Chicago may be the third-largest city in the country but unlike New York City and Los Angeles, it's pretty easy to get around and relatively affordable. Whether your interests lie in spending time outdoors, hearing live music or eating diverse cuisines from around the world, you'll quickly find there's a reason locals love living in Chicago.
Here are the top 10 things to know about living in this Midwest city.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods — 77 of them, in fact. Depending on the neighborhood, the average rent for a one-bedroom throughout Chicago is about $700 more than the national average for spaces of the same size.
That being said, it's entirely possible to find a cute and safe one-bedroom apartment for less than $2,000 a month. Generally, the closer the neighborhood to the Loop and more amenities within account for the higher rents.
First, most locals don't call it the Windy City. Secondly, while Chicago is windy, that's not how it got the euphemism either. It's been said that the reason is so many politicians are full of hot air.
Chicago also experiences four seasons, if you consider two weeks of spring and fall a season. All kidding aside, Chicagoans really live for our summers since our winters tend to be pretty brutal with the extreme cold coupled with the wind. Still, most of us take advantage of all the city has to offer by dressing for the weather.
The Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, for example, is a rollerskating rink during the warmer months and becomes an ice skating rink during the winter months.
The Chicago Blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago and the first gospel choir began at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Bronzeville. Music is in Chicago's heart and soul and it's not hard to find live music to enjoy throughout the city, whether it's blues, jazz, pop, folk, Big Band or country.
Ask any Chicagoan who has the best deep dish pizza or Italian beef sandwich and the answers will not only be all over the board, but they'll insist their choice is the right one.
Whether you're leaning toward The Art of Pizza or Pequod's for deep dish or Al's Beef or Mr. Beef for an Italian beef sandwich, there are so many options that you could literally eat pizza and Italian Beef every single week of the year and still have more to try next year.
From Edgewater to South Shore, the Chicago Lakefront Trail is Chicago's crown jewel. Almost 19 miles of the paved path allows for a scenic way to get some nature time while exercising but it's also a fun way to see various parts of the city.
The trail includes several beaches along the route, as well as dining options and attractions, such as the South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago Museum Campus and Navy Pier.
Chicago is known for its top-rated hospitals, colleges and universities. The University of Chicago campus takes up a fair amount of real estate in Hyde Park, thanks to both the university as well as a world-renowned hospital.
Northwestern University, another private research and teaching university has a campus in Streeterville, as well as Evanston. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is also in Streeterville as is Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, both of which are nationally ranked.
If you're living in Chicago, you quickly realize that it's a year-round sports town. Blackhawks, Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Sky, White Sox – that's two basketball teams, two baseball teams, football, hockey and soccer. Year-round, fans are wearing their jerseys and crowding bars, stadiums and ballparks to watch their teams play.
Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration in January, Southside Irish Parade in March, Taste of Mexico in May, Puerto Rican Festival in June, Taste of Polonia in September. The list of Chicago festivals and events that celebrate Chicago's melting pot goes on and on.
The events are a fun way to explore new neighborhoods, enjoy different types of cuisines, discover new restaurants to try and hear live music.
Depending on where you're commuting and what time determines whether you can get from one part of the city downtown in 15 minutes or an hour. It's that drastic. If you time it right, traffic can be managed. If you need to drive during rush hour, brace yourself for a longer commute time.
Chicago drivers lose about 145 hours per person in traffic, according to a 2019 report from data firm INRIX. INRIX ranked Chicago 2nd overall in its assessment of the most congested cities in America.
The other major issue with having a car in the system is dealing with parking. Parking meters can run anywhere from $2 to $6 per hour and since street parking is a premium, it's not easy to find open spots. Parking lots, depending on the neighborhood, can be pricey, too.
To get around the bumper-to-bumper traffic and parking costs, many choose the travel via the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) El or subway system or bike.
Chicago continues to make strides when it comes to becoming more bike-friendly, too. It currently has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes and more than 13,000 bike racks, and sheltered, high-capacity, bike parking areas at several CTA stations. Divvy bikes, the city's bike-share system, is another convenient and cost-effective way to get around town.
Are you ready to claim Sweet Home Chicago? There are thousands of apartments ripe for the picking. Start the journey to find your next home, whether you're looking for a home to buy or an apartment to rent.