Moving to Chicago from SF Bay Area...need some input!

Pishi

Priya
O.G.
Apr 20, 2007
1,503
282
Houston
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Well, it appears that my life is going topsy turvey again. Given the current economic decline, my BF will likely take a position in Chicago. He'll be there starting early next week, and if all goes well with a 1 month temporary gig, he'll be signing on permanently. We live (separately) in the SF Bay Area right now. My job is currently secure.

So...I am kind of freaking out how quickly this is happening. Though my job is secure, I could likely get a transfer and work out of Chicago or Milwaukee. Unsure where just yet. I wouldn't follow for a few months. And I need some advice from folks who live in Chicago, know Chicago, etc.

1. Assume that he will be working near the Navy Pier, and I would be working in downtown as well, where are good places to live? I did some research and I think South Loop and West Loop are good?

2. I have two pugs. So, wherever we live will have to accommodate not only dogs, but DOG WALKING IN SNOW!!! Argh! The thought just makes me freeze in my tracks! (heh) How do people do it? What happens in a blizzard?!

3. We have two cars. We want to live in a downtown environment for a year or so until we figure out what is where and if we want to move to suburbia. So I'd like to live in a part of town that is more friendly to storing two cars (as in price for parking).

4. Thinking long-term, where are some cool semi-suburb places we should be checking out?

5. Recommendations for SAs at YSL, Saks, etc...! I'm leaving them all behind here! :crybaby:Where are the cool shopping meccas?

6. What's winter like? What kinds of things will I need to acquire, other than a good attitude? I'm pretty much a California girl other than my brief stint in Seattle for grad school.

7. What's the best way to meet people? We don't have kids, we can go out, how to make friends?

8. Suggestions for cool things to do on the weekends I'm visiting to make me fall in love with Chicago?

I guess that's what I'm thinking for now...looking forward to any advice. Thanks everyone.
 

deleckidesign

Member
Oct 23, 2008
2,230
3
Michigan
I don't know much about Chicago, but just wanted to say I know how you feel. My husband and I are thinking of moving from Michigan to Indiana, near Indianapolis. We have both been laid off and can't find anything up here in MI, so we may have to move. Just wanted to say I know how you're feeling/what you're going through. Moving is a big deal!
 

AmourCouture

AmourAuthentic
Apr 2, 2008
4,147
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Great Lakes
www.AmourAuthentic.com
I live in Milwaukee and frequent Chicago but I mostly stay in hotels.
Wrigleyville area is my favorite...if you like the historic townhouse style.
Shopping on Michigan Ave gives you the most Variety. There is a YSL on Oak st. and just a couple blocks away on Michigan is Saks, though I don't have any reccomendations for SA's (If you shoe shop there avoid the chunky old white haired guy...he's SUPER snotty and more worried about when he gets off work than helping you AND he hovers over the Choos waiting for commission). If you go to LV ask for Samuer, he is the BEST!
There are tons of apartments for rent close or even in downtown...just do your homework and know your budget.

Milwaukee is a different story. Proximity to the lake is great though...and its beautiful here for 2/3 of the year. If you end up in Milwaukee I reccomend the Landing at Parkshore apartments/condos if you want to be outside of Downtown...there are hundreds of buildings downtown if you take the time to look! I go to Chicago for most of my shopping though! There are areas to watch out for, so use the internet to research when possible.
 

pcil

Living life to the fullest
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Oct 20, 2008
5,092
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Silicon Valley
My cousin used to live in china town area. It's pretty cheap and lots of good foods. It's close to downtown and navy pier plus of course, michigan avenue where you can shop. My favorite suburb place is Schaumburg and Naperville.
 

Odette

<3 life
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Aug 20, 2007
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1. Assume that he will be working near the Navy Pier, and I would be working in downtown as well, where are good places to live? I did some research and I think South Loop and West Loop are good?

Depending on your income, I would advise north side (Lincoln Park, Lakeview). Wrigleyville will have a lot of young people and Lincoln Park does also have a college campus (DePaul). I do have friends that live in the Loop area and it is an up and coming neighborhood with some affordable housing.

2. I have two pugs. So, wherever we live will have to accommodate not only dogs, but DOG WALKING IN SNOW!!! Argh! The thought just makes me freeze in my tracks! (heh) How do people do it? What happens in a blizzard?!

Invest in some snow boots for yourself, and perhaps some booties for your doggies (to avoid the salt as it can sting their paws). A shovel can help (use it for your cars too as the plows will just plow you in if you park on the street.

3. We have two cars. We want to live in a downtown environment for a year or so until we figure out what is where and if we want to move to suburbia. So I'd like to live in a part of town that is more friendly to storing two cars (as in price for parking).

Parking is very expensive in Chicago. Housing with a two-car garage isn't easy to come by, even a one-car is hard to find. Some of the high-rises have parking garages but those are usually expensive and in the downtown/Gold Coast area. Meters are RIDICULOUS expensive now since they sold the parking meters to a company who can charge whatever they want. If you want free parking, you're better off a north-side neighborhood, but you'll have to search for it if a space/garage doesn't come with your place.

4. Thinking long-term, where are some cool semi-suburb places we should be checking out?

I'd say away from Naperville, as the taxes are super high and housing is expensive. The north-shore towns (Wilmette/Winnetka) are nice but expensive. Most of the suburbs are pretty densely populated as urban living becomes more expensive. Stay away from the South side, there are a lot of shady areas. It really depends on how far you want to drive from the city limits. I live in Plainfield (a Southwest suburb) and I'm 40 miles from downtown, and housing is very affordable, close to shopping, etc.

5. Recommendations for SAs at YSL, Saks, etc...! I'm leaving them all behind here! :crybaby:Where are the cool shopping meccas?

Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, of course! Downtown Chicago shopping is nice, but beware the 10.25% sales tax. To be honest I'm a huge fan of Oakbrook Shopping Center in Oakbrook (suburb down I-290/88 west of Chicago). It's an outdoor-type mall and has a Nordie's, Macy's, LV, etc. There are also a bunch of great premium outlets as well in the Chicagoland area.

6. What's winter like? What kinds of things will I need to acquire, other than a good attitude? I'm pretty much a California girl other than my brief stint in Seattle for grad school.

Winter is brutal - you will need a warm winter coat, gloves, hat, scarves, and snow boots if you're walking in the city. If you take public transportation (the El), bundle up!

7. What's the best way to meet people? We don't have kids, we can go out, how to make friends?

There is a healthy bar and restaurant scene in the city, in the suburbs it can be hard to meet people unless you know people through work/friends.

8. Suggestions for cool things to do on the weekends I'm visiting to make me fall in love with Chicago?

Hmm...shopping is great, there are a lot of parks, museums (Art Institute, Field Museum), concerts (House of Blues), when it's nice you can bike along Lake Shore Drive, go to the beach, Wiggly Field for your doggies (dog park).

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is La Creperie (crepes, yum), bars I can recommend a few but it depends on what scene you're in. I've heard good things about Martini Park. I live in the suburbs so I tend to stay out here more often (cheaper, too).
 
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intheevent

D. IT IS WRITTEN
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Nov 4, 2006
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Chicago
The west loop or south loop is going to be terrible for parking. You will end up paying thousands for spaces. Wrigleyville, andersonville,wicker park, Hyde park (if you are ok with diversity) are all good areas to research.
 

xi_captain

Mika Luv!
O.G.
Sep 7, 2006
6,121
2
SF Bay Area
Wow, that's a big move! We actually did this move 2 years ago but the opposite way (from Chi to SF Bay Area). I love Chicago and I'm sure you will love it too, most especially when the weather is nice :heart:

Here are my thoughts regarding your questions:

1. Assume that he will be working near the Navy Pier, and I would be working in downtown as well, where are good places to live? I did some research and I think South Loop and West Loop are good?

Lincoln Park/Southport/Lakeview/Wrigley are all good areas in the northside of the city. A lot of young people live in that area so if you're not into the very busy, congested scene, then living downtown might be better for you.

We had a condo by the river in the East Loop. I love the area since it was so convenient for me and my husband. It was also easy access to Lake Shore Drive and had amazing views whenever there were fireworks. We are also HUGE Bears fans so we love that we could just walk (on a nice day, it's about a 20 min walk) or take a cab to Soldier Field whenever we would go to a game.

The West and South Loops are also good up and coming areas. Just don't go too far west (almost by the United Center) or too far south (way past Soldier Field).

2. I have two pugs. So, wherever we live will have to accommodate not only dogs, but DOG WALKING IN SNOW!!! Argh! The thought just makes me freeze in my tracks! (heh) How do people do it? What happens in a blizzard?!

We didn't have any dogs so I can't offer my thoughts on this. I've had neighbors and have seen people do it though so I'm sure it just needs some getting used to.

3. We have two cars. We want to live in a downtown environment for a year or so until we figure out what is where and if we want to move to suburbia. So I'd like to live in a part of town that is more friendly to storing two cars (as in price for parking).

When we moved into our place, we downsized to just one car since parking is a nightmare for an extra car (condo only came with one spot). Parking is definitely more expensive in the East Loop/Gold Coast area than West or South Loop.

4. Thinking long-term, where are some cool semi-suburb places we should be checking out?

I have family in Glenview and anywhere around there (north shore) is great - Evanston, Wilmette, Kennilworth, Winnetka, Northbrook, Lake Forest, etc. - but of course, expensive. I also like Oak Brook (west suburb), Schaumburg area (northwest suburb), Orland Park (southwest suburb). I think the non-north shore suburbs are a lot more affordable.

5. Recommendations for SAs at YSL, Saks, etc...! I'm leaving them all behind here! :crybaby:Where are the cool shopping meccas?

Chicago shopping is great but the damn 10.25% sales tax is a nightmare! You're better off shopping in the suburbs (which is not that much less at around 8-9% but still better). Old Orchard in Skokie, Northrbook Court, Woodfield in Schaumburg and Oak Brook Center are few of my favorites.

6. What's winter like? What kinds of things will I need to acquire, other than a good attitude? I'm pretty much a California girl other than my brief stint in Seattle for grad school.

Unfortunately, as much as I love Chicago, I can't sugarcoat this. Winter is BRUTAL! :crybaby:But it seems like you have a positive attitude so with a good winter coat, scarf, gloves and boots, you should be good to go.

7. What's the best way to meet people? We don't have kids, we can go out, how to make friends?

Go to bars and restaurants. If you end up living in the Lincoln Park/Wrigelyville area, I'm sure you guys will have lots of new friends in no time.

8. Suggestions for cool things to do on the weekends I'm visiting to make me fall in love with Chicago?

Oh my, where do I start. My husband and I love, love, love the city and can talk about it non-stop. When you first move there, definitely explore the city. There are lots to do - Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Museums, etc. When you get settled, you can venture out in the surrounding suburbs. There's just so much to cover so please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

I guess that's what I'm thinking for now...looking forward to any advice. Thanks everyone.
 

Pishi

Priya
O.G.
Apr 20, 2007
1,503
282
Houston
Thank you guys for such excellent input. Looking for more if anyone has it. I'll post with some rental stuff to see if the places I'm finding are outrageous or what...

It's so overwhelming!
 

twiggers

O.G.
May 7, 2006
33,070
27
The winter isn't THAT bad here. Then again, I was born and raised in the near-arctic. I did move from CA to NW Indiana (90 miles from Chicago), and I just generally detest snow....but it's not that bad. Especially if you can avoid driving in it!
 

twiggers

O.G.
May 7, 2006
33,070
27
LOl Amour....I am actually a Fightin' Irish diehard....but the drive along the Toll Road is just as awful!!!
 

Pishi

Priya
O.G.
Apr 20, 2007
1,503
282
Houston
Toll roads! Now there is a thing that will be new! What sort of food is Chicago famous for and where do I find it?
 

IntlSet

Bonjour!
Jan 29, 2006
12,532
48
Chicago
Hey Pishi, I'm a native Northern Californian and moved here about three years ago. Let me see if I can help. I live right in the city.

1. Assume that he will be working near the Navy Pier, and I would be working in downtown as well, where are good places to live? I did some research and I think South Loop and West Loop are good? I personally wouldn't live in either South Loop or West Loop without a car. West Loop to me almost feels like a suburb... everything in that neighborhood is far apart, and there are actually *parking lots* which are a real rarity (except for garages) in the rest of Chicago. South Loop is a very new neighborhood, so there just aren't as many restaurants, etc. Honestly, most of your friends that you will make will probably live elsewhere. Public transit from any neighborhood will take you to your job in the Loop, so I wouldn't base your decision on where you work.

2. I have two pugs. So, wherever we live will have to accommodate not only dogs, but DOG WALKING IN SNOW!!! Argh! The thought just makes me freeze in my tracks! (heh) How do people do it? What happens in a blizzard?! Everyone just walks their dogs in the snow. ALL of Chicago is very dog-friendly. There's no any one neighborhood that's more so than others. Just put a sweater on your pugs and walk them.

3. We have two cars. We want to live in a downtown environment for a year or so until we figure out what is where and if we want to move to suburbia. So I'd like to live in a part of town that is more friendly to storing two cars (as in price for parking). Well, in that case, South Loop and West Loop might be good options for you. Be aware that parking is expensive... you may be able to rent a parking space, but it'll cost you $20 just to park your car anywhere else when you drive out, to say, Michigan Avenue.

4. Thinking long-term, where are some cool semi-suburb places we should be checking out? Lake Forest and Barrington.

5. Recommendations for SAs at YSL, Saks, etc...! I'm leaving them all behind here! Where are the cool shopping meccas? I like Lois on the third (or is it fourth) floor of Saks... the one where all the Lanvin/Oscar/Carolina dresses are. I don't really have a particular SA on the contemporary floor on Saks. Megan at Chanel is a sweetheart. April in the shoe department of Neiman Marcus is fabulous.

6. What's winter like? What kinds of things will I need to acquire, other than a good attitude? I'm pretty much a California girl other than my brief stint in Seattle for grad school. www.weather.com has average temps throughout the year. Winter is, needless to say, cold. But we have enough people who complain about the weather, so no whining! ;) A little cold never hurt anybody. Get yourself a Northface parka and you'll be fine.

7. What's the best way to meet people? We don't have kids, we can go out, how to make friends? I still haven't figured this out. My friends are the guys I used to date!

8. Suggestions for cool things to do on the weekends I'm visiting to make me fall in love with Chicago? Chicago is so culturally rich you will never lack for things to do. I don't think you will have a problem falling in love with Chicago. I moved here specifically because I love the city.
 
Hi! You will Love Chicago! My husband and I moved from Chicago to San Jose for about 14 months and then back to chicago! We drove (route 66) and it was a fantastic route!

I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can!

1. Where to live?

Lincoln Park/Lakeview/WrigleyVille are a few really great areas to live in. North of the city and tons of young people live in these areas. You can do a search on this real estate website: www.dreamtown.com They have loads of really great properties in the city and surrounding areas.

2. Pets

Don't have pets so I'm afraid I can't be much help in this area, it will definitely take some getting used to having to walk your dogs in the snow, little booties for them as someone suggested probably is a good idea! Tons of buildings i'm sure have no problems with pets. Since you don't have really big dogs, I'm sure you won't have a problem.

3. 2 cars, and parking

Parking in the city is very very expensive, and usually an apartment/condo/loft will only come with one space (even if that). I would definitely downsize to one car to save on the parking expenses.

4. Semi-suburb Places

Naperville, Hinsdale, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Frankfort are all great suburban areas. I prefer the southwest suburbs like Orland Park, Tinley Park and Frankfort. They all have tons of restaurants and shopping areas. Since I also have children having a huge yard and the "neighborhood feel" was important to us as well. Once you get settled, you and your BF can explore these neighborhoods to get a feel for them.

5. Shopping scene

Downtown Chicago has a fantastic shopping scene...There is Michigan Avenue with all the shops and Water Tower, and Oak Street, State Street. There is a great outlet mall in Aurora. The suburbs have great shopping malls as well like Oak Brook Center, Woodfield, Orland Square. Pretty much anything you want to buy, there is a store/boutique in Chicago or surrounding areas.

6. Winters

Hmm, I can't really say anything that will prepare you for how brutal the winters here can be. This winter was just awful with below zero temperatures and even lower wind chill temperatures! You will definitely need warm boots, coat, gloves,hat and scarf. BUT I will say that when the snow is falling it really is beautiful! Driving in the snow is horrible. The city of Chicago is really good about plowing the roads, but make sure your car has winter tires! After the initial shock, you will get used to the weather :yes:

7. Best ways to meet people.

Chicago has TONS of restaurants and Bars. It's very easy to meet people!
I'm sure you guys will have tons of friends, even moving into your apartment. I find people are very friendly and outgoing.

8. Cool things on weekends

omg! Between museums, millenium park, navy pier, a fantastic theater district and sporting events, concerts you guys will never run out of things to do!

9. Chicago food

DEEP DISH PIZZA!!! Giordanos and Lou Malnati's are my favorites for deep dish. They have multiple locations. I also LOVE Aurelio's in Homewood. Their pizza is delicious!


Hope you and your BF have a great move, and I'm sure you guys will LOVE Chicago! It is really a fabulous city! Hope I have helped some! Once you get all moved in, I'm sure us tpf chicago girls would love to meet you too!


 
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Pishi

Priya
O.G.
Apr 20, 2007
1,503
282
Houston
^^ everything posh & everyone else, thanks so much. Your input is very valuable. I like the input to look north as opposed to south. I've been focusing on the South Loop and West Loop, simply because of the parking issues.

I'm trying to imagine my little guys walking in the snow. Hamilton is so persnickety he refuses to go outside in the rain unless coerced! :rolleyes: