Making the move to another city is a big decision, especially when the two cities are quite different. If you’re thinking about making the move from New York to Chicago then there are many things you need to consider. Moving to Chicago from New York is a big step and you should make sure you know as much as you can about the city before you head off.
Chicago and New York have some similarities but they also have some major differences that make them unique places to live. Let’s have a look at some of the features each city has so you can have an easier time figuring out if this is the right move for you.
The Differences Between New York & Chicago
1. The culture
New York is a mecca for many different things including art, fashion, media, entertainment, and commerce. The city is known worldwide and the popularity it has provides its residents with first access to many different things. The culture is all about being the trendiest and most up-to-date with everything around them from their fashion to their technology.
Chicago is far more laid back when it comes to everything and you’re more likely to be complimented on your beat-up vintage Cubs cap than your new iPhone. The culture is highly rooted in music and it is considered to be one of the breeding grounds for soul, jazz, each other, and blues. They are also big into sports and they have many different professional teams (in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and hockey) that the residents love to show their support for.
Both cultures are very similar but if you’re looking for a city with a bit more of a relaxed attitude then Chicago is the right choice. New Yorkers are known for being busy and on the go but you will get the opposite feeling from the residents of Chicago.
2. The working life
The working life in New York is full of competition and it’s a very fast-paced environment. The city has such a high population that there is always a lineup for job postings which means you are always in competition with many other people. The upside is that new businesses are always opening so there are always new places for you to consider if you decide to look for a new career.
Chicago has an unemployment rate of around 5% which means the job market is also slightly competitive but you will have a better time at your job if you have a shorter commute. Chicago has many jobs in a closer distance from each other so you’re not stuck working on one side of town while living on the other side. Moving to Chicago means your work-life is likely going to be less competitive and stressful but there are fewer jobs offered so it might be difficult to find the perfect job.
While both cities have similar work environments, Chicago is easily the best choice if you’re looking to become successful without all the stress and competition. They have a similar workforce but with far fewer people so it will be much easier for you to find the perfect job for you.
3. The diversity
New York is one of the best places in the world when it comes to diversity and they have many different ethnicities and cultures in such high numbers and they do an amazing job of catering to each one when it comes to businesses. They have a much larger number of different ethnic groups in New York which means the city is more diverse.
Chicago has many residents who have had generations of their family that has grown up in the city. The town has a larger BIPOC population than most American towns but their diversity numbers aren't as spread out. Compared to New York, Chicago has a higher percentage of white and African American residents and a much lower percentage of residents who identify as Asian or “other” races which means there is less widespread diversity.
Diversity is important but the long-lasting residents of Chicago do a great job of making the city feel warm and welcoming. Chicago has many more residents who have grown up in the city and plan on living there their whole lives while New York is known for being a “temporary” place for many people who just want to experience a few years living in the big city.
4. The food
I don’t want to spark any debates so I’ll just say there are two kinds of people in the world: People who believe New York has the best pizza and people who believe Chicago has the best pizza. Both places are well known for their pizza styles (deep dish for Chicago and Brooklynn style for New York) but they both have many other different food styles that they also happen to specialize in.
Moving to Chicago means you experience plenty of places serving up fantastic soul food and they also have other regions specific delicacies including Delta Style RIbs, Jibarito sandwiches, and the Chicago-style hot dog served with all the fixings or “dragged through the grass” as they call it. New York has quite a few different dishes that are associated with the city including New York cheesecake, warm baked pretzels, black and white cookies, and the famous New York bagels.
The main difference between the food in either place is going to be the price. New York has a higher cost for its restaurants in many cases because the median income is higher for some areas. While some of the restaurants are serving up great food, they may be charging more to appeal to a higher income crowd which means a similar meal might cost you far less in Chicago.
5. The transit
Even people who have never lived in New York know that owning and running a car in a large city like that is a luxury that many can’t afford so they rely on public transit. The subway transit system in New York is a well-oiled machine that many consider one of the best subway systems in the country. People rely on the subway to get to work, get to another part of the city to go shopping, or go to fun events that aren’t within walking distance.
The transit system in Chicago is considered one of the best in the country and they all work together as one. Their rail system is often referred to as the “L” because it’s most elevated instead of underground (like New York’s subway system) and the CTA connects the rail and bus systems into a perfect fit. You can easily use their public transit to commute although you might be switching from rails to wheels to get exactly where you need to be.
It’s hard to decide which transit system is the best but Chicago has a system that works much better together than New York. The city has done a great job of making transit affordable for everyone and easy for people to understand. New York might have a great subway but Chicago has the best transit system overall.
6. The Arts
New York has an incredibly evolving art scene that encompasses every aspect of the art world and they have many different art pieces around the city along with galleries and museums. One of the most famous art features that New York has would have to be Broadway and the theater community that goes along with it. The city is considered one of the biggest and best for stage actors and they always have shows running for visitors and residents to enjoy.
Chicago has a vibrant art scene that focuses on many of the galleries that surround the city including the famous Art Institute of Chicago. The city also has a big impact on the comedy world and they feature stand-up and improv shows in many venues all over the city. They also thrive on their music scene which means it’s not hard to find a live band playing nearby for you to experience.
You can’t compare the two art scenes with each other but you can agree that both cities have a great history with all of the arts. If you are looking for a city that focuses more on tangible art, along with comedy and stand up then Chicago is the city for you. There are so many galleries that are not only accessible but they are often not as crowded as New York so you can take your time and enjoy the art as you please.
7. The neighborhoods
Many people are well aware of the different areas or “Burroughs” that New York has in the city ( the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens). These loose neighborhoods each have different pros and cons about themselves and residents each have preferences when it comes to where the best place to live can be. The neighborhoods are much larger than Chicago and they are sometimes geared towards the specific ethnicity of the residents in the area such as Koreatown or Little India.
Chicago has much smaller neighborhoods that feature a more residential feeling than the towering skyscrapers of New York. Many smaller areas have formed their communities and you can find many safe neighborhoods in Chicago that have had generations who have grown up in the same neighborhood. There is a tighter sense of community and family in the area as opposed to the anonymity of a city like New York.
New York has very large neighborhoods that are full of smaller and smaller neighborhoods of friends and family members while the neighborhoods of Chicago are much different. For a great sense of community and togetherness, choose Chicago. The residents of the city are very welcoming to new people and the neighborhoods are small enough that you can get to know everyone quickly.
8. The weather
New York has received some crazy weather over the last few years including Hurricane Sandy and many large snowstorms. These storms bring the city to a standstill which makes it difficult for residents to get what they need to get in the city. In the summer months, many heat waves come in mid-July and the temperature remains slightly higher than average for the rest of the summer.
Chicago has a much milder climate and they don’t get the extreme highs and lows that New York does. The winter months are cold and chilly with a slightly above average snowfall and the summer months are warmer but not into extreme temperatures.
A milder climate is much better to deal with and you don’t have to worry about storms and extreme weather nearly as much in Chicago. For people who prefer to live in an area where the weather isn’t going to affect their day-to-day life very much then try Chicago.
9. The population
New York is incredibly populated with a population of around 8.5 million people and it has the highest density of people in the country (27,000 people per square mile). 1 in every 38 Americans lives in New York City and it has the highest foreign-born population in the country.
Chicago has far fewer people (Around 2.7 million) and their population density is considerably less than Chicago (11,000 people per square mile) which is great for anyone who prefers to live in a city where they can have some space. Residents who have moved from New York have mentioned how much they enjoy the feeling of living in a city where they can spread out and enjoy the space.
A lower population density is ideal for those who prefer to live in a city without feeling too crowded. You can enjoy many similar things that you would be enjoying in New York (theaters, concerts, large events, etc.) but without the need to battle a large crowd.
10. The noise
Some people enjoy the sounds of the city with all of its honks, music, construction noises, and chatter (some enjoy it so much, there is even a “city sounds” white noise style for those who need the sounds to fall asleep) but it’s not for everyone. New York is one of the loudest cities in America and the sound continues long through the night due to the thriving nightlife and large population.
Chicago is said to be much quieter in the downtown areas, especially at nighttime. The city also has a great nightlife full of clubs and restaurants but there is less of a “24/7” feeling. Many residents who have moved from New York to Chicago have enjoyed the quiet and peaceful nighttimes.
If you prefer the sounds of the city then stick to the white noise machine instead. Too much noise has been proven to be bad for your long-term health so moving to Chicago means you will be healthier in a nice and quiet city.
The Chicago Real Estate Market
Leaving New York for Chicago is a great idea if you’re looking to buy or rent a home for much less than the average cost. They have so many different styles of homes for sale in Chicago from apartments up to larger estate styles homes and they are all selling for less than average. Finding a Chicago real estate agent is easy with so many great ones available to help you.
There are plenty of safe neighborhoods with low-priced homes so you have plenty of options when it comes to real estate. Right now is one of the best times for you to buy a home in Chicago for an excellent price.
If you happen to own some property in NYC then you’re in luck. The prices for property in New York are at a high right now and you will make out like a bandit if you choose to sell now and move to Chicago. The average value for a home is nearly double the value in Chicago and there are so many buyers who are looking for that fantastic New York city view right now.
The real estate market is considered to be a balanced market which means that the supply and demand of homes are relatively the same. If you’re looking for a home to purchase, there are usually thousands of homes for sale and they range in price. Finding a Chicago real estate agent is the best and easiest way for you to be able to connect with the home that works best for you before someone else decides to snatch it up.
Leaving New York for Chicago has so many great benefits that you should consider before you move. It’s a great idea for anyone who’s looking for a similar environment but with a more laid-back and relaxed attitude. With so many great homes for sale in Chicago, it’ll be easy for you to find the perfect fit for you and your family.