Moving to Chicago: Complete Moving Guide 2024

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Jan 01, 2024

  • Share article:

Our comprehensive moving guide offers details on the city's neighborhoods, schools, cost of living, job market, and attractions. Discover the benefits of relocating to Chicago.

Moving to Chicago: Complete Moving Guide 2024

Moving to Chicago and don’t know where to start? Our comprehensive guide will go through the ins and outs of a move to Chicago for a stress-free move. From the city’s diverse culture to its economic opportunities, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.

Overview of Chicago

Chicago, the Windy City, is a melting pot of cultures and experiences. With a population of over 2.7 million, it boasts diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique character. The city’s architecture, arts scene, and iconic attractions like Millennium Park and Navy Pier make it a cultural hotspot.

As for the weather, expect four distinct seasons, from snowy winters to sunny summers. Chicago’s reputation for culinary delights and friendly locals is well-deserved, ensuring you’ll feel right at home.

Why Move to Chicago?

There are various factors one should consider when thinking about moving to Chicago. Let’s go through a few:

  • Economic Opportunities: Chicago’s diverse economy offers job prospects in various industries, including finance and technology. You’ll have plenty of job opportunities if you’re willing to search for them.
  • Culture: Experience a combination of cultures as you walk through Pilsen and Chinatown, two areas that highlight influences from around the world.
  • Foodie Paradise: Enjoy the world-famous cuisine of Chicago, including everything from deep-dish pizza to fine dining places.
  • Arts and Entertainment: Enjoy world-class museums, theaters, and live music venues, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Theatre.
  • Sports Enthusiast’s Dream: Visit Wrigley Field to support the Cubs or the United Center to watch a Bulls game.
  • Lakefront Living: Embrace the beauty of Lake Michigan with recreational activities, beaches, and lakefront parks.
  • Educational Excellence: Access top-notch educational institutions, including the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Chicago?

The cost of moving to Chicago varies based on several factors, including the size of your home, the distance of your move, required services, and more.

On average, hiring a moving company for a local move in Chicago might cost you between $500 and $1,000, while a long-distance move typically ranges from $1,200 to $9,000

Type of Service 1 Bedroom 2-3 Bedrooms 4-5 Bedrooms
DIY/Truck Rental $550 – $2250 $700 – $4250 $1600 – $4850
Moving Container $750 – $2750 $1200 – $5000 $2400 – $7900
Full Service $1300 – $3900 $1800 – $7000 $2500 – $9000

Our Most Recommended Long-Distance Movers in Chicago

Simplify your move with our top picks for long distance movers in Chicago! The following widget features the top 3 long-distance movers in Chicago, ensuring a reliable and stress-free journey to your new home.



Moving APT

  • Professionalism
  • Great customer service
  • Affordable rates
Get a Quote 800-360-0037 Read review



Native Van Lines

  • Highly professional
  • No hidden fees
  • Budget-friendly pricing
Get a Quote 888-809-1249 Read review



Adams Van Lines

  • 500 local agents
  • Binding prices
  • Customized services
Get a Quote 855-254-0416 Read review

Pros and Cons of Moving to Chicago

Pros of Moving to Chicago

  • Cultural Diversity: Enjoy a rich blend of cultures, leading to a vibrant and inclusive community.
  • Job Opportunities: The city’s diverse economy offers a range of employment options across industries.
  • Culinary Delights: Savor world-famous deep-dish pizza, diverse eateries, and gourmet dining experiences.
  • Cultural Attractions: Explore renowned museums, theaters, and historical landmarks.
  • Lakefront Beauty: Enjoy lakefront parks, beaches, and recreational activities along Lake Michigan.
  • Education Hub: Access top universities and schools, fostering a learning-rich environment.
  • Public Transportation: Chicago’s efficient public transit system offers convenient commuting options.

Cons of Moving to Chicago

  • Weather Extremes: Chicago’s winters can be harsh, with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.
  • High Cost of Living: Chicago’s cost of living, including housing, can be relatively high.
  • Traffic Congestion: Traffic jams and limited parking can be frustrating for commuters.
  • Taxes: Illinois has high state income taxes and property taxes.
  • Healthcare Concerns: Healthcare costs and quality of services can vary.
  • Violent Crime: While crime rates have improved, certain neighborhoods may still have safety concerns.
  • Seasonal Changes: Drastic weather changes between seasons can be challenging to adapt to.

This table provides a snapshot of the pros and cons associated with moving to Chicago. Evaluating these factors will help you make an informed decision about your relocation.

What Is the Cost of Living in Chicago?

When considering a move to Chicago, understanding the cost of living is crucial to planning your budget. The city offers various options for housing, transportation, and groceries, each with its financial implications.

1. Renting a House

Rental prices vary based on factors like location, size, and amenities. In downtown areas, you may find higher rental rates compared to suburban neighborhoods.

On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around $1,800 per month, while the same apartment outside the city center may be around $1,300 per month.

2. Buying a House

Here, prices vary widely depending on the neighborhood. The median home price in the city is approximately $280,000. Keep in mind that property taxes and maintenance costs are additional expenses to consider.

3. Transportation

Chicago’s public transportation system, including buses and trains, offers affordable commuting options. A monthly transit pass costs around $105, providing unlimited rides on both buses and trains. Ride-sharing services and taxis are also available for additional convenience.

4. Groceries

The cost of groceries can vary based on your dietary preferences and shopping habits. On average, a single person can spend around $300 to $400 per month on groceries. Shopping at local markets and stores can help you save on food expenses.

5. Daily Expenses

Budgeting for daily expenses like dining out, entertainment, and incidental purchases is always good.

An average meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $15 to $25, while a cup of coffee may be around $4 to $5.

While the cost of living in Chicago can vary based on your lifestyle choices, proper planning will ensure that you’re financially prepared for life in the city. Researching specific neighborhoods and tracking your spending can help you calculate your moving costs and make informed decisions and manage your budget effectively.

What Are the Best Places to Live in Chicago?

There are many different neighborhoods in Chicago, and each one offers a special combination of charm and cultural experiences. Some of the top areas to think about when relocating to the Windy City are listed below:

  • The Loop: The heart of downtown Chicago, The Loop is known for its iconic skyscrapers, cultural institutions, and bustling business district. Living here offers easy access to museums, theaters, and the beautiful Millennium Park.
  • Lincoln Park: This family-friendly neighborhood is home to the renowned Lincoln Park Zoo, tree-lined streets, and a mix of historic and modern architecture. Residents can enjoy lakefront views, lush parks, and a vibrant dining scene.
  • Lakeview: Situated along Lake Michigan, Lakeview offers a relaxed atmosphere with access to lakefront trails and sports fields. Having diverse entertainment options, including Wrigley Field for baseball enthusiasts, Lakeview offers a mix of residential and commercial spaces.
  • Wicker Park: Known for its artistic and trendy vibe, Wicker Park is a hub for art galleries, boutiques, and nightlife. The neighborhood attracts young professionals and creative individuals seeking a vibrant urban environment.
  • Hyde Park: Home to the University of Chicago, Hyde Park offers a blend of academic and cultural influences. The neighborhood features historic architecture, bookstores, and access to the serene Jackson Park.
  • West Loop: Once an industrial district, the West Loop has transformed into a hotspot for dining, upscale boutiques, and art galleries. This area is popular among young professionals looking for a mix of luxury living and urban culture.
  • River North: With its proximity to the Magnificent Mile shopping district and a lively nightlife scene, River North appeals to those seeking a bustling city lifestyle. The neighborhood offers modern apartments and easy access to downtown attractions.
  • Logan Square: Known for its eclectic charm, Logan Square features historic homes, trendy restaurants, and community events. Locals take pride in their strong sense of community and the beautiful Logan Square Park.

The greatest Chicago neighborhood to live in will depend on your tastes in entertainment, commutes, and lifestyle. You can locate the ideal place to call home in this exciting city by exploring these districts.

How Is the Job Market in Chicago?

Chicago offers a diverse and dynamic job market across various industries, making it an attractive destination for professionals seeking new opportunities.

The city’s economy is robust and diversified, with strengths in finance, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and more.

  • Finance and Business: Chicago is known as a financial hub, hosting major banks, investment firms, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Opportunities in finance, accounting, and consulting cater to both experienced professionals and recent graduates.
  • Healthcare: With world-class hospitals and medical institutions, Chicago’s healthcare sector always has job opportunities. Job openings range from healthcare providers to administrative roles in medical facilities.
  • Technology: The city’s technology scene has grown rapidly, offering positions in software development, data analysis, cybersecurity, and more. Tech startups and established companies alike contribute to Chicago’s tech-driven landscape.
  • Manufacturing and Logistics: The manufacturing industry contributes significantly to Chicago’s economy, with job opportunities in fields such as production, logistics, and supply chain management.
  • Culture and Arts: Chicago’s vibrant arts and culture scene provides employment opportunities in galleries, museums, theaters, and event management, attracting individuals with a passion for creativity.

While the job market in Chicago offers numerous opportunities, competition can be intense in certain sectors. Networking, skill development, and staying updated on industry trends are essential for securing desirable positions.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career, Chicago’s diverse economy holds promise for many job seekers.

What Is Chicago Most Known For?

Chicago is renowned for its rich blend of attractions, activities, and vibrant nightlife, making it a city that caters to a diverse range of interests.

Let’s look at some of the factors that make Chicago a well-known US city:

1. Architectural Marvels

The city’s skyline boasts architectural wonders, including the iconic Willis Tower and the historical Tribune Tower. Exploring the Chicago Riverwalk and taking an architecture boat tour provide unique perspectives of the city’s structural beauty.

2. Cultural Gems

Chicago is a cultural haven, boasting world-class institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. The city’s theaters offer a variety of live performances, including Broadway shows and improv comedy.

3. Lakefront Oasis

With Lake Michigan as its backdrop, Chicago offers miles of lakefront trails, beaches, and parks. Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate (affectionately known as “The Bean”) is a must-see sculpture that draws visitors year-round.

4. Food Paradise

Chicago’s culinary scene is celebrated globally, particularly for its deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. The city’s neighborhoods have diverse dining options, including upscale restaurants and ethnic eateries.

5. Music and Nightlife

The city’s music scene is influenced by a history of jazz, blues, and house music. Live music venues and music festivals cater to music enthusiasts of all genres. The nightlife is equally dynamic, offering everything from rooftop bars to underground clubs.

6. Sports Enthusiasm

Chicagoans are passionate about their sports teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Bears, and Blackhawks. Catching a game at Wrigley Field or the United Center is an unforgettable experience.

Chicago’s unique blend of attractions, diverse cultural experiences, and energetic lifestyle make it a city that never fails to captivate residents and visitors alike.

What are the Best Schools & Universities in Chicago?

Chicago is home to numerous prestigious educational institutions that provide a wide range of educational opportunities in numerous sectors.

1. University of Chicago

Renowned for its quality academic programs and groundbreaking research, the University of Chicago consistently ranks among the world’s top universities. Its strong emphasis on critical thinking and interdisciplinary studies attracts students from around the globe.

2. Northwestern University

Situated just north of Chicago, Northwestern is a prestigious research university known for its strong programs in areas like business, law, journalism, and engineering. Its Evanston campus has a lovely location along Lake Michigan.

3. DePaul University

As the largest Catholic university in the U.S., DePaul offers a wide array of academic programs and a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Its downtown Chicago location provides ample opportunities for internships and networking.

4. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

Known for its engineering, technology, and architecture programs, IIT combines academic rigor with a practical approach to education. Its location within Chicago’s vibrant tech scene enhances opportunities for innovation.

5. Schools of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) District

For K-12 education, the Chicago Public Schools district provides a mix of magnet schools, selective enrollment schools, and neighborhood schools, catering to diverse student needs.

These institutions are just a glimpse of the educational landscape in Chicago. Whether you’re pursuing higher education or seeking quality K-12 options for your children, Chicago offers many choices to support your educational journey.

Summing It All Up: Your Move to Chicago

As you consider your move to Chicago, it’s evident that the city offers an array of attractions, a dynamic cultural scene, and top-tier educational opportunities. From the iconic architecture to the vibrant neighborhoods, Chicago’s diverse offerings create an environment that caters to various interests. You’ll certainly find an area in the city that matches your lifestyle. Once you’re ready to move, all that’s left is to find a long distance moving company to do the job right! Our recommendations for the best moving companies will certainly help.