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Start Your Review of Chicago, IL

Fun city. High crime rate and cold winter
I've lived in Chicago for about 3 years.
It wasn't bad at all. The city as pros and cons.

Good public transportation. You basically can survive without a car.
A lot of opportunities for professional growth.
A lot of fun places to visit.
Beautiful downtown, Lake Shore, Boystown.
Gorgeous Fall.

High crime rate and a lot of shootings.
Cold, long, gloomy winter with a lot of snow.
Parking during the winter almost doesn't exist.
The city is pretty expensive.
Lack of nature.

After living there for 3 years I can't say that it's quite my place to live. I had a lot of fun there, yes but the lack of sunshine and the nature affects you in a negative way.

The city left a negative impact on my personal life but it really no the city's fault.

You can save a lot of money on not having a car and using public transportation.



A city bent on destroying itself
I am a 52-year-old professional. I was born and raised in Chicago, have lived and worked here my entire life, opened a business here 30 years ago, and have operated that business ever since. I also have many clients who are city business owners.

Chicago was always 'rough', a vestige of its frontier origins. But it was, traditionally, also an excellent place to do business. The one-time 'City of Big Shoulders' had a wide and diverse economic base, a multitude of cultural accouterments, and was generally well-managed.

No more. The last 30 years, and particularly the last 15, have been disastrous for Chicago. During the dot-com 1990s and the early-2000s real estate boom, the City was awash in tax revenue. The city squandered all of this revenue on sweetheart deals with well-connected political cronies, and vastly expanded public commitments. No debt was retired - much more was, in fact, taken on. And no funds were retained for a rainy day. Politicos running the city plantation behaved as though the good times would never end.

But they did. Particularly dependent on tax revenue from real estate sales and purchases, the city saw these revenues dry up during the 2008 melt-down. Business taxes, too, plummeted as all businesses saw vastly reduced revenues, and many simply ceased to exist.

The city responded to these events by declaring economic war on its remaining taxpayers. Property taxes skyrocketed. In many working-class neighborhoods where homes had been held by the same family for generations, owners were forced to sell because they were unable to pay these new taxes. Tax rates on businesses, too, were increased dramatically. And the city's army of worker bees (which was not reduced, but increased) was dispatched to find revenue under every rock and log: parking tickets were issued for violations which did not occur; businesses with signs out front for decades were suddenly enjoying $500.00 tickets for lacking the requisite 'permits'; and building violations swelled to control such serious public safety threats as fences exceeding six feet in height and unpainted stairwells. The city also sold prize assets, such as the Chicago Skyway and city parking meters, to private companies just to pay ongoing operating expenses.

Opening a business in the city today is effectively impossible. Endless requirements for licenses, fees, 'polices', wages, health care and payroll have removed any prospect of profitability before the doors ever open. The States of Wisconsin and Indiana, recognizing this foolishness, have dramatically lowered taxes, reduced regulation and adopted business-friendly measures, all of which have served to "vacuum" city businesses into those more accommodating venues, never to return.

Nor has actual public safety been spared. Over the past several years, Chicago police officers have been rewarded with administrative suspension and even imprisonment for the difficult assignment of controlling the city's vast criminal population. The Police Department responded to these actions by effectively abandoning enforcement in the city's worst neighborhoods, a decision which led directly to Chicago achieving the dubious public distinction of "Murder Capitol of the World".

There have been bright spots. For example, the city somehow found millions for mission-critical services such as the creation of bicycle lanes and traffic signals (even though cyclists uniformly menace the population with their aggressive weaving between motorized vehicles during the height of rush-hour, riding in the the opposite direction of travel on three-lane one-way streets, and deliberately 'brushing' pedestrians in an apparent effort to demonstrate their immunity from city traffic ordinances).

Public sexuality, too, has blossomed. In endless displays of 'pride', the city's sexually perverse community routinely sports scant clothing (and less) to children on Saturday afternoons while the commercial sector sits idle to accommodate these critical public service events.

In short, the City of Chicago is broke, mismanaged, crime-ridden and unsuitable for children. Perhaps most distressingly, there exists no prospect for improvement. The city's uniform response to its ever-deepening economic and social morass is to increase further the taxes and regulations inflicted on remaining taxpayers; to strangle further the ability of entrepreneurs to start new businesses; and to liberate further the criminals and miscreants who already run roughshod over the urban landscape.

Chicago has no future. You should not even consider locating here.



Lakeshore East - A Gem to Consider
There's a lot to say about the general quality of life in Chicago, but after living here 11+ years, I think the secret to the best possible quality of life is to live somewhere with a south-facing exposure, with a view of the lake and Grant Park/Millennium Park—preferably a higher floor.

To those moving to Chicago or even neighborhoods within Chicago, I'd take a serious look at the Lakeshore East neighborhood just north of Millennium Park—a truly hidden gem. A bit "sterile," yes, but also beautiful and quiet, and oh-so-close to the Loop. I think your quality of life in Chicago is very much impacted by your access to the Loop/downtown. LSE is pricey but I think living in a smaller place is worth it in this case. Where else in the city can you walk through a gorgeous park on the way to the grocery story every day (the Mariano's in LSE is amazing!)?

I've had a terrible experience living in the middle of the Loop. The noise is incredible and nonstop, and there is a serious homeless problem. I hated living in Lincoln Park because of the inconvenience of coming downtown, and the "fratty" element. Please do consider these things as you look for a place to live. Also consider the fact that it's convenient to be near transit, yes, but transit stops also attract an unsavory element.

To repeat, your quality of life in Chicago will be directly impacted by your view, the amount of sunlight in your place, your access to green space, and your access to the Loop/downtown.



Chicago - Don't Move Here if You Like Nature and A
After living in Chicago for 11 years, in a variety of neighborhoods—Gold Coast, Roscoe Village, Lincoln Park, South Loop, and the Loop—I can definitely say I have a pretty good grasp on the city. I'm a thirtysomething business owner.

Speaking for myself, I find Chicago a very difficult place to be happy in, so hard, in fact, that it's had a negative impact on my health and actually triggered real depression!

This message is mainly for sensitive people who might be affected by climate and the lack of access to nature. I find that there aren't too many of "us" in Chicago, that those who are here moan about it but they're just the type who aren't "affected" by these things as much. I get that.

For the rest of us, consider the fact that there are whole months where the sun sets before 4:30 p.m. Speaking for myself personally, as soon as daylight savings time kicks in, something goes haywire in the brain and my sleep starts getting affected. Ordinarily I could fight this with going outside and "resetting" myself with some greenery and bright sunlight but that's not an option here when it gets cold and cloudy. So you are really in a bind. For me it's meant being absolutely miserable from November until March - or later.

You'll find a lot of people who work out here, but there's really not a "healthy" lifestyle to speak of. You kind of have to patchwork it with trips to Whole Foods, an occasional 5k, etc., if you can be bothered. If you don't drink (I don't), you'll find yourself an outcast at like 95% of things.

Nature—pretty much nonexistent, except for the parks by the lake and Northerly Island. (All of which are far less accessible in winter). Yes, there are folks who go hiking in nearby forest preserves, and love it, but do you really want to go through all the trouble of driving at least an hour through ugly areas and possibly traffic? And what if you don't have a car? And yes, you can bike in the winter, but are you kidding?

If you're really creative the train can take you to some nice places - the Dunes, Hyde Park, Geneva - but that's a hassle and again, summer activities.

Overall, I find the city to be just ugly—the buildings, the streets. Nothing charming about it, except maybe places like Old Town. The skyline is pretty from afar but get up close and I find the buildings don't really "mix" well.

If you're reasonably friendly, and join organizations, it's easy to meet people, but like anywhere, true friends are trickier to find. In the business world there's an overt "I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine" mentality.

If you must live here, I would urge you to try to live near Grant Park in a building with a view of the park and the lake—I've been much happier when I've lived in places with this view (and will make this sort of place the last place I live here). I realize that's expensive, but it's the only way I've found to make living here tolerable. Try to avoid living in and around "concrete canyons," for reasons of mental health. Also beware that living downtown means lots of NOISE so try living on a floor above 15. Live near within walking distance of a grocery store. I had good luck with a building called 1130 S. Michigan.

Crime—I've been lucky to not be a victim all these years, but I had a friend get his head bashed in leaving a Streeterville gym at 7:00 p.m.

Chicago is a good place for business activities, cultural options (rich theater scene, etc.), and can be paradise for those from Midwest schools looking to drink and socialize. And socializing in general. The lakefront trail, particularly the southern portion, is a delight in the summer. But that's just not enough to keep me here.

Oh - a couple more things. The isolation - Chicago is 700 miles away from anything interesting (The Smokies, etc.) and to get there you'll likely have to go through dreaded O'Hare, possibly the most depressing airport on earth. Flying south during the winter is a good idea, but the last time I did it, I was delayed 3 days in South Carolina because of snow in Chicago. So "getting out" during winter can REALLY be a hassle.

The el is functional but crumbling. You'll have to cope with an hour+ ride to O'Hare from the Loop; is this acceptable for a world-class city?

I'm presently looking to relocate to either Charleston, SC or San Luis Obispo, CA. I know every place has issues but there's got to be somewhere that's better to live than here.



My Experience
I have lived in Chicago for 14 years and Chicago has been good to me, but I am now looking to move. It is a big city so my experience is all I can offer. I am a 34 year old single female who has lived on the north side. Why do I want to move? 1) I will never be able to afford to buy a house here. I have been renting and working hard to pay my rent for years. Buying a home here is very expensive and not an option for me even though I pay $1000/month for a one bedroom apartment. 2) There is hardly any nature or outdoor activities. Yes, there is the lake which is jam packed with people and some forest preserves if you drive a bit, but on a daily basis all I see is concrete. It is the concrete city. Outdoor activities are street festivals. 3) The people are superficially friendly if you are in a setting to talk to them, they are not friendly on the street and from my experience almost everything revolves around alcohol. In 14 years I have managed to make 2 friends who are sincere, authentic people. 4) EVERYTHING is a hassle. I cannot walk down the street without someone approaching me, asking me for something. There are people from organizations asking me to sign up, homeless people (bless them) asking for money, men asking me what time it is just so they can turn the conversation into a come on line. Ladies- the men are aggressive and borderline harassment on the street. And, how much money can I give out on a single day!! I have found that when someone talks to me on the street, they only do so because they want something. It makes it difficult to be nice to anyone, hence people not being nice on the street. You really do have to have a 'tough skin' to live here and if you do not, you will develop one to survive. Going to the store or a friends house is a hassle because of the lines of people and spending time looking for parking. 5) feeling unsafe and always watching my surroundings. Since living here I have been hit by a car and attacked on the street (in a very expensive neighborhood on the north side). I now am very alert while I cross the street and I don't walk alone at night anymore. I also am always aware of who is around me.

How Chicago has been good? I moved here from a very small town when I was 20. 1) There is a lot of opportunity here. I have never had a problem finding a job and it is very easy to network with people. I am in the spa/salon profession and I also do in home caregiving and I have people offering me work, non stop. There are a lot of people spending money in Chicago and they part with their money pretty easily. My biggest challenge is that I work too much and I have to say no to extra work often. If you are reliable, profession and have a trade or skill you can easily have work opportunities and network. However, someone as myself does not have enough income to buy a house here. But there is plenty of work. 2) Cultural diversity. Although Chicago is unfortunately, very segregated within its neighborhoods, experiencing the cultural diversity is a great part of the daily life here.

Most of the cons I mentioned are the cons of city life, as well as the pros. If you are young and want to experience bustles of people, hassle and alcohol, come to the north side of Chicago and enjoy yourself. But if you are more reserved or desire more authenticity in people and your daily life, I would not recommend living here. I I enjoyed living here while younger but now it is time to move on. I wanted to post this because I have been reading comments for other towns as I try to find my next place to live. And I hope my experience in Chicago can help someone make their decision.



Winter is too long and too cold. Not as bad as Wisconsin (Milwaukee is usually about 5 degrees colder) - by a few degrees, or Michigan (Ann Arbor or Dexter) but in the ballpark.



High Cost of Living
I am a 26 year old black male who was born on the south side of Chicago, and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. I went away to school in Michigan for my undergraduate degree, but moved back to Chicago for employment. I currently am studying to obtain my Master's degree, and will be graduating in June of 2016. I have known Chicago my whole life, and it's time for me to make a change. Don't get me wrong, I love Chicago but the time to move is approaching.

Chicago has become too expensive to live in a good neighborhood, and even then there is still too much crime for my liking. I currently live in the South Loop, which many would consider a "good neighborhood." The rent for a 1 bedroom in the South Loop is $1450 or above. That is ridiculous if you ask me. That's not including all of the extra utilities, such as electricity, heat, cable/internet, and parking. Jeez parking is so expensive here. I pay $125 a month just to park my car in a secure lot behind our apartment complex. Gas is very expensive compared to the rest of the country. Parking downtown, if you can find a spot, is ridiculously priced. Both the garages and metered parking is outrageous. The climate here has finally gotten to me. I don't mind the cold but when it keeps being below 0 I can't take it. Snow really bothers me as well. I hate driving in it, and it makes walking down the street difficult, plus you will get salt stains all on your pants lol.



I have lived in Chicago for five and a half years. Here's my opinion of Chicago.
It is not the suburbs. It is a completely different place. It is the best of cities and the worse of cities. You can have a great time and have a terrible experience all in the same day or night. Example Have a great time going to a concert @ a small neighborhood bar, take the train home and have a terrible encounter or encounters with homeless trash all in the same night. You don't just live in Chicago, you experience Chicago. Boredom is never a problem here, the problem is There may be too much to do and also being able to afford it. Chicago is not a friendly city most of the time. it is amazing how most people act like stone cold introverts for the most part. It is a lot harder to connect with people in Chicago than it is in the suburbs or other places. To sum it up You have to open minded and a lot of times have an attitude to survive and thrive in Chicago. This city is not for everybody! You need to be strong will and big balls to live here.



Cost of living is high, if you're in the city. The suburbs are reasonable, but mostly for families and not well suited for a young urban hipster or single.



Chicago vs Pittsburgh vs Boston
My wife and I are trying to choose the best city to live out of Chicago vs Pittsburgh vs Boston. We like European-style cities and urban life very much. We would love to be able to go about our daily life without needing a car. What can you guys tell us about the following topics:

- Walkability
- Public Transportation
- Crime (for us it’s of upmost importance to find a safe zone free of murders, guns, school shootings and drugs)
- Family friendliness
- Friendliness of its inhabitants
- Educated and cultured people
- Gentrification of the city
- Political moderation (the less polarized the better)
- Good schools
- Diversity (the more diverse the better)
- Cost of living
- Cultural scene (art, jazz music, classical music, pop music, theater, musicals, dance performances, restaurants, stand-up comedy, zoo, children’s museums)
- Parks and green areas
- Possibility of day and/or weekend trips (to other cities, hiking spots, etc)

Can you guys recommend good neighborhoods within those cities? We prefer it to suburban life.

NOTE: We know NYC and D.C. meet all those items, on the most part, but both are far from affordable for an immigrant family ?



Dangerous City
I've lived in Chicago over 25 years and now I can't wait to leave.
Chicago is broke and Mayor Emanuel has cut the police force, particularly in the nicer neighborhoods. The criminals know this and prowl the nicer neighborhoods looking for easy targets. The Mayor says crime is down, but what is actually happening (as reported in Chicago Magazine) is the police under report crime, sometimes just outright to right up reports. Also, the Mayor puts a lot of pressure on the newspapers and TV stations to not report crime that happens here. I live in a doorman building for safety and don't go out past 10pm.



Chicago was and is a great city, True we have political coruption, we pay high taxes, we pay more then anyone else for gas, oil, electric, and now water, true we have great schools, Art, Theatre, And of course we have dramatic weather changes..but lets be does the Dekotas.... We have great parks, great food, and a sence of community.. But we are plagued by crime and coruption...But if you look at our history we always have been a corupted town.. Our Mayors, Police captains, union officials have always been corupt, at one time it was a joke we all use to laugh at, except has gone to far...Maybe someday the normal working class of this town will wake up, and vote to help the people not the political party that runs this place..maybe someday the people will gather in front of city hall and demand change, maybe someday all races will try and live in peace after we kick out the drug lords, gangbangers, and corrupted city alderman who just want to use our money as there own personal credit card..all we can do is hope that change will come... it did a couple of time in this city..maybe it can happen again



Open spaces



My Kind of Town
47 years ago, I came to Chicago for the first time to visit my aunt, and I never left! I immediately felt at home and absolutely loved this city! Chicago has a fantastic Planetarium on the Lake Front; the longest stretch of public lake front beach anywhere in the Country, first class museums, incredible cultural activities, first class universities, and in a nutshell, everything New York has to offer, but less expensive.

On the negative side, housing has gotten very expensive for what you get; state taxes have gone from 3% to 5%, and our mayor, Rahm Emanuel, wants to raise property taxes again. Our state is deeply in debt due to a pension crisis, and the winters are incredibly brutal from January through March. When I came here, jobs were extremely easy to get; not so today. Chicago has a heavy unemployment problem, and the jobs that open up are generally minimum wage jobs. So, if you're looking for a job, I would advise you NOT to come to Chicago to compete with all those who are still out-of-work from the Great Recession. The crime has always been bad here in certain parts of the city (e.g., the South and the West sides). Now even the south suburbs are crime-ridden. The North side of the city is the safest but also the most expensive. I am so glad that my working years are almost finished. Because of the horrendous winter weather here, I will be relocating to a better climate upon my retirement since I won't have to worry about finding a job wherever I go to. Chicago has been good to me, but I'm kissing it off now along with so many other baby boomers who have already left or are planning on retiring elsewhere.



world class city & costs, for the 1% only, expect
I've lived in/around Chicago my entire life. At 46, I think I've signed my last lease in this area and I'm looking to leave. The cost of living here is always rising, but wages have not, jobs are scarcer, and the middle class is shrinking because the city is becoming increasingly the realm of the 1% -- us other 99% are screwed. Politics in Chicago has always been corrupt, graft is inherent and ingrained, not just here but the entire state. The Democratic machine has less clout than ever, but don't be fooled -- the so-called "progressives"/"liberals" have a horrible NIMBY attitude which results in every unfavorable plan or idea being pushed on the working class people and neighborhoods, and the Republicans that are around are just as "connected" and just as much part of the machine as the corrupt Dems. (They wouldn't be elected otherwise.)

You can't be in politics here and NOT be corrupt -- it's how things are done, in Chicago and in Illinois. You, the working taxpayer, will be nickeled and dimed out of your hard earned cash to fund everything, and you won't have enough money left over to avail yourself of all that Chicago has to offer. This is why many people come from Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, live here for a few years, and then leave to go back where they came from, or move out to the far suburbs. Chicago has many of the great things a world class city can offer. It also has all of the bad things you'd expect from an old, long urbanized, big city.

Pros: It's a beautiful city with beautiful architecture, fantastic skyline, largest public waterfront in the US with fantastic bike/walking path, logical city plan (once you know the grid system, you can find your way any where), a beautiful parks system (probably half of which are unfortunately in ghetto areas), lots of culture (from rock, blues, jazz, symphony, opera; museums; art galleries/museums; aquarium, planetarium, etc.), very culturally diverse, ethnic cuisines from all over the world (and very authentic), and people from all walks of life, also now a 'gay mecca.' Lots of great hole in the wall joints for ethnic food, music, art, spoken word, etc. and decent clubbing. If you live anywhere in the upper midwest/Great Lakes states, and you can't afford to/don't want to go to NY or LA, Chicago is the big smoke for you (especially if you're gay) -- this is where you come.

Cons: The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the public schools are horrible, overcrowded and underfunded (and will continue to get worse as Emanuel pushes for charter schools and closed many schools) and continue to graduate kids who can't read, write or do math -- they're basically unemployable, which is why they turn to crime, because there aren't any jobs anyway, and even if there were, they wouldn't be hired for them.

The cops are less corrupt when I was young, but now many of them aren't even from Chicago now. (This is both good and bad -- good in that it makes them less corruptible because they didn't grow up with/go to school with the criminal element in their neighborhoods; bad because they don't know their ass from a hole in the ground and they do everything by the book, whereas CPD used to have some wisdom and street smarts along with the corrupt FOP good ol' boys). It's a kinder, gentler and much gayer CPD than ever before -- and yet still ineffectual, and only quick to respond in affluent, white areas with vocal complainers. If you live in a transitional or poor neighborhood, don't expect them to respond quickly or at all, not just because they're ineffectual but because they are overwhelmed by criminal activity and stupid/drunken/drugged behavior on a constant and ongoing basis.

The city is increasingly aimed at tourism and transplants to the detriment of the life long city dwellers -- and yet even the tourists and transplants are not safe from flash robs in tourist areas like the Gold Coast and lakefront.

Rental market is very, very tight due to all the foreclosures of not only single family dwellings (homes, condos) but also multi-unit buildings. It is a landlord's market and you will pay very high rents for tiny, crappy apartments. Of course, you can find cheaper apartments, in crappier neighborhoods with higher crime and worse transportation options (whether by car or public transit).

Yes, we have great museums and cultural events -- but who can afford them, besides tourists, transplants who won't be staying, and the 1%?? I haven't gone to Taste of Chicago in years because it's over-crowded, insanely expensive, parking costs an arm and a leg, and gang bangers show up in droves. Don't forget the luxury taxes added by City of Chicago for everything from concert tickets to movie tickets. A movie will cost you $10-12 standard 7-7:30pm start time, and you're paying $10-12 to have ghetto/barrio residents talk and use their cell phones during the movie or dealing with their uncontrolled, unsupervised, thug-in-the-making brats.

The CTA public transit system is f-ed up with the new Ventra cards, the cost to pay is outrageous, and services are always being cut with fewer buses trains or stations closed from midnight to 5am. Traffic is horrible if you drive; ten years ago they were saying we were in the top 3 worst commutes in the US, and it's only gotten worse. Gas prices here are among the highest (often THE highest) in the USA (!), thanks to the extra taxes levied by the City of Chicago and the State of IL.

Sure we've got beautiful public lakefront and lots of it, but beware the muggers and flash robbers who look for joggers/cyclists. Anywhere you want to go, parking will be exorbitant thanks to the horrible deal ex-mayer Daley made with the privatized company that took over all the parking meters, and that contract is good for the next decade, you think the prices will ever go *down*? Hell no.

Yeah, world class sports teams... which you'll watch on your TV or in a sports bar because most tickets are unaffordable to the average guy on the street. A far cry from how it was when I was a kid and my dad could take all 5 of us to a ball game on his paltry teacher's salary.

The crime here is actually better than it was when I was a kid -- the murder rate is half what it was, even though the population is higher, and the property crimes and other violent crimes have decreased. But the crime is more vicious now, and it has spread beyond the bad neighborhoods where it used to be isolated.

True, the majority of shootings (fatal or otherwise) and gang activity are generally in ghetto (and barrio) neighborhoods on the West and South Sides (hello, Englewood). But the crime now travels to you via CTA, and is often committed by multiple assailants or groups (yes, groups of 8-15 kids) instead of a "lone" criminal. The criminals now are often teens because they know they will not be charged as adults.

The other problem is that the gangs are not as consolidated as they were in the 80s. The major leadership has been jailed or killed, resulting in many much smaller gang factions constantly fighting over turf and "distribution rights" for the drug traffic, and the constant spill-over of their wars into areas where kids and families are trying to scrape out a living.

Also -- shooting is not the only type of violent crime that happens here. We have had the dubious national and international notoriety of having an Irish native clubbed into permanent brain damage in a 'nice neighborhood' on the north side by Hispanic drug addicts, the youngest accused murderers ever charged in the US (wow, fantastic police work, CPD!), and flash robs in both retail and outdoor public places that start when the weather gets warm and continue until it gets cold. Basically the minute it starts to get warm, the shootings and homicides rise at a rapid rate.

Expect to sit in horrible traffic between 7am-9:30am and 2:30pm-6pm. Commutes are horrible, the CTA is expensive and overcrowded and poorly policed except in 'nice' areas.

The weather -- yeah, it's harsh. It's been unseasonably cold and we've had near record breaking amounts of snow this winter (2013-2014 winter). That being said... it USED TO BE LIKE THIS when I was a kid, so the amount of complaining is from people who are (a) not originally from here and got used to the mild winters we've had the last 15-20 years, and (b) from here but who got used to the mild winters and consider it the 'new normal.'

Chicago was ALWAYS bitter cold in the winter when I was a kid, and with lots of snow. I've lived through 3 of the 4 snowiest winters and Chicago is back up and running in less than a day, or a day or two at the most. Summers are often hot and humid thanks to Lake Michigan, but it is always cooler at the lake in summer, and warmer at the lakefront in winter. Spring is short. Probably the best months are September to November. Indian summers here are beautiful.

The Chicago public parks were conceived in the 19th century and there were supposed to be more... but let's just be thankful for what we've got, because they're pretty big and nice for the most part. And, other than the lakefront, the public parks are all the nature you're going to get. The population density here is about 12,000 people per square mile, so when you're trying to get away from people at a public park, there's a ton of people around you trying to do the same thing. Same thing at the lakefront. Be aware parks are overloaded with families and groups barbecuing and drinking and having large, loud gatherings in the summer. The amount of trash and filth is incredible in the evenings, and feeds a huge and growing population of rats (endemic since the 1800s), raccoons, and coyotes. People often don't clean up after their dogs (yuppies as well as ghetto clowns), and many just open their doors and let them run around with no leash.

Yeah, we've got universities, all with tuition that has gone up 400% more than earnings, so good luck paying for your education these days. Jobs are scarcer, and many businesses have left the state due to increased costs (also labor costs due to unions). Many that are still here employee barely literate overwhelmingly minority civil servants (um, the County buildings, many city buildings, many public institutions, schools, etc.) who are rude, entitled, lazy and incompetent. If you aren't a racist when you come here, you will become one by the time you leave.

It's weird to be nostalgic about the old Chicago, when it was more dangerous, crime-ridden and dicier. And yet everything that was great about it, was better then, and was more affordable to the average Joe, from the free days at the museums and zoo/aquarium/planetarium, to the affordability of the ball games.

What's great about Chicago now has been priced out of affordability for the average person, and that (especially) includes the hard working, blue collar, working class people/minorities who increasingly struggle to get by. They know better than anyone else that Chicago has become a city only for rich white people. If you're white, you may be fooled into thinking you can make it here, when you get here. But unless you're the 1% white, you'll know by the time you leave Chicago that all it has to offer isn't intended for you. At all.


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