Native Chicagoan, born and raised:
World class city with world-class institutions
- Museums: Museum of Contemporary Art, Field Museum of Natural History, Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry
- Sports Teams: White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire (MLS), and some other minor league baseball team on the northside
- Education: Univ. of Chicago, Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul.
Modest cost of living compared to other large cities.
Excellent public transportation, lots of affordable housing in and around desirable areas (downtown, northside).
Tons of bars, excellent food scene, clubs, bands always play Chicago, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Festival, Blues Fest, etc.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and every neighborhood has it's own distinct identity. People are friendly and generally polite. The city is clean. And most of all, the lake. Spring/Summer/Fall recreation centers around the lakefront, the entire length of which is parkland. Ton of recreational sports leagues catering to just about any skill level playing any sport. You're a lesbian who plays bags? There's a league for you.
Every weekend there's another festival in a different neighborhood. Plenty of opportunities to meet people or hang out with friends.
Good job opportunities, a couple very strong, successful start-up incubators, center of the world for financial derivatives.
Strong ex-pat communities. You can always find bars to watch soccer matches, many of whom cater to the fans of specific teams.
City is quite segregated by class. The poor have been sequestered to the south and far northwest sides or run out of the city entirely. Gun violence is almost always gang related and gang on gang.
Parking can be tough, parking tickets/meters/red light cameras suck and add to the cost of owning a car in the city.
Winter sucks and as the rest of the world warms, we seem to be getting colder.
If you want to live within walking distance of Wrigley and the red line a one bedroom might cost $1200-$1300, two bedroom would be $1800, and three bedroom $2100-$2400. This would be for an apartment in a typical Chicago 2 or 3 flat.