Choosing where to live in Chicago can either be a difficult decision or a no-brainer, depending on your budget and preferences. As with most things, there are pros and cons in both options, so it will be up to you to determine which advantages and disadvantages work best for your lifestyle.
There are some people who enjoy living close to all the excitement and action, while others prefer a more laidback lifestyle in a quiet setting. The good news is, Chicago excels at providing both living situations, whether it’s right in the heart of the city or a suburb several miles away.
To help you look for the style of Chicago living that’s ideal for your lifestyle, we’ll give you a closer look at both options.
Pros of City Living
The city lifestyle is terrific for those who are always looking for excitement. Living in downtown Chicago means having easy access to the city’s vibrant array of attractions and destinations. You can simply walk out the door and see where the day takes you.
If you decide to live in the heart of the city, many of Chicago’s upscale shops, restaurants, and entertainment options will be at your fingertips. One of the best things about living in the city is having so many options surrounding you that you can essentially go to a new bar or try a new restaurant every week.
Keep in mind that the different neighborhoods around the city cater to different preferences. Lincoln Park for example, attracts the younger crowd while River North has a more upscale vibe that’s ideal for entrepreneurs and executives.
Cons of City Living
Having convenient access to a wealth of amenities however, comes with a high price. Higher rents and taxes in the city means a higher cost of living in Chicago. This also places a limit on the type of home you can afford. A comfortable flat in the city for example, is roughly the same price as a 2-bedroom home with a yard in the suburbs.
Compared to the suburbs, the city can also feel a little too crowded. And depending on where you live, you might also need to deal with undesirable noise levels 24/7. Driving around the city can often be a stressful experience as well, due to the higher volume of traffic as well as pedestrians to watch out for.
Pros of the Suburb Life
The suburbs in Chicago offer an outstanding quality of life, with more affordable homes for sale and relatively cheaper bars and dining venues. If you’re someone who values their privacy, the suburb life will definitely be right up your alley, as most of the homes have yards that provide more space between you and your neighbors.
Instead of nightlife spots and other big city amenities, homes in the suburbs typically have easy access to parks, trails, and open spaces, which is excellent if you love spending time outdoors. While there may not be as many bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues to choose from compared to the city, you can still choose from a wide variety of top-notch cafés and restaurants that can satisfy almost any type of craving. But it’s not as if the best attractions and destinations in the city are out of reach – many of Chicago’s suburbs provide easy access to public transport, which can sometimes be a better option since you won’t need to drive and pay for parking.
When it comes to raising a family, there are some who prefer the city, while others look for a more family-friendly setting like the suburbs. School systems in the suburbs are also typically better compared to those in the city.
Cons of the Suburb Life
Finding a job in the suburb you’re living in is great, otherwise commuting to the city every day to get to your job can get tedious. Taking the train is usually the best option, as traffic to and from the city can pile up during rush hour.
Living in the suburbs also means spending more time on maintenance work, so you might be better off living in the city in case the idea of doing regular yard work scares you (hiring a company to handle yard work is an option, however).
As stated earlier, the pros and cons of Chicago living options will depend on your goals and how your way of living integrates with the location.
Taking all of this into account and reexamining your lifestyle will be a key step before making a decision.