These days, people are still moving to big cities, although it may not always seem like it. Some of the cities that people are moving to include Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas), Nashville (Tennessee), Charlotte (North Carolina), Atlanta (Georgia), Orlando (Florida), and Phoenix (Arizona). On the other hand, the U.S.’s two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, are seeing more people moving away from them.
Obviously, living in a big city isn’t for everyone, as it has its pros and cons. Here’s a look at the good and not-so-good things about living in the U.S.’s third largest city, Chicago.
Naturally, the cost of living in bigger cities will be higher than the national average, but Chicago has one of the most affordable costs of living compared to other large cities. In fact, living in Chicago is about half as expensive as living in New York City— which is why Chicago is a good alternative to New York.
The median cost of a home in Chicago is $340,000 (as of 2021), which is $6,900 less than the U.S. median cost (also as of 2021). This makes Chicago one of the most affordable big cities to buy a house in, especially compared to New York and Los Angeles.
Traffic is a nightmare in every big city, and Chicago is no exception. It’s ranked third when it comes to the worst cities for traffic in America, with drivers spending well over 100 per year sitting in traffic. Be sure to leave super early when trying to get to wherever you need to go because you can easily spend an hour or so in rush hour traffic— which occurs multiple times a day in big cities. If you’re used to driving in traffic every day then this won’t be too much of an adjustment, but it will be if you’re moving from a smaller city.
Other than being nicknamed “The Windy City”, Chicago is known for its food— particularly its deep-dish pizza (which also may be a reason why New Yorkers don’t want to move here). But deep-dish pizza isn’t the only signature meal that you’ll find in Chicago; there’s also:
- Chicago barbecue
- Pizza puffs
- Italian beef sandwich
- Jibarito sandwich
Chicago also offers many healthier options, which is true of many big cities. Moving to Chicago won’t disrupt your healthy lifestyle— it will complement it. Healthier food options and living in a city where you can walk to many of your destinations is the perfect way to start living healthier in a new city.
Chicago is located in the Midwest region of the U.S., but also one of the northernmost parts— which means that Chicago experiences true winters. Temperatures can reach the negatives and Lake Michigan freezes over. On the other hand, you can look forward to experiencing all four seasons while living in Chicago. This is exciting if you’re moving from a warmer climate, but make sure to prepare yourself for the winters.
Although traffic may be a nightmare, Chicago’s public transportation system is the opposite. It’s considered the sixth best in the U.S., with more than 90% of Chicago residents approving of the public transportation system. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) eliminates the need for a car (especially if you live within the city limits) as well as the additional costs associated with owning a car, such as gas and maintenance. Living in Chicago can help you save money and go green.
It’s no secret that Chicago has a pretty high crime rate, which isn’t uncommon in big cities. Chicago does see more crime than New York, which has far more people, but not every single place in Chicago is dangerous. As with all big cities, you have to know which parts are safe and which parts to stay away from.
Some of the most common crimes recorded in Chicago include:
- Aggravated assault
Again, these crimes are more likely to occur in certain areas than in others. However, Chicago has police officers, personal injury lawyers, and other professionals in the area if you are a victim of a crime.
If you’re a Chicago native thinking about moving away from Windy City to move to another big city, you may want to reconsider that thought. Chicago has a lot to offer its residents and its visitors, and it’s a pretty good option compared to other big cities.