Dearest Frugal Finds readers,
Exciting collaboration to report! I've paired up with the go-to resource for all things real estate, Zillow, to give you some insight into why my beloved city, Chicago, is basically the coolest place to be. And when I say coolest, I don't mean just temps. I mean in regards to everything from restaurants to cultural outposts to shopping, particularly of the budget-friendly nature. Trust me, I've lived in NYC and LA as well, and Chicago really know what's up when it comes to the one watching their pennies. There's a reason I founded Frugal Finds when I was posted up in New York, but Chicago is really a city that serves the young professional on a budget well. Check out what Emily of Zillow has to say about the Windy City and why it's perfect for the Frugal Finder!
Chicago is the third largest city in the country, with nearly 3 million proud Chicagoans. This city is a goldmine of great eateries and culture, outshining other Midwestern cities with its natural beauty and diverse culture.
Considering moving to Chicago? The metro appeals to large families, social singles and couples, savvy students and busy professionals. Here are six reasons to relocate to the Windy City.
1. To Indulge - Chicago is a foodie’s dream comes true as it’s famous for an array of gourmet selections and several local specialties. Chicago culinary staples include the indulgently thick deep-dish pizzas, and Chicago-style hot dogs which are the primo versions of regular hot dogs finished with fresh gourmet toppings. For more discerning food connoisseurs, check out the impressive line-up of restaurants in West Loop and Randolph Street where everyone can find a favorite dish.
2. For Student Life - Chicago is home to impressive educational institutions including Northern Illinois University, DePaul University, University of Chicago and Northwestern University, providing the city with a constant stream of new talent. For that reason, Chicago is extremely student-friendly with lots of rental properties available in neighborhoods close to major schools. The city is also ideal for locals without cars due to its quality transit system and remarkable Walk Score of 75 out of 100.
3. To Soak up Culture - Throughout the summer, Chicago plays host to multiple street markets, festivals and cultural events. The well-known Pride Parade is held in the Uptown neighborhood during the last week of June. Performing art and stage show enthusiasts get their cultural fix downtown at the Chicago Theatre, while a younger crowd enjoys the nightlife culture in Lincoln Park and Lakeview after dark.
4. To Find Love - Chicago is arguably one of the best cities to potentially meet that special someone because more than 40 percent of the population is single. Old Town and The Loop are popular neighborhoods to find likeminded singles socializing after work or on the weekends. Both neighborhoods are packed with bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
5. For Its Beauty - A central business district connected to a sandy public beach is a rare find. Chicago boasts 25 miles of public beach where residents enjoy open water swimming throughout the summer with multiple dog-friendly parks and picnic areas. In addition to the natural beauty provided by the beaches and skyline, Chicago is packed with public art sculptures and monuments such as Calder's 'Flamingo and Cloud Gate.
6. For Affordable Housing - Both homeownership and renting in Chicago is reasonably affordable. Property renters in Chicago pay slightly less than the U.S. average rent price each month. The median rent list price in Chicago is $1,500, and the national median price is $1,600. Alternatively, home values in Chicago are slightly more expensive at $187,200 when compared to the national average of $169,000. The investment of homes in Chicago is encouraging as the market has rebounded 14.7 percent throughout the past year and Zillow forecasts additional appreciation of 4.5 percent during 2014. Apartments and condos are readily available in the bustling downtown neighborhoods River North and The Loop, while larger households requiring more space have an array of safe, family-friendly suburbs such as Skokie and Naperville to choose from. From its diverse culture to delicious food and a plethora of neighborhoods and activities, Chicago has something for everyone. Before making the move, complete some research on suitable neighborhoods including affordability, demographics and local entertainment to ensure a smooth adjustment and a long-term fit.