Why I Still Love Living in Chicago

A few weeks ago, Chicago was awarded Best Big U.S. City by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards….for an unpresented fourth year in row! Conde Nast Traveler readers noted Chicago’s impressive architecture, first-rate museums, restaurant scene, and the neighborhoods as the reasons why they voted for this great city.

And I couldn’t agree more! Chicago is an exciting and fun city to live in (and visit) for so many reasons.

Lately, I’ve been hearing and reading this “trend” that more people are moving out of metropolitan areas as a result of the Covid-19 stay-at-home order – that they realize they need more space if they have to stay home. I know some of our neighbors feel this way.

Some people I know want to move away because they don’t feel safe due to the crime and recent uprising of protests and riots (looting) in the city. I admit, I was a bit on edge earlier this summer wondering what was going to happen to the city and to my family. But that feeling has settled a bit.

I’ve lived in Chicago for the past 19 years. It’s crazy to think that it’s been that long. It feels like yesterday. I remember telling my mom that I will live here for six months. If I don’t like it, I’ll move back home to New Orleans. While the first three months in Chicago was a hard and lonely transition, I started making friends and enjoying the city shortly after that. Needless to say, I fell in love with the city and the people.

The city embraced me with open arms and I haven’t been able to let go.

This love for Chicago has not changed. Chicago has a huge place in my heart. This is the city where I met my husband, where I had my three sons, and where I found myself. It’s watched me grow and is continuing to nurture my growth.

When people ask me why I love Chicago, my answer is that there is always something to do in the city. There is always something to see and explore. I’m never bored. I’m not tired of Chicago yet because I feel like there is so much more to do and see here and so many more interesting people to meet.

We Love Chicago sign at Chicago Theatre

The Neighborhoods

Chicago is a beautiful city to explore with so many diverse neighborhoods. We love eating out (ordering out) from restaurants in the West Loop/Fulton Market. I feel at home on Argyle Street, home to many great Vietnamese restaurants. Andersonville, Old Town, and Roscoe Village always have that small town, charming feel. Hyde Park is a beautiful world even from the World’s Fair. The homes in the Gold Coast are like castles. There are so many great neighborhoods to do shopping from the Magnificent Mile to Lincoln Park to Wicker Park. I can go on and on with the 70+ neighborhoods in Chicago.

The History and Architecture

We try to go out and explore Chicago every weekend….to be tourists in our own city. I’m amazed to always learn something new about the city or learn a bit a history that I never knew before. There’s so much depth to this city that I don’t think I’ll ever finish exploring and learning about. That’s what makes it exciting.

The architecture from the skyscrapers to the historic homes are just candy for the eyes. I was never thought much about architecture until I moved to Chicago, and although I’m not an expert on architecture, I can honestly say that living in Chicago has made me appreciate it more. You don’t have to be downtown to see the architecture. It’s all around and each building and home has so much meaning. That’s the best part…is learning about the design behind the building/home.

The People and Community

I moved to Chicago without knowing anyone or having any friends here. But I think I’ve made some lifelong friends since! You see, Chicago is not only filled with people who are born and raised here but also a lot of transplants too! It seems like everyone is willing to make new friends. There’s something about this big city that makes it feel like a small city. There’s something for everybody. I know that sounds a bit cliché, but it’s true! You can find a group of friends somewhere in the city that meets your interest. In my case, I have a group of mom friends that I adore; and I have this Instagram community filled with Chicago creatives that I’m always amazed by. They are always showing me new things such as murals and restaurants that I have to go to.

I know Covid-19 has changed a lot of things about living in the city but I’m hopeful that the city will bounce back and be better than it was before. I want to be a part of that positive movement for the city to help socially and economically. I believe my little community has grown even stronger during Covid-19 and the fight for social justice. I’m sure the other communities around me have done the same in showing compassion and support. There’s something dynamic about living in the city.

Our friends have asked if we ever plan to move out of Chicago and live in suburbs our out of state…my answer has been “no”. As long as I have a job downtown and still feel safe and secure, we are not leaving. Although we are growing out of our townhome, I don’t see us moving to the suburbs for a bigger home. We will most likely try to find a bigger (yet affordable) home in the city.

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