Moving to Chicago Guide

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What a tremendous city Chicago must be. The thought of car lines, crowds, trains, came to him with almost a yearning appeal. All at once the magnet got him. It gripped his very soul, this wonder, this beauty, this life.

“I’m going to Chicago,” he thought, and got up.”

“The Genius” by Theodore Dreiser

 

Dreiser’s Eugene Witla wanted to go to Chicago, find a job there and study art. You might follow in the footsteps of this fictional character. Maybe you already have a job offer in hand, or maybe you are moving to Chicago to reunite with family. Are you looking for a fresh start and the Windy City seemed like a good candidate to call home? Whatever the reason is, this Midwestern city will never disappoint.

Chicago Neighborhoods

With over 2.7 million residents, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. Here, you will find 77 distinct neighborhoods that can be divided into five big areas:

Downtown

Downtown is a showcase for Chicago’s top attractions. Everyday views of iconic Chicago skyscrapers and easy access to the city’s best eateries are guaranteed if you choose to call this area home. Shopping options are abundant, and entertainment is bountiful. Downtown is well-connected to other parts of the city via CTA. If you prefer to ride alone, you can easily hail a cab or use Uber or Lyft.

The downtown area will best fit you if you have no kids and leaving life in the fast lane is your cup of tea. You need to have a relatively good income as this central neighborhood is closer to Chicago’s financial and governmental heart; hence, prices there are a bit high compared to other areas.

North Side

Lincoln Square and Roscoe Village are the safest areas in Chicago. If you have kids and want to live in a safe and quiet neighborhood with your family, look no further. The area is not too far from downtown, and of course, the housing prices are lower compared to the most central part of the Windy City.

North Side – Lakefront

This area is almost the same as the North Side in terms of the family-friendly environment. It is probably the city’s greenest neighborhood. And as an extra perk, it has a zoo. In the summer, here you’ll find plenty of spaces for sunbathing, picnicking, or simply taking in the views. Biking, rollerblading, and good old running are popular activities around the neighborhood. This area also boasts some of the city’s top schools.

Speaking of schools, don’t forget to stop by Chicago Public Schools website. Here you’ll be able to check each school’s profile and progress report cards.

West Side

If you are a student or a recent college graduate looking for a job in Chicago, Logan Square may be a good choice for you. The rents are relatively low here. There are plenty of parks spaces here where you can sit around, toss a frisbee, or have a picnic. For a drink in a hip bar or a cheap but delicious meal visit Wicker Park and Bucktown. Unfortunately, parts of the West Side are infamous for crime and gang activity. The more west you go, the more dangerous the neighborhood becomes. Try to avoid areas with section 8 housing as well.

Unfortunately, parts of the West Side are infamous for crime and gang activity. The more west you go, the more dangerous the neighborhood becomes. Try to avoid areas with section 8 housing as well.

South Side

If you are an international student, a graduate from an international university, or you simply miss being among students and people from all over the world, Hyde Park should be your new home. South Side is famous for its ethnically diverse neighborhoods and being the home of the University of Chicago. The South Side can definitively be called a student’s area. There you can find small studio apartments as well as mid-sized mansions.

Just like in the West Side of Chicago, you have to be careful about how far south you go as some areas gets sketchy. Before moving to Chicago, get as much information about these five big areas as you can, and then pick the one that best fits your needs, goals, and budget.

Cost of Living

We are sure you will want to maintain your current standard of living, and maybe improve it. So before you choose a new place to call home, research the living costs. If you are relocating from New York or Los Angeles, Chicago will seem more affordable to you. But if you are moving from Utah or Montana, you may find the Windy City quite an expensive place to live. Check out the cost of living index map of the USA for more detailed information and comparison of numbers. It will also give you living costs in the world’s major cities.

It is hard to say exactly how much the monthly living costs will be as it depends on the neighborhood you settle in, your income, and where you are moving from. Use the Bankrate calculator to help you calculate and compare the costs of living. You just need to select your current city, the city you are planning to move to and your current income.

Taxes

Let’s not forget about taxes. Illinois cities are infamous for having some of the highest taxes in the nation. Chicago is no exception. In July of this year, the Illinois House of Representatives approved a 32 percent income tax hike: from 3.75 up to 4.95 percent.  Chicago homeowners will also be paying higher taxes. The average Chicago property tax bill will be going up about 10 percent. Although Chicago residents have been actively complaining about the property tax increase, they still pay less than their Cook County suburban counterparts.

Public Transportation

Chicago is a major transportation hub in the US and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) offers transportation services with three agencies: Metra, Pace, and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which has approximately 2,000 buses that provide about 1 million passenger trips per day.

Also, Chicago is one of the few cities in the United States that offers rapid transit service to the city’s two major airports: O’Hare and Midway.

Attractions in the Windy City

If you have never been to Chicago expect your jaw to drop when you see its breathtaking skyline. The city proclaims itself the birthplace of modern architecture. In fact, the world’s first Skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885. And many would agree that the Windy City has the most beautiful skyline in the entire United States. Not sure where to begin exploring this great American city? Visit Chicago Architectural Foundation for stories behind Chicago’s most significant architectural sights.

The authentic restaurants, endless bars, and clubs that are open until 4-5 in the morning will make your night life experience something to remember. Also, here’s good news for all blues lovers: Chicago is the world’s capital of the electric blues! As a result, there are almost too many venues to choose from.

It’s almost impossible to name every single thing you can do and see in Chicago. A lifetime won’t be enough to explore this beautiful city. The only thing you will need to worry about is choosing among the best things that Chicago has to offer. The John Hancock Observatory (known as 360 Chicago), Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier, Millenium Park, the Water Tower Place and so many more.

Choosing a Moving Company

If you have a lot of things to take with you when moving to Chicago, choosing a moving company will be an essential part of your move. Also, make sure that the moving company you hire can issue a liability insurance if you need one. Currently, you don’t need any permits to move to Chicago, but one thing to consider is your residential parking permit. Depending on where you’ll settle in Chicago, you may need a permit to park your car. If that’s your case, make sure to request it in advance.

Have you thought about transporting your car to Chicago? Of course, you can drive the car yourself. But why not let professionals take care of the task? Get in touch with us at Corsia Logistics, and we will arrange transport for your vehicle between Chicago and anywhere else in the country.

Now, congratulation on your moving to Chicago! It’s time to start ticking things off your bucket list and enjoying this great American city. To meet new people, try Couchsurfing.org or Meetup.com. But even without using any of these platforms, you won’t have trouble making new friends as people in the Windy City are friendly and open minded. Welcome to Chicago! Welcome home!

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About the Author:

Juxhina Malaj - a wanderluster and bibliophile who loves photography, nature, documentary films, re-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and drinking green tea while listening to Indie Folk, Delta Blues, Jazz and all the good vibes.
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