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Your Guide For Moving From NYC To Chicago

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Chicago is a big city. New York is a big city. How different could living in one be from living in the other?

In the broad strokes, maybe not much. Both offer tons of culture, entertainment, posh living and professional possibility. If you’re moving to Chicago from New York, however, you’re going to have to get used to a few things.

For instance:

More space — Chicago’s 2.7 million residents are spread over 227 square miles — a population density of 11,777 per square mile. New York (total population 8.7 million) crams 27,476 people in each of its 300 square miles.

Easier transportation — Owning a car is easier in Chicago. Average commutes are shorter (by about 12 minutes). Chicago is notably bike friendly, with more than 200 miles of on-street bike lanes, plus off-street paths and more than 13,000 bike racks and sheltered bike parking at public transit stations.

More fun — OK, this is highly subjective, but with wages that are comparable to New York City and a cost of living that is substantially less, Chicagoans should have a bit more cash to throw around — which means more fun to be had.

We can’t deny, however, Chicago is colder than New York.

Weathering the Weather

No one says they move to either New York or Chicago for the climate, but both cities give you true tastes of all four seasons (though you get a bigger bite of winter in Chicago). Basically, the weather difference between New York and Chicago is more sweater weather in the latter.

On average:

  • New Yorkers get more sun than Chicagoans (224 days per year to 189).
  • Chicagoans get more snow (35 inches to 25).
  • Chicago is colder (January high/low temperatures are 32/19 degrees Fahrenheit compared to New York’s 39/26 F).
  • New York is more comfortable (five months with high temperature averages between 70 and 85 degrees, compared to four such months for Chicago).

Sort of the Same

In many ways, Chicago and New York are remarkably similar. For instance, Chicago and New York both have world-famous dining scenes (of course, in Chicago there’s roughly 10,000 fewer diners, per capita, fighting you for reservations at restaurants with at least a Bib Gourmand rating in the current Michelin Guide).

New Yorkers and Chicagoans alike appreciate the vibrant and distinct culture of each neighborhood in their cities. If you like the elegant brownstones of The Village, Chicago’s Gold Coast and Lincoln Park will make you feel at home. Or if SoHo is your vibe, check out the chic brick and timber lofts, galleries and world-renowned restaurants of Fulton Market. Brooklyn’s mix of hipster artist hangouts, leafy residential streets, boutique shopping and farmers markets is echoed in Logan Square, Wicker Park and West Town.

Sort of Not

As the birthplace of the skyscraper (the Home Insurance Building, erected in 1885), Chicago embraces architecture like no other American city. Few locales take better advantage of warm weather, as Chicago makes festivals of art fairs, garden walks, musical and food events and more from April through October.

Especially grand is Chicago’s devotion to its lakefront. Moving to Chicago from NYC will help anyone appreciate how great the Great Lakes can truly be. Chicago embraces Lake Michigan with 26 miles of open and free lakefront to enjoy.

Included there in are:

  • 24 sand beaches
  • An 18.5-mile bike/pedestrian path
  • The Museum Campus (featuring the Field Museum of Natural History, the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium)
  • Grant Park (annually home to Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest and more)
  • Millennium Park (notable public art and more)
  • Navy Pier (fireworks, boat tours, Ferris wheel, etc.)

Making the Move

Moving from New York to Chicago? Contact us today! One of our neighborhood experts will be happy to guide you in your search and answer your questions. We are also offering both virtual and in-person apartment tours. Be sure to ask about move in specials including free rent concessions!


Who Invented the Skyscraper?