Chicago is a colorful mix of dynamic entertainment, gorgeous architectural gems, award-winning eateries, and alluring outdoor areas. It’s also an urban center with a homey atmosphere, where friendly residents form a tight-knit, inclusive community.
The Windy City is, by all means, an amazing place to live, and here’s why:
1. Easy to Get Around
Boasting a grid street system and a flat orientation, Chicago is quite easy to navigate both via public transit and by car. Home to the second-largest public transportation system in the U.S., the Chicago Transit Authority is responsible for operating the L train lines and close to 130 major bus routes in various parts of the city. Additionally, the high-speed Metra commuter rail ensures an easy, swift commute between the city’s major suburbs.
Taxis and ridesharing companies are also prevalent in the city. Water taxis alleviate road traffic with exceptional services connecting the major tourist areas. Plus, if the weather allows, locals can take advantage of more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes and rent one of more than 5,800 bicycles from 580 different rental stations scattered throughout the city.
2. High-Quality Education
The Chicago Public School system is the third-largest in the country, serving more than 360,000 students in more than 600 different schools. The Chicago Public Library system is similarly far-reaching, with more than 80 locations across Chicago and 5.71 million volumes; it’s the ninth-largest public library in the U.S.
Besides these, the city is also home to quality higher education facilities. The University of Chicago is considered to be the 10th-best university in the world, while the prestigious Northwestern University occupies the 31st place in the global ranking. The University of Illinois, Chicago; Illinois Institute of Technology; and Loyola University Chicago are other notable facilities.
3. A Neighborhood for Everyone
Each Chicago neighborhood has its own character and style. Here are some of the coolest places:
On the North Side:
- Andersonville boasts gorgeous, tree-lined streets; welcoming homes; and plenty of local businesses run by passionate people
- Bryn Mawr District makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and arrived in the early 1900s
- Rogers Park is known for its diverse food scene and small-town feel
- Wrigleyville has been revamped recently and is built around the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field Park
- Southport Corridor is beloved among Chicagoans as a shopping hot spot
- Logan Square is a quiet, friendly neighborhood with an impressive Sunday farmer’s market
- Old Town is home to an abundance of historic architectural gems
- River North lies near the business district and has an abundance of eateries, bars, and clubs
On the South Side:
- Hyde Park is home to historic buildings and offers gorgeous outdoor areas thanks to its proximity to Lake Michigan and the lush Jackson Park
- Bronzeville is currently going through a revitalization process, re-establishing itself as a center for the arts
- Bridgeport is a colorful neighborhood known for being the home of the White Sox and the Bridgeport Art Center
On the West Side:
- Pilsen is known for its appealing dining and arts scene
- West Loop is a trendy foodie paradise
- Wicker Park is a hipster area dotted by quirky cafés, bars, clubs, and unique bookshops
4. Prime Time to Own Property
Chicago’s real estate market has experienced steady growth in the last 10 years and is expected to follow this trend in 2020, as well, according to economists. Plus, the city’s home prices haven’t exactly skyrocketed since the great recession because more than half of the city’s population lives in rentals.
As a result, home prices in Chicago have stayed reasonable; the median December sale price was $278,500. Despite this being a 10% increase compared to the same time last year, it’s basically on the same level as the nationwide median home price of $274,500. A balanced real estate market and slow growth signal a reliable market; here, there isn’t a better time than the present to invest in your own property.
5. Exciting Dining Scene
Chicago is the 12th-most Michelin-starred city in the world with a total of 25 Michelin-awarded restaurants. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well in Chicago. From simple dishes like burgers, pizzas and hot dogs to ethnic fusion restaurants and selected vegetarian foods, you’re sure to find mouthwatering treats that will tickle your fancy.
6. Haven for Artists
When it comes to the art scene, Chicago is definitely thriving and abundant in all types and forms of art. It’s home to the renowned Art Institute of Chicago – one of the oldest and largest museums in the nation – and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is one of the world’s largest contemporary art venues. Besides these impressive collections, the city is also flooded with museums, galleries, exhibits and plenty of cultural happenings to choose from.
Chicago is also known as the birthplace of modern improvisation comedy and independent theatres; the Blue Man Group, Second City and House of Blues ensure ongoing entertainment through fantastic shows. Regular meet-ups, workshops and other activities are also available for artists of all backgrounds, from actors to playwrights, painters, and visual artists.
7. Professional Sports Teams
Sports are another huge passion for Chicagoans. The Windy City is actually one of 10 American cities that have teams from all five major professional sports:
- The Chicago Bears are one of the country’s most famous sports teams, recording more victories than any other NFL franchise.
- The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Socks are the city’s two professional major league baseball teams.
- The Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Sky basketball teams have their own local fan bases.
- The Chicago Fire and the Chicago Red Stars are the city’s soccer teams.
- The city’s only major-league hockey team is the Chicago Blackhawks.
The United Center, Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, Allstate Arena, Toyota Park, and Wintrust Arena are the most iconic sports venues in Chicago, where crowds gather regularly to cheer on their beloved teams.
8. City in a Garden
When it incorporated in the mid-19th century, Chicago chose the motto Urbs in horto, which translates to “City in a Garden.” Today, the Chicago Park District manages more than 8,800 acres of green spaces, including more than 600 parks. Millennium Park, Grant Park, The 606, Lincoln Park and Garfield Park are considered to be some of the best parks in Chicago, offering a myriad of fantastic outdoor entertainment options for individuals of all ages, families and even pets.
The city lies on the southwestern banks of the third-largest lake in the U.S. – Lake Michigan – an additional asset to those who enjoy water-based activities.
9. Travel Made Easy
O’Hare International Airport is the sixth-busiest airport on the globe, serving more than 83 million passengers last year. It offers 228 non-stop flights to all corners of the world, making it one of the best airports to travel from.
Whether it’s the fantastic community spirit, the affordable living conditions, the multitude of entertainment options or the picturesque outdoor areas, Chicago has it all!