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Your comprehensive guide to moving from NYC to Chicago

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Ross Sapir

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New York City, or The Big Apple as it’s fondly known, is a city where dreams are made. It has so many great things to offer visitors and residents alike that it’s no wonder people have been returning to the city in droves.

That being said, there are things about America’s biggest city that will possibly never change. The high rental prices, busy New York streets, endless queues, and the need to work multiple jobs are sometimes too hard to ignore. While thousands of people are moving to New York City, just as many are leaving.

One location that’s become popular is Chicago. So many people are moving from NYC to Chicago because they’re ready to trade up The Big Apple for The Windy City. Some of the benefits you can enjoy include a lower cost of living and excellent scenery.

Before we look closely at the issue of moving to Chicago from NYC or moving from Chicago to New York City, let’s quickly highlight the pros and cons of living in Chicago vs. New York.

Your comprehensive guide to moving from NYC to Chicago
Pros of living in ChicagoCons of living in Chicago
– Chicago is very affordable
– Chicago condos come with fabulous amenities such as pools, tennis courts, and gyms
– The “L” trains that run above the city make for a smooth commute
– When the weather allows, walking and biking are options
– The job market is strong with opportunities in the transportation industry, printing and publishing, banking, finance, and insurance
– Lots of green space and open-air views
– Gorgeous lakefront along Lake Michigan
– Chicago is home to several outstanding colleges and universities
– Loads of things to do and access to outdoor recreation
– Winters in Chicago can be brutal
– The traffic can be a nightmare (Chicago is rated the third worst city in the country)
– Limited access to nature
– High crime rate
– The flat landscape
– Some of the highest taxes in America
– You’ll have a hard time finding anywhere to park
– The city has an “F” grade for its ozone pollution
– Chicago has a poverty rate of 20%, nearly double the US average of 13%
– Lead in the drinking pipes
Pros of living in New YorkCons of living in New York
– You don’t need a car to get around the city
– You get to experience all four seasons
– Plenty of job opportunities
– Thousands of food spots
– It’s a cultural hub of the world
– Social lifestyle
– Safe environment
– Great transportation network
– There’s always lots going on
– Variety of entertainment is unmatchable
– The cost of living is very high
– It’s a very crowded city
– Highly competitive
– The hustle and bustle
– Explosive rental prices
– It’s a dirty city
– The weather can be horrible

Your moving to Chicago guide

You tend to find it’s only visitors call Chicago the Windy City. It’s been given the moniker because of the weather, but some say it’s also because of the city’s windy politicians.

Chicago might be the third-largest city in America, behind New York City and Los Angeles, but you’ll find it easy to navigate. This is especially true if you’ve chosen to move from NYC to Chicago. Getting around the city will be a pleasure. 

The skyscrapers are concentrated in the downtown area called the Loop, while the residential neighborhoods fan out to the north, south, and west. In the east, there’s the magnificent Lake Michigan with its lakefront trail that’s 18.5 miles long.

Chicago is the ideal city if you want to benefit from living in a world-class metropolitan area with Midwest values. It’s much cleaner than New York, has a richer history than Los Angeles, and the “Third Coast” is a city full of culture.

While this sounds very appealing, check out this moving from New York to Chicago guide before you start packing. Make sure you’re making the right move by finding out as much as you can about moving from NYC to Chicago.    

Why people are moving to Chicago

Chicago is one of the most-visited cities in the United States, and there are plenty of reasons why this is so. It’s rich in history and home to some truly fantastic food, theater, music, schools, and museums.

It might not have access to a coast, but the Chicago lakefront plays a significant part in city life. As well as offering a nice reprieve from the summer heat, there are numerous beaches, an abundance of recreational activities, and lots of waterfront restaurants.

While many Chicago residents have connections with the city that go back several generations, the city is known for welcoming new transplants with open arms.

If you need more convincing, here are five reasons why you should consider moving from NYC to Chicago.

1. The cost of living

Like many other cities in America, the cost of living in Chicago is higher than the national average. Still, when you compare it to many others, particularly New York City, it’s easily one of the most affordable options.

According to CNN’s cost of living calculator, a $100,000 salary in Chicago equals $199,000 in New York. In NYC, the housing alone is 238% more expensive than in Chicago, yet you still have access to all of the same amenities.  

2. Chicago is a diverse city

If you decide that moving from NYC to Chicago is the right thing for you, access to a plethora of cultural activities every day of the week is something to look forward to. The Culture Trip ranked it as one of the best cultural cities in America. 

You’ll have access to world-class museums like the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago.

If you ever feel in the mood to catch an outstanding performance, you can have your pick from three epic theaters: Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, or Chicago Theater.

Chicago is also known for having one of the best music scenes in the country. You’ll find something to keep you entertained whatever season of the year, but especially in the summer. A clear favorite is the Chicago Blues Festival, the Lollapalooza is a must for music fans, and for jazz fans, there are lots of jazz festivals taking place throughout the year. 

3. You can get anywhere in the city on time and for just a few dollars

One of the reasons so many people are moving from NYC to Chicago is that they’re plain tired of the daily commute. In Chicago, there are no nightmare commutes. Unlike NYC and LA, you can quickly get across town on time on a train or bus. 

The subway is called the L because of the train cars that run on elevated tracks, and all L trains stop downtown in the Loop, where many people work. 

4. You can embrace the beach scene

When you think of the MidWest, beach destination is not a term that springs to mind. However, thanks to the Great Lakes, Chicago can offer 18.5 miles of sand along Lake Michigan. It’s an impressive summer beach without saltwater. 

Some of the must-see beaches include:

  • 31st Street Beach you can enjoy free of charge
  • Montrose Beach is one of the only beaches in the city that offers a designated dog-friendly zone
  • North Avenue Beach is just a short walk from Lincoln Park
  • Oak Street Beach is downtown’s most accessible spot for some sun and fun

5. The city lives for its sports teams and players

Chicagoans may love the arts, but the top of the list of favorite things to do has to be sports-related. The city has so many teams to root for that it’s no wonder you’ll find it hard to leave your apartment without hearing some mention of Chicago sports.

Chicago claims not only one but two MLB baseball teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. There are also the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Chicago Bulls, and the Chicago Wildcats. 

Whatever your favorite sport, you’ll find a place among sports fans in Chicago. 

Great places to move to in Chicago

Great places to move to in Chicago

Chicago has a staggering 200 neighborhoods where you can choose to live. Officially, the city is divided into four sections: Downtown, North, South, and West.

There’s not enough space on this page to look at all of the neighborhoods, so let’s highlight one from each of the four sections.

1. Chinatown

  • One of the largest neighborhoods of its kind in the US
  • More than 65,000 Chinese residents
  • You’ll be able to experience Chinese culture in every facet, from public art to specialty shops and authentic restaurants
  • Close to Chinatown Square, one of the largest Chinese malls in the Midwest

2. North Chicago: Wicker Park/Bucktown

  • One of Chicago’s largest creative hubs
  • They are two adjoining neighborhoods that are rich with live music, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and lots of shopping
  • The 606 is a 2.7-mile path along an abandoned railroad track that connects several different parks and public art installations
  • For live music, Subterranean is a great venue to catch a show

3. West Chicago: Humboldt Park

  • This neighborhood boasts Spanish-Colonial architecture, brightly colored murals, and national pride
  • One-quarter of residents are of Puerto Rican descent
  • Home to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and a host of authentic restaurants and specialty shops
  • Two significant events are held here every year: The Puerto Rican People’s Parade and the Fiesta Boricua

4. South Chicago: Bridgeport

  • Working-class neighborhood
  • Politics and art collide with White Sox pride
  • Rents start from around $850
  • Houses and condos can be purchased for around $130,000 

Pros and cons of living in Chicago

Chicago is no different than any other American city. It’s got its own set of good and bad things about living there. Here’s a quick rundown of the upside and downsides of moving from NYC to Chicago. 

Pros

  • Lower cost of living than New York
  • Smooth commute to and from work for residents
  • Strong job market
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Excellent higher education
  • Great entertainment
  • Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the country
  • A solid and diversified economy
  • For a vast city, the housing is a reasonable price
  • Freshwater beaches
  • Easy access to O’Hare International Airport
  • Top-rated libraries and hospitals

Cons

  • Winters are harsh and bitterly cold
  • Compared to the national average, the cost of living is high
  • Some of the highest taxes in America
  • Chicago regularly makes the news for its crime figures
  • Chicago has the 3rd worst traffic in America behind NYC and Philadelphia
  • Polluted air and water
  • The poverty rate is almost double the US average
  • The drainage system dates back to the 1850 and can get overwhelmed when there is heavy rain and snowmelt

Pros and cons of living in NYC

If you’re thinking about moving from Chicago to NYC, the following pros and cons apply.

Pros

  • The opportunities and networking opportunities make New York City the perfect location for entrepreneurs
  • The biggest names in marketing, apparel, sports, journalism, tech, and much more call NYC their home
  • It is considered one of the top 5 safest large cities in America
  • Often described as the cultural capital of the world
  • New York City is the most diverse city in the country
  • You’re in the heart of everything, and it’s a city where trends are born and million-dollar ideas take root
  • You’ll never be short of something to do, any time of the day or night
  • The food scene is incredible, and there are 69 Michelin-starred restaurants
  • A big perk of living in the city is the number of public parks
  • Public transportation in the city is efficient and affordable
  • You can get anything you want any time of the night or day, whether you need a slice of pizza, live music, a plate of cookies, or someone to talk to

Cons

  • Competition for apartments and jobs is fierce
  • Rents are astronomical
  • It’s humid in the summer and chilly in the winter
  • New York City is the 7th most expensive city in the world
  • You’ll find yourself standing in line for everything
  • Expect to put in long hours when it comes to work
  • The city is dirty

Making the move from NYC to Chicago – How are you going to do it

Regardless of whether you’re moving from Chicago to New York City or moving from NYC to Chicago, you’ve got two options when it comes to moving your possessions from one location to another.

If you’re feeling brave and think you’ve got the stamina for it, hiring a moving truck and doing it all yourself is one option. However, there is another option that might suit you better. Why not consider hiring New York to Chicago movers and letting them take care of it all instead? 

Whether you do it yourself or hire long distance movers NYC, there are pros and cons to consider. To help you make your decision, let’s compare the two.  

Moving from Chicago to New York City yourself

Many people choose to hire a moving truck and move, regardless of whether they’re moving to Chicago from New York City or moving to NYC from Chicago. The main reason for doing this is that they think it’ll be much cheaper than Chicago movers rates. On the surface, there’s no denying this is true, but when you add everything up and consider other things, it’s not necessarily the best option. 

The best way to look at this is by checking out the pros and cons of moving yourself vs. hiring NYC movers. Then can look in more detail at the actual process. 

Pros

  • From start to finish, you’re the one calling the shots
  • When it comes to packing your belongings, you get to decide how things are packed 
  • DIY moving from Chicago to New York City may save you money

Cons

  • Some of your possessions are going to be heavy, and you’ll have to do all the lifting
  • The planning and coordination is all down to you
  • When you’ve got to pack, load, and unload your belongings, be prepared for it to take a long time and lots of energy
  • Issues may arise that you don’t know how to handle
  • There’s a considerable risk you may injure yourself
  • You run the risk of breaking or damaging your more delicate items

What is the cost of moving from NYC to Chicago when you do it yourself?

The initial cost of a DIY move from NYC to Chicago tends to be lower than hiring moving companies. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save a few bucks, but you’re not saving as much as you think.

The cost of hiring the moving truck might be low, but there are other factors you must take into account. Along the way, for example, you’ll have to buy gas, pay for accommodation, food, and refreshments. You’re also going to need packing materials and maybe even equipment. 

Timeframe

Imagine yourself on moving day and think about everything you’ve got to do. How long do you think it’ll take to pack all your belongings? First, you’ve got to be very careful if you want to minimize the damage. Then you’ve got to load it all into the truck. It could take a couple of days to drive to your new home, and then you’ve got to unload everything when you arrive.

Professional moving companies from New York to Chicago have many years of experience, which means they can work much quicker and more efficiently. They know the best way to pack items, load them into the truck, and transport everything carefully. This means any damage is minimized, plus they understand how to safely negotiate any stairs and doorways. 

Hire NYC to Chicago movers

Full-service NYC moving companies like Roadway Moving take all the stress from the moving experience. The professional moving team will treat your belongings with care and respect at every stage. They can also take care of the entire process, from disassembling your furniture and packing your possessions to unpacking them in your new home.

Pros

  • A team of professionals will take care of the entire moving process
  • A full-service moving company is efficient and careful
  • It’s a hassle and stress-free option
  • When someone else is in charge of moving your possessions, you can concentrate on other things and travel to your new home in comfort

Cons

  • Moving companies have a schedule they must keep, which doesn’t allow for much flexibility
  • Full-service movers tend to cost more

How much do movers cost in Chicago and across the US?

Whether you’re moving from Chicago to New York City or moving from NYC to Chicago, the cost of moving is pretty much the same. Of course, it’s not the cheapest option, but remember that rates vary from company to company, and you should always shop around. In addition, several things can impact the cost, such as location, distance, and how much you want the movers to move.

It’s also important to remember that you get a lot for your money when hiring a full-service moving company like Roadway Moving. You get peace of mind knowing your belongings are transported safely and securely. Hiring a moving company is also a very convenient option.   

Timeframe

Professional NYC movers, such as Roadway Moving have more than enough experience to ensure you get an efficient service. The moving team will arrive at the prearranged time and have everything they need to get your move underway. Should anything unexpected occur, they’ve got the experience, skills, and knowledge to deal with it efficiently.  

Top moving tips for moving to Chicago to New York and Vice Versa

Packing up your life and moving to another city doesn’t have to be a disaster. With a little bit of planning and careful packing, you’ll be relaxing in your new home before you know it. 

Bear in mind the following tips and prepare for a smooth, quick, and easy move.

  1. Cut back on your clutter: you’ll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack
  2. Make a moving folder: collect new addresses, rental or purchase papers, moving contracts, and much more
  3. Book early: if you’re hiring moving services, book early, and you might save some money
  4. Schedule utilities for your new place: it’s not a good idea to arrive at your new home only to find the electricity, water, or heat is off
  5. Keep the essentials with you: travel with a change of clothes, a toothbrush, toys for the kids, paperwork, and medications
  6. If you’ve got expensive art or delicate items, let the movers know

Useful resources for anyone moving to Chicago

Useful resources for anyone moving to NYC

Finding the best movers

Of course, you want your move to be stress-free and smooth. The only way to ensure this is to hire the right movers NYC. Put aside some time, vet any potential moving companies, and you’ll save money, stress, time, and hassle in the long run.

When you’re moving from NYC to Chicago, remember the following:

  • Ask around for recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues
  • Ask three moving companies for quotes and make a comparison
  • If you’re asked for a cash deposit, the movers arrive late, can’t answer your questions, or don’t seem to know what they’re doing, consider this a red flag and be suspicious
  • The movers you hire should be licensed and insured
  • Check the mover’s credentials with the Better Business Bureau
  • Ask for Professional Accreditation 

Final thoughts

Whether you’re moving from Chicago to New York or moving from NYC to Chicago, knowing what to look for will ensure you get the simplest and most stress-free moving experience possible. 

When you’ve weighed up your options and are ready to make the move, remember to give Roadway Moving a call and ask about the cost of moving from NYC to Chicago. We can organize a full-service move with storage available if necessary.

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