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Old 09-23-2013, 04:12 PM
 
203 posts, read 410,952 times
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I'm originally a Midwesterner but haven't lived in the area in 12 years (school in Boston, worked in banking in NYC and then moved to California).

Looking to be closer to my folks (within a 5 hour drive from Chicago) and for our little one to be closer to family.

I haven't spent much time in Chicago but I just wanted to see how my current lifestyle would work out there.

I love cycling - head up to Marin about 2x's a week year-round and have some of the best cycling in the country (if not, world).

I love the weather here - year round temperature in the high/low 70's.

I love the food and wine here.

I love everything you can outside the city...the hiking, beach going, amazing and breathtaking views, etc.

I won't be missing the cost of living in the Bay Area. It's absolutely absurd right now.

I won't be missing how unfriendly I find this city. Sure it's a huge generalization but I find midwesterners to be genuine and easy going folks.

So...with that being said, I'm really on the fence about this.

Anybody else move to Chicago from the Bay Area or somewhere else on the West Coast?
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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Aside from the people, who are nice, it sounds like you are going to be missing a lot of things.

Chicago is an extremely active town but there is absolutely nothing comparable in terms of the outdoors around the city and if that is a huge deal for you, you are going to be crushed.

I think there are a few forest preserves just outside the city but that's about it... and I don't know anyone who bothers to go to them.

You have the lakefront trail, which is great for biking and jogging, Lincoln Park and other parks, but that's about it.

There are a lot of serious cyclists here and you can obviously bike straight up to Wisconsin if you want, but it's going to be nothing even close to San Fran.

Weather: You will be crushed. It is f**kin' freezing.

Food and wine: We have some of the best dining in the country, at least that is what we hear all the time, but since I've never lived in San Fran I can't say what you will think. I would say if you can't find a ton of restaurants you like here, though, you would have to be a huge, huge snob to the point of caricature. But do people like that exist? Sure, probably.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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Thanks for the fast response, Jonny. My wife is really pulling for this move and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out and that the pro's outweigh the con's. It's a give and take.

Hopefully with the $ being saved, we'll be able to do a bit of travelling to get away from the cold.

I promised myself to never live anywhere cold again as I find that life is too short to be spent freezing. But we'll see how this thing goes.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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Agree with jonny. If I could afford it, San Francisco is one of the few cities I'd leave Chicago for. As far as food...the only thing you'll be missing is fresh seafood (which is huge if you're a seafood fan). Other than that, and no beaches/hiking (ouch!), it should be a fairly smooth transition. With the money you save (assuming you're not taking a huge paycut) you can travel for those things.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,320 posts, read 21,996,425 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnynonos View Post
Chicago is an extremely active town but there is absolutely nothing comparable in terms of the outdoors around the city and if that is a huge deal for you, you are going to be crushed.
While the San Fran area's wildlife is great and the city of Chicago is flat, it's not like Chicago is in the middle of a flatland with nothing in it. So while you may not find things to the same level, Chicago still has a big lake to it, many lakes in the suburbs, ski/snowboard areas, forest preserves, etc.



Quote:
I think there are a few forest preserves just outside the city but that's about it... and I don't know anyone who bothers to go to them.
Tons of people go to them. Many of my coworkers who live in the suburbs do and I was even at one recently. There are also areas in the suburbs, a little further, and outside to go snowboarding and skiing (and this extends into wisconsin).

Places like Starved Rock not far outside of the metro area are also good
Starved Rock State Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I agree, not like going to Yosemite or what not, but Chicago is not in the middle of Nebraska and there's still wildlife things to see if you drive a little bit for it if you live in the city (besides the lakefront/beaches in the city).

Quote:
Weather: You will be crushed. It is f**kin' freezing.
Yes, in the winter it's cold, but not all year round. Chicago is hotter than SF in the summer for sure and some parts of fall and spring could be comparable for a little bit.

Quote:
Food and wine: We have some of the best dining in the country, at least that is what we hear all the time, but since I've never lived in San Fran I can't say what you will think. I would say if you can't find a ton of restaurants you like here, though, you would have to be a huge, huge snob to the point of caricature. But do people like that exist? Sure, probably.
SF has a great food scene, but Chicago pretty much has an even better one, but SF and Chicago are both in the top 3 food cities in the US. SF of course has cheaper fresh fish, but finding fresh fish in Chicago is actually not hard - quite easy. However, SF's fresh fish just may be even fresher (i.e. 30-60 since it's been killed in SF versus 3-5 hours for Chicago in some places).
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,320 posts, read 21,996,425 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treemoni View Post
Other than that, and no beaches/hiking (ouch!), it should be a fairly smooth transition.

Although they're only open from May-September, Chicago still has 30+ beaches in the city so this is inaccurate. I have been to the beaches in the SF/San Jose area and the water temperature may even be colder than what you'd find in Chicago. The big beaches in Chicago are also a lot more active. Once summer heats up, the water temperatures in Chicago can actually be around, or even higher, than that of some beaches in southern california even. Of course, the main difference is that it's a giant lake versus an ocean, but it's still a beach with a lot of activities.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:53 PM
 
2,692 posts, read 4,008,897 times
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I made the same move - from SF to Chicago - also for family reasons. I also agree that the cost of living in SF is just ridiculous, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the nice standard of living that you will have here.

I do question one thing.... if your family will still be 5 hours away by car, that really is still very far away and inconvenient. Just saying.... don't want you to be disappointed. At some point, a plane ride is more convenient then driving, if you can afford it.

You will miss all of those Bay Area things that you mentioned, and they can't be matched here. Many will suggest that the food here wont disappoint, and there are many contemporary restaurants that are interesting and good as well as classic Chicago fare. But you will miss the outstanding Asian/SE Asian cuisine and seafood and Chez Panisse inspired California farm to table cuisine of the Bay Area. There is no comparison. But the size of Chicago will still leave you with many options and you will find what you need.

And if you are motivated, you will find wonderful things here. It is a beautiful and dynamic city that makes SF seem small. The adjacent lake feels like an ocean, and the beauty of the city architecture may be new and exciting to you. The music (classical, jazz, blues, club...), free outdoor festivals all summer long, amazing world class theaters (much more affordable ... and often better... then NYC), wonderful museums that adults and children will enjoy, excellent zoos and well preserved parks, several universities all combine to create an amazing place to live. And the very good public transportation system can allow you to live outside of the city center and easily travel to wherever you want to go.

Chicago is a dynamic city that attracts people from all over, but it is Midwestern. There is more segregation, and a more conservative - but friendly - dynamic then you are used to from SF and NYC. But the stress and backstabbing will come down a notch. The political corruption in this city/state is shameful... The disasterous State financial situation is shocking... but you are used to some of that from CA.

You have lived in NYC and Boston, so you will adjust to Chicago weather. No problem. But you will always miss SF....
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:16 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 80,157,015 times
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Folks that are talking up Illinois' parks / nature areas are taking more than a little artistic license -- nothing in the Midwest can compare with the scale of any of the vistas in Nothern California, the range of active outdoor lifestyle choices or even the diversity of sub-climates...

If you are an outdoorsy type family Illinois / Chicago cannot hold a candle to California / San Fransico...
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:22 PM
 
8,279 posts, read 10,990,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Folks that are talking up Illinois' parks / nature areas are taking more than a little artistic license -- nothing in the Midwest can compare with the scale of any of the vistas in Nothern California, the range of active outdoor lifestyle choices or even the diversity of sub-climates...

If you are an outdoorsy type family Illinois / Chicago cannot hold a candle to California / San Fransico...
But how often does the OP truly enjoy those scenic vistas? Is the cost of SF straining the budget right now, with Chicago being seen as a sign of relief? maybe the OP should spend a week in Chicago, and see for himself....
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,320 posts, read 21,996,425 times
Reputation: 7333
Nobody is talking up the midwest versus the Bay area, but some people make others believe that there is absolutely nothing of natural value in this area - which is false.
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