Chicago is undoubtedly one of the world’s best cities. It really does have it all: fine dining, sports, four seasons, job opportunities, public transportation and so much more. Yet many people move to Chicago without giving consideration to what living in the city will actually be like. Here’s what you should know before moving to Chicago.
1. Chicago is Quite Expensive
According to the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Chicago is the 9th most expensive city in the United States for renters. If you are strapped for cash, job-seeking or single, consider moving in with a roommate or two to limit the cost of living. Plan out a budget before you actually go apartment shopping. Set a maximum monthly rent and only check out apartments that are priced beneath this ceiling. Your bank account will thank you later.
2. Chicago is Big…Really Big
Though few know it, Chicago has a whopping 245 neighborhoods. If you haven’t visited the Windy City before, you should definitely spend some time there as a tourist to get a feel as to whether its mammoth size is for you. This is especially important for those who hail from small towns.
3. The Winters Are Often Depressing
You might pack on an additional 5 or 10 pounds during Chicago’s brutal winter as you hunker down indoors to avoid mother nature’s wrath. If you suffer from seasonal affect disorder (SAD), stock up on sun lamps to improve light exposure and help boost your mood.
4. Chicago’s Architecture Makes the Winters Worthwhile
Though Chicago winters are some of the worst in the country, the city’s jaw-dropping architecture makes it all worthwhile. Be sure to take the city architecture tour if you decide to make the move.
5. Parts of the City Smell Like Chocolate
If you paid attention in economics class, you know what a positive externality is. The smell of chocolate along Chicago’s River North and west loop are an excellent example of this economics term. Visit these sections of the city and your nose will likely pick up on the chocolate odors emitted from the chocolate factory located on Milwaukee and Kinzie.
6. Moving in the Summer Might not be Such a Great Idea After All
Most people anticipate that the best time to move to Chicago is during the summer. This is not necessarily true. Sure, moving here in June or July will prevent all of the drama associated with snow, ice and wind, but everyone else has the exact same idea! This means that the traffic will be uber-busy and applications for rentals will be submitted at an incredibly high frequency. Additional local movers are bombarded this time of year, so moving prices tend to be higher. A winter or fall move-in might prove to be less stressful.
7. Chicago Cab Drivers Do Not Want to be Paid with Credit Cards
It is perfectly legal to pay your cab fare with a credit card. However, your cab driver might give you some attitude or shoot you a nasty glare if you do not pay with cash. Some cab drivers might even pretend that the credit card machine is broken in order to get you to pay with cash.