Moving from Atlanta to Chicago could be the biggest thing you’ll do in your life, so you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re doing. 

It can be a fascinating experience, especially if you’re a first-time mover. If you choose Chicago as your new home, there will be many opportunities for growth, connections, and personal fulfillment. 

chicago bean

If you’re planning to make the move from Atlanta to Chicago, this post is right up your alley. This article will give you all the details on what to consider for moving to Chicago.

Moving Process From Atlanta To Chicago

Moving from Atlanta to Chicago is a big step since there are many things that you will have to do differently when you move to the new city. With that being said, moving across the US can still be a lot of fun if you’re prepared and know what to expect. Here are some things to consider when moving from Atlanta to Chicago. 

How Far is Chicago, IL From Atlanta, GA?

The distance from Atlanta to Chicago is approximately 720 miles. It takes about 11 hours and 30 minutes of nonstop driving from Atlanta to Chicago by car. If you have a rental car, it will be more expensive than if you were to drive your own vehicle.

Several airports offer direct flights from Atlanta if you plan to fly into Chicago. Airlines like American, Southwest, United, Delta, and Spirit offer nonstop flights between Chicago (Chicago O’Hare International Airport) and Atlanta (Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport). The flight time can take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

What is the Average Cost to Move From Atlanta, GA to Chicago, IL?

The average cost of moving from Atlanta to Chicago can be around $2,800 to $4,900. This includes all the costs associated with moving, such as packing and shipping items and hiring movers. 

The average cost is determined by several factors, including the type of truck you choose to use, the size of your home, and the distance from your current location. For example, if you have a smaller home, it will cost less to move from Atlanta to Chicago than if you have a large home. 

Is Moving From Atlanta, GA to Chicago, IL a Smart Idea?

Moving from Atlanta to Chicago is a smart idea if you want to take advantage of the city’s vibrant energy, top-rated restaurants, incredible nightlife, and some of the country’s best museums. Few cities in the country can match the buzz of downtown Chicago, which is home to some of the country’s best restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. 


Weather is another factor when considering moving from Atlanta to Chicago. Chicagoans enjoy a temperate climate, while the weather in Atlanta can be quite hot and humid. The average low temperature for Chicago in January is about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which can warm up to the 50s for a while during midday.

Chicago gets four seasons, with a wide range of temperatures, whether in the north or the south. In winter, the city gets very near-freezing temperatures. Summer brings warm weather and lots of outdoor activities like the Lollapalooza. Spring and fall are also beautiful in Chicago.

Nature Scene

If you like to be outside, then Chicago is a great place for you. There are many parks and green spaces throughout Chicago. The Chicago River runs through several neighborhoods and offers access to Lake Michigan and other lakeside activities. In contrast, Atlanta does not have water near its downtown area except for a few ponds found in parks.

chicago nature

Chicago also features lots of concrete and steel in the city. However, it does compensate through its intercity parks found in the majority of its neighborhoods. It also has an incredible lakefront park stretching almost the entire length of Chicago along Lake Michigan.

Public Transportation 

It’s easier to get around Chicago without a car than in Atlanta. The city has an extensive train and bus system, with connections throughout the region. If you want to get anywhere that isn’t within walking distance, you can take CTA trains or buses. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) is actually one of the best public transportation systems.

Chicago’s well-connected public transit will be a huge change from what you’re probably used to in Atlanta, where almost everyone relies on cars. The city life in Chicago, with its busy streets and efficient transit system, will probably prompt a change in lifestyle once you move there.

chicago public transit

The “L,” Chicago’s light rail system, is the country’s fourth-largest and second busiest rapid transit system. It runs 24 hours a day, and its trains are fast and efficient, making it easy to get anywhere you want. Bicycles are also an option for getting around Chicago. There are bike lanes throughout the city, and most neighborhoods offer free bike parking.

Food Scene

Chicago is one of the best food cities in the United States, with many different types of restaurants, from American cuisine to Asian fusion. There are so many phenomenal options for dining out in Chicago that it would be hard to pick just one favorite spot. 

Meanwhile, Atlanta doesn’t even have at least one Michelin-rated restaurant. While Atlanta doesn’t have a notable food scene, it does have some great restaurants and food trucks. It’s just that their food scene is not just as world-class as Chicago. 

chicago food

Chicago is also home to Chicago-style hot dogs and deep-dish pizza. Once you move to Chicago, you can take advantage of its world-class cuisine that is both accessible and diverse. If you’re looking for something more casual, Chicago also does not disappoint with its wide range of eateries, from fast-food chains to hipster joints.


Moving to Chicago still has a few disadvantages, including its high crime rate. In Chicago, there are 943 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents. This is huge against a national average of 382 violent offenses per 100,000 persons. 

On the other hand, Atlanta has 5,423 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, making it a safer city than Chicago for this factor alone. However, keep in mind that this is still twice the national average.

Still, don’t let Chicago’s higher crime rate deter you. The high number of crimes is actually concentrated in only a few locations. There are still plenty of safe neighborhoods to choose from.  

Things To Do

Chicago is a city with a lot to offer, and it’s not just sports fans who will find something they like. The city has everything you’d want in a big city: world-class museums, sports teams, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife galore. 

chicago nightlife

There are many things to do in the city, from the popular Shedd Aquarium to shopping at the world-famous Magnificent Mile. There are also several museums and cultural events that you can attend, as well as live music venues. With this many offerings, Chicago is far superior to Atlanta in terms of things to do in the city.

What’s the Cost of Living in Atlanta, GA vs. Chicago, IL?

According to NerdWallet, Chicago’s cost of living is 17% higher than in Atlanta. Despite this, Chicago and Atlanta are relatively affordable to live in among major metropolitan areas. Both cities actually have a COL index of 107 which means Atlanta and Chicago’s cost of living is around 7% higher than the national average.

You’ll probably notice that Chicago’s cost of living is a bit close to Atlanta’s across different areas. The most noticeable difference is in housing costs, where Chicago is 53% higher than Atlanta. Transportation costs are also 16% higher in Chicago. 

With these differences, it’s still debatable whether Atlanta is cheaper than Chicago, especially considering that you almost need to have a car to live in Atlanta. Atlanta is also more spread out, so you may consume more gas there than in Chicago. 

What’s It Like Working in Chicago?

Chicago is a great city to work in. Like any big city, there are many different opportunities for you to explore. Chicago is also one of the country’s best places for entrepreneurs and startups. There are also so many big corporations in the city that it’s hard to count them all. Big companies like Accenture, Boeing, and JLL call Chicago home. 

chicago culture

Chicago employers pay more than Atlanta employers. Employers in Chicago are more likely to offer a higher salary, which can make it easier to cover the cost of living and raise your family if you have one. This is precisely the reason why many graduates of Atlanta move out of the city and relocate to other major cities like Chicago to work on their first real jobs.

What Are the Best Neighborhoods in Chicago?

Chicago is a city like no other. Its diverse neighborhoods, historical sites, and cultural offerings draw people from all over the country. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago:

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s wealthiest areas and is located west of Lincoln Park, the city’s largest park. The Lincoln Park Zoo is also located in this popular Chicago neighborhood. Lincoln Park houses a campus of DePaul University. It has easy access to public transportation, the lakefront trail, great restaurants, and stores.

Old Town

Old Town is a favorite among architecture enthusiasts who visit to appreciate its Victorian-era houses, quaint streets, and stores. It was first populated by German immigrants in 1850. The renowned Second City comedy club, vintage pubs, quaint restaurants, artisanal coffee shops, and eccentric boutiques can all be found on tree-lined Wells Street. 

Wicker Park

Since Chicago was founded as a city in 1837, Wicker Park has served as a residential neighborhood. The vibrant nightlife, dining, and entertainment options on North Milwaukee Avenue are well-known. North Damen Avenue attracts young visitors with its unique shops, elegant cafes, specialty supermarkets, and chic clothing boutiques.

West Loop

West Loop, formerly an industrial area, is now a popular destination for dining and entertainment. Restaurant Row is lined with innovative New American and international restaurants, while the French Market food hall has regional vendors. The neighborhood is home to several restaurants, clubs, live music venues, and luxury stores. 

Final Thoughts

Moving to Chicago is the ultimate goal for many people who plan on living the city life. With great architecture, delicious food, and fun attractions, it’s no wonder why more people are moving there each year. Compared to Atlanta, Chicago is far better when it comes to the city’s lifestyle, culture, and job opportunities.


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