- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Chicago Guide (PDF)
Every city has its ups and downs, and Chicago is no exception. When deciding whether to take the plunge and relocate, it's best to be realistic about what day-to-day life in the city will be like. Here are some of the pros and cons of moving to Chicago.
Accommodation in Chicago
+ PRO: Range of options
From two-flats and bungalows to high-rise apartments and freestanding family homes, there are plenty of choices to suit any lifestyle when it comes to accommodation in Chicago.
Transport in Chicago
+ PRO: Major air travel hub
With the O’Hare International Airport only 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, it's easy to fly nationally and internationally at the drop of a hat. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and other major cities are only a couple of hours from Chicago.
+ PRO: Good public transport system
Expats in Chicago won't have much need for a car as the city has an affordable, reliable and extensive public transport network consisting of trains and buses.
Cost of living in Chicago
- CON: High cost of living
Chicago is one of the most expensive cities in America. Those moving there will need to ensure that they are able to shoulder the high cost of living the city incurs. Luckily, salaries are correspondingly high.
Lifestyle in Chicago
+ PRO: Chicago is a multicultural city
Chicago’s ethnically diverse roots make it a fantastic destination for expats, who should have no problem finding others who can commiserate with the highs and lows of the relocation process.
+ PRO: Lots of green spaces
The lifestyle in Chicago is fantastic. Those who enjoy the outdoors will have plenty of ways to spend their leisure time, from the famous Lincoln Park to the sprawling vistas of Lake Michigan.
Weather in Chicago
- CON: A long and cold winter
Be prepared: Chicago’s winter is extremely cold with snowstorms and blizzards. Heavy snow tends to pile up overnight, making it necessary to remove snow from doorways, driveways and cars before leaving the house.
►For tips on recommended neighbourhoods, see Areas and Suburbs in Chicago.
Are you an expat living in Chicago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Chicago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
GeoBlue is one of the best international health insurance plans for US expats abroad or internationals residing in the USA. The GeoBlue Xplorer plan includes worldwide coverage and great customer service with access to a premium international network of hospitals and doctors including the Blue Cross Blue Shield network in the USA.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.