Moving to Chicago, IL? Moving Guide for 2022

This is a complete guide for Moving to Chicago, IL.
Get all the information you need to know about moving to Chicago, IL.

facts of Chicago

Quick stats about Chicago, IL

What's the Population of Chicago?

Chicago is home to almost three million residents, 2, 714,017 precisely, according to Area Vibes. The median age of people residing in Chicago is 34.9 says Data.io making the city an attractive place for millennials and young families.

How does the city accommodate over 2 million people?

Chicago houses 100 neighborhoods, 50 wards, and 77 community areas. This is partly why living in Chicago is never a boring moment.

How's the Weather Like in Chicago?

Chicago is called the Windy City for a reason. Winters here are cold, windy, and long. But summers are great too with so many warm-weather activities.

If you'd like to visit Chicago when the weather is warm, you should do so from mid-June to mid-September, according to WeatherSpark. That same period could be one of the best times for moving to Chicago.

Here's how WeatherSpark describes the weather in Chicago:

  • Winters in Chicago are long, windy, and freezing
  • Summers in Chicago are warm, wet, and humid
  • Chicago is somewhat cloudy throughout the year
  • Chicago's temperature typically ranges from 22°F to 83°F
  • Chicago's temperature hardly falls below 5°F or above 91°F

Transportation in Chicago

What's the average commuting time in Chicago?

Tip: Often, you feel like calculating the moving cost before you connect with a moving company. To help you, we've got a free moving cost calculator.

Chicago has one of the most reliable public transportation systems in the U.S. If you decide to use the public transport system for a month in Chicago, you'll most likely spend $100 according to Salary.com

On the average, the one-way commute time in Chicago takes up to 34.6 minutes. The U.S. average takes 26.4 minutes, according to Best Places.

If you enjoy riding bikes, you'll have a great time here. Chicago is rated as the city with the second highest number of commuters riding bikes to work. With a bicycle, the average time of commuting to work is 23 minutes according to Chicago.gov.

So, how fast can you get to work if you decide to move to Chicago?

  • Up to 49.2% of Chicago residents drive their own car alone
  • About 7.9% of Chicago residents carpool with others
  • Up to 4.6% of Chicago residents work from home
  • About 28.2% of Chicago residents take mass transit
reasons to move to chicago

Top 10 Reasons To Move To Chicago

These 10 reasons can help you make up your mind if moving to Chicago is right for you:

  • Lots of unique Chicago neighborhoods suitable for every lifestyle

    Chicago is a city for everyone and it is no surprise that Wind City has several neighborhoods ‘specially’ designed to cater to every lifestyle. People from every walk move here and fortunately every newcomer will call it their home.

    If you are moving to Chicago and is curious to know the best neighborhoods in the city, here we are:

    • Bridgeport
    • North Center
    • South Shore
    • Humboldt Park
    • Beverly
    • Lincoln Park
    • Lake View
    • West Loop
    • Bucktown

  • Reliable public transportation network

    If you are moving to Chicago but are not keen to drive in the city, there is nothing to worry about as the Wind City boasts of a reliable public transportation network. Chicago’s public transport network is the 6th best in the US. Between the Chicago Transit Authority, the Metra Commuter Rail, bike lanes, and plentiful taxis, getting around Chicago without a car is easy — as long as you know what you’re doing.

  • Chicago is the home of sports

    For avid sports lovers, there is no better city than Chicago to settle down in the US. The robust sports culture is evident at every corner of the city – garages, bars, downtown areas, and restaurants. The Chicago team logos are everywhere: On caps, jackets, scarves, t-shirts, and hoodies. Chicago folks are proud of their hometown teams, and wearing their favorite team’s logo on their back is how they show it.

  • Chicago is a clean city

    Chicago has a pretty reputation for being a clean city. Unlike many big cities – read NYC – Chicago authorities are very particular that trash and debris are out of the site. Trash is picked up regularly and its alleys are always neat and clean.

  • Breathtaking architecture and cityscape

    If you are a lover of arts and architecture, Chicago promises a visual treat with its structural masterpieces in every shape and form. It is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring architectural cities. The city is indeed a giant design museum, showcasing the best of American architecture and structural ingenuity.

    Here are 10 iconic examples of breathtaking architecture in Chicago.

    • Rookery Building
    • Chicago Cultural Center
    • Tribune Tower
    • TheMART
    • Marina City
    • One Illinois Center
    • Willis Tower
    • Aqua Tower
    • Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church
    • John Hancock Center
    • Robie House
    • The Art Institute of Chicago
    • Crain Communications Building
    • Wrigley Building

  • You'll enjoy the best foods in the Midwest

    Chicago promises an unlimited list of mouth-watering dishes and if you are a foodie, you will get tired of living here. There are plenty of items to fill your plate every time you explore.

    Here’s a list of Chicago’s iconic eats and mouth-relishing must-haves.

    • Chicago style hot dog
    • Garrett Mix popcorn
    • Deep dish pizza
    • Jibarito
    • Swedish cinnamon rolls
    • Steakhouse fare
    • Shaved ice
    • Barbeque ribs
    • Corned beef
    • Polish sausage

  • Kids can connect with nature in the middle of a large city

    Moving to Chicago from a serene place, you won’t miss nature as there are unlimited parks within the city limits. Despite being home to about 4 million people and the heavy traffic around, the city keeps you, especially children close to nature through its array of green parks.

    Whether you are looking for exciting seasonal events, playgrounds, or stunning formal gardens, find your favorite with our list of the best parks in Chicago.

    • Millennium Park
    • Lincoln Park
    • Jackson Park
    • Garfield Park
    • Burnham Park
    • Grant Park
    • Maggie Daley Park
    • Ping Tom Memorial Park
    • Humboldt Park
    • Douglass Park

  • You'll enjoy neighborhood festivals and events

    In Chicago, the festival season never ends. While summer is jam-packed with food fests, outdoor concerts, and pride celebrations, winter brings in beer festivals, indoor markets, and film fests. And spring and fall have a little bit of everything.

    Here is a list of some of the most famous festivals and events in the city and neighborhoods.

    • Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
    • Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo
    • Ice skating in Millennium Park
    • Macy’s Flower Show
    • Maxwell Street Market
    • Chicago Latino Film Festival
    • Chicago Humanities Festival’s Springfest
    • Chicago Zine Fest
    • Chicago Beer Classic
    • Craft Beer Festival at The Morton Arboretum
    • Taste of Randolph
    • Grant Park Music Festival

  • Chicago is in the middle of the U.S.; it connects you to everywhere else

    One of the big positives of living in Chicago is its geographical location. The city is centrally located making it easy to commute to every part of the country.

  • You'll have access to quality education from elementary to college

    If you are keen on moving to Chicago with the family, here’s good news. The city boasts of premium education. The list of best schools in Chicago is here.

pros and cons of chicago

Pros & Cons of Living in Chicago

Here we're giving the chance to weigh your options carefully before making up your mind about moving to Chicago. The following are the pros and cons of living in the windy city:

The pros The cons
The city is nestled on the shores of Lake MichiganHigh crime rates
Chicago is a trade and commerce centerHigh cost of living
There are lots of things to do at all times of the yearHigh taxes and fees
Delicious food and a wide variety of choicesResidents are classified based on their neighborhoods
The sports culture in Chicago is world-classVery cold winter
Numerous starter homes available in Chicago's housing marketPolitical corruption
Decent public transport networkHigh gas prices (and utility rates)
Convenient air transportation systemHeavy traffic and limited parking space
Chicago is rich in architecture and historyFierce job market
Enjoy or participate in dance and music festival 

Tip: When you’ve got a home to move in Chicago, getting the best moving quote will be your goal. Request moving company quotes to save on moving cost.

neoghborhoods in chicago

Best Neighborhoods in Chicago

If you're moving to Chicago, you should be interested in living in the best places in the city. We wouldn't want you to conclude based on what you've heard or seen anywhere.

So, we've compiled data using studies conducted by Home Snacks to determine the best neighborhoods in Chicago.

These are the 10 best neighborhoods in Chicago, IL:

Neighborhoods Place Population Median Home Value Median Income
North Center34,931$545,871$99,384
Loop32,384$331,150$98,220
Lake View97,804$373,419$88,165
Lincoln Park64,965$508,008$99,720
Edison Park11,128$345,364$98,327
Lincoln Square41,305$381,276$72,563
Near North Side83,049$434,335$97,802
Logan Square73,470$338,254$67,769
Forest Glen18,298$421,818$112,032
West Town84,995$407,865$81,403
chicago living cost

Cost of Living in Chicago

The cost of living in Chicago is slightly higher than the U.S. average. According to Best Places, Chicago's cost of living is 106.9 using the U.S. average of 100.

Housing is the most significant metric in the cost of living index.

Median House Prices in Chicago

If you're considering buying a home before or after moving to Chicago, we've compiled the most relevant housing information you'll need to make the right decision.

Here's a quick snapshot of Chicago's housing information using data from Zillow:

  • The median home value in Chicago is $249,152
  • The median list price per square foot in Chicago is $243
  • The median price of homes currently listed in Chicago is $329,000
  • The median price of homes that sold in Chicago is $309,200
  • Delinquent mortgages in Chicago are 1.3%. It's higher than the U.S. average of 1.1%

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What If You're Interested in Rental Homes in Chicago?

Almost half of the residents in Chicago are renters, 47.8% of the population precisely, according to Best Places. Finding a home to rent in the city isn't too hard. Up to 3.4% of homes and apartments in Chicago are open for rent.

So, what's the average price of renting a home in Chicago? Here they are below using data from Best Places:

  • The average rental price in Chicago is $ $1,617 The U.S. average is $1,470
  • A Studio apartment is $996. The U.S. average is $821
  • A 1-bedroom apartment is $1,137. The U.S. average is $930
  • A 2-bedroom apartment is $1,320. The U.S. average is $1,148
  • A 3-bedroom apartment is $1,681. The U.S. average is $1,537
  • A 4-bedroom apartment is $2,008. The U.S. average is $1,791

What's the Salary and Income Like in Chicago?

Rather than draw a conclusion based on assumptions, we've compiled data using studies from Zip Recruiter.

  • The average annual pay for hourly rate jobs in Chicago is $44,063
  • Some annual salaries are as high as $76,777 or as low as $20,474
  • Most salaries are within $29,686 to $49,648 in Chicago
  • The median household income in Chicago is $55,198. (Census Bureau)
  • The Per capita income of residents in Chicago is $34,775 (Census Bureau)
taxes in chicago

How much are the Taxes in Chicago?

Should you be worried about paying high tax rates if you're moving to Chicago?

The state of Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the U.S. according to Chicago Curbed. The least joint 2022 sales tax rate for Chicago is 10.25%.

This rate is the sum of all county, city, and state sales tax rates. The state of Illinois current sales tax rate is 6.25%, according to SmartAsset.

Quick Summary of Illinois State Tax

  • Sales tax: 6.25% - 11%
  • Property tax: 2.31% average effective rate
  • Income tax: 4.95% flat rate
things to do in chicago

Best Things To Do In Chicago

Chicago is a beautiful city with so many attractive and breathtaking outdoor spots. Regardless of your lifestyle, you'll find a lot of things to do in Chicago to have fun.

If you're moving to Chicago, these are some of the best things you can do to have fun in the city:

  • Go on river and lake cruises
  • Food Tours
  • Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Visit Grant Park
  • Have fun at the Millennium Park
  • Explore the Navy Pier
  • Explore the Chicago Cultural Center
  • Explore the Wrigley Field
  • Visit the Maggie Daley Park
  • Tour the Garfield Park Conservatory
  • See the breathtaking Shedd Aquarium

Tip: While moving the home, safety of your belongings is the priority and you need a trustworthy mover at your side. Know the top-rated moving companies in Chicago.

living in chicago

How Safe Is Living In Chicago?

Crime rates are part of the most crucial things you'll have to consider if you're moving to Chicago. We've compiled a summary of the crime rates in Chicago using data from Neighborhood Scouts, and Area Vibes:

Crime rates in Chicago are rated among the highest in the entire United States. The city has a crime rate of 43 per one thousand residents.

If you're living in Chicago, the possibility of becoming a victim of either property or violent crime is 1 in 23. In fact, Chicago is rated among the top 100 most dangerous cities to live in the US.

Here are key metrics of how crime rates in Chicago compare to the rest of the U.S.

  • Crime rates in Chicago are 62% higher than the U.S. average
  • In Chicago, violent crimes are 164% higher than the U.S. average
  • Compared to other cities in the U.S. Chicago is 5% safer
  • Year over year crime rates in Chicago has reduced by 3%
  • Chicago has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft and property crimes in the U.S.
schools in chicago

Top Schools in Chicago, IL

Chicago has some of the top-rated schools across the United States from elementary to colleges. We've compiled the best schools in the city using data from Niche and Great Schools.

Best Middle Schools in Chicago

  • Young Magnet High School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 7-12 | 2157 students

  • Ebinger Elementary School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 831 students

  • Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 567 students

  • Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 1-8 | 242 students

  • Lincoln Elementary School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 897 students

Best Elementary Schools in Chicago

  • Ebinger Elementary School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 831 students

  • Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 567 students

  • Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 1-8 | 242 students

  • Poe Elementary Classical School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-6 | 208 students

  • Lincoln Elementary School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 897 students

Best High Schools in Chicago

  • Young Magnet High School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 7-12 | 2157 students

  • Northside College Preparatory High School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 9-12 | 1061 students

  • Devry Advantage Academy High School
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 11-12 | 193 students

  • Chicago Bulls College Prep
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Charter, 9-12 | 1136 students

  • Muchin College Prep
    City Of Chicago School District 299, Charter, 9-12 | 956 students

Best Universities and Colleges in Chicago

  • Northwestern University

  • University of Chicago

  • Wheaton College

  • Moody Bible Institute

  • Illinois Institute of technology

  • Loyola University Chicago

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