If the prospect of long, windy winters doesn’t scare you, Chicago might be the ideal big city to live in. Compared to coastal hotspots like San Francisco and New York, which are increasingly expensive and difficult to live in if you make less than six figures, Chicago is still affordable. It’s also filled with amenities and activities that are great for families and bachelors alike.
Advantages of living in Chicago
Reports of cold winters are not exaggerated. Even for people who have called the city home for years, there are months at a time where going outside is an almost unimaginable task. Those that do wrap themselves in multiple layers (fashionable, cute clothes are out of the question) and try to find the quickest path possible to their destination.
During the winter months, seeing the sun also becomes a rarity. However, many people view this reality as a positive thing. By forcing everyone indoors, it creates a sense of community and solidarity among residents that many other big cities—even New York—seem to lack.
While the weather isn’t the only potential deterrent, it’s perhaps the most obvious. Residents agree that if you’re able to survive the winters, or if they don’t bother you at all, living in the city will be a cakewalk.
You’re Going to Ride the CTA
The CTA is Chicago’s public transport system. Like other major cities, parking in Chicago is very difficult and there aren’t many spaces available. If you’re lucky enough to have located a Mercedes-Benz dealer near Chicago, the comfort of your vehicle might be enough to justify waiting around for a spot. For everyone else, there’s the CTA.
In several respects, the CTA will be your best friend. It goes virtually everywhere in the city and allows you to forgo the potentially hours-long process of finding a parking spot. It’s also very affordable. On the other hand, the CTA is notorious for being unreliable. It will show up minutes after it’s supposed to and takes longer than advertised to reach your destination.
Summers Are a Revelation
If you survive the winter, the payoff is huge. Summertime in Chicago is glorious, and there’s no end to the amount of activities that you can participate in. This is partly the consequence of winter; locals know that they have a limited amount of time to enjoy themselves before the constraints of cold weather set in. It’s truly adult recess.
There are beaches, from 31st Street to Montrose to North Avenue, that are incredibly popular in the summertime and are filled with families, tourists, and tanners alike. Bars open up their rooftops and can be enjoyed until late into the warm evenings. Parks are large and great for playing games and walking pets. The music festival Lollapalooza takes place, strategically, in the summertime. It has become one of the most popular events in the entire world.
You Will Belong to a Community
If you’re even a somewhat outgoing person, you will quickly meet new neighbors and make new friends. People in Chicago are famously friendly and like to know who’s living around them. This is in part due to the wintertime, a season when people like to get together and enjoy the company of others.
Chicago is broken down into 77 unique neighborhoods, and each possess a unique identity and community. More than other places in the United States, the neighborhood you live in will come to shape you. This is one of its most wholesome characteristics.
It’s hard to find a native Chicagoan who isn’t a diehard sports fan. Even though the Bears are a perennial disappointment, the fans here make the atmosphere of the games exciting and filled with energy. Chicago Cubs and White Sox fans frequently butt heads, but it’s all in good fun, and the Bulls have multiple NBA titles under their belt.
If you’re new to sports, pick a franchise that you think you could get behind. It’s one of the great joys of living in Chicago and one that every resident should take advantage of. The food in the stadiums is also famous for being delicious and affordable!
While there might be difficult months, living in Chicago is one of the most rewarding places in the entire United States to call home. Make your house as cozy as you can and enjoy all of the new friends you make in your neighborhood!