Are you considering moving to the “Windy City” in 2021? Chicago is regarded by many as the epicenter of the US, boasting everything from excellent business and employment opportunities to incredible diversity. Transportation is also highly advanced, thanks to the L (an elevated subway). Chicago’s subway trains and buses charge just $2.50 and $2.25, respectively, per ride.
On the flip side, the winter is brutal and long, and the wind chill can go as low as minus 40 degrees on really bad days. But the summers are exciting due to the wind that makes it less humid.
So is moving to Chicago worth it in 2021? Here’s everything to know:
There are 77 neighborhoods in total
Chicago has vast housing opportunities for anyone, with over 77 neighborhoods to stay in. Unlike in other cities like NYC and San Francisco, you can easily live in a great apartment without breaking the bank.
Glenview and Park Ridge are the city’s highest-rated neighborhoods due to diversity, nightlife, and school systems that appeal to young families. As you can imagine though, the cost of rent and living, in general, is higher in these neighborhoods than in most parts of Chicago.
Those who prefer a more laid-back community that is near the city should consider the suburbs. Chinatown will put you at the center of Chinese culture. If you’d like a historic and quaint neighborhood, you’d best fit in neighborhoods such as Roscoe Village in Humboldt Park.
Homes are cheaper than in other major cities
Finding a place to settle can be stressful, but that’s hardly the case in this city. There’s a wide range of housing options in Chicago, and the best part is you will rarely need to pay broker’s fees as you’d normally do in New York City and other cities.
The rules remain the same though; you need to start your search early, ideally before moving here, to identify probable picks. If not, you can book one of these furnished apartments by Blueground in Chicago where you’ll stay temporarily as you look for a suitable neighborhood and permanent residence.
Winter is long and brutal
Chicago sees about 36 inches of snow a year, with the first fall coming in November. The freezing rain coats everything in a layer of ice, making the trees appear white. But winter doesn’t always mean spending months indoors as long as you have a good coat.
Besides, the season is exceptionally long, so it’s better to brace yourself and accept it. Locals wear a style that looks like a sleeping bag with a hood. Waterproof boots will also come in handy during those -10 degree days.
Apart from warm clothing, we also recommend having a few emergency essentials on hand. For example, if you choose to keep a vehicle, you better buy shovels, jumper cables, warm gloves, and snow brushes.
Finally, embrace the cold and don’t whine too much about it, especially to the locals who are already sick of the far-too-familiar complaints. Remember, no matter how cold it gets, there’s still so much you can do, such as attending Pitchfork’s midwinter music festival and going for a polar plunge into Lake Michigan.
Remember the 100 days of summer
We don’t take any summer day for granted here in Chicago. The festival season runs from May through October and everyone comes out in full force. During summer, people will be at a park, beach or neighborhood festival. Almost every neighborhood participates in a street fair celebrating their food, music, and heritage.
Go out and enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer. For example, you can choose to go for a downtown kayak tour to experience the historical architecture of Chicago while also viewing the sunrise and sunset.
If you are not afraid of heights, how about scaling the famous John Hancock Building and enjoy a thrill ride from 1000 feet above the ground? A visit to the Willis Tower which is currently the second tallest building in the US is also recommended for a similar experience.
Chicago’s public transportation is quite decent
Chicago boasts the second-largest transportation system in the US. There is both bus service and subway train service via the L, making it easy to get by without owning a car. In addition, you can use the 7 mainline and 4 auxiliary highways that expand significantly beyond the city center when driving.
The Pedway is another excellent option especially when you want to get around downtown Chicago. The pedestrian walkway comprises overhead bridges and underground tunnels linking to various parts of the city’s central business district. Other suitable ways to move around include using a bike or booking the plentiful number of taxis available here.
The crime rate is dropping fast
Chicago has a reputation as one of the most violent cities in the US. In 2016, it was the nation’s “murder capital,” but a recent piece by the Chicago Tribune shows that there have been great strides in reducing the crime rate. In fact, the number of shooting victims has decreased by over 30% over the past two years. In reality, it doesn’t feel any more insecure than other cities. However, areas on the South and Far West sides can be fairly sketchy, but the closer you get to the center, the safer it gets.
There are several top academic institutions
Speaking of cities with quality higher education, Chicago outshines the rest. Many top colleges and universities in the US are in Chicago, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University and Loyola University. You will also find an extensive selection of secondary schools such as Northside College Preparatory High Schools and Payton College Prep High School along with Catholic schools, Lutheran schools, and institutions with a focus on arts.
Ready to move to Chicago in 2021?
One of the main reasons most people prefer to live in Chicago is the affordable cost of living compared to other cities. Besides, the public transportation is excellent, and there’s no shortage of great job opportunities here. To this end, it’s easy to see why Chicago is an attractive option for those looking to relocate.