I lived in Chicago for years. And I mean in the City of Chicago - near north side, 2800 block of Racine Avenue.
If you don't mean the city, you mean "Chicagoland." The suburbs are vast. I'm not a suburban person. Living in Downers Grove, Schaumburg, Lisle ...gack....millions of people do, but don't try to tell me you live in Chicago. Exception: ah, if only I could live in Barrington Hills.....sigh.
As a city, Chicago is a wonderful place. It's beautiful, vibrant, interesting. I lived there for 8 years and it's "The Second City" to none in my book.
When I was there my horse was boarded out in Marengo. Now the good thing about that is, if you're an Easterner, finding out that if you board your horse 60 miles away, it takes you only an hour to get there on weekends. In the East if you're going 60 miles into the country on backroads, it'll take you 90 minutes. In Illinois you point the car and go, no twisty-turney roads.
I do remember, though, that I was still going to the barn wearing long underwear in MAY.
I don't think anyone coming to Chicago who is single or even married without kids would find it 'fun' (misery comes to mind) if they're out in the burbs. Totally different scenes.
Lincoln Park, where I live with my wife, is one of the easiest places to acclimate to. Access to the Red and Brown Lines for "downtown" work, et al is exceedingly close. More of an established area that has largely been spared the violence of other sections. Yea, LP has a vibe and attitude that not everyone enjoys. I've lived before in Streeterville, Gold Coast and even a pinch north of Wrigleyville and will say that Lincoln Park works the best.
You can opt for "up and coming" areas (that honest have had that label seemingly for decades) like Bucktown which are a bit cheaper, but with tradeoffs with quality of life. You can easily venture there for more diverse bar and eating scenes.
As cited by others Chicago isn't without its drawbacks .. shootings (largely the south side or old Chicago Housing Authority areas) are dominate the news, traffic is wretched, fuel costs without peer, racial tensions, taxes high, eye rolling corruption in City Hall and debt problems second to none for the highly mismanaged State.
Still if you enjoy an outgoing City with plenty of activities any night, weekend, season this is very liveable even with the drawbacks.
I live in the NW suburbs now, and there are plenty of great barns within 30 minutes (many with turnout and indoor arenas), plus it's super easy to zip into the city on weekends for things to do. I lived in the city and commuted to the office and barn for a few years, and it wasn't so bad if you have a more flexible schedule. Pretty much no traffic after 7 or 730PM most of the time.
It's funny to me to hear all of the negativity about traffic, taxes, COL, etc....lots of big cities have these problems but that's the tradeoff IMHO.
The Chicago area is great and a wonderful experience. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!
Another Chicagoan checking in. I've been here since July and love the city after living in D.C. for four years. We've found the cost of living to be lower, but the sales tax can be a surprise (highest in the country). As such, we are big fans of ordering through Amazon. Gas is also very high.
I live in the Loop, which was not my first choice, but it's convenient to DH's campus. We have a recently renovated one-bedroom for $1500/month. My boss lives in Lincoln Park in a nice two-bedroom and pays about $1900/month. Rent is much lower here than it was in D.C. or NYC.
Traffic is an issue in any city. Public transportation is great here, even on the weekends, and you can avoid a lot of traffic if you have flexibility in your schedule.
I hope it works out for you! I don't think you can beat the food scene here.
Also, not sure if you have children, but feel free to PM me if you want to talk schools. I work as a consultant for Chicago Public Schools and can give you the lowdown.
If your horse is retired, I would possibly consider boarding him across the boarder in Wisconsin or further out from Chicago. Yes, long commute to go see the pony, but the prices are more reasonable further out and more turnout/grass/etc and I feel like more options for smaller facilities that may give more hands on retirement type care.
I am glad to see all the Chicago people checking in. I live close enough and the place drives me crazy whenever I have to go there!
CA girl here, very outdoors type - spent fours years in Chicago. two in the city, two near Brookfield. We could not stand the long cold winters.
When my husband finished med school, we were gone, gone, gone - despkte the offer of a fpgreat residency and me, a continued high paying and desirable job working with animals at Brookfield zoo. Over the years, we both have had offers
For work in Chicago. We won't even interview. Just too damm cold.
Also, it is a great city, if you have money - it sucks if you are poor.
Not much help, live in Central Illinois, but just a warning. Illinois is a joke, probably the worst run State, even worse than California. We have high taxes and probably will get even worse.
If you have choices to move in different states, be sure to look at the difference in taxes. It may be wiser not to move to Illinois.
I heard last week IL moved into another #1 slot...the #1 state people are fleeing/moving out of.
I am an hour west of the city. I grew up loving to go to Chicago as a kid & always thought I would live "downtown", but I am glad to not live there as an adult. The costs, having a horse...guess I wasn't meant to be a city girl.
Check out some farms, board & costs for sure. Until you get further out of the city, it's going to be pricey & you may not find the grass pastures your horse has now.
Born and raised in Illinois. It used to be a nice State, remember Gov Edgar? Now, I really think Illinois is an embarrassment. Personally, I wish we would split Illinois in two. It is Chicago that keeps us in corruption. If we could divide the state by I80, it would not be so bad. Downstate is run "ok", but of course, the population is so huge, we are really governed by Chicago
I will be moving out once we retire. I have no allegiance to this State. Along w/Durbin, Quinn, & people like Jessie Jackson Jr (who was just indicted on stealing campaign funds for personal use and was in a mental institution for months, yet refused to resign) I have had enough of the stupidity.
I could NOT imagine choosing to move into Illinois, unless it was your only choice. It is a pretty state, but there are lots of nicer places to live for a lot cheaper. That includes LOTS of big cities.
Personally, I like going to St. Louis a lot better than Chicago for a weekend. JMO!
Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!