Should I move to Chicago?

Asked by Holly00000, Kamuela, HI Thu Apr 28, 2011

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Lisa Cannata, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Not knowing Chicago I was interested in your question so am sharing the following links that I found about other views on Chicago. Of course anywhere you choose to live is really a personal choice and should be made for reasons that are important to you and never for what makes other people happy. Good luck.

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 agree—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 Today’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.

Chicago’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.

World-Class Dining
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 doesn’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 doesn’t matter if you’re learning the ABCs or getting a PhD—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 Chicago’s best private schools. And many Chicago condos are near the city’s fine universities, medical and law schools.

Millennium Park
One of Chicago’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 Chicago’s New Eastside neighborhood.

Lincoln Park
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.

Street Fests
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.

Dogs Allowed
Fluffy and Fido have plenty to enjoy in Chicago as well, whether it’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 won’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 America’s “big five.” The Park Monroe and other downtown Chicago real estate options make it easy to treat your ears at the drop of a hat.

Joffrey Ballet
Rooted in history having housed many prolific choreographers, the Joffrey Ballet gives performances that will leave you in awe.

Chicago Theater
The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has become the nation’s premiere theatre ensemble, with accolades that include 9 Tony Awards.

Lake Michigan
Many Chicago condos allow spectacular views of Lake Michigan, along Lake Shore Drive, of high-rise buildings on the city’s east side.

The Lyric Opera
You may enjoy the architecture as much as the performance at the Lyric Opera, one of the world’s greatest opera companies. The season runs from October to March, so you’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.
2 votes
Seth Captain, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon May 9, 2011
Wow, it almost sounds like a practical joke to get realtors to give ridiculous answers. Hawaii for Chicago?
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 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
4 votes
Paul Cionczyk, Agent, GLENVIEW, IL
Sat Mar 2, 2013
Holly and Patti,
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 :)

THe Good:
I loved all the culture in Chicago. The arts. The music. The Ravinia Festival. The FOOD! The variety in home construction styles

The Bad:
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.

The Ugly:
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 :)

Paul Cionczyk-Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
2 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
@ Philip Spencer

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?"
1 vote
Pfriendumd, Home Buyer, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Fri Mar 1, 2013
Hi Holly and everyone. I too am considering moving to Chicago from sunny Ponte Vedra Beach Florida near Jacksonville. I have a job offer in Oak Brook IL. Where would be a good place to live to commute to that area. I'm looking for a middle class, smaller single family home for sale or rent. It's just me and my dog. Wondering where the best place to live might be near Oak Brook that's affordable. Friends are also saying to are nuts to leave Florida and it is a very tough decision.
0 votes
Hey Patti!

Did you ever move back to Chicago? I have lived in Vero Beach for the past 6 years now and am deeply homesick being born and raised in Chicago. Do not get me wrong it's beautiful here and I love the weather. But jobs suck and don't pay. Just curious if you've left.
Flag Wed Feb 26, 2014
Carol Lind, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Hi Holly,

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?

Best, Carol
Web Reference:
0 votes
Jesse McGrath, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
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.
Jesse McGrath
0 votes
Tommy Hicks, , Dallas, TX
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Yes. Snow is so much more interesting than the ocean.
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
YES! lol

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!

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
Web Reference:
0 votes
Holly00000, , Kamuela, HI
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Well I am moving to Chicago from The Big Island of Hawaii. Sigh. We would like out children to have more opportunities and not grow up with an "Island Mentality". Where can I find a Contemporary home, I hate all the traditional stuff I have been seeing!
0 votes
Mark Malave, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
The city is the place to be, swim with the big fishes. If you are looking for a place to retire on a fixed income, it will be a struggle since prices/taxes seem to always go up. If you are moving to challenge yourself and make a career move then only NYC would be a better place to live.
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0 votes
Stephanie Su…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Hi there!

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

Best Wishes!
0 votes
Carol Lind, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Hello Potential Chicago Resident,

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
Web Reference:
0 votes
Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
I grew up in Evanston and if I was a student at NU or wealthy I would move there, but way!!!!!
0 votes
Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
It depends on lots of factors particularly how Chicago might compare to where you are now. Taxes tend to be high and the city, county and state are about broke so not sure that would help.
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.
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Thu Apr 28, 2011
Sure, why not ?
0 votes
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