Chicago: The best all-around U.S. city

Recently, as I contemplate my life in this soulless dystopian tech city, I cannot help but fantasize about Chicago and how awesome that city really is. So underrated. The only true negative is the winters. Consider the following:

  1. Very cheap for a major city, especially rent. There are amazing luxury highrise apartments everywhere, but the rent is still below not just NYC and SF but also Seattle, LA, Boston, DC. The city is super affordable on all aspects.

  2. Only U.S. city aside from NYC where you really don't need a car to get around. Yes, other cities have public transportation systems, but they are not as well developed and comprehensive. Chicago is truly urban in this regard.

  3. Amazing restaurant and nightlife scene. It's world class, just below NYC. You have everything from upscale lounges in River North to Big 10 sports bars in Lincoln Park and hipster dive bars in Wicker Park and everything in between. The restaurant scene is massive, with enough diversity to keep you engaged for years.

  4. Urban beauty and aesthetics. The downtown core and the surrounding area is stunning, as it straddles pristine Lake Michigan, with Lincoln, Grant, and Millennium parks nearby. One can go jogging or biking on the trail right next to the lake, a trail that extends more than 10 miles. You also have North Avenue and Oak street beaches, where you can play beach volleyball, grab drinks, and hang out. The city is very walkable and clean, as there are no garbage bags lying on the streets.

  5. Incredible summers. Best summer city in the country. It's plenty warm but not too humid (far less so than NYC and obviously the South), and the social scene is out of control, as everyone is out and enjoying the summer: Cubs games, outdoor festivals, rooftop parties, daydrinking at outdoor bars, lounging by the pool, and so much more. Words cannot describe how awesome Chicago summers are.

  6. Dating scene. I have to admit that it's not as good as NYC but a close second. Plenty of beautiful fit women and a vibrant singles scene.

  7. Midwestern humility and culture. Despite being a world-class city, it lacks the elitism of NYC, the superficiality of L.A., and the obnoxious ultra-liberal sanctimony of Seattle and SF. For the most part, the people are nice and down to earth. Although the city is liberal, the people don't obsess over politics; very rarely will you meet a woman who asks about your political views on a first date. The city is quintessentially All-American.

  8. Fantastic work-life balance. People here just don't work crazy hours. Even in finance, 80+ hours are virtually unheard of. People are out of the office by 7 PM for the most part. This allows ample time to actually do stuff on weekday evenings.

Comments (354)

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 3:40pm

8) Hundreds of BYOB restaurants

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
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Feb 20, 2018 - 10:55am

I brought a bottle of sake to Sushi Taka last week and they wanted a $15 corkage fee. It was an $8 bottle of sake. I just ordered their house sake and drank my bottle when I left.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
 
Feb 8, 2018 - 3:42pm

Cmon man, should've just named this thread "I hate Seattle". It's what this is really about.

p.s. we had a week of roughly 15-25 degree temperature here in Texas and it might have been the most miserable thing I've ever experienced.

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Feb 16, 2018 - 11:07am

London is pretty close to NYC/Chicago if you don't mind a bit of a British culture.

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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:01pm

Happy to trade in CHI's winters for our "superficiality" here in LA.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:09pm

Chicago's America's best looking city (really stunning) but ultimately very boring. Girls are very good looking though (generally are in the midwest).

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:10pm

best looking? Idk man San Francisco is a beautiful city, same with Seattle and Denver

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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:17pm

Esuric:

Chicago's America's best looking city (really stunning) but ultimately very boring. Girls are very good looking though (generally are in the midwest).

Chicago is boring? Lol. That's nuts, man.

The girls are very attractive, especially if you are into the healthy All-American blonde types.

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 9:43pm

I love Chicago.

The downtown is the only skyline that even looks like a legit skyscraper filled city center in the country, outside of NYC. Nobody mentioned the pizza yet....I love NY style pizza, but deep dish Chicago Style is my favorite. The winters suck in Chicago, but they are only a little bit less worse in New York. Museums are better in New York, but how often do you go there? Rarely more than you would visit as a tourist. The Broadway scene is obviously better in New York, but I don't really care about that.

The cost of living is appealing, but ultimately I can't move there because I need an offer that would bring me there. When I retire, I'll probably stay here because of the ease of getting around and the income tax won't mean much then. Ultimately, both are awesome towns and you should be happy in either place. If not, it's your fault. That being said, as great as Chicago is, it's the Second City for a reason.

Also, thanks for staying Brady4MVP with the All-American blonde reference.

 
Feb 9, 2018 - 11:52am

Girls are usually from some kind of European ancestry (Polish/Ukrainian) or straight up from eastern Europe. Food scene is great for a budget of cheap eats to fancy dinning. Cheap eats (~$15) like Japan quality-like ramen (Oiistar, Wasabi), Puerto Rican (La Central), Cuban (Cafecito), Korean Fried Chicken Wings (Crisp), Mexican (any Rick Bayless restaurants), Ice Cream (Jeni's) are really good. West Loop (upcoming tech, Google, and Fancy dinning - Au Cheval, Girl&Goat, Monte Verde, Publican). Neighborhoods are very well delineated yet close to each other - Gold Coast/Old Town (posh restaurant and bars/rich ppl scene), Streeterville (Retail/restaurant/Roof top bars/ closest to NYC feel), Loop (Work place), Greektown, Chinatown, Argyle (Vietnamese) Ukrainian Town, Lincoln Park (Cubs, Sports Bars, Family Life, College Town), Bucktown/Wicker (Hipster). Cost of living is great and work hours are great though property taxes sucks. Overall, still best bang for buck. If winter sucks, go ski, do restaurant week, or fly out internationally from O'hare. Easily accessible by Uber and train (~35min).

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 4:41pm

Just the right amount of Italian women without the jersey shore guidos

26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:43pm

Second most annoying sound in the world behind a moaning walrus is a Long Island accent.

26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
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Feb 8, 2018 - 4:50pm

I'm really thinking about moving here at some point in the future. In 2016 I visited some family there in the summer (I want to say June or July) for a weekend, and it was insanely humid, as bad as DC. I'm trying to escape humidity but I'll deal with it if it's just for a weekend or week. How bad does it normally get? I remember the food and social scene being great, so I'm sold on that, and the affordability is the cherry on top.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 5:04pm

BubbaBanker:

I'm really thinking about moving here at some point in the future. In 2016 I visited some family there in the summer (I want to say June or July) for a weekend, and it was insanely humid, as bad as DC. I'm trying to escape humidity but I'll deal with it if it's just for a weekend or week. How bad does it normally get? I remember the food and social scene being great, so I'm sold on that, and the affordability is the cherry on top.

I lived in Chicago for a long time, and there were only 2 summers where we had humidity stretches that were unbearable. Chicago does not get "hot" (defining "hot" as consistent 80+ degrees) until July. Even then, if you are anywhere close to the lake (most of the nice neighborhoods aren't too far from the lake), it will feel fairly mild.

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 5:10pm

Alright I'm sold, where do I sign up?

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

 
Feb 9, 2018 - 11:33am

I would never want to go to Hamptons, but I think that's what separates me from the guys here who love NYC, maybe I'm too Midwest. The Michigan side of Lake Michigan in the summer gives me the same experience.

If you don't sell drugs on the South or Westside and don't make YouTube diss tracks against other local "rappers" it's a safe place to live. Yes it's corrupt, but Daley and now Rahm have made a clean downtown and keep the riff raff in check, I'm okay with that.

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Feb 9, 2018 - 1:03pm

Scott Irish:

I would never want to go to Hamptons, but I think that's what separates me from the guys here who love NYC, maybe I'm too Midwest. The Michigan side of Lake Michigan in the summer gives me the same experience.

If you don't sell drugs on the South or Westside and don't make YouTube diss tracks against other local "rappers" it's a safe place to live. Yes it's corrupt, but Daley and now Rahm have made a clean downtown and keep the riff raff in check, I'm okay with that.

I've been to the Hamptons; it's fine but overrated. Yeah if you are super rich and can buy a home there, different story.

Chicago is a very segregated city. The crime is on the far south and far west sides. It has no impact on the quality of life for those in the nice areas of the city. Daley did a great job of gentrifying the city and bringing in business capital.

 
Feb 10, 2018 - 1:40pm

Scott Irish:

Yes it's corrupt, but Daley and now Rahm have made a clean downtown and keep the riff raff in check, I'm okay with that.

Dude, the real crime is the corruption in the form of being raped by taxes, fees and various legalized extortion ($) to live there. Every illiterate crony who held a fake no-show job in Cook County has a bulletproof pension all the yuppies are on the hook for. Not to mention the zionist mayor (who served in IDF and holds an Israeli passport) is a globalist open-borders shill who proudly declares it an illegal immigrant sanctuary city – hence heroin, stickups, violent crime, worthless public schools, and EVERYONE who's ever lived in the city has had a bike stolen and car broken into.

 
Feb 8, 2018 - 8:51pm

Dances With Newfoundland:
  1. Only U.S. city aside from NYC where you really don't need a car to get around. Yes, other cities have public transportation systems, but they are not as well developed and comprehensive. Chicago is truly urban in this regard.

This is misleading. You may not need a car, but it can be fairly inconvenient without one. A lot of Chicago is more similar to the residential parts of Brooklyn and Queens (in terms of how spread apart things are), vs Manhattan

I guess my point is, NYC has no real comparison. Chicago is great in its own way

 
Feb 9, 2018 - 11:31am

From the mid-West and starting in Chicago this summer. Love everything about the city... but is anyone else really not that into Chicago-style pizza? I like thinner stuff, I feel like Chicago-style is not really pizza, it's almost like lasagna.

-"Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance."
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Feb 9, 2018 - 1:43pm

Yeah I knew there was non-CS pizzas in Chicago I was just talking about how everyone seems to trumpet that as one of the reasons Chicago is cool, but I think that is very far down on the list

-"Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance."
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Feb 9, 2018 - 12:56pm

DrRollTide:

Going to go out on a limb and know i'm going to get monkey shit for it but Chicago is the best city in the world. Biased because I was born and raised here but echoing everything OP said gives me pride in my city.

I gave you a bananna. The only city in the world I would even consider taking over Chicago is NYC but only at the right income level. Aside from that, it's not close for me. Chicago dominates London, Paris, Hong Kong, LA, SF.

 
Feb 9, 2018 - 2:44pm

aspiringchimp:

Where do you live now? SF or Seattle? Both of those places are nice to visit for a couple days, but blow hard to live in.

Amen on Chicago being awesome - haven't lived there but have visited and love the city. Fantastic vibe, great culture, awesome downtown, and not prohibitively expensive.

I do live in one of those cities, working for a FAANG tech firm.

 
Controversial
Feb 9, 2018 - 4:47pm

Dances With Newfoundland:

Recently, as I contemplate my life in this soulless dystopian tech city, I cannot help but fantasize about Chicago and how awesome that city really is. So underrated. The only true negative is the winters. Consider the following:
  1. Very cheap for a major city, especially rent. There are amazing luxury highrise apartments everywhere, but the rent is still below not just NYC and SF but also Seattle, LA, Boston, DC. The city is super affordable on all aspects.

  2. Only U.S. city aside from NYC where you really don't need a car to get around. Yes, other cities have public transportation systems, but they are not as well developed and comprehensive. Chicago is truly urban in this regard.

  3. Amazing restaurant and nightlife scene. It's world class, just below NYC. You have everything from upscale lounges in River North to Big 10 sports bars in Lincoln Park and hipster dive bars in Wicker Park and everything in between. The restaurant scene is massive, with enough diversity to keep you engaged for years.

  4. Urban beauty and aesthetics. The downtown core and the surrounding area is stunning, as it straddles pristine Lake Michigan, with Lincoln, Grant, and Millennium parks nearby. One can go jogging or biking on the trail right next to the lake, a trail that extends more than 10 miles. You also have North Avenue and Oak street beaches, where you can play beach volleyball, grab drinks, and hang out. The city is very walkable and clean, as there are no garbage bags lying on the streets.

  5. Incredible summers. Best summer city in the country. It's plenty warm but not too humid (far less so than NYC and obviously the South), and the social scene is out of control, as everyone is out and enjoying the summer: Cubs games, outdoor festivals, rooftop parties, daydrinking at outdoor bars, lounging by the pool, and so much more. Words cannot describe how awesome Chicago summers are.

  6. Dating scene. I have to admit that it's not as good as NYC but a close second. Plenty of beautiful fit women and a vibrant singles scene.

  7. Midwestern humility and culture. Despite being a world-class city, it lacks the elitism of NYC, the superficiality of L.A., and the obnoxious ultra-liberal sanctimony of Seattle and SF. For the most part, the people are nice and down to earth. Although the city is liberal, the people don't obsess over politics; very rarely will you meet a woman who asks about your political views on a first date. The city is quintessentially All-American.

  8. Fantastic work-life balance. People here just don't work crazy hours. Even in finance, 80+ hours are virtually unheard of. People are out of the office by 7 PM for the most part. This allows ample time to actually do stuff on weekday evenings.

Nothing says 'I'm an upper middle class schmuck of average intelligence from the Midwest who couldn't compete in a real global city' like being obsessed with Chicago. We get it, real cities intimidate you, you're too scared to move too far away from home, and you'd get eaten alive in NYC LA SF. You feel so comfortable rooming with the 10 smallminded bros you've known since 4th grade. Does your mom still do your laundry on weekends?

Chicago is a corrupt dump where Big Ten coke trash perpetual sorority girls go party for 3-4 years until they get fat and settle down with a balding low-status slob they knew from hometown or undergrad.

 
Feb 9, 2018 - 5:28pm

Nothing says "I'm terribly unhappy with my life so I need to justify my current living situation and pretend other people are unhappy too" like this post.

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
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Feb 10, 2018 - 5:28pm

As you mentioned, Chicago is less supply constrained compared to cities like NY or SF. While glass and steel office construction has been below historical average and land available for high rise office construction in the downtown area is finally running out, there has been lot of creative office construction that caters to tech companies, start-ups, etc in the Fulton market, River West, etc. There has been ton of new multi family construction as well, especially in the West Loop market.

 
Feb 10, 2018 - 12:02am

Chicago is amazing man, but lately I've had this irrational craving for Shorty's Philly cheese steak sandwiches. You know, the one next to Fraunces Tavern downtown. I'ts embarrassing to think how many times I almost bought a plane ticket to go get a god damned sandwich and some chili cheese fries, heart-attack be damned.

"I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing. " -GG
 
Feb 10, 2018 - 4:17pm

Chicago is a good destination for middle class raised in flyover country – feels like they REALLY made it while being a non-entity in an approachable city (everyone from college moved there) while begging mom and dad to cover their rent. Chicago is an extension of college - same circle they've known since freshman year, same shitty coke, same binge drinking at dive bars and tacky clubs, same hookups. By late 20s they move on, their mediocre career plateaued, the city was just an expensive (and likely degrading) parenthesis.

Don't get me wrong, Chicago is a solid American city, but the low caliber narrow-minded unsophisticated loudmouth state school dolts it attracts is a turnoff. I guarantee OP has never lived anywhere else, had no other offers – no other options but funneling to Chicago like 50% of his college class. Classic Dunning-Kruger overconfidence, no depth or life experience, can't wrap his head around all he doesn't know, and lacks the impulse control to keep his yap shut.

The world is bigger than flyover country and getting shitfaced at a Cubbies game and finally plowing that raspy-voiced sorority girl you knew in college who's now 30 pounds out of her prime, old sport.

 
Feb 10, 2018 - 3:25pm

axecapital17:

Chicago is a good destination for middle class raised in flyover country – feels like they REALLY made it while being a non-entity in an easily approachable city (because everyone from college moved there) while begging mom and dad to cover their rent. Chicago is an extension of college - same circle they've known since freshman year, same shitty coke, same binge drinking at dive bars and tacky clubs, same hookups. By late 20s they move on, their mediocre career plateaued, the city was just an expensive (and likely degrading) parenthesis.

Don't get me wrong, Chicago is a solid American city, but the low caliber narrow-minded unsophisticated loudmouth state school dolts it attracts is a turnoff. I guarantee OP has never lived anywhere else, had no other offers – no other options but funneling to Chicago like 50% of his college class. Classic Dunning-Kruger overconfidence, no depth or life experience, can't wrap his head around all he doesn't know, and lacks the impulse control to keep his yap shut.

The world is bigger than flyover country and getting shitfaced at a Cubbies game and finally plowing that raspy-voiced sorority girl you knew in college who's now 30 pounds out of her prime, old sport.

Double ivy alum, lived in both Chicago and NYC before moving to my current city. Please proceed with your armchair Freudian "analysis."

 
Feb 11, 2018 - 12:04pm

Chicago wind blows (see what I did there) nutsack in the winter and April but is a savior in the summer sometimes.
Summers are overrated IF you are already an active, outgoing person. Only difference if you are is there are just a few more festivals etc.
Lastly, OP mentioned one strip of sidewalk for jogging or walking. Other than that and a few tracks, you pretty much need to venture outside the city to avoid traffic lights and constant stops.

Overall, Chicago is an awesome city, but calling it "best" is only someone's opinion. Personally I'd rather be sitting in ball soup at a tropical beach.

 
Feb 11, 2018 - 1:32pm

I totally agree on rent and cost of living. That alone made me thumbs up your post, since it's a great balance of quality of life. Dallas and and Austin are up there as well.

You forgot some cons though, such as how everything you mentioned is really only enjoyable 6 months out of the year. The rest of the time it's almost as cold and miserable as Russia.

You also forgot all the murders and ugly/fat women.

 
Feb 11, 2018 - 1:39pm

This site is so full of hyperbole it's sickening.

1) Chicago is great. Being the best is personal preference.

2) City is cold, but no more so than Boston, NYC or Philly.

3) crime is in every large, northern city because of a whole lot of history, segregation and criminal law.

4) Beautiful women everywhere, anyone who claims x is better than y has shit game.

And for those people who hate smaller cities, I'd love to see how you squeeze every drop out of major cities. Reality is the people who stroke NYC or LA the most are young kids who live like animals because they are broke and basically brunch and get wasted all the time.

Which is this site - except going to brunch requires either friends of a woman you've slept with the night before, two things far far in the minority here.

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Feb 11, 2018 - 5:48pm

TNA:

This site is so full of hyperbole it's sickening.

1) Chicago is great. Being the best is personal preference.

2) City is cold, but no more so than Boston, NYC or Philly.

3) crime is in every large, northern city because of a whole lot of history, segregation and criminal law.

4) Beautiful women everywhere, anyone who claims x is better than y has shit game.

And for those people who hate smaller cities, I'd love to see how you squeeze every drop out of major cities. Reality is the people who stroke NYC or LA the most are young kids who live like animals because they are broke and basically brunch and get wasted all the time.

Which is this site - except going to brunch requires either friends of a woman you've slept with the night before, two things far far in the minority here.

TNA speaking truth to power!

 
Feb 17, 2018 - 10:30am

TNA:

This site is so full of hyperbole it's sickening.

1) Chicago is great. Being the best is personal preference.

2) City is cold, but no more so than Boston, NYC or Philly.

3) crime is in every large, northern city because of a whole lot of history, segregation and criminal law.

4) Beautiful women everywhere, anyone who claims x is better than y has shit game.

And for those people who hate smaller cities, I'd love to see how you squeeze every drop out of major cities. Reality is the people who stroke NYC or LA the most are young kids who live like animals because they are broke and basically brunch and get wasted all the time.

Which is this site - except going to brunch requires either friends of a woman you've slept with the night before, two things far far in the minority here.

This.

 
Feb 12, 2018 - 9:03am

you people have terrible taste. chicago is the worst.

  • smells worse than LA (hows it that even possible in the winter?)
  • does not have midwest humility- for that try madison, milwaukee, minneapolis, or detroit
  • arrogant tech scene that will have its will severely tested when valuations and endless $ disappear overnight
  • its a sales and accounting town. as one friend put it, a "suitcase" place.
  • everything anyone, especially, dick fuld, has said in this thread about pizza is wrong and you should be in jail for even thinking it.
  • fashion here is stupid. people wear suits like its 1983.
  • the firms that are good enough are really creepy. all other firms are hq'd in chicago for a reason.
  • unless you're a derivatives junky, markets are moving away from here.
  • everyone is either too polished (thus not credible) or a bumbling idiot with no social skills (thus not credible). people who are actually doing what they say few and far between.
  • the cubz world series victory will become as sad as the bears superbowl. its the only thing these teams (and fans) cling to. game logistics are a nightmare.
  • bar/food scene is a joke outside of fullerton market, handful of spots on nw side. this city mostly eats nasty hot beefs or, from the looks of things, tubs of lard and diet coke.

Throw all the monkey shit you want, you're really just throwing it at chicago, but no one will be able to tell, because the entire city reeks like feces.

Give midtier cities love. Especially you PMs, MDs, BSDs, and other decision makers. Quality of life is really good, the best chefs hide out there, and homes are affordable. I really wish there were more opportunities in Seattle/Austin/Minneappolis etc..

 
Feb 12, 2018 - 1:56pm

FOHFLady:

you people have terrible taste. chicago is the worst.
  • smells worse than LA (hows it that even possible in the winter?)
  • does not have midwest humility- for that try madison, milwaukee, minneapolis, or detroit
  • arrogant tech scene that will have its will severely tested when valuations and endless $ disappear overnight
  • its a sales and accounting town. as one friend put it, a "suitcase" place.
  • everything anyone, especially, dick fuld, has said in this thread about pizza is wrong and you should be in jail for even thinking it.
  • fashion here is stupid. people wear suits like its 1983.
  • the firms that are good enough are really creepy. all other firms are hq'd in chicago for a reason.
  • unless you're a derivatives junky, markets are moving away from here.
  • everyone is either too polished (thus not credible) or a bumbling idiot with no social skills (thus not credible). people who are actually doing what they say few and far between.
  • the cubz world series victory will become as sad as the bears superbowl. its the only thing these teams (and fans) cling to. game logistics are a nightmare.
  • bar/food scene is a joke outside of fullerton market, handful of spots on nw side. this city mostly eats nasty hot beefs or, from the looks of things, tubs of lard and diet coke.

Throw all the monkey shit you want, you're really just throwing it at chicago, but no one will be able to tell, because the entire city reeks like feces.

Give midtier cities love. Especially you PMs, MDs, BSDs, and other decision makers. Quality of life is really good, the best chefs hide out there, and homes are affordable. I really wish there were more opportunities in Seattle/Austin/Minneappolis etc..


Obviously you're trolling but most of us here live in NYC which is clearly the smelliest, dirtiest, most disgusting city in the country. My friends are shocked at the piles of garbage on the sidewalks when they come visit me. The entire upper east side smells like dog shit and piss mixed with garbage. There's no comparison between Chicago and NYC when it comes to dirtiness.
 
Feb 12, 2018 - 10:57am

I lived in Chicago for over 25 years. I find it to be a great place to visit and live when you are young. However, when you get to the point of starting a family, it isn't any better than any different than any other city. I've had two chances now to move back, but we decided that the traffic, taxes and long-term financial situation of the state are only going to get worse.

So, we'll visit instead.

 
Feb 12, 2018 - 11:57am

I honestly don't understand all the hatred towards LA.. Try to understand that it's a great place to live/work, but horrible place to visit. Not as superficial as you may think and weather is 10/10.

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Feb 12, 2018 - 12:55pm

odc:

I honestly don't understand all the hatred towards LA.. Try to understand that it's a great place to live/work, but horrible place to visit. Not as superficial as you may think and weather is 10/10.

The weather and food are fantastic. My issue with L.A. is the following.

  1. You have to drive everywhere, and the traffic is horrendous.
  2. It's not a "real" city but rather a collection of various neighborhoods. There really isn't an urban core.
  3. The women are stunning, but it's a tough dating market for men due to the ratio and the intense competition.
 
Feb 12, 2018 - 1:19pm

Absolutely salient points my friend, however let me point you in the direction of LA from my prospective..

If you you work in finance in LA you (hopefully) work in Century City or Santa Monica, live in Westwood or Santa Monica, commute to work will likely be anywhere from 10-20 minutes, and go out in WeHo or Santa Monica which are $10 ubers either way..

I am definitely biased because I grew up in Southern California and am so used to driving everywhere. You get used to it though and learn how to live in a sprawled out city.. It really isn't as bad as people make it out to be, but isn't the typical "city-life" you're going to get in NYC/Boston/Chicago etc.

On the third point, unfortunately it is a blessing and a curse to have so many smoke shows in LA. Pompous instagram "model" types are the worst and saturate the dating pool.

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Feb 13, 2018 - 10:37am

Chicago has Goldie
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heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:12pm

Were you unable to Google for this? There are plenty: cheaper than NY, it's a giant city next to a lake, not as bust as NY but still a major city, decent public transportation, plenty of cultural attractions, "Midwestern values", etc. I don't live in Chicago, but I interviewed at several places there and always used the aforementioned reasons.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:20pm

I'd definitely agree with Lou's over Giordano's.

Chicago is cleaner than Philadelphia and New York, has friendlier people, and is very close to Philadelphia in regards to the cost of living - when comparing the nicer areas. I also find it to be much less hectic and much more of a neighborhood feel. I often walk from the Loop to the Gold Coast after work and I thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere along the way.

The only downside I see is not being close to the ocean. I grew up on the East Coast so it was always a huge pro to have the beach so close.

I may eventually make the move back to the tri-state area area, but this is an awesome place to start and, if you enjoy it, stick around for good.

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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:22pm

Your best bet is to research the city a bit and figure out what appeals to you. That way when you're asked, your answer is sincere and conveys an actual feeling... people generally empathize/relate to that more than a half assed canned answer.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:31pm

I enjoy the prospect of working in a huge dirty city with high real estate cost, low growth prospects, a high crime rate and shitty culture. I have always aspired to live in a place with more homeless people than middle class, and feel like a move to Chicago would really position me for the life of misery I have always wanted.

Did I mention I love the cold?

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:35pm

There are not enough words to describe how much I love Chicago.

  1. Cost of living: $100K in Chicago is equal to around $187K in Manhattan, according to CNN's cost of living. Rent for a comparable place is about 2-3 times more expensive in NYC than in Chicago. Also, IL has lower state tax than NYC, and Chicago has no city tax. Sales tax is higher though.

  2. Clean: one of the cleanest large cities in the U.S. After the great fire of 1871, they rebuilt the city from the ground-up and its layout and aesthetics are impeccable.

  3. Quality of life: you get more for your money, and you get around 90% of what NYC offers in terms of restaurants, nightlife, and amenities. If you get bored in Chicago, then you need to seriously re-assess your life.

  4. Best summer city in the country, lake michigan, oak and north avenue beaches, beautiful architecture, outdoor music festivals, Lollapalooza, Cubs games, and so much more. It is the quintessential American city that also offers world-class amenities.

The one big drawback for us finance professionals is that Chicago doesn't have as nearly as many top notch finance opportunities as NYC.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:37pm

As a native New Yorker (I still live there), I can strongly agree with both DoddFrank and @MBAGrad2015" . Chicago is a fantastic city where you get WAY more bang for your buck than NYC. In terms of bars, restaurants, nightlife and culture it's second only to NYC (in LA you have to drive fucking everywhere) for half the cost. Yes, it's really fucking cold but not dramatically more so than the northeast. If I could uproot my entire social circle and move it all to Chicago, I would in a heartbeat. My friends are really the only reason I choose to stay in NYC. Chicago is 85% of NYC for 55% of the cost.

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Mar 29, 2018 - 10:38pm

If you are not from chicago, you have better think of a good reason, I wouldn't take anyone to seriously if they could not provide a good reason why they wanted to work in the place my company as located. Overall it has a good finance scene, no new york, but nearly every major investment banking firm is here, tons of consulting firms here and many of them headquartered here. Very strong in the middle market for business services. If you live in the loop or near north side, which every young professional does, you would have to be a complete social introvert to not have a good time.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:39pm

If you are not from chicago, you have better think of a good reason, I wouldn't take anyone to seriously if they could not provide a good reason why they wanted to work in the place my company as located. Overall it has a good finance scene, no new york, but nearly every major investment banking firm is here, tons of consulting firms here and many of them headquartered here. Very strong in the middle market for business services. If you live in the loop or near north side, which every young professional does, you would have to be a complete social introvert to not have a good time.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:43pm

Chicago is great. I interned at a BB there last summer, absolutely loved both the job and the city, and i'm going back for full time.

I can say aside from just the city that working in a Chicago office, the vibe and culture is completely different than New York. You could almost say that its kind of like working at an EB with BB resources. Even as an intern, I definitely got to know all the MD's in the office, and I would work directly with the directors and VPs quite a bit. For just about every deal i worked on, I got the privilege oh having a senior guy explain to me exactly what was going on in the deal, what our role was, etc. This was an extremely cool experience, and it definitely made doing some of the grunt work a little less painful.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:46pm

It's possible that I am biased since I spent my business school years there, but I really think Chicago is one of the best places to live in 'Merica. A lot of the reasons have already been covered above, but I'll also throw in:

FOOD - as an eating city, Chicago punches well above its weight. NYC is obviously still going to have better fine dinning options in aggregate, but I honestly think Chicago > SF for good food. 1 Michelin star in Chicago (e.g. Blackbird/Moto/NAHA) is like two in SF, and Alinea easily (i mean really easily) beats the three starred restaurants I've tried in the Bay (French Laundry, Saison). Oh yeah, and they're substantially cheaper. Food at the low end is also fantastic, especially if you like sport peppers on your hot dog. +1 for Lou's. Good indian is a little hard to find, but otherwise the options are abundant.

PEOPLE - just generally a friendlier bunch that New Yorkers, with fewer annoying politically correct hipsters than SF/LA. I don't know, I grew up in the SF area but the hearty yet sincere midwesterners just seem like my peoples.

NEIGHBORHOODS - all great cities have a collection of interesting sub-neighborhoods, and Chicago is no exception. Experience will be totally different depending on if you are exploring Lincoln Park, Streeterville, South Loop, Wicker Park or the Lakeshore/MagMile. Fantastic town for music. Great bars. What more can you want?

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:48pm

I am a west coaster (SF/LA), but Chicago might be my favorite true American city. (LA really isn't a traditional city).
Chicago is affordable, it has the lakes, a great young population and places for them to go, midwestern (nice people), awesome architecture, great food (Pequods!), I could go on and on..

I spent 3 weeks there with people I barely knew at the time and had more fun than maybe I ever have traveling (outside of Europe)

If you like high-society city life I think SF and NY will always win out, but Chicago reminds of LA....which is all about having a good time IMO

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:50pm

You are on a FINANCE forum, inquiring about GUYS who PARTY and want them to be NICE? ... prepare yourself.

but I wish you luck

  • 1
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:54pm

Try to find someone who can get you into the Soho House

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

  • 1
 
Feb 13, 2018 - 12:10pm

Travelled all over the country as a consultant. Will have to say, if you have the money, Chi-town can be an unbelievable town. As much to do there as in NYC as far as I'm concerned, and an order or magnitude nicer people.

Still, winters are brutal, lake effect snow makes for horrible winter storms, and there are areas of the city that are becoming gentrified, moving out existing homeowners for the benefit of more well-to-do buyers. Becoming more and more a city of haves versus have-nots. And, get lost in the wrong part of town and you may well not come out. I guess it's the same as any big city.

  • 1
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 10:59pm

Chicago - Tons to do (Originally Posted: 02/06/2008)

Chicago is a probably one of the most affordable large cities and offers tons to do for a young person and is debably one of the best cities in the world during the summer months and the worst places in the world during the awful winter months. The "L" can get you almost anywhere in 15 minutes and where it can't there is ample buses and taxis. Compared to LA (where I live now) Chicago is 100x easier to get around and for the most part more affordable.

Neighborhoods:

--If you want a younger crowd, I would live in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville. You will be able to get brownstone type places for ~$1,000 for a pretty decent place (if you have a roomate). There is tons to do for fun around here, including the obvious Wrigley Field (Home of the Cubs). Tons of College, Dive Bars. Good hole in the wall resturants as well.

--If you wanted more "young professional" I would look at Streeterville. This is the area by Navy Pier if you are familiar with Chicago and has a ton to do in the area. There is an abundance of new high rise buildings and you should be able to get a great 2 bedroom for ~1,300-1,700 (with a roomate). The bars / clubs in this area are the of the "lounge" type. in this area is also where an abundance of resturants and art houses are. If you are a girl or plan on living with a girl, this would be the place. Nice, new, clean... but unforunately expensive.

--The other areas are West Loop, South Loop.... Both of these are new up and coming neighborhoods that are in the process of building up. If you are buying, the South Loop offers affordable places with loft like buildings. This is my favorite area for night life. They have opened a strip of bars/clubs in the old meat packing district and also in the south loop near Oprah's studios. Tons of resturants, but you wouldn't want to walk around this area at night alone.

 
Feb 13, 2018 - 1:05pm

dm100:

Travelled all over the country as a consultant. Will have to say, if you have the money, Chi-town can be an unbelievable town. As much to do there as in NYC as far as I'm concerned, and an order or magnitude nicer people.

Still, winters are brutal, lake effect snow makes for horrible winter storms, and there are areas of the city that are becoming gentrified, moving out existing homeowners for the benefit of more well-to-do buyers. Becoming more and more a city of haves versus have-nots. And, get lost in the wrong part of town and you may well not come out. I guess it's the same as any big city.

The winters do suck, although from what I heard from friends, the last few winters haven't been too bad. But NYC winters are horrendous as well, and although Chicago is a bit colder, I don't see a meaningful difference. On the other hand, Chicago summers are substantially nicer than NYC's.

When I tell people in my current city how much I love Chicago, I say the following: "Chicago offers 90% of what NYC offers but at half the price, nicer people, and a lot cleaner."

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:00pm

I agree with your quick synopses of the neighborhoods, but you have to be able to deal with the cold winters. It's pretty bad here right now and I can't wait for summer. Public transportation is great here as you mentioned. Much different culture than New York, however similar opportunities in the finance world.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:01pm

Moved to Chicago over NY few months back. Its cold as shit right now. Wet, sloppy and nasty, thats how I would describe it presently.

Gotta live in Lincoln Park. I am loving it here, everyone is between the ages of 22-30 and tons of after hour bars and hole in the walls.

I like, its niceeee...

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:03pm

I agree more or less with the neighborhood synopsis, although I've always felt safe in the west loop. But maybe that's because i'm a guy.

I hate to be negative, but I've been in Chicago for over three years and don't like it at all. My personal observation is that if you didn't go to a Big 10 school and move to Chicago with your college buddies, it's really hard to meet people and form a social network. Chicago is a major city, but it's still very much midwestern and thus there is a parochial feel to it.

The nightlife is ok, if you're into the fratty bar experience. There are only a few clubs and upscale lounges that are worth going to, so I think the nightlife options are not as nearly as diverse and fun as NYC. Of course, Chicago is a lot cheaper and for even $1000/month you can get a nice studio in the gold coast, next to lake michigan. However, I think NYC is much better and cannot wait to move there.

It all boils down to your personal preferences. If you want a reasonable cost of living, laid back midwestern atmosphere, and a certain type of nightlife, it is tough to beat Chicago. I'm not dissing Chicago or those who want to live there, but personally I just prefer NYC's culture, job opportunities, people, and overall ambience.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:04pm

agreed here, seems like there's a lot in chicago but a lot of it is more or less the same thing over and over again, and if you're not into that thing you'll get bored after a couple years. I haven't met anyone new beyond an acquaintance (outside of work) in the couple years I've been here, but then again I'm not a pleasant midwestern-type either so I don't really relate to most of the scene here.

I'd love to try nyc or london for a while, if I had a shot at getting a better job there.

edit: thought I should mention one great thing about chicago: if it's your kind of thing, the warmer months make for fantastic outdoor activity (beaches, biking, kayaking/sailing, you can do it all without going very far)

 
Feb 13, 2018 - 12:50pm

Chitown may look nice, it may look quiet. It's like a good friendly windy city with flowers, sunshine and puppy dogs……but then the sun goes down. Off in the distance, as darkness falls upon the great city of dandelions on gumdrops, a faint sound is heard.

boom boom. boom boom. boom boom.

It gets louder, seeming to come from all directions. Once the sun is set and the city becomes completely dark, little white eyes appear in the dark, first only a few, then more, then MORE! Seas of eyes and teeth moving to the low frequency beat of the boom boom, which by now is deafening and seamless, broken only by the sound of rampant gunfire and broken windows. The eyes and teeth creep into your house eating all the chicken and rendering all the white girls pregnant and illiterate. The smell of blunt smoke fills the air as iPhones and car stereos disappear!

By the time morning arrives the once beautiful city of lollipops and penny whistles has been reduced to a barren wasteland of gang graffiti, hybrid children, crack houses and street slang. The dream is has ended brought down in the apex of its prosperity. Now the city is forever known as ChIraq.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:05pm

Chicago: Best designed city in the U.S. (Originally Posted: 07/08/2008)

http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/06/0625_design_cities/11.htm

it's too bad that NYC is not as well-designed, clean, and attractive, as Chicago. The liberal NYC government has allowed the city to turn into a giant dump while developers erect horribly unattractive buildings. NYC has a lot to learn from Chicago. No wonder they failed miserably in the 2012 Olympics bid.

 
Feb 13, 2018 - 1:11pm

Shaun,

I know there are entire swaths of Chi-town that are off limits to regular people. Believe it or not, in Wliminton, NC, 30 year ago, there were also places in the city where you didn't go after dark for fear of getting attacked or shot.

Point is, there are good and bad places Everywhere. I currently live on the outskirts of KCMO. KCK is considered one of the worst cities in the nation, as is St. Louis. Does that mean there aren't perfectly nice places to go in downtown KC during the day? Of course.

but ye, there is a completely different life downtown after the lights go down. Hence me decision never to be within 50 miles of there after dark. Nothing any big town doesn't experience.

 
Feb 13, 2018 - 11:08pm

But talking about where civilization is, which is the Loop, if you make it into trading/hedge fund, you're set. Good salary vs COL and nice posh X-mas parties where celebrities fly-in to perform private parties and lunch is fully covered.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:07pm

Chicago is unbelievably clean and attractive for a major city. My friends who visit have been shocked at how clean the streets are. In NYC, you have piles of garbage bags on street corners; it feels like a third-world city like calcutta.

In terms of architecture, the most revolutionary and interesting buildings are going up in Chicago. NYC's buildings are old, stale, and grimy.

Between Chicago and NYC, it's not even a contest.

 
Feb 14, 2018 - 11:15pm

Lived in chicago for 2 years, needed to move back to NYC. City is great if you're white and have midwestern tendancies. Apart from subtle racism, food was mediocre (Rich Bayless, really? for mexican food?), Blackbird was terrible, Next overrated, etc could go on.

Yes real estate is cheap, but thats about it. I pretty got sick of fat midwestern fucks from big 10 colleges, and the lame club scene, and needed to leave.

Array
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:09pm

Chicago Banking Lifestyle (Originally Posted: 08/05/2014)

So what is the typical banking lifestyle in Chicago. I know that the COL Is considerably lower but what else? Are the hours a little better? Is the culture the same as NYC? Not looking for a debate about Chicago Vs NYC. Just want some info on the subject.

 
Feb 14, 2018 - 11:59pm

Rick Bayless's topolobombo is a must, but it seems you haven't tried. Next is overated, agree. Moto was great when it was there. Alinea's was good but then again I didn't have the main course menu, so wasn't blown away. Oriole is good and so is Acadia. There's an awesome French restaurant in Waldorf Astoria - margeaux bistro. And Bohemian house in streeterville. But I have to say the good cheap eats are more memorable and can be very good.

 
Feb 15, 2018 - 12:41am

dontbugme:

Lived in chicago for 2 years, needed to move back to NYC. City is great if you're white and have midwestern tendancies. Apart from subtle racism, food was mediocre (Rich Bayless, really? for mexican food?), Blackbird was terrible, Next overrated, etc could go on.

Yes real estate is cheap, but thats about it. I pretty got sick of fat midwestern fucks from big 10 colleges, and the lame club scene, and needed to leave.

I'm not white and had no problem in terms of racial relations. What type of subtle racism are you talking about?

The food is fantastic. NYC wins out of course due to more variety and the sheer breadth of its restaurant scene, but on a quality basis Chicago is great.

There is so much more to Chicago than clubs. I pretty much avoid loud nightclubs and stuck with lounges and bars.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:10pm

What you're asking is extremely broad. Comp, hours, exit opps, culture, people, all vary by firm. For example, HL Chicago (as well as NYC) is a notoriously difficult place to be. A lot of the firms that dominate the MM space are different so that also makes comparisons difficult. For example, Blair and Baird, two top MM in Chi don't really play in NYC. On average I'd say hours a very similar but the people themselves are a little less intense but that may be a function of my firm.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:11pm

Hours, as usual, are highly firm/group dependent.

You're going to pay a lot less for rent (or get a lot more, if you're paying the same as a renter in Manhattan).

Winters are colder; summers are nicer, with the lake/beaches/no trash on the streets.

Tons of Big Ten alums and domers. Most of the senior guys will have gone to Booth or Kellogg.

And the biggest difference: some firms do cab vouchers instead of black cars. Shocking, I know.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:12pm

High-end Chicago Living (Originally Posted: 03/30/2012)

Real estate and/or Chicago monkeys: what do you guys think about the current residential market in downtown Chicago / LP? Theoretically speaking, if you had the money, do you think now would be a good time to buy a really nice two-bedroom place like either on the gold coast, in the trump tower, perhaps on the 2400 block of lakeview, etc... that type of address... what buildings/areas are best right now?

P.S. not Bucktown or other "up-and-coming" areas... I'm talking about the established heart of downtown Chi.

  • 1
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:13pm

i'll rent from you lol

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.
 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:18pm

The Loop and West Loop are great investment opportunities at the moment if your looking to live in the building. If you plan on renting it out Pilsen is a great place to look, the neighborhood is turning for the better similar to the South Loop and University Village has done over the last 10 to 15 years. UIC is starting to lap over into Pilsen and new property/renovation is going on, great investment opportunity.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:20pm

On Pilsen: Yeah, it might be a good investment opportunity but I'm looking for something that's a good investment AND a place I personally might want to live. Pi

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:19pm

Don't feel bad Gmoney, you didn't know the financial firepower of the person to whom you were giving advice.

His house keeper's house keeper lives in Pilsen.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
 
Feb 17, 2018 - 1:30pm

From California, worked in Chicago for years and relocated to NY (I'm an Asian American male). Agree with most points that OP raised, but I'll give my personal thoughts here:

1) Lack of cultural diversity compared to NY / SF / LA. It's not "racism" in the strict sense of the word but as an Asian you feel that you're "not unwelcome" in the community, especially as you venture out to the burbs. This is real guys - for instance, had many friends working in Big Law, but some firms were "too white" and "tight knit" that minority associates struggled to fit in. Most minorities cluster in the burbs or are uni students. Mexican culture and food are strong though. Don't go to that Rick Bayless crap!

2) Big 10 school douchebags that fill up bars every night, who are mostly 25 year frat boys that never grew out of college. Same kids who go clubbing with 4 shirt buttons undone. Related to #1... I've had some "ching chang chongs" thrown at me before at bars. Not pleasant.

3) City itself is shrinking in population every year. I get that real estate is cheap, but I wouldn't want to own a property and bet long term. Also the government is in massive debt.

4) Women are generally not as attractive as NYC. Many are honestly chubby (sorry!) and don't dress as nicely.

 
Mar 29, 2018 - 11:22pm

Is Chicago in decline? (Originally Posted: 06/11/2012)

As much as I love Chicago, I could not help but agree with a lot of the points made in this article. The city got really cleaned up during Daley's administration, but it still has structural problems that it's been unable to address due to the city's corrupt politics and inhospitable terrain for small businesses. Chicago has also tried way too hard to be the "next NYC" rather than focusing on its unique strengths as a low-cost, high quality of life, midwestern city. In the past few years alone, I have seen firsthand the city losing its grips. Crime in the nice upscale parts of Chicago has gone up dramatically, with muggings and random attacks happening in areas like gold coast and river north, which were unthinkable 5 years ago. Hopefully Mayor Emmanuel can not only curb crime but also take bloomberg's lead by investing in a diverse array of industries and working to lure companies and research centers to Chicago.

http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_chicago.html

 
Feb 17, 2018 - 3:09pm

On your third point, the data is kind of misleading. If you just look at Chicago's urban core, which is what most people really care about anyways, the population is actually increasing. Put another way, Chicago downtown is growing as people/companies move to downtown from suburbs or nearby states.

 
Feb 17, 2018 - 3:21pm

lny09:

On your third point, the data is kind of misleading. If you just look at Chicago's urban core, which is what most people really care about anyways, the population is actually increasing. Put another way, Chicago downtown is growing as people/companies move to downtown from suburbs or nearby states.

Correct. The city's overall population is declining because of the poor people in the south and west side moving out. The urban core's white and Asian population is increasing.

Chicago is booming: so many new luxury highrise apartment buildings and upscale restaurants and lounges have opened.

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