Cost of living -

All Your Burning Questions Answered About Moving to Chicago

Chicago is known for its jazz music, Chicago-style (deep dish) pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, and 1920s architecture. However, the major reason many people consider moving to Chicago is its affordability. Unlike major cities like New York and Los Angeles, Chicago offers vibrant city life with a much lower cost of living, good jobs, effective public transportation, and plenty of diversity. Want to know more about the beautiful city of Chicago? Here are the answers to all your questions about Chicago.

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Chicago at a Glance

  • Chicago is a big city with a moderate cost of living.
  • Chicago is extremely walkable and bikeable.
  • The City of Chicago is the third-largest commercial city in the U.S.
  • About 2.7 million people live in Chicago.
  • Some of the best-ranked universities in the U.S. are in Chicago.
  • Chicago takes sports very seriously.
  • There are 8,800 acres of green space, 70 nature and bird sanctuaries, and 800 parks in Chicago.


What is The Cost of Living in Chicago?

The cost of living in Chicago is 23% higher than the national average.


Is it Expensive to Live in Chicago?

Chicago may seem like an expensive city to live in, partly because of the state, local, and food taxes; however, Chicago is extremely affordable compared to other major cities like San Francisco. It offers excellent value for your buck.

Some facts about expenses in Chicago.

  1. Chicago has the second-highest property state tax in the U.S.
  2. Chicago ranked 11th in average rental price among large American cities in 2019. 
  3. Chicago has an abundant supply of houses, which makes the average price of owning a house cheaper than the national average. Very unusual for a major city that has so much to offer.

(*Get Bell Hops, Bungalow)

What is the average salary in Chicago?

The average salary in Chicago is $73K per year.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Chicago?

The cost to live in Chicago is $2,100 for one person per month.




1-bed outside city centre



Gas, water, electricity, phone & internet



Fresh produce & refrigerated items x2


Entertainment & Leisure 

5 beers, 1 regular meal + 1 mid-range meal at a restaurant, 1 cinema visit & 1 gym membership


Transportation & Material Goods

1 pair of jeans, 1 dress & 1 monthly transit pass




(*Numbeo, Payscale)


How Much Does the L Train Cost in Chicago?

Getting around in Chicago is extremely easy. The L-train is one of the most reliable ways to do so. You can get a reloadable Ventra Card at any L-station or a Ventra retailer in town. You can also reload the cards where you bought them from, online or on the Ventra app. Here’s a summary of the different L-train fares:

Type of fare


L-train fare

Full: $2.50

Reduced: $1.25

Student: $0.75

1-Day CTA Pass


3-Day CTA Pass


7-Day CTA Pass


7-Day CTA/Pace Pass


30-Day CTA/Pace Pass

Full: $105

Reduced: $50

(*Transit Chicago)

How much is gas in Chicago?

In Chicago, Illinois, one liter (1/4 gallon) of gas costs $0.72 (*Expatistan)

How much does an apartment in Chicago cost?

If you are moving to Chicago; here’s how much it costs to rent apartments in and outside the city center:

  • 1-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,800
  • 1-bedroom apartment outside of center: $1,200
  • 3-bedrooms apartment in the city center: $3,500
  • 3-bedroom apartment outside of center: $2,200



How Much is Rent in Las Vegas?

If you are moving to Vegas, here’s how much it costs to rent apartments in and outside the city center:

  • 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre: $1,200
  • 1-bedroom apartment outside of centre: $950
  • 3-bedrooms apartment in city centre: $2,000
  • 3-bedroom apartment outside of centre: $1,600



How much does it cost to build a house in Chicago?

On average, it costs between $400,000 to build a single-family home in Chicago 

(*Chicago Tribune)


How much do movers cost in Chicago?

The cost of hiring movers in Chicago varies, depending on the size of the house/apartment, number of hours, and number of movers. On average, the cost of hiring two movers for a 1-bedroom apartment is $415.


What’s There to Do in Chicago?

It will be fun and exciting to live in Chicago. You can tour world-class museums, explore shopping districts, and visit beautiful parks and gardens.


What to Do in Chicago at Night?

Here are a few ways to enjoy Chicago’s nightlife:

  • Enjoy the taste of the traditional Chicago deep-dish pizza from 103 stories in the air at the Skydeck
  • Adler Planetarium is a wonderful place for a romantic night. Bask in the euphoria of the mix of cocktails, appetizers, and stargazing with your partner.
  • Enjoy the captivating views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline every day until 11 p.m., from 360 Chicago, which towers one thousand feet above the Magnificent Mile.
  • Take a Chicago night tour. Nighttime tours include ghost tours, strolls on the Riverwalk, and architecture cruises on the Chicago River.


What to Visit in Chicago?

These are the top places to visit in Chicago, Illinois:

  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Field Museum
  • Navy Pier
  • Millennium Park
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Cloud Gate
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Skydeck
  • Grant Park
  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • The Chicago Theater
  • Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon


What to Do in Chicago with Kids?

Kids can enjoy a variety of activities in Chicago. Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden. Kids will enjoy climbing the roly-poly hills in the Nature Play Garden and walking over the arched bridges in the Japanese Garden. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum provides hands-on exhibits to learn about the natural history and ecology of Illinois. The kids will enjoy the butterfly greenhouse and water tables as they explore the way rivers work.


What to Do in Chinatown Chicago?

Chinatowns exist all over the world, from the U.S. to France to Australia. Chinatown Chicago has the reputation of being the second biggest Chinatown in the U.S. When you move to Chicago, you must visit Chinatown. Here are a few things you’d find interesting:

  • Chinese American Museum of Chicago, which offers a great way to learn about Chinese culture in America. 
  • PopKTV, Chinatown’s go-to karaoke bar. At PopKTV, you can rent one of 11 private rooms for $38 an hour, which can hold up to 15 people, allowing you and your friends to sing your inebriated hearts out in peace.
  • The Food! Enjoy traditional Chinese delicacies at Cai, Golden Bull Restaurant, and Emperor’s Choice Restaurant.


What to Do in Chicago in The Winter?

Although the winter months may not seem like the most suitable time for outdoor activities in Chicago, snow will not keep most locals from finding amazing things to do. Here are a few things to do in Chicago in the winter:

  • Enjoy skating the ice ribbon in Maggie Daley Park.
  • You can find resorts in neighboring Wisconsin’s hilly Driftless Area for skiing.
  • Enjoy a ride on the zipline at The Forge.
  • Go sledding on the hills.
  • Bask in the Christmas spirit at Millennium Park.
  • Visit the Morton Arboretum and enjoy cross-country skiing.


What to Do in Downtown Chicago?

Downtown Chicago has a lot to offer when it comes to fun and entertainment. The Loop in Downtown Chicago is celebrated for its dynamic architecture and big-city buzz. It is named after the circular path or ”loop” that cable cars made in the 1800s in this area and today are followed by elevated trains. Here are some interesting things in the Loop and Downtown Chicago:

  • Go on The Loop and Millennium Park tour.
  • Enjoy the Birth of the Skyscraper-Architecture Tour.
  • Visit the Theatre District or the Movies.
  • Take a tour of Chicago’s tallest building, The Willis Tower.
  • Head to the 7th Floor of the old Marshall Field’s building for the famous Walnut Room for lunch.


What’s It Like to Live in Chicago?

There are few better places to live in Illinois than Chicago. This city offers residents an urban experience. The city of Chicago has many bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. It’s home to many families and young professionals who tend to be liberal.


Is Chicago Safe?

Chicago, in general, is a very safe city. Chicago’s neighborhoods are filled with history, culture, small businesses, friendly families, and great entertainment.

  • Some of the safest areas in Chicago include Edison Park (the safest neighborhood with a crime rate that’s 77% lower than the city’s average), Forest Glen, Norwood Park, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Rogers Park.
  • Some of the most dangerous areas in Chicago include West Garfield Park, Washington Park, East Garfield Park, Englewood, North Lawndale, Grand Crossing, Riverdale.

(*Federal Companies)


Is Chicago a Good Place to Live?

The third-largest city in the U.S. Chicago is an ideal place for those interested in living in a world-class region. The city has a richer history than Los Angeles and is cleaner than New York. It may lack a coast, but Chicago’s lakefront is a large part of city life. The lakefront offers numerous beaches, waterfront restaurants, and recreational activities, making it a great summer destination.


Where to Live in Chicago?

Here’s where you should live in Chicago based on your lifestyle, personality, and preferences.


Where to live in Chicago

You enjoy weekend shopping


You like being close with your community

Beverly, Morgan Park

Cycling is part of your daily routine

Humboldt Park

You’re a music lover 


You’re a foodie

Fulton Market

You’re an avid book reader

Wicker Park

What’s the Weather Like in Chicago?

Chicago experiences warm, humid, and wet summers and freezing, windy, and snowy winters. In Chicago, the hottest month of the year is July, while the coldest month is January.

The average temperatures in Chicago during the 4 seasons are as follows:

  • Weather in Chicago in summer: 68 °F to 73 °F
  • Weather in Chicago in fall: 52 °F to 64 °F
  • Weather Chicago in spring: 37 °F to 59 °F 

How Many Inches of Snow in Chicago?

On average, Chicago, IL, gets about 36 inches of snow per year.

How Cold is Chicago?

Temperatures in Chicago can drop as low as 41 °F in the winter.

How Much Does It Rain in Chicago?

On average, Chicago, IL, gets about 38 inches of rain per year.


Where to Eat Chicago?

Chicago is a large city with diverse places to enjoy the finest meals in Illinois in almost every corner. As a first timer, you may be limited to trying out only the restaurants near your home or along your tour route. Break free and explore the city as much as you like; there are so many wonderful places to enjoy the delicacies Chicago is known for.


What food is Chicago known for?

The city of Chicago is known for several dishes, but notable among them are Chicago-style Hotdog, Garrett Mix Popcorn, Deep Dish Pizza, Jibarito, Swedish Cinnamon Rolls, Italian Beef, and Barbecue Ribs.


Where to Eat in Downtown Chicago?

There are a lot of wonderful places to eat in Downtown Chicago. Here are a few spots to try:

  • Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe
  • Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken
  • Cherry Circle Room
  • Yolk-South Loop
  • Egy’s Diner Chicago
  • The Gage
  • Intelligentsia Coffee
  • Eleven City Diner


Where to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Chicago?

Not too surprising that there are several restaurants open to take Thanksgiving orders. If you’d prefer to eat in, take out, or home delivery, several restaurants in Chicago will be open to you and your family on Thanksgiving. Check out the best places to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago:

  • Maple and Ash
  • Etta
  • Timothy O’Toole’s Chicago
  • RPM Steak and RPM Italian
  • The Smith
  • Prime and Provisions
  • Pearl’s Place
  • Bistronomic
  • Hub 51
  • Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant

*Ensure to call to reserve.


More Questions About Moving to Chicago!

What Time is Sunset in Chicago?

In Chicago, you can see the sunset from 6:10PM.


Do you Need a Car in Chicago?

The simple answer is, no, you do not need a car in Chicago. Chicago’s walkable streets, intuitive grid system, and many transportation options make living without a car easy. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers both rail and bus services. It is the second-largest public transportation system in the U.S.


What to Wear in Chicago?

There’s no “one-style-fits-all” dress code in Chicago. The season/weather chiefly dictates the mode of dressing. However, one thing is certain, the people of Chicago love their denim. Whether it’s a jacket, skirt, or a pair of trousers, you are bound to see residents rocking these beauties in assorted colors and styles.


What to Know Before Moving to Chicago?

Here are a couple of things you absolutely should know before moving to Chicago:

  • Chicago is known as the epicenter of the Midwest thanks to its thriving industries, higher education prospects, and urban beaches along Lake Michigan. 
  • It is a popular destination for students, corporate employees, and career climbers in finance, leisure, and hospitality.
  • Although living in Chicago is more expensive than most midwestern cities, it is still less expensive than living in New York City.

Are you moving to Chicago, soon? It’s important to have these in mind;


How to Move to Chicago?

Depending on where you are moving from, moving to Chicago can be a bit complicated. Moving from another state might require you to rent a moving truck and drive your belongings. If you wish to avoid all of that, you can hire a moving company to take care of everything. It is also a clever idea to plan for emergencies on arrival. If you cannot move into your home or apartment right away, you might need to rent a storage unit to store your belongings. It is a safe and secure way to keep your things until you can move into your new place.


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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