Well, I made the move from Miami to here many years ago, and people also thought I was nuts. Here's my advice column:
The Good, for someone moving from Hawaii:
Seasons...remember those? Right now, this very moment, striking green buds continue to form on the trees and each day becomes a little bit greener and greener, and step by step this city begins to re-awaken from one heck of a hibernation. And slowly, a temperate Spring becomes a full on Summer that many people claim is the best energy of any American city, for that time of year. Yes, there are events happening every single day from concerts in the park to block parties to ball games to the Lake, BUT, it's the energy that is a big deal. In Hawaii. like San Diego, like Miami, the people are so accustomed to good weather they don't have the same exuberance when the nice weather comes (maybe not so with the waves though :) ). So this incredible vibes sweeps the city and people literally come alive. You can't NOT feel it.
Cloudless September days, with highs in the 70's begin the slowdown that has a peaceful landing in the first fires of fall, where the leaves change and you can put on your favorite sweater. Sure, you know winter is on the way, but why is winter an asset to Chicago rather than a detriment:
3 reasons: It gives you a reason to do things inside, weather that's the city's enormous collection of museums, it's always full neighborhood bars where everybody really does know your name, those indoor hobby projects, or just plain old decompression that our 24/7 lives require these days.
Next, and my favorite, is the inspiration to travel. I don't leave Chicago for 9 months of the year, but come winter, I am constantly taking trips to South America or Asia. Chicago has tremendous deals on airfares, and as soon as the cold wants to snap you, you find a deal on travel zoo, or book in advance for motivation, and take off. It's probably hard to get inspired to leave Hawaii...although you may do it.
And the third...it keeps away all the low-lifes that I think over populate places in warm climates. What? These are the get rich quick people, those all about a hustle and tract housing and no appreciation for quality of life outside of the sun's temperature. Spend some time in South Florida and you'll understand. Chicago is a cultural city full of educated, interesting people who also happen to be approachable. I grew up in the New York City area and the pace of life and the attitude can be a lot for an outside to handle. In Chicago, I promise, a stranger will talk to you on the train, and he won't want your purse, just an innocent chat. You don't find that in big cities.
As for kids...what better way to grow up than to be exposed to the diversity that a large city offers. Life is not the story of a sequestered existence but rather how one can cope with the various challenges that are inevitable. A big city poses that, but in a way much safer than you would imagine. Many a pre-teen here take the bus and train to various events around the city, learning how to 'do' all by themselves. I can guarantee, I think, that you'll never meet a more balanced kid than one raised in a good household WITHIN a major urban area.
And Chicago beats out New York, Boston, San Fran, LA and DC first and foremost on price. You can not find the quality of housing in the the quality of neighborhoods that you find in Chicago. Absolutely not.
As for contemporary architecture, well, this is a city built on what we commonly refer to as the 'classics' which are American traditional forms of victorian, prairie, and solid brick 2/3 flats and continue to attract architecture students from around the globe. However, in several neighborhoods you can find prime examples of DWELL and Architectural Digest style Homes. Seriously, I can show you jaw dropping homes in at least 12 different neighborhoods that were each put together by forward thinking architects. Another option is to consider buying land and building the house of your dreams. Rent is reasonable here (3 bedroom condo in good neighborhood for $1700, house for $2700). Rent a place for a year or so, you'll get land at a great price, depending on the neighborhood and build exactly how you want.
And most importantly, to get a good idea of the city, do not travel by car!!! Rent a bike, stay on foot, jump on and off the el, and wander sidestreets. You don't need a map and don't be worried about crime. You'll be fine. Do that for a few days, and you'll want to stay. Chicago is the perfect antidote for someone fed up with the sleepy attitudes and sunny days of the islands
Ask me why a person should move to Chicago, and I can give you reason after reason, each one more promising than the last. Many Chicago residents and previous clients I speak with after relocating to Chicago agreeâ€”Chicago just has something to it.
But what exactly is it that Chicago has to offer that makes it so unique? Chicago Magazine as well as Todayâ€™s Chicago Woman both recently listed their top reasons to love Chicago. Building on those and adding a few of my own, here are 25 things that are put at your fingertips when you buy Chicago real estate.
Chicagoâ€™s Art Scene
In addition to museums and galleries that be enjoyed by art novices and aficionados alike, Chicago is also full of public art that can be taken in on a walk to work or during a simple stroll downtown.
From five-star restaurants led by award-winning chefs, Chicago restaurants offer some of the finest cuisine in the world. Many Chicago homes for sale in areas like the Gold Coast, Lakeview and Lincoln Park put exquisite dining options right in your neighborhood.
The city is perfect for culture hopping. Take in history, art, astronomy and marine life with a trip to Museum Campus along Lake Shore Drive.
A walk down Michigan Avenue will give anyone insight into what a culturally diverse city Chicago has become, with many different languages being spoken. Various Chicago neighborhoods also pay tribute to ethnicities and regions around the globe, from the Polish Triangle to Little Italy to Chinatown.
An urban oasis like Chicago doesnâ€™t come up short on enjoying the outdoors. Dog beaches and parks along Lake Shore Drive, neighborhood playgrounds and famed city parks give Chicago residents plenty of ways to get some fresh air year round.
It doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re learning the ABCs or getting a PhDâ€”Chicago has some fantastic education opportunities. A Chicago home in Lincoln Park 2520 puts younger children local to the Francis W Parker School, one of Chicagoâ€™s best private schools. And many Chicago condos are near the cityâ€™s fine universities, medical and law schools.
One of Chicagoâ€™s more recent landmarks that is in a class all its own, Millennium Park has opened the door to Chicago new construction buildings like The Legacy and Chicagoâ€™s New Eastside neighborhood.
Remember what I said about Chicago being an urban oasis? Lincoln Park is a bonafide outdoor space complete with ponds, zoo, restaurant and walking and biking trails. Chicago new construction Lincoln Park 2520 is scheduled to be complete next year, giving luxury buyers the ultimate opportunity to have this space right outside their front door.
From the end of spring to the beginning of fall, you can easily fill your weekends with nothing but Chicago street festivals, celebrating food, music and culture in many different neighborhoods.
Fluffy and Fido have plenty to enjoy in Chicago as well, whether itâ€™s a walk through various parks or a run on a dog beach along Lake Michigan. Many Chicago condos are in dog-friendly buildings, so you wonâ€™t need to search high and low for a property you can both call home.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Living in downtown Chicago puts you in close proximity to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of Americaâ€™s â€œbig five.â€ The Park Monroe and other downtown Chicago real estate options make it easy to treat your ears at the drop of a hat.
Rooted in history having housed many prolific choreographers, the Joffrey Ballet gives performances that will leave you in awe.
The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has become the nationâ€™s premiere theatre ensemble, with accolades that include 9 Tony Awards.
Many Chicago condos allow spectacular views of Lake Michigan, along Lake Shore Drive, of high-rise buildings on the cityâ€™s east side.
The Lyric Opera
You may enjoy the architecture as much as the performance at the Lyric Opera, one of the worldâ€™s greatest opera companies. The season runs from October to March, so youâ€™re not short of things to do come winter.
Chicago has made a name for itself in architecture, from innovative real estate buildings like Aqua, to icons like the John Hancock tower. Chicago has many prestigious buildings known around the world for their architecture, and is also home to famed architect Lucien Lagrange.
Go where you feel you'll be happier. I'm originally from Chicago, moved to Phoenix for just over 2 years, and decided t come back to Chicago. Most people would say that I am crazy for doing so, but you live once and you have the power to choose. Phoenix was sunny and warm 99% of the time, the other 1% of the time the forecast called for sunny with a chance of clouds :)
I loved all the culture in Chicago. The arts. The music. The Ravinia Festival. The FOOD! The variety in home construction styles
Chicago will have a much more dramatic difference between the good areas and the bad areas, as compared to most places I've been. (About 25 states) So do your research on areas prior to moving, as an agent can't legally steer you to or away from specific neighborhoods.
The snow. You'll love it, you'll hate it. You'll probably despise it, especially if you learned to drive in another state and without snow.
It gets humid during the summer. Its more uncomfortable in Chicago at 90 degrees than it is in Phoenix or Vegas at 110 degrees. The snow is nice right when it falls. Then it gets ugly, dirty, and turns to ice for the next month.
Conclusion: Wherever you go, people will complain about something. Life is short. If you have the opportunity, try it, maybe rent for the first year. If you don't like it, move.
If you like this post, how about a thumbs up? If you have any questions about the city, let me know :)
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
You certainly don't have to be a student, or 'rich' in order to live in Evanston. (although, certainly being rich doesn't hurt, no matter where you live). There are plenty of areas of Chicago that cost as much, or more, than Evanston.
But I don't believe HollyMultiZero's question was about Evanston. She asked if she should move to Chicago, and without more input from her, I stand by my original answer... "Why not?"
There is a fabulous contemporary/modern home new on the market today in Lincoln Park. Please email me if you would like to see the link. Are you planning to be in the city or the suburbs?
World Class city but with a Midwestern warmth. A great place for any walk of life. Great people. Big enough that you cant see everything in a lifetime.
Thats a big questions. Hawaii is a totally different lifestyle than Chicago.I have had friends and family move here from Chicago and vice versa. I dont think anyone of us can really make this call for you. I think it would be best for you to check out the scenes for yourself. When we have 30ft of snow, you may not know what to do with yourself!
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
I'm obviously biased because I live in Chicago but I've also traveled a lot within the US and abroad; my family is actually from France and so I'm in Europe every chance I get!
One of the reasons I moved here has to do with the rich culture this city has to offer and the abundance of things to do (especially in the summer/fall months!) Chicago is a big city but doesn't feel as overwhelming (to me) as New York and still offers plenty of restaurants, theatre, live music/entertainment, beaches, sight seeing/tourist activities, etc etc. You name it, we've got it!
One word of caution though: winters are definitely rough at times! If you're not a cold-weather type of person you might find the transition daunting.
I think your decision should be based on what you're hoping for in a new city! What are you used to? How do you want to live? What are your dreams/aspirations?
If you want to chat and learn more about Chicago, feel free to call! 773-991-9359
Yes! Chicago is a vibrant city filled with great people, lots of fun, and the job situation is improving. Please consider Lincoln Park. Certain properties have retained value here. Lincoln Park is a beautiful, highly sought after, close in neighborhood.
Hope to see you here.
Carol Lind, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Follow me on Twitter: Chicarealtor
There are lots of great aspects to the city also.
If I was much younger and know what I know now, I would not move here.