Quality of Life

Chicago's affordable cost of living combines with seemingly endless cultural & recreations options to make for an unrivaled value for the city's world-class workforce

The nation’s only livable big city is all about choices

Lots of choices

Are you a fan of opera, blues, house, or indie-rock? Do you want a tree-lined yard & house, a funky loft, or a wow skyline-view condo you can walk to from work? Do you want the cutting edges of American cuisine?

How about ice skating at the feet of skyscrapers, nodding off on a blanket under thestars at all-summer free concerts, chilling in the hush and splash of a sailboat off downtown, or checking out globe-touring museum shows?

Maybe you’d prefer great non-stop airfares on last-minute weekend packages to just about anywhere? Or are you staying close to home so you can finish your executive MBA, or trying to make (almost) all your kids soccer games?

Chicago is built for the pursuit of happiness – mind, body and soul. At one-fifth the density of New York, Chicago is manageable. It works.

Chicago’s a big business town, where employers figured out a century ago that a good life is the foundation of better work; and that life should be good on every rung of the career ladder.

The many faces of quality of life have made Chicago a magnet for an abundant diversity of great talent. It is they who are driving Chicago’s economy forward.

Chicago is “the quintessential American city”NY Times

Spend Less

While Chicago’s love of superlatives helped earn its “windy” reputation, one title it lacks is “most expensive.”

If your salary was $50,000 in Chicago, you’d have to earn nearly twice as much to maintain your standard of living in New York City.

The Pizza & Beer Index


Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Index, 2009 Annual Average | Rent: monthly, 950 sq. ft. two bedroom apt., unfurnished, 1½ or 2 baths, excl. all utilities except water | New Home: 2,400 sq. ft., 8,000 sq. ft. lot, 4 bed/2 baths | Pizza:  11”-12” thin crust cheese pizza | Beer: Heineken, 6-pack, 12-oz. containers

Cutting-Edge Cuisine

Chicago has thousands of culinary delights, including 7 AAA five-diamond restaurants (tied with New York for the most five-diamond restaurants in North America), 10 James Beard award winners in the last 5 years, and 23 farmers markets


Michelin Restaurants (two 3-star; three 2-star; 17 1-star)


Neighborhood festivals

Good Times Roll

Chicago's hundreds of festivals include Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Riot Fest, Spring Awakening, North Coast, Blues Fest, Taste of Chicago, and free concerts all summer long in Millennium Park

Sports Galore

Chicago has been named as the Best Sports City by Sporting News three times, and is one of the few U.S. cities to have teams from all five major American professional team sports, including the 2013 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs, Whitesox, Bulls, Sky, Bears, and Fire


Professional sports teams


Miles of public transit

Get Around

A massive network of trains & buses connects nearly 2 million passengers daily throughout the Chicago region. Regional and national Amtrak train connect over 3 million riders, and Chicago is within a 4-hour flight of all major North American destinations