Chicago Relocation

Top 10 Reasons your next move should be Chicago

June 26, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from AreaVibes Amy Watson

What’s your next move? If you’re considering a career change, family change or you just need a change of pace and a fresh start, Chicago is a great city with a lot to offer. Ranked in Businessweek last year among the Top 50 cities in the U.S., Chicago is known for having world-renowned universities and fabulous entertainment. It’s home to over 800 bars, more than 6,000 restaurants, 76 museums and eight professional sports teams. If nothing else, you will never be lacking for things to do. But, getting down to the nitty-gritty, what is it about Chicago that makes it a great option to begin or enhance your career and your life?

1. As mentioned, Chicago is home to numerous educational institutions including The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, Valparaiso University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago and many graduate, professional and specialty schools.

2. In Chicago, housing is much less expensive than it is in other large U.S. Cities. According to Business Insider, the statistical median gross rent in New York is $1,086, whereas it’s $886 in Chicago. However, in Chicago, your money will go much farther. That rent in New York might get you an uncomfortably tiny studio, but Chicago rentals include options from houses to condos to apartment buildings with amenities like pools and tennis courts

3. Aside from the cost of owning or renting, alone, Chicago cost of living is just… lower. Groceries, utilities and health care, among other things, are between 20 percent and 50 percent less expensive than in comparable cities.

4. Space. Yes, space. Because of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the city was redesigned and rebuilt with the benefit of having seen how other cities had already developed in that era. As a result, the city was built with the intent to have a park within walking distance of each inhabitant. Chicago houses multiple parks in the heart of the city and wide roads that provide more sunlight than average city streets. City buildings are less crowded than most, and the city was built around a cultural center in the middle of Lincoln Park.

5. The beach! There are 25 miles of public parkland beach in the city. No leaving the hot city to spend hours in a car in traffic to hit the water in the summer. Grab your sunscreen and go! Chicago beaches have open-water swimming, boat launches, dog-friendly areas, restaurants and other amenities.

6. The Chicago entertainment scene is phenomenal. Of course, if you’re there, you don’t want to miss checking out the famed Second City – an improvisational theater that launched the careers of comedians including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell and Tina Fey. If comedy’s not your thing, though, there are plenty of other options for vibrant and exciting performing arts. The Steppenwolf Theater Company has won numerous awards and its alumni include founder Gary Sinise and actors John Mahoney and Martha Plimpton. Chicago is also home to opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other venues.

7. You won’t be bored – that’s a promise. One of the best things about Chicago is that from spring to fall (and everything in between), it hosts street festivals practically every weekend. These open-air attractions include cultural, food, wine, beach, arts and musical events. There’s everything from the Chicago Craft Beer Festival to the Ukrainian Days Fest to the Windy City Smokeout.

8. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the spectacular Chicago dining. Chicago is home to people of every ethnicity in the world, and plenty of them own restaurants. From hipster gastropubs to barbecue joints to fine dining, you can find it. All of it.

9. Jobs, jobs, jobs. The Chicago Tribune reported in January that employers are optimistic. The most recent job forecast showed that temporary and contract hiring is rising, and that sales and information technology are the fastest-growing positions in the Chicago area. As well, customer service, engineering and production jobs are coming online. Of course, networking helps if you’re trying to find a job, but because of the number of universities in the city, there’s an ever-changing flow of talent that helps the job market to continue to thrive.

10. People. It goes without saying that you’ll find people of all kinds in any large city. But, Chicago’s vibe is that it is a city of neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are home to people whose families have lived in an ethnic and cultural hub for generations, and also to students, professionals and transplants who’ve embraced a particular neighborhood’s identity. There are over 200 Chicago neighborhoods and 77 community areas. The key is to find the one that works best for you.

Regardless, Chicago’s got something for everyone. Whether your interests are food, sports, school, arts or something entirely different, you can find it here. Good luck – the best is yet to come!