If you’re planning to move from NYC to downtown Chicago, or considering it, you may feel a mix of excitement for a fresh start and fear of the unknown. This is a big move, after all, and you may wonder how your fast-paced, East Coast lifestyle jives with the slow-and-steady Midwest. Can a New Yorker fit in to Chicago culture? What will you miss? What will be a welcome change? Is it the right move for you? Chicago has enough similarities to NYC to help you feel at home, while offering positive differences that will help you embrace Chicago as your new home.
With all the culture and excitement New York brings, it can be scary to transition to the Midwest and adjust to a different lifestyle, but we’ve helped many people do just that. We’re here to help you learn more about what to expect from your Chicago move and to prepare you so you can get the most out of all this dynamic city has to offer.
From the Big Apple to the Windy City
For native New Yorkers relocating to Chicago, this gracious city is a best-kept secret. While New York is heavily influenced by Europe, making it cosmopolitan and sophisticated, Chicago is better understood as a collection of neighborhoods with their own unique vibe and a wholesome, down-to-earth feeling. That said, in the same way that your borough defines you in New York, your neighborhood defines you in Chicago. Neighborhoods are the backbone of the city, so the residents of each neighborhood have the same fierce pride and loyalty to their area as New Yorkers have to their boroughs.
The lifestyle of the cities differ, however. New York is built on old money, lightning-paced and business-focused, whereas Chicago takes life a little slower. It’s still a premiere city in the Midwest, but it doesn’t feel as rushed or hectic.
The “feel” of Chicago is different. Though it shares some traits of New York, the vibe in Chicago reflects Midwestern values, such as modesty and hard work, as well as retaining the overall character of its industrial past. When you move to Chicago, expect to be treated as one of Chicago’s own, native or not.
One of our favorite aspects about Chicago is the neighborly, “little city” appeal, despite being the third-largest city in the country. Chicago wouldn’t even intimidate someone from a small town, and its clean, livable nature is sure to appeal to a New Yorker tired of crowded living.
When you move to Chicago, we recommend actually moving into the downtown area if you can. It’s urban for miles, with some beautiful suburban communities, but Chicagoans live and work in the city. That may have something to do with the 25 percent lower cost of living than NYC, which also means you’ll pay less for everything you need.
Thriving Arts and Culture
If you fear losing the cultural appeal and bustling nightlife of New York, think again. Chicago has everything New York has, in proportion to the size difference. The street performers are incredible here, and you can immerse yourself in the thriving arts and culture scene at the Museum of Contemporary Art or the Chicago History Museum.
There’s no shortage of excellent dining, either. From juicy steaks at the RPM Steak House to burgers at Grange Hall Burger Bar, Chicago has as many options for great food as New York. In fact, true Chicago deep dish may beat out New York-style when you experience it in its birthplace. Don’t worry, we promise not to tell your NYC friends.
Did we mention the lake? Manhattan may be an island, but Chicago has its own beach. With its size, Lake Michigan is practically an ocean, though it has more beauty and fewer jellyfish. Most Chicagoans spend the summers lounging on the shore, biking up and down the lakefront trail, or boating on the lake A lot of the city’s layout is designed with the waterfront in mind.
Like New York, Chicago takes its sports pretty seriously, as well. Keep your home teams if you wish – we won’t judge you – but if you want to leave your Yankees, Giants and Knicks gear behind for the Cubs, Bears and Bulls, feel free. Know one thing though – it’s Cubs or Sox, never both. Pick one and stick to it, then celebrate hometown wins with some beers at Public House.
Experience Downtown Chicago in Luxury With Help From HotSpot Rentals
If you’re moving from NYC to downtown Chicago, check out River North or Gold Coast, which are popular spots for former New Yorkers. Also, check out Lakeshore East, where modern, luxurious high-rises surround a beautiful park. It’s like a mini Central Park!
The diversity of downtown Chicago can make picking a neighborhood a tough choice, but HotSpot Rentals is here to help. Dorothy, the owner of HotSpot, grew up in New York City, so she has a soft spot for helping New Yorkers find just the downtown Chicago apartments!