Moving to Chicago | 2023 Guide

Can you hear the Windy City just calling your name and feel more than ready to answer its call? If yes, then you’ve stumbled upon the right page. Our guide is here to walk you through the entire moving to Chicago process–everything from moving costs to checklists, we got your back!

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How Much Does Moving to Chicago Cost?

First things first, let’s talk costs. Even though moving to Chicago will be one hell of an adventure, it will probably be a slightly pricey one. Don’t let this discourage you though, there’s many ways you can save on your move! 😉

Your final moving costs will be affected by a series of factors, which can vary depending on whether you’re performing a local move or an out-of-state move. But! The factors that hold the most weight on determining your costs are ultimately the volume of your move and the distance between departure and arrival points.

We understand this might all sound a bit vague unless you’ve been around the block a few times. So, to illustrate this better, we put together a list of estimates for a full-service move to Chicago from different cities across the United States below.

Washington D.C$3,165 – $4,374$4,374 – $5,605$6,758 – $9,148
Los Angeles$4,182 – $5,882$5,882 – $7,569$9,128 – $12,371
New York City$3,383 – $4,699$4,699 – $6,031$7,279 – $9,863
Austin$3,542 – $4,933$4,933 – $6,333$7,635 – $10,338

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

Pro Tip!: The best way to ensure you get accurate estimates for your move to Chicago is by requesting quotes from professional movers. Click our banner below so you can fill out our quote form and be connected to up to 5 movers for free!

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Checklist for Your Move to Chicago

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you trust yourself to remember everything you need to do before, during, and after your move to Chicago? Even if you feel pretty confident on the matter, we still advice you to rely on a moving checklist –this will truly take a lot of that moving-related stress away, trust us!

To give you a hand remembering, we summarized the five most important things you cannot forget when moving to Chicago the handy infographic below!

5 things you cannot forget to do when moving to Chicago

Interested in a more detailed checklist? We got ya’. Check out our comprehensive national moving checklist, it covers every detail you shouldn’t forget during your move to Chicago!

Moving to Chicago for Work

Unless you’re moving to Chi-Town with a job secured already, it’s very likely that you’d be interested in understanding what the job market in the city is like. We’d like to start with some good news, Chicago has an incredibly diversified economy, which means that there’s virtually a place for everyone in the market!

Even though you’ll be able to find job opportunities in multiple industries, the following ones are currently the most successful and fast-growing:

  • Health services and technology;
  • Transportation, distribution and logistics;
  • Information technology;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Food industry;
  • Business and professional services.

Although this will most certainly vary depending on the field of work you decide to partake in, the average yearly salary in Chicago is $71,000. When scouting for a job, we recommend that you check out the following pages:

Chicago skyline that will be seen when moving to Chicago

Costs of Living in Chicago

We don’t need to tell you that moving to Chicago will most certainly be quite an exciting adventure. But before you drop it all and start a new life in the Windy City, it’s important that you make sure you have a good understanding of the living costs in the city.

To give you a rough idea, compared to the national average of 100, Chicago currently scores a 106.9 on the cost of living index. Now, since our job is to make your life easier and we know a lot of you might be wondering “what does this number even mean?”, we’ve broken down the costs of living into the most common categories in the sections below.


To rent or not to rent, that is the question. We know that determining what is the best route to pursue in regards of housing when moving to Chicago can be a bit tricky. To help you out with this dilemma, we’ve compiled a list of ballpark estimates for both the average rent and home values across a few neighborhoods in the Windy City.

NeighborhoodAverage RentAverage Home Value
River North$2,600$457,791
East Village$2,483$513,000
Lincoln Park$1,846$575,899
North Center$1,504$802,170

Disclaimer: the prices shown above are just estimates. These prices will vary depending on the property size and the neighborhood of your choice.

Places to visit when moving to Chicago: the Chicago River

Food & Groceries

We can imagine that you’re more than ready to say hello to the town of deep dish pizza —we’d be as well if we were moving to Chicago. Chicago is definitely a town that has lots of offer cuisine-wise, but we still imagine that you still will want to cook homemade meals every now and then.

To give you a glimpse of what you can expect, we’ve compiled a list of the average costs of common grocery items in Chicago in the table below.

Grocery ItemAverage Cost
Loaf of fresh bread$2.77
1 lb. of chicken filet$4.51
1 lb. of beef round$5.56
Carton of 12 eggs$2.20
1 lb. of bananas$0.71
1 lb. of potatoes$1.53
1 lb. of local cheese$5.25
Bottle of wine$12

Foodie Tip!: Besides the wonderful deep dish pizza, we heavily recommend trying out the Classic Chicago-style hotdog —thank us later! 😉


Like any big city in the US, Chicago is well equipped with quite a good public transport that will get you from A to B in no time. So even if you’re moving to Chicago without a vehicle, don’t worry, you’ll be covered! To give you an idea of what to expect, we compiled the public transport fares as of 2021 in the list below:

  • Reduced Fares: senior citizens (65 and older) and children aged 7 to 11 pay a fare of $1.25. Military personnel in full uniform ride and children under the age of 7 ride for free.
  • Single Ride: fares of $2.50 per ride in the train and $2.25 per ride in the bus.
  • Visitor Passes: include unlimited rides for a given period of time; a one-day pass is $10, a three-day pass is $20, and a seven-day pass is $28.

    Fun fact: Did you know that in Chicago you don’t take the metro, but rather you take the L?

    Transportation (Train) available when moving to Chicago


    Perhaps one of the funnest parts about your move to Chicago will be enjoying all the wonderful sights —pictures at the Cloud Gate are a must, museums and restaurants across town. To help you picture what your new life in Chicago could be like, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Chicagoan activities and their respective costs below!

    ActivityAverage Cost
    Three-course dinner$75
    Ticket to the Art Institute of Chicago$19 – $25
    Two tickets to the movies$23
    Ticket to the Shedd Aquarium$39.95 ($19.95 for Chicago residents!)
    Two tickets to the theater$236
    Monthly gym membership$80
    Cappuccino at a local café$4.45

    Sights to visit when moving to Chicago: Cloud Gate sculpture

    Did You Know…?

    • Chicago is home to the Twinkie —everyone say thank you to Chicago for inventing one of the best snacks known to men.
    • The world’s tallest building designed by a female architect resides in Chicago —go give the Aqua skyscraper a look in your free time, it’s definitely a sight!
    • The world’s first brownie was invented in Chicago’s Palmer house –again, thank you Chicago!
    • Field Museum in Chicago currently owns the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton —they named the skeleton Sue… What a fitted name for a dinosaur. 

    We hope this article served as the perfect “How to Move to Chicago 101” lesson! 😉 In case you need further help planning your move to Chicago, we recommend that you check out the pages we have linked below for you. Good luck!