Tips on Moving from Los Angeles to Chicago

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Los Angeles and Chicago are two of the most bustling cities in the United States. Though they offer a different pace of life, both of these cities have plenty to offer young people, families and those simply looking to make a change in their life or career. Chicago is a wonderful city, home to plenty of museums, universities, theatres, sport stadiums and restaurants. 

Though the two cities can seem quite different from afar, there are many similarities that can help you transition from one city to the other. For one, both cities are home to big theatre communities which is great for those hoping to break into sketch comedy or stand-up. Both cities are also home to plenty of fun music festivals. Every summer, Chicago hosts Lollapalooza in addition to tons of other events. 

Moving from the West Coast to the Midwest? Here are some things you should know:

Chicago weather can get super COLD and super HOT

Those used to the sunny climate of Southern California may find themselves confused by the weather in the Windy City. Chicago winters are brutal and full of snow. The coldest month in Chicago is January where average high temperatures are 37 degrees, while average low temperatures go down to 22 degrees. Meanwhile, Chicago summers can get SWEATY. The hottest month in Chicago is July average temperatures ranging in the high 70s/ low 80s. Adjusting to this climate may be a challenge for those used to wearing shorts year-round.

Great public transportation

A huge benefit to living in Chicago is having access to their robust public transportation system, which can feel like a huge improvement for those coming from LA. The Chicago Transit Authority operates a widespread network of bus lines and train lines (known colloquially as the ‘L’). A single ride will cost you $2.50, while a monthly pass goes for $105. Some neighborhoods are better connected than others, so be sure to do some research when you are finding a place to live! 

Pretty Public Beaches 

Few people move to Chicago for the beach, but the beaches in the city are actually quite the attraction. Many Chicago residents spend their summers on Lake Michigan, which surrounds much of the city. For those who don’t have their own lakefront properties, dozens of the city beaches are open to the public and can be a whole lot of fun! Chicagoans enjoy going swimming at Promontory Point, as it is a safe option for those with kids (since there are plenty of lifeguards on duty!). 

Affordable Rent 

Chicago is one of the more affordable big cities in the U.S (especially when compared to LA and New York). Though there are plenty of expensive luxury condos in the city, there are also more modest apartments that can be great for young people who are just moving out. If you take the time to browse through Zumper you’ll be able to find studios for $600 a month or even a 2-bedroom for $650. The affordability of Chicago can be a huge benefit for those looking to save money on their move. 

Lower Cost of Living

The great part about moving to Chicago from Los Angeles is the improved quality of life that you may experience. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Chicago is cheaper than in LA. They conclude, “You would need around 6,129.19$ in Los Angeles, CA to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,600.00$ in Chicago, IL (assuming you rent in both cities).” Part of the lower cost of living has to do with the lower cost of Chicago rent!

Cool Neighborhoods

LA is not the only city with cool areas to hang out in! Chicago has plenty of fun spots to visit like Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square which are full of bars, restaurants and music venues. If you hang out more in the center, be sure to visit the Art Institute of Chicago which hosts many cool exhibits throughout the year. There are also plenty of cool theatres in the Old Town area. Second City is one of the most famous comedy venues (and is where plenty of SNL stars got their start!) 

And-- if you start to miss the crazy Hollywood nightlife, we recommend checking out Lincoln Ave, Wrigleyville and Southport! 

PARKS & GREENERY

Chicago’s parks are concentrated in certain parts of the city, which may be an inconvenience to those who are looking for some greenery and don’t have a park nearby! If living by a park is important to you, do your research and see what neighborhoods offer green space! (We found that many of the parks are located in the Northern part of the city) These parks include: Lincoln Park, Millennium Park, Peterson Park (to name a few). There are also nice parks in the West Side of the city. 

GET A STICKER FOR YOUR CAR

For those bringing a car to Chicago, you must purchase a Chicago Vehicle Sticker. Otherwise you will face various parking fines from the city. You must purchase the sticker within 30 days of moving to the city (or getting a new car). Go here to find out more about how much this costs and how you can get the sticker!

GREAT BIKE PATHS

If you don’t want to bring a car to Chicago or don’t want to deal with Rush Hour on the train, you will be pleased to know that Chicago is a very bikeable city. The Lakefront path that goes across the city (all the way up to Evanston) is great for biking. Many commuters in the city actually prefer to bike to work (except for the cold winter months, when the paths are icy and sludgy). 

READY TO MOVE?

A long distance move is not easy, but hiring professional movers can help! Be sure to inquire with local movers in your area to see if they will take your belongings to your new home in Chicago, Illinois. 

 

 
 
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