Relocating To Chicago? Here’s What You Need To Know

Whether it’s for work, play, or just a change of scenery…Chicago is a great place to consider, and voted the second most beautiful city in the world! If you’ve been thinking about making the move to the Windy City, we’ve got a few tips for you. 

(The first tip is ‘don’t call it the Windy City’ by the way! Only tourists say that.)

Okay, let’s start with the biggest one and the one everyone seems to want to talk about; Chicago weather. ‘Is it windy?’ Well, there’s some wind coming off the lake sometimes, but that famous phrase was actually a turn-of-the-century ‘diss’ towards the politicians of the city; seems they were occasionally blowing a bit of ‘hot air.’ Speaking of that, warm air is something Chicagoans like very much. Especially if you’re relocating from a southern state, the CHI can be very, very cold.

So the first thing one might do is buy some warm clothes. For a coat, most Chicagoland residents wear one of two types; the kind that’s long and wool, or the synthetic type that is basically a sleeping bag with a hood. One of these is a requirement. You’re also going to need a couple hats, and we don’t mean caps with Cubs or White Sox logos on ‘em. We’re talking beanies, stocking caps, something that covers your ears. Scarves in some cities are fashion accessories. Not in Chicago. You’ll need at least one good one; thick and able to cover the gap between your jacket and your neck.

Midwest winters require layering; you’ll need long underwear/long johns, as well as gloves and a good pair of boots that can handle snow. Even better, if you’re out walking or cycling you’ll want clothes that unzip and/or ventilate; otherwise any sweat will chill you even further. Speaking of being ambulatory in the wintertime, Chicago sidewalks get pretty icy, so be careful out there! One more winter tip; if you’re driving around, stock up your car with a small amount of winter gear as well. You’ll need a snow brush to scrape ice off your windshield, and possibly a cover to keep it from forming in the first place. In the trunk, you’ll want to keep jumper cables, an extra pair of gloves, antifreeze, and maybe a shovel or those plastic ‘wedges’ for getting your car unstuck from snowbanks. But don’t let the cold get you down! As they say, there’s no bad weather; only bad clothes. Layer up and be smart, and you’ll be acting like a real Chicagoan in no time. 

Of course, the other side of winter is summer! And Chicago summers might be the best summers in the whole world, period. We may be slightly biased, but seriously! The ‘hundred days of summer’ in CHI is a wonderful thing. When it’s warm (read: above 50 degrees F) Chicagoans are alive. There’s a music festival or street party every weekend, and the Lake Michigan ‘Third Coast’ beaches are a real thing! 

Another thing that’s different in Chicago is the commuting situation. In most American cities, the car is basically the only way to go. Not so much in Chicago! Now, if you want to commute by car, feel free. However, residents know that ‘rush hour’ in the CHI starts at about 6am, and only ends about 10:30am or noon. Of course, it starts back up again around 3pm, and goes until 7 or so. Basically, unless you live in Milwaukee; don’t drive here. Take a bike. Walk. Or do what most Chicagoans do and take the ‘L.’ 

The ‘L’ is short for ‘eLevated,’ because most CTA tracks in the city are above street level. The CTA is the Chicago Transit Authority, the government agency in charge of traffic-jam-free commuting in the Chicago area. A ride is only $2.50, and the L goes most places at most times. Of cours there’s always rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, and the classic Chicago Taxis. These are best used during off-peak hours, or when you really don’t feel like waiting for a bus or train in the cold.

It almost goes without saying, but another thing to think about when moving to Chicago is that there’s always something to do here! Do you like shopping? From the boutiques of the ‘Magnificent Mile’ to the thrift stores in Wicker Park, there isn’t much you can’t find. Culture? Hit the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum Campus, the Museum of Science and Industry to name a couple offhand. Sports? If you want to play, there are hundreds of parks and gyms. As spectators, Chicagoans really go all in for their teams; the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Bears, and Fire all have their legions. Food? The James Beard Awards are from here. There are more Michelin stars and celebrity chefs in the CHI than in many small countries. Traditions? I mean, which other city dyes their river green for St. Patrick’s Day?

It leaves one last question; if you relocate to Chicago, you’ll need someplace to live. Compared to the East Coast and the West Coast, Chicago’s housing market is quite down-to-earth. As a renter, you’re in luck; Chicago’s median rents don’t differ much from the average rent in the United States as a whole. Try saying that about LA or NYC! One thing that can be said about Chicagoland; it’s not a small place. There are 77 named neighborhoods in nine districts, all with their own distinct feelings and vibes. Feeling a bit overwhelmed?

Fortunately, this is a specialty of FultonGrace Realty. Whether you’re on the hunt for a rental apartment for yourself, or you plan to purchase a home for your family, Fulton Grace has the property selection and the agent for you. 

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