Moving from New York City to Chicago can be an easy switch, as both cities share a lot of similarities. This guide will make the move easier.

They’re both big cities with tough continental climates where all 4 seasons are represented in their entirety. 

These similarities may help you adjust faster and can really help to accelerate how fast you adapt to your new city.

So if you plan on trading in the Big Apple for the Windy City, this guide will explain the whole moving process and share some helpful tips to assist you with your relocation.

The Moving Process From New York City to Chicago

How Far is Chicago from New York City?

The distance between New York City and Chicago is 789 miles. The driving time of this journey is approximately 12 hours by car depending on traffic.

So whether you’re planning on doing a DIY move and driving the journey yourself in a rented moving van or you’re planning to drive your car and hire a professional mover, it’s definitely worth noting that it’s a lengthy drive.

The flight time is roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes long, so if the idea of sitting in a car for 12+ hours doesn’t sound like fun to you, you should definitely consider flying.

What is the Average Cost to Move From New York City to Chicago?

The average cost to move from New York City to Chicago is between $2500-$4000. That means on average it costs roughly $3250.

There are many variables that determine the exact cost of a move from New York City to Chicago such as the number of items being moved, whether you’ll want additional packing and unpacking services, and whether you plan to hire professional moving services or do it yourself.

Should I Move From New York City to Chicago?

While this move won’t involve much difference in climate, there are other benefits. Immense rental rate decreases and a less hectic lifestyle are two of the biggest benefits. If this sounds good to you, then you should move from New York City to Chicago.

How New York City Compares to Chicago

Living Costs Compared

The first thing a New Yorker will notice when they arrive in Chicago is how affordable it is comparatively.

It’s no secret that New York City is one of the most expensive places to live in the US, let alone the world, so the rental and real estate prices in Chicago will be a pleasant surprise.

The median rent in New York City is around $2,850, while it’s only $1,708 in Chicago. And in Chicago, you can find plenty of luxury condos with built-in amenities like fitness centers, pools, and concierge service.

If you’re planning to buy a house in Chicago you will be happy to hear that buying an apartment in Chicago is 2.5 times cheaper than in NYC. The median sale price of a house in NYC is $705,407. In Chicago, the median sale price is only $269,000.

Aside from real estate costs, the cost of living in Chicago is around 18% cheaper than in NYC. So you can expect cheaper utilities, groceries, and healthcare costs in Chicago.

Public Transportation

The L is Chicago’s equivalent of the subway system. Although L is short for “elevated,” some of the trains run through subways or at ground level. In addition to public transit, there is also a bus system that runs through all regions of the city.

Most Chi-Town residents also own their own vehicles, which is unlike NYC where most residents usually only rely on public transportation.

In NYC an unlimited subway card costs $127 per month and $2.75 per ride. In Chicago, a 30-day pass costs $105 and one ride costs $2.50.


As we mentioned previously, both NYC and Chicago have tough continental climates where all 4 seasons are represented in their entirety. They both have hot, humid summers. But winters can differ slightly.

On average, Chicago gets about a foot more snow each winter than New York. While the coldest average monthly temperature in New York bottoms out at 27℉, Chicago’s average lows in winter months are 18℉ or colder.

These cold winters in Chicago can be quickly forgotten about since the city has 18 miles of public access along Lake Michigan and boasts 552 parks.

So whether it’s a spring stroll on the Magnificent Mile, a summer dip in Lake Michigan, or a crisp walk in Lincoln Park surrounded by the fall foliage, they make Chicago winters bearable.

Moving From New York City to Chicago DMV

When moving from New York City to Chicago, it must be noted that you will have to get a new driver’s license.

To get an Illinois driver’s license as a formerly out of state resident you’ll have to go to an Illinois Department of Driver Services office in person to apply. Unfortunately, you can’t do an Illinois DMV change of address online or over the phone.

While appointments are available for certain Illinois DMV services, you can’t make an appointment online ahead of time to update your address or vehicle registration, so make sure that you allow enough time if you have to wait.

More information about what you will need to bring with you can be found here

Buying a home in Chicago

As we mentioned earlier, buying a home in Chicago is significantly cheaper than buying a home in NYC. These are the neighborhoods to consider if looking to buy a home.


Are you dreaming of a home with a big backyard and plenty of space? That’s what you’ll find in South Side Beverly. Beverly has one of the highest rates of homeownership in Chicago, 76% of people own their homes, so if you are looking for a place to cultivate community this neighborhood is a great choice.

The neighborhood boasts historic houses, huge yards, and picturesque scenes, and a 133-year-old Irish castle! Affordability paired with space means that if you are a growing family this neighborhood is a great place to settle.

Rogers Park

Rogers Park is an older neighborhood in Chicago which is dominated by pre-WW2 family homes and small family apartment buildings. It is an affordable, walkable neighborhood.

Rogers Park is also one of the most affordable areas in the city. It is close to the shore of Lake Michigan and one can gain access to many modern amenities in downtown Evanston.


In this walkable, residential neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago, you’ll find simple two-story apartments and nicely landscaped row houses. It’s an ideal neighborhood if you’re looking for something with a bit of historic charm. More than half of the housing stock was built before 1940.

Housing prices in this neighborhood are extremely affordable and Bridgeport is close to both Chinatown and Pilsen. If you’re a foodie you’ll be happy to hear that great restaurants will never be too far away.

Selling Your Property in New York City

The first step when planning to sell your property in New York City is finding the right realtor. You also have to consider when to sell your home.

Housing prices can fluctuate by thousands of dollars depending on what time of year you sell your home. June is the best month to sell in New York for speed, and July is the best month to sell for a better price in New York. Selling in either of these months is a great idea.

Figuring out what your house is worth is a vital task to ensure a financially favorable and speedy sale. Gauging your home’s value compared to the area’s market value is the best way to confidently price your home. An experienced real estate agent can provide a market analysis.

A good, reliable realtor will guide you through the whole process and can really help you alleviate the stresses that come with selling your home.

Finding a Job in Chicago Before You Move There

Before you move to Chicago, it’s advised to try and find a job so that your move can have one less stressor added to it. Some ideas of where to start the job search would be

City of Chicago: Jobs Now

This is a great resource to find City of Chicago jobs. Are you a resident in pursuit of finding a job? This is a great place to start the job search. The page contains information on where residents can find job opportunities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.


Indeed is always a great place to find job listings no matter where you are based. You can use the tools to filter your search to certain areas in Chicago and there are always new job listings posted daily.

To see the jobs currently available in Chicago, check them out here.

Word of Mouth

Do you know anyone living in the area? Ask them if they know anyone looking to hire! It’s such a simple concept but yet we forget to use it.

Moving From New York City to Chicago Checklist

The following checklist will allow you to assess what needs to be done before trading the Big Apple for the Windy City.

At Least 4 to 6 Weeks Before the Move

– Organize a professional moving company.

– Let your health care physician, dentist, and other service providers 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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