckily, Chi-Town is home to one of the best public transportation networks, and CTA’s trains and buses can take you anywhere you need to be. One way ticket is $2.5, a daily pass is $10, weekly is $28, and a regular monthly pass is $105. There are discounts and special fares for children, students, and seniors.

Public transportation actually works pretty well in Chicagoland.
Forget about traffic jams on your way to work, rely on public transportation to get everywhere on time.

Moving to Chicago Tips on Weather

Many believe that it’s always cold in Chi-Town, or that wind blows year-round, but that’s just not true. Yes, you should definitely pack your warm clothes, and that would be one of our essential tips for moving to Chicago, but also your swimsuit because when it gets hot, you’ll want to hit the beach. You’ll get to experience all four seasons, snowy winters, rainy autumn, and spring, too hot and humid summers.

The cold season lasts around 3.2 months, from the beginning of December to the first days of March. The warm season actually lasts a bit longer, 3.6 months on average. The windy part of the year is long, and it stretches from September to May, and the average wind speed is around 11.4 miles per hour.

Snow and wind are typical for winter months, right? Pack your warm clothes and don't stress about it too much.
Don't be afraid of the cold weather, enjoy all four seasons in Chicagoland.

Why Move to Chicago?

Need a bit more convincing? Are you still hesitant about making that big step? We feel you, moving is difficult, but it’s usually totally worth the stress. Sometimes, you should listen to locals, people who live there for years, and get a glimpse into their perspective, so let’s take a look at why people who move actually stay in Chi-Town.

Why People Live in Chi-town, and Why You Should Move There in 2020

Are you relocating here for good or is this just another stop on your road? Take a look at this video to see why people who move here choose to stay.

Moving to Chicago Advice – Carefully Browse Through Moving Companies to Pick the Right One

Hiring local movers is one way to ease the struggle of relocating your entire life, but only if you manage to find a reputable Chicago movers company. You should learn how to recognize fake moving reviews to avoid scammers and fraudulent companies because not all movers have your best interest in mind. One of the common moving mistakes is to pick the cheapest company because there are probably some hidden fees waiting for you around the corner. Don’t let a wrong company ruin your experience of relocating to Chi-Town. Just take a slice of pizza and hit the beach to celebrate the new beginning.

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