Are you thinking about moving to Chicago? There’s so much to look forward to. Along with being the third-largest city in the country, Chicago is also the birthplace of skyscrapers, and its architectural wonders have inspired the world.
This city is full of affordable neighborhoods, plenty of nature, lucrative job opportunities, a reliable public transportation system, and so much more. That said, it is among the busiest and densely packed cities and can seem intimidating to newcomers. So we hope this article helps with diffusing some of that anxiety. Read on to discover 10 reasons to move to Chicago.
1. Very easy to get around
Chicago has plenty of travel options that go beyond driving. Even if you don’t have a car or don’t want to handle traffic congestion, you can smoothly get from one place to the next by walking, biking, or taking the train.
The flat terrain of Chicago makes daily walking less strenuous. When it comes to cycling, there are numerous lanes, trails, and parks dedicated to cyclists. These two options are some of the healthiest ways to get around the city to go grocery shopping, to the cafe, or college.
For those looking for a quick and reliable way to get around the city, Chicago has an impressive public transportation network that’s second-largest in the nation. The CTA system operates 8 ‘L’ train lines and 129 bus routes. You can pretty much get anywhere within the city on time for just under $3 — the cost of a single CTA pass.
There are also taxis available for a more private transportation alternative and water taxis if you want to quickly travel between Chicago’s tourist destinations like Willis Tower, Chinatown, Union Station, and Navy Pier.
2. Shops and restaurants
Chicago is bustling with shopping and dining options. If you’re someone who likes to go on shopping sprees in your free time, then you are in for a delight. This city has upscale options, fashion outlets, and independent boutiques nestled along the “Magnificent Mile,” a premier commercial district lined with exclusive stores, luxury fashion, and hotels.
If you get a little hungry after all the shopping, finding a good spot to eat don’t be hard. The high diversity of this city combined with freshly-sourced food gives you plenty of incredible options for every cuisine you might like to try, whether it be Greek, Indian, Japanese, or Italian cuisine. Chicago, of course, has its signature hot dogs and deep-dish pizzas that are a must-try for everyone.
Chicago is among the most highly educated cities in the country. Chicago Public Schools comprises the third-largest public school network in the US, with more than 375,000 enrolled students. The school system has a graduation rate of more than 78.9%.
When it comes to higher education, this city has 76 colleges, universities, and trade schools. It is home to the world’s most prestigious universities like the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. These institutions attract students from all over the country.
This is one of the main reasons students don’t leave the city after high school since they can continue their education close to home. Chicago inherently has a culture that promotes learning amongst students from all backgrounds.
4. Art in Chicago
From galleries to street corners, there is art everywhere in Chicago.
South Side neighborhoods like Pilsen, Bridgeport, and Hyde Park offer various art galleries highlighting new artists working with a diverse set of mediums.
River North is full of galleries, like Ken Saunders Gallery, The Project Room, and Richard Norton Gallery, allowing you to participate in art crawls and open houses each month.
You will find plenty more art showcasing a medley of eclectic, cultural, traditional, and contemporary pieces from every century in West Loop, Wicker, and Park/Bucktown.
If visiting art museums are more your thing, then The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-see. It’s one of the most popular and award-winning art institutions in the nation, with over 260,000 pieces of art from around the world.
Many other museums offer specialized collections belonging to a specific art style, period, or culture. These include the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art, and National Museum of Mexican Art.
If you’re an avid sports watcher, there’s no better place than Chicago. This city has millions of fans across a wealth of major professional sports teams, such as:
- Chicago Cubs (baseball)
- Chicago Bulls (basketball)
- Chicago White Sox (baseball)
- Chicago Blackhawks (hockey)
- Chicago Bears (football)
- Chicago Fire FC (soccer)
You can catch the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks at United Center, the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Chicago Bears, and Fire FC at Soldier Field.
6. Outdoor Attractions
From biking, walking, boating, and even kayaking, there are a lot of outdoor adventures waiting for you in Chicago. Here are some outdoor attractions to watch out for:
- 606 Hiking Trail: This 2.5 miles hiking trail used to be an abandoned railway line. It starts at Walsh Park and ends at North Ridgeway Avenue. You can walk, run, rollerblade, skateboard, or bike along this trail and pass all the significant historical heritage of Chicago along your route.
- Lakefront Trail: This iconic trail spans 18.5 miles along Lake Michigan and is laden with sandy beaches, stunning parks, and boat harbors. You will also find popular attractions like Lincoln Park Zoo and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum along the way.
- Chicago Riverwalk: This scenic landmark is the perfect site to take in the heart of downtown. If kayaking is your thing, rent one from Urban Kayaks and take it down for a ride along Chicago Skyscraper River Canyon, or take a guided tour to explore the riverfront architecture.
- Grant Park: This is another oasis in downtown Chicago full of gorgeous gardens and the world’s largest fountain — Buckingham Fountain. For those into BMX rides and rollerblading, there are concrete ramps, quarter piles, grinding rails, and two stair sets along the course.
- Maggie Daley Park: Climb the 40-foot wall on Lake Michigan and the city’s skyline as your backdrop. There are also mini golf courses, skating ribbons, and ice skating ramps in the park.
Although Chicago is known as the Windy City (and gets plenty of wind), it also has excellent summer months. Winter is harsh in Chicago, so if you’re moving from a hotter state like Texas, be prepared for plenty of layers and hibernation until the snow starts melting around April.
On average, it receives 37.5 inches of snow yearly, with the coldest month being January. Once you survive the winter freeze, there will be golden rays of sunshine showering you with much-needed warmth between mid-June to mid-September for about 108 days. The hottest month in Chicago tends to be July, with the temperature averaging about 21 degrees.
8. Job Market
The city’s job market is one of the top reasons to move to Chicago since it’s been growing steadily over the last few years. Its largest employers are the US Government, Chicago public schools, the City of Chicago, Northwestern memorial healthcare, Walmart, and Amazon.
The most in-demand job spaces in this city are information & technology, sales & marketing, human resource management, retail, leisure, hospitality, and transportation. With everything reopening as we re-emerge from the pandemic, almost everyone is hired.
But, still, it’s better to secure your job before moving to Chicago since it has a relatively high cost of living. Use online job marketplaces like Indeed and Monster.com to send your resumes out for job openings.
9. Unique Neighborhoods
Chicago has many diverse neighborhoods, giving people with different personalities enough options to find the perfect community they can call home. This city has roughly 77 communities that are grouped into 9 districts or sides. Each community consists of multiple neighborhoods.
While the city is a family-friendly city, some neighborhoods are more stroller-friendly and have a stronger sense of community than others. These include Bridgeport, Beverly, Morgan Park, Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Roscoe Village. Each of these neighborhoods has its line of independent restaurants and cafes.
Rogers Park and Edgewater are ideal for those looking for a quieter place but easy access to a thriving nightlife and a mix of public and faith-based private schools.
If you love green spaces, you will feel right at home in Hyde Park and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
Every season is a festival season in this city. Chicago has countless art shows, concerts, and street festivals that keep the residents occupied, people-watching, and having fun throughout the year. Here are some of the best Chicago festivals that are a must-see:
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Along with dying the Chicago River a magnificent shade of green, this four-hour-long parade will curb your appetite for bagpipes, green knee socks, beer, and shamrock laser streets.
- Chicago Air and Water Show: One of the visually spectacular festivals in the city, this event is an air show held on Lake Michigan. It’s the biggest free show of its kind in the US. You will see a performance by both civilian and military pilots. Some of the events include formation flying jets, daredevil pilots, and parachute groups.
- Pitchfork Music Festival: Organized by Pitchfork Media, this 3-day festival brings some of the best bands of alternative rock, hip-hop, electronica, and dance music. Along with cutting-edge music, this event also has amazing food and beverages for the attendees.
- Magnificent Mile Light Festival: This spectacular event marks the beginning of the Yuletide festivities with a parade and the official lighting of trees along the iconic Magnificent Mile.
If you’re looking to move to the Windy City after reading our reasons to move our Chicago, consider hiring professional packers and movers to make your long-distance relocation journey safe and stress-free.
Stark Movers are Boston’s top choice for local and long-distance commercial and residential moves. We offer packing, loading, storage, and transportation services. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you and receive a free, no-obligation quote.