I recently moved downtown Chicago for the summer (now I live in the city part-time, lol my life is complicated), so that my commute would go from 1.5 hours to 20 minutes. You have no idea how much you can do with an extra HOUR, like make yourself dinner or take a pre-nap or clean your room for once, etc. It has been truly amazing. I am going to tell you the ups and downs and some tips of living in the city of Chicago.
If you have a car that is super helpful, but I did not, so everything was by foot, carpooling or uber/Lyft.
Here are some of my “pro” tips that no one really tells you:
Tip #1: Bring you own reusable bags grocery shopping. You will get charged if you use a plastic bag, because plastic is bad and they are trying to stop consumers from using it. Now the thought is great, but when you forget your bags as you walk over to the nearest Target or Aldi, man is it a struggle to shove everything in your backpack, while holding the rest lol.
Tip #2: Drinks are expensive. Drinks usually start around $6-$7, buttttt there are so many bars, just find one that is having a deal that night and drinks become somewhere around $3 to $4.
Tip #2: Meals are expensive. At a fast food spot, expect to spending around $10, and the other meals only go up in cost from there. To avoid spending over $40 a day on food, meal prepping is essential! My Sunday’s/Monday’s are spent mapping out my grocery list, purchasing, and making my breakfast and lunches for the week.
Tips #3: Dress accordingly. I have been walking to work the past year, and it is over a mile away. Wear walking shoes. ALWAYS HAVE AN UMBRELLA. We are in Illinois and it will literally be the nicest day out, and then….it will start raining. So be prepared! Wear layers, because in the mornings it is usually cold out around 50 degree, and by noon it can be around 80 degrees. Very bipolar, if you ask me.
Tip #4: Carry that pepper spray. I’m not one to be paranoid, but it is important to stay alert when walking in the city. That doesn’t mean you have to check around every corner like a weirdo, I just means make sure you are aware of your surrounds. I carry my pepper spray and if I am walking in a not so populated area (like the West side in the morning), then I walk without my headphones in. This allows me to be more alert AND makes others aware that I am paying attention as well.
The positives of city living:
- There is ALWAYS something to do. All you have to do is walk to some main street, find a bar or restaurant, and there will always be something new and exciting going on.
- Walking everywhere. Now some people might not enjoy this, BUT just by walking to work I am walking over 2 miles a day! I get to see the beautiful city AND get my daily steps in. Win, win. PLUS, you get really good at walking places. One mile becomes equivalent to 15 minutes, and with that in mind you can literally get anywhere!
- The people. There are people everywhere! New people to meet, BUT you don’t have to do the Midwestern nice thing and always say hi or hold the door. If you want you don’t have to make eye contact or acknowledge the people walking by. And it’s not rude here! You also feel less alone, because you are always surrounded by other people!
- The train stations are amazing! To get out of the city, instead of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, you get to take a ride on a nice, air conditioned/heated train, where you can read, nap, or play games on your phone. Union and Ogilvy are right next to get other, and make it super convenient to travel out to the suburbs!
- The L: So I actually didn’t have to use the L for anything, but this takes you pretty much anywhere in the city, plus the outskirts of Chicago. Also, the Blue Line takes you right out to O’Hare, so you don’t have to sit in an hour of traffic!
- YOU GET TO LIVE IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO. That alone is so fricking cool!
Overall, city living can be expensive, but the benefits are so worth it! Especially if you work downtown!
My dream has definitely been fulfilled with living downtown, a dream that I have had since I was really young. Chicago will always have my heart ❤