Moving from Chicago to Houston can be a very exciting move but can bring about big changes. Some of the biggest changes can often be weather-related and the vibe in both cities are quite different.

Don’t fret, as there are also plenty of similarities between Chicago and Houston. For one, they’re both large metropolitan cities with booming economies.

These similarities may help you adapt to Houston a lot quicker, so if you plan on trading in the Windy City for Space City, this guide will explain the moving process and share some tips to assist you with your relocation.

The Moving Process From Chicago to Houston

How Far is Houston from Chicago?

The distance between Chicago and Houston is 1,083 miles. The driving time of this journey is approximately 16 hours and 30 minutes by car depending on traffic.

It’s worth noting that it’s a lengthy drive, so maybe choosing to hire a professional moving company rather than planning a DIY move and driving the journey in a rental truck is a better option.

The flight time is roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes long, so if 16+ hours of driving sounds like a horrible idea to you, you should consider flying there instead.

What is the Average Cost to Move From Chicago to Houston?

The average cost to move from Chicago to Houston is between $2500-$3500. That means on average it costs roughly $3000.

When determining the exact cost of a move from Chicago to Houston, several factors must be taken into account. These include the dates of the move, the number of items being moved, whether you plan to hire professional moving services, or whether you decide to complete the move entirely by yourself.

Should I Move From Chicago to Houston?

While this move won’t involve much of a difference in city size and population, Chicago is the 3rd most populous city in the US and Houston is the 4th.

There are some great benefits to choosing Houston, such as milder, snowless winters and rental price decreases. If this sounds good to you, then you should move from Chicago to Houston.

How Chicago Compares to Houston

Living Costs Compared

When moving from Chicago to Houston, one of the first things you may notice is that the cost of living in Houston is definitely cheaper than in Chicago.

The median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Chicago is $2,210. In Houston, you can expect the median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment to be around $1,269.

If you’re planning to buy a house in Houston you’ll be happy to hear that buying a house in Houston is 1.7 times cheaper than in Chicago. In Chicago, the median sale price for a 3 bedroom home is around $513,821. In Houston, the median sale price of a 3 bedroom home is only $295,289.

Aside from rental and real estate costs, you can expect cheaper groceries, healthcare, entertainment and transport costs in Houston.

Public Transportation

METRO is the public transport system in Houston. It is comprised of light rail and bus services and The Metro Light Rail spans 7 miles from Downtown to Reliant Stadium.

In addition to the rail and bus services, there’s a jitney service called The Wave that shuttles people around Houston’s primary nightlife areas, including Midtown, Montrose, Downtown, Uptown, and Rice Village.

In Chicago, a 30-day pass for the L system costs $105 and one ride costs $2.50. In Houston, a one-way ticket costs $1.25, and there are no monthly passes available, but there is a Day Pass where you will never pay more than $3 per day and a reward system where you get 5 free trips for every 50 paid trips.


As you may already know, the weather in Houston differs massively from the weather in Chicago. Both cities enjoy hot summers, but winters are very different.

It’s a well-known fact that Chicago experiences bitterly cold winters, with averages lows of 18℉ or colder, and the city gets about 35 inches of snow a year.

Houston, however, experiences no snow, and the coldest average temperature in the winter months reaches 43℉.

Moving From Chicago to Houston DMV

If you plan to move from Chicago to Houston, you will need to get a new driver’s license.

New Texas residents can legally drive with an out-of-state license for up to 90 days after relocating. But once the 90 day grace period ends, you must apply for a new Texas license at the nearest driver’s license office to continue to drive legally. 

If you need more information about the process or what you will need to bring with you, you can find it here.

Buying a Home in Houston

As we mentioned previously, buying a home in Houston is cheaper than buying a home in Chicago. So if you’re wondering where to start looking, these neighborhoods are a great place to start.

East End

If you’re looking for a vibrant, cultural neighborhood to call home, East End is the neighborhood for you. The neighborhood is in a great location and is positioned at the eastern edge of Downtown Houston.

The housing stock in the area consists of new construction, and well as structures and landmarks that were built in the 1800s. Housing prices here are super affordable too, so you can find a house to suit all budgets.

The area is known for its thriving arts scene, and you can find galleries and murals dotted around the neighborhood. You can find plenty of gastropubs, breweries, and restaurants here too, and is a haven for those who crave a lively social scene.


If you’re looking to buy a home in Houston where there are things to do right in your backyard, Midtown is the best option for you! This neighborhood is 81% safer than other Houston Neighborhoods and it’s just a five-minute drive from Downtown Houston.

You’ll never run out of things to do here and the neighborhood is home to some of Houston’s best bars and nightlife. The housing stock in the area has something for every taste, from new construction to trendy condos and townhouses.

Spring Branch

If you’re looking for a neighborhood that’s situated a little bit further from the hustle and bustle of the city, Spring Branch is a great neighborhood to purchase a home. The area is popular with families and there are many highly-rated schools here.

The housing stock in the area is made up of ranch-style homes and townhouses. There’s plenty of things to do here, and plenty of parks and green spaces to explore with the kids such as Bear Creek Pioneers Park and Agnes Moffitt Park.

Selling Your Property in Chicago

Finding the right realtor is the first step you must consider when planning to sell your home in Chicago. Housing prices tend to fluctuate depending on the time of year that you sell your home.

Generally, June is the best month to sell your home in Chicago, and it takes around 3 months to close on a sale. So by simply listing your home in March, you can expect to make nearly 6% more than the yearly average.

Before you list your home, it’s vital to figure out how much your house is worth. Your realtor should be able to gauge your home’s value by comparing it to the area’s market value. In addition to this, they should be also able to provide you with a full market analysis, so you can confidently price and list your home.

Finding a Job in Houston Before You Move There

Before you move to Houston, it’s helpful to know that the city is home to 20 Fortune 500 companies. It’s also a great place to move to if you plan to work within the oil and natural gas industries, as Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry. Some places to start the job search would be

City of Houston Careers

This is a great place to start looking for City of Houston jobs. So if you are interested in a career in public service, and are looking for an opportunity to serve fellow citizens across the city, you should take a look at the current job listings here.


Indeed is a great place to start your job search no matter what your industry and where you are based. Try using the tools to filter your search to certain areas in Houston.

There are job listings posted daily and currently, there are over 68,000 jobs listed. Check out the current job listings in Houston here.

Word of Mouth

Do you know of anyone living in the Houston area? You could try and ask them if they know anyone that’s looking to hire.

Moving From Chicago to Houston Checklist

The checklist below will allow you to organize what needs to be done before trading the Windy City for Space City.

At Least 4 to 6 Weeks Before the Move

– Get in touch with reliable movers that will assist you in transporting your things from Chicago to Dallas.

– Get in touch with your family’s health care physician, dentist, and any other service providers that you are in contact with and let them know that you are moving.

– Order moving supplies or ask your moving company to provide them as an additional service

– It is a great idea to sell or donate your unwanted items. You can sell on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Or you can donate them to the Salvation Army and they will pick items up at no charge.

– Begin packing; clearly mark boxes with a marker indicating which room they will be going into at delivery.

– You will need to make your change of address known to several different places, such as wherever you do your banking, the DMV, your workplace, any other financial institutions (such as credit card providers), the post office, your utility provider, and, saving the most important for last, your friends and family.

– Sort plane tickets if you’re planning to fly.

2 Weeks Prior to the Move

– It is imperative to clean and/or make needed repairs on your old home before moving out, since leaving your place an absolute mess may leave your security deposit in jeopardy.

– Because of the abundance of fragile items in your kitchen, you’ll want to pack these items away long in advance, with protective bubble wrap to ensure nothing gets broken in transit.

– You will also want to begin packing your things from bedrooms and bathrooms, except for your essential items that you will be using until you move.

– If necessary, you will want to arrange a babysitter for your kids and/or pets for parts of the move that you need to be able to focus and get things done.

A Couple of Days Before Your Move

– Clean up your home completely, double checking any cracks and crevices that may have your stuff hidden away.

– Unless your movers will do it for you, dissassemble your furniture to make your move a smoother process, and ensure to keep any screws, brackets, or other small items that are needed for reassembly. Pro tip: tape these smaller items in a bag to the bottom of the furniture.

– Print out the floor plan of your new home and have enough for the movers as well.

– You may want to hit the ATM before moving day, as you’ll need to have enough cash to tip your movers. Generally speaking, you’ll want to tip $20-$30 per mover.

– Make sure that you confirm with your movers the details of your move. The last thing that you want is to have moving day come around, and you and your movers aren’t on the same page.

– Get in touch with the landlord or current homeowner of your new place, and ensure that you’ll be able to get the keys to your new place when you arrive.

– Document the condition of your old place through pictures and videos, to ensure that you have proof of its state. This will come in handy if your landlord tries to keep your deposit, based on incorrect facts.

Moving Day

– Hand over your old home’s keys to the necessary people, such as landlord or building management.

– Do a quick run-through of your home to ensure that nothing gets left behind, whether it’s just a smaller item, or an entire box of stuff.

– Ensure that everything you packed up is in your new home before unpacking everything.

– If the moving company you are working with is going to assemble your furniture, make sure that they reassemble it in the correct room to avoid unnecessary work.

– Be sure to thank everyone helping you move, and leave them a tip!

You did it! Congrats and enjoy your new home!


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