Chicago has a great reputation for its deep-dish pizza and a terrible reputation for its crime. Residents reveal the best and worst parts of living in Chicago.
1: More Moolah for You
According to a Chicago resident who’s lived in four other major metropolitan cities in the U.S., they claim that Chicago is the “best value for your dollar.” They explain that the city “has tons of great amenities at cheaper cost than other major American metros.”
2: Bad Weather
Cold, harsh winters are the worst part of living in Chicago for many residents. One local goes so far as to say the Windy City has “Terrible weather 8 months out of the year.” Another said, “The worst thing is, obviously, the weather. The best thing is everything else.”
3: An Architectural Gem
There’s a reason the architecture boat tours are so popular among tourists. A proud Chicago resident says Chicago has the “best architecture of any American city.” They even go so far as to say it has “arguably the best skyline of any global city.”
4: Flat as the Eye Can See
Chicago isn’t an ideal base for hikers, a negative for some. It’s “very flat,” says one local, with “No Catskills or Mt. Hood equivalent within 5 hours.”
5: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
No explanation is needed about why deep-dish pizza is the best thing about living in Chicago, according to many locals.
6: Numb to Crime
Chicago has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation, though how dangerous the city is depends on where you live and work. Nevertheless, because there are some extremely dangerous districts in Chicago, a resident says that one of the worst parts about living in the city is “becoming numb to crime.”
7: Great Transportation
The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) is one of the best things about the city, according to many locals. It’s fast and easy to get around downtown without needing a car.
8: Where the Wild Don’t Roam
The worst thing about Chicago for some is the lack of access to nature. One resident says, “You have to get creative about it.” They explain, “I like to canoe in the Fox River or hike through Starved Rock. But pretty much anything requires you [to] make a day or even a weekend of it.”
9: Lots to Do
It’s hard to be bored in Chicago. A local says there are many food, shopping, entertainment, and lifestyle options. To make it all better? You might not even need to use the CTA; “Pretty much everything is [with]in walking distance,” they say.
10: A Best and Worst Combined
Chicago is a cultural mecca, something that many are proud of. But while a Chicago resident says diverse culture is the best thing about living in Chicago, they say the worst thing is “people who moved in with Urban Outfitters culture.”
11: Uncle Sam
Although many believe that a positive thing about Chicago is its affordable cost of living for what the city offers, many say the downside is high taxes and corruption. One local frustratingly points out that they’d be okay paying such high taxes “if it meant good schools, maintained roads, and a decent police force.”
12: A Foodie Haven
Deep-dish pizza aside, Chicago brims with delicious food options. A resident even dares to say that “Chicago has the best food selection out of anywhere else I’ve lived.” A good BBQ is the only thing missing, in their opinion.
13: Rudeness Abounds
Let’s start with the good news: “Chicagoans are more polite than most big city people,” says one resident. The bad news? “They are still rude as h*ll.”
14: Great Airport
Never mind weather delays; a Chicago local says one of the best parts about their city is “having a large international airport that doesn’t have an airline monopoly.” Having two airports equates to lower prices, they say. “Prices in Chicago are 20-50% lower than I paid in Dallas.”
15: Horrendous Traffic
Those who choose to drive instead of take the CTA are in for a rude awakening. “It is literally a 2-3 hour car ride to get to downtown if you live 40-45 minutes away in normal conditions,” says one resident. “LA and Houston are the only cities I would argue that might have worse traffic.”
16: Job Opportunities
Several Chicago residents mentioned a strong job market as one of their favorite parts of living in the city.
17: Local Government
One Chicago resident comes down hard on the local government for making Chicago such a bad place to live. They describe it as “a corrupt, self-serving farce, an embarrassment to the country, and an enemy of the middle class.”
By the Numbers
More people are moving out of Chicago than into it, according to data gathered by ABC News. Over a 5-year period, the Chicago metro area had a net loss of 294,000 residents.
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