Just over a year ago, I packed my 2000 Honda Accord to the brim and followed by my mother with a full size van filled with furniture, I officially changed my address to Chicago, Illinois after living in Minnesota for all 23 years of my life.
Now I’m a year older, a bit wiser, and I still call Chicago home. I love it here, though like any city, it’s not perfect. Here are some pros and cons:
- The Arts: Chicago’s arts scene is busting at the seams. Home to the famous Second City and iO Theater, Chicago was also named the #1 best city for comedy. Chicago has weekly outdoor concerts and movies in the park over the summer, as well as featuring everything from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Broadway productions. Chicago is also home to the Best Museum in the World (The Art Institute of Chicago) and the always-incredible Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, part of the city’s building budget must also go to the arts, so street art is abundant as well.
- Public Transportation: Unless you need to get to the suburbs, the trains and buses will take you within walking distance of anywhere you want to go in the city. No wonder so many people who live here don’t even bother with cars.
- The views: Chicago is located right off one of the great lakes, and paired with the cityscape, provides one hell of a skyline.
- Festivals: Though not always my cup of tea, Chicago has every kind of street festival imaginable from food, to art, and back to food. Always paired with cover bands and a vast brewing selection, everything about this city just makes you want to get drunk and dance.
- Sports: If you’re into that kind of thing (which 97% of Chicagoans are) we have The Bears, The Blackhawks, The Bulls, and not one but TWO baseball teams. YAAAAAAY.
- Sports: If you’re part of the 3% who lives in this city and doesn’t like the bro-iness of sports mentality, good luck. Also a fair warning: never go through Wriglyville after a Cubs game lets out. Actually, never go through Wriglyville at all, unless Tuesday night bar fights and HIV is your kinda jam.
- Parking: Though I do have a car and have mastered driving in the city, parking is always a nightmare for everyone. If you can’t parallel park, do even bother driving into the city. And if you do manage to find a non-metered spot to stash your car, read ALL of every street sign you can see, or parking tickets start at $50 a pop.
- Winter: Yeah Chicago’s in the Midwest. And right off a giant lake. Nothing Minnesotans can’t handle, but expect a just little bit of a windchill.
- Violence: Chicago is #1 for a lot of things. I’m pretty sure murder rate per capita is one of them.
- It’s a city: Meaning- garbage littered streets. Smell of urine dank in the air downtown. It’s never completely quiet, no matter where you are. And you can’t see any stars ever because of light pollution and probably air pollution.
Though I miss nature and small towns at times, Chicago really does feel like home to me. I’ve gotten to try new things an experience far more this last year than I would have if I had just stayed in my hometown. Sure, I may move back to Minnesota someday, but for now, Chicago overall gets a big thumbs-up from me.