15 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Chicago 2024: From Deep-Dish to High-Rises

Chicago Moving

If the Windy City’s been whispering your name, you’ve probably either danced through its streets or daydreamed about its skyline from afar. Maybe you’ve been serenaded by the blues at a local joint or imagined yourself at a Cubs game. Whatever’s pulling you toward Chicago, the city’s got a big, warm Midwestern hug waiting for you!

But hey, before you pack those bags and head to the land of deep-dish pizzas and towering skyscrapers, let’s jazz things up a bit. Here are 15 sizzling hot tips you absolutely need to know before making Chicago your new stomping ground.

Must Know Things

1. Chicago: The Global Village in the Heart of the Midwest! 

With a population nearing three million, Chicago is like that bustling international bazaar you’ve always dreamt of visiting. It’s America’s third-largest city, but it feels like the world in a nutshell. Dive into the urban vibes, savor flavors from every corner of the globe, and still catch that cozy Midwestern spirit in the air.

New in town? No worries! Chicago’s social scene is as vibrant as its skyline. From sweat-it-out fitness classes to legendary bar crawls, from cheering for the Bulls to lending a hand at local charities, there’s always something happening. Dive in, and you’ll find your tribe in no time.

Pro Tip: Subscribe to Chicago event newsletters. It’s like having a personal city concierge in your inbox!

2. Weather: Where Four Seasons Aren’t Just a Hotel! 

Ah, the infamous Chicago weather! From frosty 22°F winter mornings that’ll make you want to snuggle up with a hot cocoa, to balmy 83°F summer afternoons perfect for a lakeside picnic, Chicago’s got it all. And sometimes, it’s got it all in one day! Yes, the winters can be a bit of a drama queen, but come summer, and the city’s all sunshine and rainbows.

Every season here is a new chapter. Imagine sipping on a cool drink at a rooftop bar in July or wandering through golden-hued parks with a pumpkin-spiced latte in October. Chicago’s weather might be unpredictable, but it sure knows how to put on a show!

3. Chicago: Where Every Road Leads to Adventure!

Navigating Chicago is as easy as pie (and we’re not just talking about the deep-dish kind). Whether you’re zooming by on a train, cruising in a car, or pedaling on a bike, the city’s got your back. With a one-way CTA bus ticket priced at a mere $2.25 and the train at $2.50, exploring the city won’t break the bank.

But wait, there’s more! Fancy a breezy bike ride? Grab a city bike. Need to dash to the suburbs? The Metra’s got you covered. And for those midnight escapades or cross-city adventures, rideshare services are just a tap away.

Insider Scoop: Watch out for that sneaky city surcharge on Uber and Lyft. And hey, don’t forget to lace up those sneakers! Chicago’s streets are a treasure trove of hidden gems, best discovered on foot.

4. Chicago’s Neighborhoods: A World in Every Block! 

Think of Chicago as a grand tapestry, with each neighborhood weaving its unique story. Your perfect nook in the city awaits, tailored to your tastes and tempo.

Party animal? Dance the night away in the buzzing lanes of River North. If morning jogs by serene waters are more your speed, Edgewater’s breezy trails beckon. And for those who dream of cobblestone streets lined with charming boutiques, Roscoe Village is your fairy-tale come true.

Remember, in Chicago, every corner has a tale, and every neighborhood, a personality. Dive in and find yours!

5. Sport City: Where Every Game is a Grand Slam! 

Chicago Soldier Field

In Chicago, sports aren’t just a pastime; they’re a passion. From the iconic ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field to the frosty roars at Soldier Field, the city lives and breathes its teams.

Whether you’re catching a Cubs game under the summer sun or bundling up for a Bears showdown in winter, you’re in for a treat. Get ready to wear your heart on your jersey!

6. House Hunting in Chicago: The Thrilling Chase! 

While NYC might have folks queuing up for a peek at an apartment, Chicago’s got its own real estate hustle. The Windy City’s rental scene is buzzing, with apartments flying off the market faster than deep-dish pizzas on a Friday night. But fear not! With a sea of rental options and a fleet of savvy realtors, your dream nook is just around the corner.

Start by setting your sights and budget. Dive into different neighborhoods, and don’t shy away from virtual tours if you’re miles away. Remember, in Chicago, every apartment hunt is an adventure, and the prize? A place you’ll proudly call home.

7. Skyline: A Symphony in Stone and Steel!

Chicago Aerial

Chicago’s architecture is like a visual playlist of history and innovation. From timeless pre-war gems to chic warehouse lofts and sky-kissing towers, the city’s buildings are a feast for the eyes. Every brick, beam, and balcony tells a story, and trust us, it’s a page-turner!

8. Living the Dream: Quality Comes at a Price! 

While the city’s vibes are priceless, living here does come with a tag. Chicago’s cost of living dances to a tune 33% higher than the national average.

From your daily commute to weekend fun, every expense plays a note. But with a little research and smart budgeting, you can hit all the right beats and live the Chicago dream to its fullest!

9. Chicago: A Melting Pot of Marvels! 

Chicago is like a global festival that never ends. Craving Peruvian delights with a side of skyline views? You got it! Hankering for a fusion taco at midnight? Say no more. Dive into the city’s culinary scene, and you’ll be globe-trotting without leaving the block.

Take a stroll through Humboldt Park, and you’ll feel the Puerto Rican pulse in every corner, from sizzling eateries to vibrant summer parades. Bronzeville? It’s not just a neighborhood; it’s a legacy. Once the heart of the “Black Metropolis,” it echoed with the tunes of Louis Armstrong and the words of Richard Wright. Today, its streets still hum with history and pride.

10. Apartments: From Cozy Corners to Sky-High Suites! 

In the Windy City, the home comes in all shapes and sizes. Fancy a garden unit where you can sip your morning coffee with a touch of green? Or perhaps a three-flat, where every floor is a new story? And for those who love the hustle and bustle, studio apartments offer a slice of city life in a compact space.

11. Renting in Chicago: The Price of Prime Living! 

Big city, big dreams, and yes, big rents. But hey, that’s the trend in most urban jungles, and Chicago’s no exception. With an average one-bedroom setting you back $1,850, it’s clear that city living comes at a premium. But oh, the perks! Prime spots, buzzing neighborhoods, and sometimes, a sweet deal that throws in a month or two of free rent.

And speaking of neighborhoods, here’s a quick rent rundown

  • South Loop: Where skyscrapers meet your budget at $2,100.
  • Lakeview: Lakeside living for a cool $1,695.
  • Logan Square: Hipster vibes at the same price tag of $1,695.
  • Edgewater: Lakeside serenity for just $1,450.
  • Lincoln Park: A blend of green and urban for $1,980.
  • West Town: Trendy and chic at $2,330.

Remember, in Chicago, every penny gets you closer to the heart of the city!

12. The Remote Worker’s Paradise!

Working from home? Chicago’s got your back! With a plethora of cafes serving up strong wifi and even stronger coffee, you’ll never be short of spots to set up your laptop.

And if you’re craving a more professional vibe, the city’s buzzing with coworking spaces that are as chic as they are functional. So, whether you’re Zooming, brainstorming, or just need a change of pace, Chicago’s got the perfect backdrop.

13. Pets Live the High Life! 

Furry friend by your side? Chicago will wag its tail in approval. With a plethora of pet-friendly apartments and a sprinkle of “pet rent” here and there, the city is a haven for animal lovers.

From frolicking at Montrose Dog Beach to sipping a latte with your leashed buddy at a local cafe, pet adventures are endless. And neighborhoods like West Loop, Rogers Park, and Lincoln Park? They roll out the red carpet for your four-legged pals.

14. Sky-High Dreams? Chicago Delivers! 


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Elevate your living experience, quite literally, in Chicago’s iconic high-rises. Neighborhoods like River North and the Loop are the epicenters of vertical luxury. Imagine waking up to panoramic city views, having a doorman greet you, and attending swanky building soirees. And the amenities? Oh boy!

  • Dive into Views: With rooftop pools that make summers sizzle.
  • Work Meets Play: In-house coworking spaces for when home feels too… homey.
  • Fit & Fab: Gyms to keep you in shape, and yoga classes to keep you zen.
  • Social Butterfly: Regular building events to mingle with your high-flying neighbors.

15. Whirlyball: Wackiest Sports Extravaganza! 

Picture this: Bumper cars zipping around, rackets swinging, and balls flying – welcome to the wild world of Whirlyball! | 📸: Travis Isaacs

If “Whirly-what?” is your first reaction, you’re in for a treat. This sport might not have made it to your school’s PE class, but in Chicago, it’s a rite of passage. Imagine the thrill of lacrosse, the strategy of basketball, the speed of hockey, all while driving a bumper car. Sounds crazy? That’s because it is!

Chicago is one of the few places where you can dive into this unique sport. So, gear up, gather your squad, and get ready for a game that’s as unpredictable as it is unforgettable. And trust us, after a game of Whirlyball, your regular sports stories will pale in comparison!


Is it a good idea to move to Chicago?

Chicago offers a vibrant cultural scene, diverse neighborhoods, and a rich history. It’s a city that combines the hustle and bustle of urban life with Midwestern charm. However, like any major city, it has its pros and cons, such as weather conditions and cost of living. It’s essential to weigh these factors based on personal preferences.

What you need to know before going to Chicago?

Before heading to Chicago, it’s good to be aware of its diverse neighborhoods, the importance of sports culture, its architectural significance, and the varying weather conditions. It’s also beneficial to understand the local transportation system and the city’s culinary scene.

How much do you need to make to live comfortably?

To live comfortably in Chicago, a single person should aim to earn between $60,000 to $80,000 annually, depending on lifestyle and housing choices. This figure can vary based on personal expenses and the neighborhood you choose to live in.

Is Chicago an expensive city?

Yes, Chicago is more expensive than the national average in the U.S. However, compared to other major cities like New York or San Francisco, it can be considered more affordable.

Is $50,000 a year a good salary in Chicago?

$50,000 a year is a decent salary for a single person in Chicago. It can cover basic expenses, including housing, transportation, and food. However, for a family or those with significant debts, it might be on the tighter side.

What is a really good salary?

A salary of $100,000 or more is considered a good salary in Chicago, providing a comfortable lifestyle, the ability to live in prime neighborhoods, and enjoy the city’s amenities and entertainment.

How much is 100k take home pay in Chicago?

After federal, state, and local taxes, a $100,000 salary might result in a take-home pay of approximately $70,000 to $75,000, depending on deductions and specific tax situations.

How much is 500k salary after taxes i?

For a $500,000 salary, after federal, state, and local taxes, the take-home pay might be in the range of $325,000 to $350,000, depending on specific tax situations and deductions.

What is minimum wage ?

As of my last update in 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago was $14.00 per hour for companies with 21 or more employees and $13.50 for companies with 4-20 employees. However, it’s essential to check the latest rates as they can change annually.

Final Words

Whether you’re considering a move to Chicago or just curious about the Windy City, arm yourself with knowledge and move forward with confidence. Here’s to new adventures, discoveries, and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Until next time, take care and be well. 

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