Chicago Moving Guide

CHICAGO MOVING GUIDE

READY… SET… MOVING… IN THE WINDY CITY

Chicago Skyline Banner
Chicago Skyline Banner

What to Know Before Moving to Chicago:

Affectionately known as “The Windy City,” “The Great American City,” “The 312,” “A City in a Garden,” and “Mud City,” Chicago is home to over 2.7 million people, 50 wards, 77 community areas, 100 neighborhoods, 8 major league sports teams, and a former United States President.  It is currently the third largest city in America, and is a melting pot of cultures and demographics.  Entertainment is high on the industry as Chicago hosts over thirty annual parades, forty annual film parades, and more than 200 theatres that accompany approximately 13,000 film, and TV production jobs.  The beautiful sounds of Chicago come from the magnificent musicians and performers of the city, while the beautiful sights come from the hundreds of acres of parks, trails, and lakefront properties.  Vibrant and lush green spaces draw tourists and locals in to bike, walk, or picnic, and the precise architecture of city buildings and monuments captivate all eyes.  Hop on a bike to venture to one of Chicago’s 7,300 restaurants and enjoy a deep dish pizza or a four-course meal at one of the 7 AAA Diamond-rated restaurants.  Chicago’s beauty, bustling city streets, and booming economy are welcoming features to locals, tourists, and transplants.

COVID-19 Moving Tips & Information:

Learn how to move safely during a pandemic

Moving during a pandemic doesn’t seem ideal but people still have leases that are up, new homes they need to move in to, or properties they need to sell. We walk you through how companies have altered their business operations to create a safe enviornment for you and employees during a move.
View Our Guide to Moving Safely During COVID-19

Where to store your extra belongings during a move

During a move you can come across a lot of extra items you no longer need or don’t have room for in your home. Renting a storage unit is a great option while moving or just cleaning out your home. We can help you find the right size storage unit and how to move you items in to the unit while staying safe.
Tips for Renting Self Storage During COVID-19

Click Here to see more Covid-19 data in Chicago, IL

Find All You Need to Know About Moving to Chicago

So you’re ready to move to the Windy city? We’ve created this resource to provide you with everything you need for your Chicago move, right at your fingertips. Check out the links below for everything you need to know before,  during, and after your move.  

Chicago Places to Live
Chicago Places to Live

Great Places to Live in Chicago:

It is often said in the greater Chicago community that your neighborhood will define you.  As with many other metropolitan cities, each section of the city has its defining characteristics and trademarks.  Chicago’s northern neighborhoods are youthful and coveted.  Residents here can catch a Cubs game in Wrigleyville, enjoy boutique shopping in Bucktown, or listen to live jazz in Uptown.  Head over to the West Side and enjoy an artsy and eclectic atmosphere.  Ethnic eateries and mesmerizing murals line the streets providing extravagant and exciting experiences for residents of all ages.  Downtown Chicago houses not only thousands of residents, but also many top Chicago tourist attractions.  Tourists and locals alike come here for Michigan Avenue shopping, sightseeing in the Historic Theatre District, strolling around Buckingham Fountain.  Living in the South side of the city offers many cultural experiences, including Chinatown and Museum Campus.

It is from these four sections of Chicago that seventy-seven defined neighborhoods emerge, each community individual in its culture, personality, allure.

Bridgeport

Bridgeport, with a population of 31,941, offers affordable housing to both renters and buyers in the Southwest Side of Chicago.  Many of the established homes were built before 1940.  Housing styles include simple brick two-flats, row houses, and cottages.  The median home sale price is around $312,900 with the average rent being $1,200.  The median household income for this area is slightly below the national average at $50,637.  Top public schools serving the area include Walter Payton College Prep, Northside College Preparatory High School, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Jones College Prep High School, and Lane Tech College Prep High School.  Many residents enjoy cheering on the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field or taking classes at the Bridgeport Arts CenterThe Paseo Trail, much like the 606, runs north of the neighborhood, and provides new housing resources and creative ways to increase sustainable jobs.  McKinley Park, Avondale, Portage Park, and Proviso Township all provide similar statistics and cultural options.  

Beverly’s

Beverly’s spacious yards and architecturally charming homes make every homeowner’s dream come true.  There are nearly 20,100 residents in the sparse suburban community.  Seventy-nine percent choose to own their home as opposed to renting their home.  Although the median home value is double the national average at $316,684, the rent is even with the national average at $968.  Fifty-six percent of the families and young professionals that live here have a bachelor’s degree or higher, providing them with an average household income of $108,448.   Walter Payton College Prep, Northside college Preparatory High School, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Jones College Prep High School, and Lane Tech college Prep High School are among the top schools serving the children of Beverly.   Beverly’s community receives a B- crime rating from niche.com.  All of the categories are below the national average, but only by a small margin.   The close knit community of Beverly is comparable to Homewood, Edison Park, West Town, and Sauganash/Forest Glen.

Clarendon Hills

Coming in at the top of the “best places to live in Chicago” list, Clarendon Hills is a costly but cute place to live.  The walkable neighborhood is filled with restaurants, coffee shops, and quaint shopping storefronts.  There are roughly 8,711 people that live in Clarendon Hills, with eighty-four percent of them owning their home.  The quiet and safe community has a median household income of $126,500, a median home value of $561,700, and a median rent of $985.  Top public schools serving the community include Hinsdale Central High School, Monroe Elementary School, Prospect Elementary School, Clarendon Hills Middle School, and Walker School.  Crime rates here are far below the national average.

River North and Lakeview

Enjoy the suburbs and sights of River North and Lakeview.  Following the river on the west side of the neighborhood and only a few blocks away from Lake Michigan, these two communities have outstanding sights and beautiful scenery.  The densely urban neighborhood has a higher rate of renting homes rather than owning a home.  The median home value is $464,456, and the median rent is $1,945.  Household income averages are higher than the national average with a median price of $105, 495 for the 27,160 residents living in River North.  Many students attend Noble Street College Prep as it has the highest education rating in the community.  The crime rates in the area are much higher than the national average. 

Wilmette

Wilmette, according to niche.com, is the best place to raise a family in Cook County.  Its population of 27,419 chooses to own their home by a ratio of 87% to 13%.  Housing costs and values are much higher here than in some other inland areas.  The median home value is $680,700, with the median rent being $1,639, and the median household income being $154,738.  Top schools serving Wilmette include Glenbrook South High School, New Trier Township High School, Niles North high School, Marie Murphy School, or Avoca West Elementary School.  Residents have access to private beaches and amenities for the lake.  Popular activities include paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, and many more.  Crime rates are far below the national average which aid to the quiet and likable atmosphere of the area.
Something to remember about living in Chicago is, regardless of how cute your apartment is, or how well landscaped your meticulous lawn is, or how valuable your home and lot are, the winters in Chicago are brutal.  Be prepared to dig your person and your property out from inches and inches of snow.  Bone chilling winds and below zero temperatures are frequent in the winter months, so be sure to consider what it will take to keep you alive and warm in the winter months!

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Chicago Careers and Opportunities
Chicago Careers and Opportunities

Career Opportunities & Industries in Chicago:

Chicago’s ideal location makes it a convenient and centralized hub for several industries.  Manufacturing, transportation, information technology, and health services and technology are four current key industries in Chicago.  Topping the list in manufacturing of foods, plastics, and metals, Chicago takes full advantage of  its prime location and its business opportunities.  Manufacturing is certainly not a new idea or industry, but manufacturing is constantly evolving, both in what is made and in how it is made.  For this reason, many young entrepreneurs come to Chicago to get in on the innovation while starting on the “ground floor.”  Nearly 500,000 people work in Chicago’s manufacturing plants, factories, and facilities, making the talent pool deep and vast.  A popular newer company, mHub,  is the area’s “first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing.”  This company offers mentorship programs for its employees and encourages the community to keep the industry growing and moving forward.

COVID-19 TIP #1

Career Tips During COVID-19

What to do if you find yourself recently unemployed

We have compiled a list of resources to help you understand the next steps you could be taking and get back on your feet.

Unemployment Resources During COVID-19

Chicago’s manufacturing base is represented by companies that sell their goods outside of the region.  It is the exportation of these manufactured goods that brings revenue into the city.  New dollars into the local economy results in additional benefits for not only the company, but also for the employees of that company.  Based on studies and analyses done by economists, Chicago is known for at least 15 sub-sectors that have a high or growing production of their product. Chicago’s Sustainable Industries include apparel, beverage and tobacco, electrical equipment and appliances, and fabricated metals.  Apparel manufacturers cut and sew existing fabrics to create products for retail and wholesale distribution, while beverage and tobacco companies make three types of beverages: nonalcoholic beverages, fermented alcoholic beverages, and distilled alcoholic beverages.  Because of its similar production process, ice is included with nonalcoholic manufacturing.  The electrical equipment and appliances sub-sector manufactures products that generate, distribute, and use electrical power.  The fabricated metals manufacturers transform metal into metal furniture or other machinery, computers, and electronics.  Special processes in this industry sector include welding, stamping, bending, forming and machining to shapes and join the individual pieces of metal.  

Chicago, with its central location and its convenient access to all modes of transportation, has an enormous market for the transportation industry.  Waterways are the key to the history of Chicago transportation.  The Chicago Watershed Portage, the Chicago River, the Des Plaines River, and its path to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the North Atlantic are all components of Robert de la Salle’s brilliant plan to dig a small canal to link the massive bodies of water.  As he analyzed the site of the soon to be city, he said: “This will be the gate of empire, this the seat of commerce.”  Today, the Port of Chicago is one of the largest inland sea ports in the world.  Cargo Freighters and “salties” from the ocean frequent the port to bring grain, iron, and much more to the world markets.  

Along with its mighty waterways, Chicago also has an incomparable rail system.  Union Station, built in 1925, was the only one of Chicago’s many major stations to survive demolition.  It is still the 3rd busiest rail station in the nation.  Refrigerated rail cars made Chicago the national leader in meat production.  This character trait gave the city and Union Stock Yards the nickname “hog butcher to the nation.”  

The O’Hare International Airport opened its doors for operation in 1963.  Building off of Chicago’s existing role as a transportation hub, it soon became a hub for the world’s two largest airlines: United and American.  By the end of the sixties, this merger would offer more than 30 million yearly passengers aerial transportation through O’Hare.  Today, O’Hare is the 4th busiest airport in the world, accommodating nearly 80 million passengers a year, as well as shipping over 1.4 million tons of cargo annually.

As many companies manufacture their goods, they rely on the transportation crews to get them into circulation.  The supply chain depends on transportation and freight to move merchandise.  Tax Air Freight and Saia LTL Freight are becoming popular companies in the Chicago area, with warehouses in several locations, and many trucks hauling goods in and out of the city.

Another main Chicago industry is information technology.  Both awareness of the technology and the number of people working in the industry have increased greatly with the surge of mobile devices and high-speed internet.  Many technology firms are located in Chicago, with the city having its own hub for digital startups.  1871 is the hub incubator and has been ranked by UBI Global as the best in the world.  Hosting more than 1,000 events, and partnering with eight universities, 1871, has trained hundreds of students in IT language and capabilities.  Opportunities are available for those looking to own an IT business or for those looking just to work in the field.

It is only natural that Chicago, with all of its access to manufacturing, technology, and modes of transportation, would have a large imprint on the health services and technology industry.  The city is booming with insurance carriers, nursing care facilities, general hospitals, and med tech companies.  A few of the 40+ national medical and health associations headquartered in Chicago include the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association.  The MedTech sector is rapidly growing, gaining many medical and engineering students from colleges and universities, and medical and biomedical facilities.  It is estimated that nearly 3,000 medical and engineering students graduate annually. This wealthy and valuable talent pool gives Chicago a dominant advantage for innovation in healthcare facilities, healthcare systems, and healthcare provisions.  

Chicago is as diversified in its people as it is in its economy.  Along with manufacturing, information technology, healthcare services and information, and transportation, Chicago also is a powerhouse in printing and publishing, finance and insurance, and food processing.  Chicago is still often referred to as the nation’s “candy capital.”  Much of the diversified economy’s success is due to its location and its major inland port.  Chicago ranks second only to New York in the publishing industry as it distributes magazines, newspapers, catalogs, education materials, encyclopedias, and specialized publications nationally.  The Federal Reserve Bank, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange all reside within the city and give it a substantial base for the finance and trade industry.

Along with established foundations, businesses, and franchises, Chicago seeks continuous growth through local programs.  The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development actively promotes the growth and development in many diverse neighborhoods.

Job Market in Chicago

According to chicagobusiness.com, some popular places to work in the area are Geneca, Balasa Dinverno Foltz, Clune Construction, Bold Insight, 10th Magnitude, Salem Group, Juno Logistics, and Radio Flyer.A leading proprietary trading firm that specializes in equity index and commodity derivatives, Belvedere Trading employs 290 local employees.  Saggezza, an information technology partner delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.  Their company, founded in 2006, currently employs 78 people.  Braviant Holdings, a digital platform combining breakthrough technology and cutting edge machinery, empowers consumers with better credit solutions.  This local company was founded in 2014 and employs 55 employees.  Bringing the school community together on a common technology platform, Otus, seeks to aid educators by reducing the number of disconnected solutions educators use while providing relatable and valuable insight to school leaders.  Other notable local businesses more recently founded include DFIN, Integral Ad Science, Wolverine Trading, Zoro, Active Campaign, Opploans, Infutor Data Solutions, and Relativity.

A younger, more modern population logically brings many modern advancements and ways of thinking.  Start-up companies and tech companies are hiring daily.  Here are a couple of companies to consider: NowPow, Cohesion, Returnly, Enodo, Otus, and OneSpan.  

As in many other cities and markets, salaries range based on trade, tenure, and technicality.  Average salaries for engineers is approximately $123,672, while a designer’s starting salary is $96,329.  Product engineers have an average salary of $124,914, and marketing managers often earn an average of $96,375.  The finance profession is among the top earners in employment, making an average of $111,499 annually.

Chicago Things to Do
Chicago Things to Do

Things to do in Chicago:

Spend the day admiring the towering skyscrapers and beautiful architecture, eat your way through delectable eateries and food trucks, or enjoy the beautiful green spaces and park areas.  Whatever your preference, whatever your age, you will have plenty to do and to see in the Windy City.  

One of the most popular sights in Chicago is the Cloud Gate, also known as “The Bean.”  Located in the city’s downtown park, Millennium Park, this massive stainless steel monument reflects the city’s iconic skyline and surrounding green space.  

Should the rain keep you from outdoor events, or if you just love the arts and learning about the arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago History Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium are perfect places to explore and investigate.  Children will love the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, or the Brookfield Zoo.  The Lincoln Park zoo offers free admission year round for everyone! 

Paying tribute to the men and women who died in World War I, Soldier Field is known as the home of the Chicago Bears.  The stadium, built in 1924, has become iconic for both sports and military history.  Rosehill Cemetery and Civil War museum contain the graces of fourteen Union generals, six drummer boys, and hundred of Civil War soldiers.  Several other places of historical and military importance include the Battle of Midway Memorial, the Eternal Flame in Daley Plaza, the Manuel Perez Memorial Plaza, and Victory monument.  

When it comes to eating in the city, be sure to try the Chicago style hot dog, complete with mustard, relish, chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, peppers, and a pickle!   Snack on sweet and savory Garrett Mix Popcorn, or be comforted with the best chicken pot pie at The Walnut Room.  Of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without a slice of deep dish pizza.  Popular restaurants include Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, or Uno Pizzeria & Grill.  The deep cultural roots established in this city are seen and tasted in every meal.  Sweeten the end of your busy day with a piece of Eli’s cheesecake, Swedish cinnamon rolls, or shaved ice from Mario’s Italian Lemonade.  

Chicago has luxurious waterfronts and spacious parks that draw many locals and tourists, and that supports its nickname of “the city in a garden.”  Visit the beaches, gardens, parks, and attractions in Lincoln Park, Washington Park, Humboldt Park, Jackson Park, Grant Park, and North Avenue Beach.  Each park offers its own unique features and fascinating historical facts.  Spend the day soaking up the sun on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, the 12th Street Beach, or Montrose Avenue Beach.  

Enjoy a night of music or theatre in one of the Tony Award-winning theatres.  Performances and shows frequent the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Theater on the LakeBroadway in Chicago offers tickets to many musicals and shows, while the Blue Man Group is sure to keep your attention as you sit in the “Splash Zone” for one of their inspiring and amazing percussion shows.  

Challenge your fear of heights as your stand outside one of the world’s tallest buildings.  An all-glass balcony at Willis Tower’s Skydeck is sure to give you a perspective you will never forget.  Ride the 196 foot Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, or take an architecture boat cruise on the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River CruiseLurie Gardens provides breathtaking views of the city skyline and the boardwalk around South Pond is sure to leave you appreciating nature and all of its beauty.

Sports in Chicago:

Whether it be a tailgating party for the Chicago Bears, a celebratory anthem sing-along with the Chicago Blackhawks, or an All- American hot dog at Wrigley stadium, the sights, sounds, and scrumptious treats of Chicago sports are all around.  

The spring and summer months are filled with months of exciting baseball from both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White SoxLakeview neighborhood houses the second oldest ballpark in America–Wrigley Field.  It is here where the Chicago Cubs celebrated Wrigley’s 100th birthday, and where they won the World Series in 2016.  On the south side of the city, the Chicago White Sox give fans at Guaranteed Rate Field a reason to cheer.  Be sure to grab your “best sandwich in the world” from Ricobene’s.  

Chicago Fire FC, named for the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, has stormed the professional soccer stage.  They are known for their great skill and their wildly enthusiastic fans.  Their historic first season began at Soldier Field in 2020.  

Fall and winter sports cater to the hockey and basketball fans.  The Chicago Blackhawks are six-time NHL Stanley Cup Champions, and show plenty of power and finesse on the ice at United Center.  The famous Chicago Bulls also call the United Center “home” as they draw thousands of fans to the West Side location of the downtown area.  Be sure to snap a selfie with the statues of famous athletes Bobby Hull, Stan Mitka, and, of course, Michael Jordan.  The WNBA team, Chicago Sky, play in the Wintrust Arena, and give fans a run at counting their winning streak!  

Chicago football with the Chicago Bears is as legendary as it gets.  Fans fill the seats at Soldier Field and prepare to cheer their boys on in the NFL.

Getting Around Town – Transportation in Chicago:

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the nation’s second largest public transportation system, operating eight “L” trains and 129 bus routes.  These trains and routes connect the city via above-ground, street level, and underground, as they serve 145 rail stations across the town.  Purchasing a Ventra Transit Card or an Unlimited Ride Pass for the “L” train and the bus, will allow you to pay for your travel.  Use the Ventra App for payment, fares, card retailers, maps, schedules, and train trackers.  CTA bus routes travel throughout the city, with stops every couple of city blocks.  There are extended hours of service for those needing transportation in the middle of the night.  Several other transportation options include the Metra Rail, (a high-speed Metra commuter rail train that connects outlying suburbs to the downtown area), taxis, Ridesharing, Watertaxis, Shuttles and Limo services, biking, and driving.  Depending on where you live, your transportation options will likely not include a personal car!  For those choosing to drive in the city, be sure to check out some of these useful apps or resources: iParkit, ParkChicago, SpotHero, ParkWhiz, ABM Parking, and Millennium garages.  

The water taxis provided by Wendella Boats and Shoreline Water Taxi are sure to give you an unforgettable experience.  Explore Chinatown, Museum Campus, Willis Tower, Michigan Avenue, Union Station, and Navy Pier all from the water.  

Chicago O’Hare International Airport provides domestic and international flights, and is just sixteen miles from downtown Chicago. Chicago Midway International Airport is the nation’s premier point-to-point airport. Located only 11 miles from downtown, it offers both leisure and business travel options to over 60 destinations.

Crime in Chicago:

Unfortunately Chicago is often associated with horrible crimes, both property crimes and violent crimes.  Recent research shows that Chicago is safer than only 7% of cities in America.  Annually, there are 27,400 violent crimes and nearly 88,000 property crimes.  This ratio breaks down to 10.12 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, and 32,48 property crimes per 1,000 residents.  According to a land mass ratio, there are 499 crimes per square mile in Chicago alone.  The national median for crimes per square mile is 31.1.  

The safest places to live in the Chicago area include these neighborhoods: Sauganash, S. Western Ave/W 99th St, W Devon Ave/N Central Ave, N Caldwell Ave/N Lehigh Ave, and W Foster Ave/N Lamon Ave. 

Education in Chicago:

Several colleges in the Chicago area have definitely marked their spot on the map.  Northwestern University, with 8,161 full time undergrad students, costs $27,540 a year, and offers training to students in all academic fields.  The most popular majors here are Economics, Psychology, and Journalism.  The University of Chicago is a four year degree program that costs approximately $33,003 a year, and has a student body of 6,600.  Their most popular majors are Economics, Mathematics, and Biology.  Other notable colleges in the Chicago area, both public and private, include DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University of Chicago, Lake Forest College, and Valparaiso University.

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