Anyone live in Chicago?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by david(j), Apr 6, 2015.

  1. david(j)

    david(j) Supporting Member

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    How do you like it? I've done Boston and NY, and recently visited Chicago. I liked it quite a bit, and my wife did, too.

    Curious about the general pluses and minuses, cost of living, etc.

    Cheers.
     
  2. AParrotLooksAt4O

    AParrotLooksAt4O Member

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    The cost is the general minus. You pay for EVERYTHING. I'm not living in the city right now, mostly because of this and where my job relocated to.

    Everything is overpriced, and if you have a car, you're going to pay to park it in most places, which is a racket. if you're living in the city and working outside of it (or vice versa) your commute is going to be long and slow more than likely. The weather can be brutal, but all 4 seasons have plenty of things to enjoy.

    That being said, I LOVE Chicago, and I understand most of what I love about this city is because of its size and history. Great art/music scene, great food, and great festivals.
     
  3. TRTrex

    TRTrex Member

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    Currently in the 'burbs, but did live in the city itself for about 12 years, from about '95 to 2007. All on the Northside (( LakeView, Lincoln Park and lastly Andersonville )).

    At the time, the COL, wasn't too bad. Rented apartments the whole time. Paid anywhere from $800 (( plus $125 for off street, covered, parking )) for a one bedroom, to $2000 for 2 floors in a 3 flat with a 2 car garage. Having a car is nice, but not always needed, depending on your job. Most of my time there I was a bartender/manager so getting to work was easy. Either drove, taxi, public transport or even walked. The last couple of years involved commuting to the 'burbs, which sucked. Anywhere from 1-4 hours. Was the basic cause of moving.

    I do miss all the restaurants, venues, museums and the like --- basically all the great parts of living in a big city. But surely don't miss the traffic, noise, etc -- all that crappy parts of living in the city. Never had an issue with safety, really don't even recall feeling uncomfortable either --- which could have been an issue being the bar manager, sometime would have a decent amount of cash on me very late at night.

    All and all, a great city. IMO/E.
     
  4. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    I grew up there, but moved away 8 years ago. I'd go back. Similar to NY to me with no other cities in the US really like them - you don't need a car, you can walk everywhere and public transit operates everywhere 24 hours a day. I used to go months at a time without ever leaving the city or driving. I lived right by the lakefront, which was a great place for a daily run or bike ride plus a fun place to hang out on the weekend - I used to sail a lot there. Great food, music, culture. Only complaint is how long winter is and the fact that there's nothing else really nearby. I had to drive 6 hours north into WI to find camping/fishing/outdoors stuff to do that I enjoyed. If you have kids, you have to pay for private school if you want to live in the city though. The suburbs are just like anywhere else in the country - boring.
     
  5. Fendegibs

    Fendegibs Member

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    I lived in Chicago for 8 years and just moved back to Maine last July. We lived in Hyde Park, then University Village, and finally Lakeview. We found it to be the perfect city for us and, quite honestly, I really wish we still lived there.

    It's a city with scale and all of the amenities you would expect of a major city but it's neighborhood structure gives it a scale and intimacy that is really special. There is a tremendous amount of pride that people have for their neighborhoods and it shows. One of the best parts is the summer street festivals that are held each weekend. Living in Lakeview we had really easy access to the lakefront, which is probably the best asset Chicago has.

    We had a car and a parking spot with our condo and we were happy that we had it. While you could easily live with no car, it definitely made it easy to do groceries and errands and to get around the city quickly. I found that as long as you aren't going between the city and the suburbs the traffic isn't all that bad (and I would commute daily from the north side to Hyde Park). Sure, traffic will be more in Chicago than in other parts of the country but it's an adjustment that you need to make and come to grips with if you want to live there.

    Things are definitely more expensive in the city and there's a whole bunch of taxes and fees that go with it. But you also have city salaries and we knew that we were paying a premium to be in a place that we really liked. Now that we're in Maine, we've found that our living expenses are roughly the same as a percent of our income here in Maine as they were in Chicago. It's all relative. That said, we didn't have kids then, so I would imagine it would get very expensive very quickly to pay for childcare and, in all likelihood, private school when the time comes.
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Lived here most of my life, originally a suburb boy then the city from 1996 to 2015.

    The downsides - The long and gray winter, it just goes on and on, just went you think it's over, "Wham" another kick in the sack from old man winter. The roads in the city are crap but if you know good streets to travel on you can get around faster in the city than the suburbs. Fees for everything in fact if I would have sold my house for profit I would of had to pay both the city of Chicago and Cook county a percentage, basically highway robbery. Playing music can suck because everyone will play for nothing so what you get as a player is nothing.


    The upsides - Lots to do, many, many restaurants. State of the art culture as good as anything in the world, in many cases better. From May to September it's really nice, a bit hot at times but not too bad. Lots of jobs (so it appears) but haven't had to look for a long while.
     
  7. Alchemy Audio

    Alchemy Audio Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a love / hate relationship with Chicago. I love living in a major city - especially since I own a business serving musicians. My location gives me access to a large population. However, it's very expensive to live here - especially as the owner of a home, automobiles and business. Every time you turn around, it seems the city has its hand out. There are fees / licenses for everything you can imagine. It's dirty compared to other cities I've visited. There's definitely a ton of stuff to do at any given time.
     
  8. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    We lived in Champaign, IL for most of our lives and visited Chicago frequently. We have a friend who let us use his condo, so we had a "free hotel" for extended stays. It was awesome. Great restaurants, beautiful architecture, museums, art galleries, all kinds of live music, shopping, etc.

    Then, we decided to move there. Bought a condo downtown. Outrageous cost (over $450/sq ft) plus had to buy a parking space for an additional $35K. You really need a car to explore all the city has to offer. There is so much out in the suburbs. That said, we got so tired of fighting traffic, we quit using the car except when we had to. Cabs are expensive and so is parking anywhere.

    Cost of living is high. Income tax in Illinois went from 3% to 5% then back to 3.75%. Property taxes are high. Sales tax is over 10%.

    Getting around in a car requires patience and you have to plan ahead for the amount of time it takes to get anywhere. Rush hour traffic is crazy both downtown and on all major highways in and out of the city.

    The winters are brutal and long. 2013 was the 3rd worst in recorded history, 84 inches of snow and wind chills of -40F for many days. Our dogs had to have boots and coats.

    After only 9 months, we decided we did not like living there and moved. Be sure you know what you are getting in to, rent for a while and explore your options before buying a place.

    If you like big city living and can handle the expense and weather, it is a great city. I always felt it was one of the best until I lived there. A lot had to do with condo living downtown and having dogs. Bad combination IMO, but a lot of people do it. We decided we wanted warmer weather and a house again, so we moved on.
     
  9. chrisrocksusa

    chrisrocksusa Member

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    I moved to the city at the end of 2013. Sold my car and moved to Chicago.

    I'm from FL so the weather really bothers me, everything else is absolutely amazing. It's got its own set of challenges, but the city is amazing.


    Cost of living is high, but CONSIDERABLY cheaper than other big cities (NY, San fran, LA, etc).

    I've simplified my lifestyle as well. No car, I get around on a bike and the train. It's a lot of fun, Chicago has so much culture.

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the post above mine, and requiring a car. It's a luxury to have one, and a pain in the ass to get around and to park. Definitely not necessary - that's straight up suburban thinking.
     
  10. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    Just left Illinois after 47 years. Used to go into Chicago a lot as a kid and into my college years (late 80's/ early 90's). The cost of going into the city became truly prohibitive when we started having kids. The 10% sales tax alone is miserable.

    Illinois is in a big financial mess and Chicago is right there with it. It is going to take quite a while for it to get fixed, if ever. Not sure how that would affect the OP.

    There are so many great things in and about Chicago that just don't seem to exist in many other places. The problem is that you are going to,pay and pay for them. If you have a ton of cash, go for it.
     
  11. david(j)

    david(j) Supporting Member

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    Thanks all. Lots of great perspectives.
     
  12. seajay

    seajay Member

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    I love it here, the vast majority of the time. California is just about the only other place in the US that I would be interested in moving to, but the high cost of living out that way makes me lose interest. Also, I like a change of seasons even though Chicago winters can be long and brutal.

    Other posters have already done a great job of listing the pros and cons of living here and I can't really think of anything else to add.
     
  13. Chad-Chicago

    Chad-Chicago Member

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    Bring money. Lots of it.
     
  14. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched Silver Supporting Member

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    Only went to NYC one time, and though I absolutely loved it, I have no real experience to compare it to Chicago.

    However, I grew up in the Chicago burbs and spent a lot of time in the city and I also lived in Boston for 4 years while attending college. I prefer Chicago to Boston in every conceivable way, hometown bias aside. People are generally way nicer and the city is much cleaner. People are not constantly scowling at you and service is generally polite. Summer is amazing in Chicago, and winter is not much different than Boston; high freezing winds. Main difference being that Chicago doesn't get the overnight 4foot snow dumps nearly as often as Boston does.

    Chicago could be considered expensive but it has a lower cost of living than SF or NY. Driving/parking can be a pain but its not nearly as torturous as driving in Boston, streets don't intersect themselves in Chicago and for the most part it is arranged in a squareish grid as opposed to the mind boggling triangles of Boston.

    All that aside I learned how to enjoy Boston by the end of it, not trying to flame the city, I have great memories there, but the point is Chicago, for me, is a much easier city to enjoy.
     
  15. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Lived in Chicago the first 50 years of my life. KILLER city.

    Great: museums, symphony, live venues (theater, ballet, music, etc.), universities, hospitals, live music scene, music stores, educational systems (in the Northern, Near West and West Suburbs), architecture, shopping, sports, and an unreal food scene. I could go on for days.

    Downside: Cost (of everything....go to see live theater or the symphony, add dinner and parking....and you can easily spend $500 on a weeknight).

    I have traveled all over the world many times. And I still love Chicago, though I don't think I would move back there full-time due to the weather.
     
  16. ford

    ford Supporting Member

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    Just finished visiting there last month.. I'd love to live there for a year..

    Really wish I had the type of job where I could work from home and live anywhere...

    I'd spend my time moving every couple of years to experience different places and lifestyles.
     
  17. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    One thing to add, if you decide to live in Chicago, live in the city, don't do the suburbs. The suburbs are "anywhere USA" and IMHO really fall short compared to the city. I lived 20 years in the city, and 20 years in the suburbs, so I have a reasonable perspective.
     
  18. 84superchamp

    84superchamp Silver Supporting Member

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    i'd love to live there just for the food!

    on a week-long assignment, a coworker and i were having dinner in an italian eatery one evening. best lasagna i ever had and looking around, there appeared to be a few genuine gangsters having dinner too. my bud noticed and said "the food is great but i'll be glad to get out of here".
     
  19. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the Suburbs suck. Everything is a chain (chain restaurants, chain grocery stores, etc etc).
     
  20. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    Everything? By last count there are ~5 million people in the Chicago burbs and it seems there's a decent balance between chain and local operations here. As they say in the ads, your results may vary :)
     

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