Chicago is one of the most popular tourist destinations across the world, but many people are considering moving to Chicago, as well. If you’ve found yourself thinking about it as well, then you must have a lot of questions before you actually get started.
Is relocating to Chicago, Illinois a good idea? How much does it cost to move to Chicagoland? Hopefully, the following tips will be useful in answering these questions for you and helping you get around the Windy City. It is a beautiful place, but even though it has many advantages, it also has a few downsides you should know about. It’s a great home of different cultures, cuisines, music styles, sports teams, as well as excellent schools and rich history.
Learn About the Cost of Living Before Moving to Chicago
Relocating to Chi-Town may be very appealing, but you’ll have to keep the cost of living in mind before you make any final decisions. Even if you’re adamant about saving up money during the move, perhaps that’s why you’d be moving during the holidays, you should know that it can be a costly place to live in. There are many taxes you’ll have to keep in mind now, which will be among the things you may not have considered before. From various food and grocery taxes, extra sales tax, including the state tax of Illinois to the average state tax rate of 2.3%, which is the second-highest in the US.
Visit Job Fairs to Find Employment
The Windy City is the third-largest city in the US, with close to three million residents. And do keep in mind that you’re not the only one considering relocating to Chicagoland. So it should’ve already crossed your mind that the job market in the Chi-Town will be as competitive as they get.
Depending on what your preferred industry is, there’s a good chance that there will already be hundreds of applicants before you even send in your application. So be prepared for fierce competition when looking for a new job. There are also many job fairs which may prove useful. They happen on the weekends so you’ll surely have time to visit at least once. Be ready to re-do your resume and to study the business you’re interested in before you even move there.
You would be glad to know that this place is home to the headquarters of as much as 34 companies from the prestigious Fortune 500 list, while 11 are based inside the city. Some of them are:
- Walgreens Boots Alliance
- Kraft Heinz
Join Online Groups Like LinkedIn and Start Networking
One of the best tips you can get when it comes to getting a new job in a new town is to start networking in advance. You can look online for help, with numerous guides and blogs, and search for internet groups in the field you’d like to get a job in. There are many websites online which can prove useful like LinkedIn. You should also do your research of any companies you should know something about and you’d like to work for before you move to the Chi-Town and find out more about the job market.
Rent and Reale Estate Costs – It’s a Renter’s City
The decision to move can’t have been an easy one to make, but now you will also have to decide where to move to and whether to rent a place or to buy your own property. If you’re on a low budget, now may be the time to consider moving to a smaller home. And unless you’re ready to pay through the nose for real estate, there’s a good chance that renting will be your only option by default. Real estate prices in Chi-Town will blow you away as soon as you look them up, even if the places where they should be “affordable.”
This is one of the main reasons why it’s known as the renter’s city. In case you’ve spent most of your budget on Chicago movers with moving and packing services, you may need to rent from the get-go. So do your research beforehand, both on the rents and real estate prices in the neighborhood which you find appealing the most. Maybe you’ll find a perfect home which suits all of your needs but is just too expensive for you to afford. Perhaps you will have to rent and will have to find a roommate or get in contact with any family or friends who already live there.
Choose a Neighborhood That Fits Your Budget and Preferences
Where should I move to in the Windy City is one of the first questions you’ll have as soon as you decide to relocate there. And the answer will mostly depend on your budget, income, and preferences. The Windy City is a huge place, and a melting pot of different cultures. It is home to more than 200 neighborhoods, and each of them has something to offer. So, you will have to do thorough research before you choose where you want to live. Are you moving with kids? Perhaps you will be moving with dogs, in which case you’ll have to look for vets and dog parks as well.
Move to West Chicago
West Chicago will be the most suitable option for you if you’re interested in a wonderful cultural experience. It is home to numerous ethnic restaurants and places of cultural interest. The most recommended neighborhood on the Westside would be the Humboldt Park neighborhood. It is built in a Spanish colonial architectural style as it was originally a Puerto Rican neighborhood. Real estate may be cheaper than in some other parts of the Windy City, but keep in mind that the rent could be higher.
Relocating to South Chicago Won’t Cost You a Fortune
The south side is also very rich in culture and diversity, home to many wonderful places and restaurants. Bridgeport is a wonderful home to many working-class families and boasts a lot of White Sox pride. The neighborhood is mostly Irish with a variety of other cultures mixed in. It’s not exorbitantly expensive and is certainly worth a look. There are many fun things to do on the Southside for people of all interests.
North Chicago is a Creative Hub
Northside of the Windy City is the perfect mix of different cultures and people of all backgrounds. There are many different things to do, no matter what you may be interested in. It is the largest creative hub of arts, music, restaurants and coffee shops. You can also go shopping at any time in the Bucktown neighborhood. The only thing that may be a deal-breaker is that the costs of the rent are higher, and if your plan on living in your own home somewhere on the Northside, you’ll have to pay a small fortune.
Experience the Far East in Chinatown Section of the City
Chinatown is home to more than 65 thousand Chinese citizens and offers all you could ask for from the wonderful Chinese culture. It’s one of the largest Chinatown neighborhoods in the country and has melded well with the surrounding cultures, which together make the metropolis so great. Mesmerizing public art, authentic and tasty restaurants, various shops of all kinds and purposes, shopping in the famous Chinatown Square, all of this is available to you in Chinatown.
Live a Fancy Life in Downtown
If you have the means to move to wherever you want and are interested in the fancy lifestyle, then the Downtown will suit your needs the most. Home of the Millennium Park, Downtown offers all the shopping you could ask for on Michigan Avenue, as well as various bars and galleries. The central business district, the Loop, is also located here, on the south bank of the Chicago River.
The cost of living is high, but worth it. If living in a big, urban jungle full of stunning skyscrapers is what you’re interested in and you can afford it, the Downtown area might be a perfect place for you.
Check the Crime Rate
It is not uncommon for Chi-Town to come to mind when people think about crime and the mafia, as its history was marked by Al Capone to an extent. And it is unfortunately infamous as the “murder capital” of the US. But the statistics show a 30 percent decrease in crime over the last two years.
Still, you should keep in mind that the crime rate is higher than the nation’s average. So if you’ve decided to live in a specific neighborhood, look up the crime rates and the local statistics before you make any final decisions. Don’t be afraid to come in touch with the local police department if you want more detail if you think that will affect your decision.
Get Used to the Weather
No matter where you’re relocating to Chi-Town from, there’s a good chance that you haven’t experienced winters like the ones in Illinois. They can be as hazardous as you may think, or even more. Add into the equation the wind that earned the place one of its most famous nicknames, and you have a freezing temperature fight with nature itself.
This is one of the reasons why the weather and climate can make residents feel lonely. But do know that there are many outdoor and indoor activities for the wintertime. Despite the cold weather, the metropolis is still attracting countless visitors as well as people who are interested in making this place their home. You won’t be the first or the last person who has to get accustomed to the cold climate. Just be ready to go shopping for warm clothes, jackets, and blankets. And keep this in mind when choosing the time of the year to move, as moving during the winter can be more affordable but comes with its own problems.
On the other hand, during the warmer part of the year, there are so many things for you to do and have a good time. That’s the period of the year when the famous Lollapalooza festival takes place, when parks come to life and rooftop bars become the places to be. And don’t forget that you can go to the beach as well. It is home to some wonderful beaches which are perfect no matter if you’re with your family or want to have a good time with your friends. One of the best parts of it all is that tourists tend to avoid them, so you won’t have to worry about it getting overcrowded.
Enjoy International Food
Chi-Town is a wonderful melting pot of different cultures, and thus different cuisines. So if you’re a foodie, then you may find the metropolis irresistible, as it can offer such a wide variety of authentic restaurants and food places. The famous deep-dish pizza is among the first things that come to mind when you mention Chi-Town and food. The Italian beef sandwiches are a close second, followed by Chicago-style hotdogs. There are also various other Italian, French, Polish, Chinese and Latin places where you can enjoy these wonderful cuisines. And if you’re someone with a sweet tooth, you’re in luck as The Fudge Pot is the place to visit if you’re interested in anything sweet and want to get the best bang for your buck.
Leave Your Car Behind
There’s no better time for a major life change than relocation, especially if you’re relocating for the first time. And if you’re relocating to Chi-Town, you may need to leave your car behind, especially if you’re relocating long-distance or internationally and are worried about shipping your vehicle. You won’t find much use for your car unless you plan on going on frequent road trips or family visits out of town. Driving a car can get very stressful, and will seem very pointless when you take into consideration the excellent public transport available.
Not only is it a place where you can walk to most places in your vicinity, but it also has a great public transport system. You will have both rail and bus options and should know that its public transport system is the second biggest in the United States. Even if you end up in need of quick transport from place to place, Uber and Lyft are still very viable and affordable options. Another great option is biking, which can also be very affordable, especially because you can rent a bike if you don’t own one, by using Divvy for example. There are many shortcuts and side streets that are suitable for bikes, and there are many bike lanes too, as the municipality encourages biking.