Clair and I used to say that we were moving to Chicago every year. It kind of became a running joke with our family and friends. “So, what’s the plan for next year?” my Mum would tease, sometime around the spring.
“Moving to Chicago.” I would declare defiantly.
“Sure,” she would laugh. “We’ve heard that before.”
Until we came good on our threat and moved this spring. We had really good reasons to make this move, I am surprised we didn’t do it sooner. First of all, it is the ideal “halfway point” between our families. It’s about a two-hour plane ride to my parents (the local airport is 15 minutes from their house), and it’s a 1-hour drive to Clair’s parents’ home. Furthermore, Chicago is a beautiful city and happens to be more affordable and liveable than in New York.
Before the move, we had talked—quite extensively—about making this move, but never quite pulled the trigger. We’d get so close to making the move and then get overwhelmed at the thought of relocating. Relocating was going to be expensive, extremely time-consuming, and draining. After all, that, who wanted to ruin their summer with a huge life change? We couldn’t get the timing right. We were either finishing graduate school, starting a new job, getting engaged, or getting married. But the biggest stumbling block was our issues. We were so nervous about leaving family and friends, and we had become so attached to New York City. Then one day out of the blue I got offered an amazing opportunity in Chicago—my dream job, perhaps—and after a long talk, we decided that I should take it. We still had our reservations due to the fact we still didn’t have a place to call home.
This all changed the moment we discovered Zumper, for those who don’t know about Zumper, it is a realtor app that lets you find listings in different Cities. Because we were “preparing” to move across the country we started using Zumper to look for places to live. We loved that our search was saved in the app so we could easily see if new listings had been added in our preferred neighbourhoods’. We became addicted to looking at listings such that eventually, we found the dream house that stole our hearts. Long story short, we got the place, next thing we were flying out to sign a lease for an apartment in Lincoln Park.
Now that we are Chicagoans, here are 7 reasons why Chicago is an awesome place to live:
1. it’s strategically located for travel
Having lived in a big coastal city like New York City, we found traveling to other U.S. destinations very costly and time-consuming. Since making the move to Chicago, no North American destination is that far away. This largely thanks to Chicago’s international airport, flights around the world are literally at our doorstep
2. Professional opportunities
Chicago is recognized as one of the world’s most important business centers with an extremely diverse economy. From business professionals to entrepreneurs, there are some incredible opportunities in Chicago for young professionals with a variety of college backgrounds. The job market is robust with some competitive industries makes it an ideal terrain for a career-boosting experience. Soon after moving Clair found her dream job and is now equally ingrained in the Chicago life.
3. The art
With institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago has several amazing spaces to view some of the world’s best collections of art.
4. The Food
There are some iconic food traditions to indulge the most discerning of foodies, which make living in this city a foodie’s delight. Tasting the Chicago dip dish pizza is life-altering while a classic Chicago hot dog has tasty toppings that will keep you coming back for more. Not forgetting, the world’s biggest outdoor food festival open to the public. We have both put on a few kilos since our move
5. The museums
On top of Chicago’s amazing art museums, there are numerous other interesting places to expand your knowledge of the city. For instance, the Chicago History Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the city’s development, with numerous permanent and temporary exhibits. The Museum of Science and Industry is an awesome place to spend a Saturday afternoon.
6. The ball games
There is no “take me out to the ball game” moment better than Chicago. This is a great place jam-packed with international standard sports infrastructure. Watching a Cubs game at the historic Wrigley Field is an electric experience, it happens to be the second-oldest baseball stadium in the United States. For football fans, make it a point to catch the Bears play at Soldier Field. Saving the best for last, basketball fans can watch the Bulls play at United Centre Arena.
7. The locals
Chicago’s biggest asset is its people. This is home to a diverse mix of people, which makes for an extremely positive experience to live in this city. Having come from New York were people tend to keep to themselves, in Chicago locals are a bit warmer, I put it down to the regional Midwestern charm. This mix of city sophistication and down-to-earth friendliness make those long Chicago winters well worth it.
Clair and I are extremely happy we made this jump, we hope we have sold the dream of living in Chicago to you. Be sure to bring warm clothing because of the winter’s bit.