You guys… I’ve lived in Chicago for almost 4 months! FOUR! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. It’s been a whirlwind, in the best way. From moving across the country, to living with my brother in his studio for the first month, to moving into my own apartment, to starting a new job, and adapting to a new city… a lot has happened in the last 4 months.
Even though I am still new to Chicago, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Chicago feels familiar and, honestly, like ‘home’. I don’t want to put too much weight on this next statement because things can always change, but I don’t know that I feel like I ever need to move cities again – which is an awesome feeling. I’ve spent a lot of my life wondering, “What’s next?”, constantly ready for change and to experience a new place. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can finally settle.
Those are pretty big feelings for me, and while they are a little scary, they are also very exciting. Chicago is such a beautiful city and I’m excited to see what this city has to offer. So, with 4 months under my belt, here are some of my first impressions:
Midwestern people are the best kind of people
It’s hard to describe and explain, but I’m not the only person who’s said this or has felt this way: people from the Midwest are just nice. And polite. And considerate. People here say “please” and “thank you”. People here will say “excuse me” before bumping into you or passing by. I now know why I always say “sorry” – it’s because that’s what Midwestern people do! It wasn’t until I left the Midwest and came back that all of this rang true. There’s just something about the people here that I totally love.
Chicago architecture is world-class
During my first weekend in Chicago, I went on an architecture boat tour and was blown away. I’ve been to Chicago countless times before moving here, so I already knew it was beautiful, but this tour took it to a whole new level. Since the tour, I have a profound respect and fascination with Chicago architecture. The amount of detail that the buildings have is astounding. My favorite building so far is the Wrigley Building (pictured to the right). Beautiful, right?
Chicago is both beautiful AND clean
Not only is the architecture gorgeous, the city itself is totally beautiful. Chicago completely transformed during Christmas and I was so in love 😍From Christmas lights wrapped around every branch of (nearly) every single tree, to wreaths hanging around the city, to the unbelievable Christmas tree put up in Millennium park.. it was breathtaking! On top of the beauty, Chicago is also surprisingly clean. It’s a big city with a lot of people, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was trash on the ground, but I hardly see any. The city is well-kept and well-maintained, which makes it even more beautiful.
The cost of living is manageable
LA was a hard place to live because everything was just so expensive! While living there, I had to really keep an eye on my finances, but since moving to Chicago I’ve been able to breathe again! Both literally (bye, bye smog! haha), and in terms of my finances 😉 Sure, you’ll still come across $15 drinks in the city, but there are plenty of places with $3 drinks as well. Also, in terms of rent, you get WAY more “bang” for your buck. I’m currently looking for a new apartment, and for the same price of an apartment in LA you get nearly double the square footage and way more amenities. It’s nice to be in a place where money doesn’t have to be as much of a stressor.
Dating in Chicago is very different than in LA
When I moved to LA, it didn’t take long to realize that a majority of people there are single and/or don’t want to be in a “committed” relationship. When I moved to Chicago, a lot of people here are already engaged, married, or starting a family. It’s a totally different dynamic. And I realize that a lot of people in LA are possibly there only temporarily, but it was still difficult to navigate the dating scene. Dating in Chicago has been a very different experience thus far. And going back to how different Midwestern people are – guys are much different here as well. Chivalry is not dead here. Guys will compliment you, open doors for you, allow you to enter and exit the elevator before they do, etc. I’ve come to a point where I don’t expect those things anymore, which is a little sad. I guess it’s just been a nice change of pace and scenery.
Chicago’s public transportation is fantastic
I sold my car prior to moving to Chicago, and it’s been SO great not having to worry about that! Figuring out public transportation can be a little challenging, but once you feel comfortable it’s actually super easy to navigate. You can get anywhere you need by bus or train. And, of course, you can always take an Uber or Lyft as well. Naturally with any public transportation, there will be hiccups here and there, but overall it’s been a great and smooth experience.
There’s an endless amount of things to do and see
From world-renowned restaurants to best in class museums to sporting events- there is an endless amount of things to do and see in Chicago. One thing I regret from my time in LA is not doing/seeing everything I wanted to while living there. While I don’t necessarily have a plan as to how long I’ll stay in Chicago, I want to spend as much time as I can soaking up everything the city has to offer. So far I’ve seen a lot of museums and tried a lot of new restaurants – I’m so excited to continue exploring!
Chicago winters can be brutal, but it’s all about mindset
I went out to eat the other night at a restaurant about .7 miles away from my apartment. Granted it was about 30 degrees outside, I decided to walk home vs. calling an Uber. As long as you dress for the weather, it’s really not that bad. And if you approach it with an open mindset, it isn’t so miserable. While living in Minneapolis, I hated the cold, so I avoided it at all costs which only worsened my mindset. I told myself before moving to Chicago that I wouldn’t do the same thing. Regardless of the cold, I would not be a hermit all winter long. Sure, I’ve had some days where I didn’t leave the apartment (today actually… it’s snowing and 15 degrees outside so Harry Potter and writing it is!), but I won’t let the cold stop me from enjoying life.
Overall, I have thoroughly loved living in Chicago. I was originally going to do a LA vs. Chicago post, but to be honest it’s hard to compare the two. And frankly, I have yet to find anything that I don’t like about Chicago. Maybe that will be a post once I’ve been in Chicago for a year or so. What are some of your favorite things about Chicago?