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Best Places To Live In Chicago

Chicago Voted Best Big City In The Us For The Fifth Year In A Row

Chicago’s Best Places To Live

During the past year and a half, weve truly missed welcoming millions of visitors to our amazing city. But Chicago has always been a place for comebacks ever since the worlds first skyscraper rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and this same resilient spirit has carried us through these uncertain times.

In the past few months, Chicago has fully reopened, implemented new safety protocols, and seen some of our signature big city buzz reemerge. Now, as visitors from around the world return to Chicago, we couldnt be more proud to announce some exciting news.

Chicago is the Best Big City in the U.S. for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.

The prestigious recognition comes from Condé Nast Travelers Readers Choice Awards 2021. This year, more than 800,000 readersfrom all around the country voted for their favorite destinations and awarded Chicago the title of Best Big City again making us the only city to ever win this accolade five years in a row.

Naturally, were thrilled. But we cant celebrate this moment without expressing our deep and lasting gratitude to the citys many tourism and hospitality professionals. Their dedication and generosity have helped visitors from across the globe fall in love with our city time and time again.

The only way to know is to explore it all for yourself. Come experience the wonders of this amazing place, so that youll understand why Chicago is a city unlike any other.

Discover our diverse neighborhoods

Dining Destinations In Chicago

If youre moving to the food-centric Windy City, youll grow accustomed to the three signature food groups: Italian beef, deep-dish pizza and the Chicago-style hot dog. Prepare for beloved beef sandwiches at Als Beef, the best deep-dish youve ever had at Pequods, Giordanos, or Lou Malnatis. Or try a traditional Chicago-style dog from Portillos, which includes sport peppers and celery salt. And remember: in Chicago, ketchup on your hot dog is considered a sin.

But if you just want a great meal out, Chicagos restaurant scene is one of the best in the country. With more than 8,000 restaurants, theres a neighborhood or menu for virtually any palate. The West Loop is Chicagos hottest dining district, so if youre looking for a new favorite restaurant, thats a good place to start. If youre into ethnic gems, head to Chinatown for Asian delights, Argyle Street for Vietnamese, or Devon for Indian food.

Top Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago has a number of Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrity chefs, standout local stars being Rick Bayless for high-end Mexican cuisine Bravos Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard and Grant Achatz , a renowned chef managed who created one of the most impressive culinary legacies on the planet while battling tongue cancer.

Chicago Weather Will Heavily Influence Your Wardrobe Commute And Life

Theres nothing like the bone-chilling wind after it whips off the lake and bounces off a few skyscrapers. It gets cold in Chicago very, very cold. So cold that Chicago-area schools have been known to close for cold days as much as snow days because its actually dangerous for students to go outside. Here are a few ways to prepare for those harsh, subzero winters:

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Chicago Suburb Ranks Among The Best Places To Live In 2021

One Illinois city is among the Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Money, a news hub geared toward creating meaningful investments and lasting returns, determined the 50 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022. The rankings come with a sponsorship from Better, a resource thats redefining the homeownership process. Its Moneys 35th annual list, noting the cities where job growth is on the rise and home prices are affordable.

So, which Illinois city stole the spotlight, and how did it rank?

Overview Of Where To Stay In Chicago

The 7 Best places to live in Chicago if you are recently ...

Before we tackle the best parts of Chicago to stay in, lets run over the layout and landscape of the city. Located in the state of Illinois on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan one of the five Great Lakes of North America Chicago sits behind New York and Los Angeles as the third-largest city in the US.

Covering 235 square miles , the city comprises 77 community areas that are often grouped into 9 districts within which you will find additional neighborhoods. The areas that I have selected for this guide sit within the more central districts.

As a beacon for finance, culture, industry, education, technology, and tourism, Chicago has received a whole stream of accolades: for beauty, the high standard of living, and as one of the overall best large cities in the country.

Known for its remarkable urban skyline, the city is equally blessed with outdoor spaces including over 20 public beaches and almost 600 public parks, each brimming with statues, fountains, and manicured gardens. The best areas to stay in Chicago place you within easy access to the top landmarks and attractions.

Getting around Chicago is a breeze thanks to a fantastic network of subway trains, commuter trains, and public buses. In the more central areas, then you can walk most places. If you are visiting the city as part of a road trip then you will need to book a hotel with parking or stay further out to avoid the hefty parking fees.

More hotels in Hyde Park

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Printers Row: A True Chicago Experience Without High

If you decide to settle in Printers Row, know that youll live in yet another district full of millennials and college students. Numerous colleges have campuses here, including Columbia College, Roosevelt University, and DePauls campus. Since 1985, Printers Row organizes the annual literature festival during summer that gathers more than 100 authors and booksellers each year. The district doesnt lack in its nightlife scene, restaurants, and shops! If you are on a tight budget, youll find a cheaper home to purchase here then in other Chicagos districts.

You Should Learn To Love Chicago Sports

From the major sporting franchises to its die-hard fans, Chicago loves its sports teams. Its in your best interest to become a loyal and passionate fan , rooting for one of Chicagos many professional teams. No matter which team you root for, sports are a fun and competitive way to enjoy time with friends and family.

  • Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox Chicago residents are either north side Cubs fans or south side Sox fans there is no in-between! The Crosstown Classic when the divide between the north and south side of Chicago rears its ugly head.
  • Chicago Bears Chicago fans love showing their football fandom at Soldier Field , especially when rivals like the Green Bay Packers are in town.
  • Chicago Blackhawks The Blackhawks have dominated the Chicago sports scene, winning three Stanley Cups in recent years. And to think, it wasnt that long ago when their home games werent even televised!
  • Chicago Bulls The 90s Bulls were one of the most dominating dynasties in professional sports, and while the Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman era may feel like a thing of the past, its still fun to reminisce on the glory years.

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Cost Of Living In Chicago

While some feel Chicago is relatively affordable when compared to cities like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, others will find the cost of living high especially for housing, and transportation. On the plus side, the city has a lot of free or low-cost entertainment and attractions including a free world-class zoo, low-cost storefront theater performances, and a robust library system.

Living costs in Chicago:

Cost of living relative to the U.S. average 6.5% higher

The table abovegives you a quick snapshot of what it costs to live in Chicago. Keep in mindthat housing costs are considerably higher for newer buildings, as well as inthe more popular neighborhoods, which tend to be closer to Lake Michigan or downtown.

The Field Museum A Fascinating Educational Place To Visit In Chicago

5 Best Up and Coming Places to Live in Chicago
  • Travel through time billions of years in one place.
  • Great for history buffs and people who want to learn more about how the world came to be.
  • Kids will love the animal and dinosaur displays.

Why its so awesome: If you want to understand the history of the planet then this is the place to do it. The Field Museum explores billions of years of the worlds history in living, exciting color. And if you like your displays a little closer to home, there are also displays showing the history of human civilization as well as exciting exhibitions that will make you see the world from a whole new, much smaller perspective.

What to do there: Check out the Egyptian tomb with all the trimmings including a book of the dead, mummies and other artifacts. And make sure that you spend some time in the Underground Adventure exhibition, where youll explore the world from the view point of a creature thats 1/100th of your size. From this perspective, spiders are enormous, and youll get to experience what its like to be hunted by one!

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Explore The Housing Data

Then we turned to education. If a town or community lacks a public school whose students score above average on standardized tests, we dinged it. And because raising kids in an area thats at least somewhat diverse is a goal of most parents, we nixed spots where more than 92 percent of residents are of any one race.

For the places that remained, we looked at ease of transportation downtown, giving extra points to those that have several el stops and at least one Metra stop. And we considered how home prices in these places have fared in recent years compared with prices in neighboring areas, as well as whether buyers there can get good value for their moneywhich is not the same thing as paying the smallest amount.

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Finally, I hit the pavement to assess which spots possess those hard-to-define qualities that matter hugely when youre looking for somewhere to live. Things like vibrancy . Beauty . Friendliness . Is it, quite simply, a great place to call home?

We crowned four champions each in the North, West, and South Sides of the city. For the rest of the metro area, we chose towns based loosely on county population. In suburban Cook County, we chose five places in Lake and DuPage Counties, two each and in Will, Kane, and McHenry Counties, one apiece. On to the winners!

Where Are The Safest Neighborhoods In Chicago

Chicago realtor Gary Lucido writes that he often gets asked toname the safest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.

The problem is that its certainly not possible to give our stamp of approval to any particular neighborhood. There are few absolutes in this world and safe and dangerous are not among them. And even relative comparisons are difficult except at the extremes, writes Gary, president of Lucid Realty, in his blog, Getting Real. Instead of classifying neighborhoods as safer or more dangerous, Gary uses Chicago police statistics to create maps and charts for an annual report on crime and suggests readers draw their own conclusions.

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Find Out What’s Happening In Chicagowith Free Real

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings, but those with greater employment stability tended to fare well,” Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, said in a release.

For the second consecutive year, Boulder, Colorado, was named the No. 1 place to live due to high quality of life, a robust job market and high desirability scores. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, jumped nine spots to take No. 2 and Huntsville, Alabama, catapulted 12 spots to No. 3.

Are You Ready To Make Your Move

Top places to live in the Greater Chicago Area

Whether youre moving to Chicago for business, relocating with your family or looking for an adventure in a brand-new city, its easy to fall in love with Chicago. Submerse in the culture, explore the diversity and figure out your favorite authentic Chicago spots in no time.

No matter where youre moving to Chicago from, chances are you could use some help storing your bigger, bulkier items. Life Storage offers self-storage units in Chicago for anything you may not have room for in your home.


  • Revised on April 21, 2021, with new information from Chicago expert, Deanna Kane.
  • Revised on August 25, 2019, with new information from Chicago expert, Lauren Monitz.
  • Originally published on October 16, 2015.

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West Loop: Where The Cool Kids Hang Out

A former industrial zone, this district has become an authentic nightlife and dining spot. Youll find some of the best restaurants in Chicago in Greek Town and on Randolph Street. Yet, what attracts youngsters and singles is the thriving nightlife scene. With so many bars such as Moneygun and the ROOF on theWit Hotel, you will meet a lot of people and have great fun after work. We have already mentioned this district above, so you know that this is a real business hub. If you decide to settle in its west part, know that your office will be a walk away from your apartment and all these cool spots.

Your Neighborhood In Chicago Will Actually Define You

Chicagos backbone is in its 77 well-defined neighborhoods in nine districts each with its own mix of attractions, culture, history and personality. From Lincoln Square to Hyde Park, each neighborhood becomes part of its residents identities.

  • North: Chicagos Northern neighborhoods are youthful and desirable. From catching a Cubs game in Wrigleyville to boutique shopping in Lincoln Park and live jazz in Uptown, there is always a concert, street fest or baseball game to catch.
  • West: The West Side offers a bit more of an eclectic vibe. Thanks to the West Loops Randolph Street and Fulton Market, the West Loop is considered the citys culinary destination. Further west, you can take in the stunning murals, monuments and churches of Wicker Park.
  • The Loop: Chicagos Loop is home to all the top tourist attractions: The Bean at Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Historic Theatre District, as well as art galleries, cocktail lounges and shopping on Michigan Avenue.
  • South: Chicagos South Side boasts an array of cultural and social offerings. From monuments in Bronzeville to the Museum Campus in South Loop to Chinatowns authentic cuisine, diversity runs deep.

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