Moving from Chicago to New York City – A Complete Guide

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Moving from Chicago to New York City

Here’s what you need to know about moving from Windy City to the Big Apple.

While New York City is one of the most popular and sought-after cities globally, let alone the country, it is still difficult to survive here. So when you are used to your comfortable life in Chicago and have decided to move from the Windy City to the Big Apple, some adjustments will have to be made. While there are some similarities between Chicago and New York, you will still take some time to find your rhythm. But thanks to this helpful guide, you will find it sooner than later.


Benefits of moving to New York City

New York City is lauded as one of the most exciting cities in the world. These are some benefits you will be able to avail of when you move to New York.

Culture & Diversity: One of the greatest things about New York is the diverse population. About 36% of the population is from outside the United States. As a result, there are easily about 800 different languages spoken here. Wherever you are in New York, you will bump into immigrants, recent move-ins like yourself, or New York City natives. Different parts of New York are dedicated to certain countries, cultures, and cuisines like Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Guyana, Little Italy, and Little India, among others.

Job Opportunities: New York has a growing job market, be it for technology, fashion, finance, marketing, modeling, advertising, public relations, or banking. Many large companies like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, ABM Industries, Philip Morris International, and Pfizer have offices in New York, providing excellent employment opportunities and salary packages. Broadway for artists, musicians, and actors, New York Fashion Week for designers and models. Whatever your dream, you can chase it here, in New York.

Also Read: Job Relocation Guide

Public Transportation: Getting around New York City is very easy, thanks to the New York Subway System, buses, and pedestrian-friendly roads and walkways. And if you like traveling and need to get a flight from the city or country, New York has three major international airports, too.

The Vibe: Anybody who visits New York is impacted by the action-packed, exciting buzzing throughout the city. The streets are always alive with the hustle-bustle of moving feet and crowds conversing in so many languages, over and above the crazy traffic noises. No matter the time of day or night, there will always be a place to eat, drink, party, or be entertained. It is no wonder that New York City has been considered the ‘city that never sleeps.

Sightseeing & Activities: There is no shortage of historical landmarks, museums and galleries, monuments and live shows on the streets, libraries, shopping malls and streets, eateries and pubs, live sporting and music events, plays, movies and concerts, and more in New York, all year long. It would take more than a month to experience everything that New York has to offer fully.

See Also: Moving From California to New York – A Detailed Guide

Cost of Moving to New York City

You will have to prepare a budget before you plan your move, taking into account how much you earn (if you have a job in New York City already), how much you will need to live in New York, what the costs of moving to New York from Chicago and living there are, and so on. So before you pack your bags, do some research and calculate how much this operation is going to cost you.

Your moving cost from Chicago to New York will largely depend on some variable factors like the size of the household you are packing and moving, the quantity and weight of household and personal items, whether or not there are specialty items or any add-ons, and the number of laborers required to move your things. If you hire a moving company to handle the move from start to finish, you can expect your moving cost to be anywhere between $2300 and $7000.

See Also: Largest Cities in New York


Cost of Living in New York City

Living in New York City can be difficult if you have not prepared in advance and taken into account how much you are going to need to earn to live here for the long term.

If you are planning to rent, then the rough rent amount per month would be:

  • One-bedroom apartment (in the center of the city): $2,000+
  • One-bedroom apartment (on the outskirts): $1,400+
  • Three bedroom apartment (in the center of the city): $4,000+
  • Three bedroom apartment (on the outskirts): $2,176+

If you are looking to purchase a home in New York City, then:

  • Buying a house in the heart of the city would cost you about $8,489 per square meter
  • Buying a house outside the city center would cost you about $3230 per square meter

Some effective ways to save on housing costs are:

  1. Sharing an apartment or house with roommates: splitting the rent will bring down your cost of living.
  2. Look for housing options in cheaper neighborhoods like the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island & Brooklyn. Even Manhattan has some cheaper pockets.

Where to Live in New York City:

If you are looking for a decent neighborhood full of activity, trendy restaurants, and live music venues, you will have to budget for a mid-range to the expensive neighborhood. Here are some of the best neighborhoods that New York City offers.

Upper West Side: As seen in many movies and TV shows, the Upper West Side has classic brownstones luxury apartments in close proximity to Central Park. You will brush shoulders with the cream of society and enjoy the lush greenery of the Park.

East Village: This trendy neighborhood is known for its eateries, music venues, coffee shops, and bars, making it popular for nightlife seekers. Many young professionals, musicians, students, and creatives choose to live in the East Village.

Manhattanville: Also known as West Harlem, Manhattanville has experienced a lot of gentrification over the last decade. A lot of housing here has been acquired by Columbia University, with pubs, shopping, and restaurants nearby.

Washington Heights: Named after Fort Washington, Washington Heights lies at the top of Upper Manhattan. It is also known as ‘Little Dominican Republic’, blending old residential building structures with some of the city’s best attractions like Met Cloisters, home to incredible Medieval Art.

Also Read: 9 Best NYC Neighborhoods to Live In

Getting Around in New York City

Even though New York City is crowded with people, it is still mainly on the move. This is because it is pedestrian-friendly – which means that if you have got a good pair of shoes to walk in and a map, you can walk almost all over the city, thanks to its easy-to-follow grid structure. Owning and driving a car in New York isn’t the best option because parking rates are very high, and car maintenance will cause a drain on your finances. The majority of residents in New York prefer to travel by public transport because it is well-connected to all parts of the city and is easily accessible.

New Yorkers generally use the New York Subway System or Bus Services to get around the city. If you are going to be commuting a lot, a MetroCard is advisable. If you buy a MetroCard for $2.75, you can avail of an 11% discount on your $5.50 One-Day trip. You could also buy a Monthly Seasonal Ticket for $116.50, which gives you unlimited trips per month. Another great way to commute around the city is by bicycle. Not only is it eco-friendly, but you get a good workout as well!


Working in New York City

New York is home to some mega-industries, making it an economic powerhouse. If you are looking for a finance, entertainment, or media job, New York City is the ideal place to apply for jobs. Financial giants like The Wall Street Stock Exchange, United Nations, American Express, HBO, Shutterstock, Conde Nast, and Tiffany’s have a robust presence in the Big Apple. Keep in mind that New York City does have personal income taxes, which are paid on your state return. Sales Tax is even higher at 8.875%


The entertainment industry is a significant force that drives the New York economy. You would be spoilt for choice when seeking entertainment options for any day of the week. From hundreds of restaurants boasting ethnic cuisines like Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, Asian, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Lebanese, Brazilian, French, and more, to eclectic pubs, bars, nightclubs, and coffee shops, your favorite meal or drink is just around the corner. New York has many parks, open-air venues, and river-front cafes to enjoy the outdoors in. It is also the center of many globally recognized events like New York Fashion Week, New Year’s Eve at Times Square, New York City Pride March, and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, to name a few. And finally, New York houses two Major League Baseball franchises.

Education in New York City

New York City is reputed for having some of the best universities and educational institutions for myriad subjects and degrees. There are over 100 universities and higher education alternatives available here, including New York University, University of Columbia and Barnard College, Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, Cornell University, and the United States Military Academy, to name a few.

Also Read: Moving from Chicago to Atlanta – A Complete Guide


Moving to New York can probably be the best decision you have made if you are ambitious and seek to grow along with the city you are in. There are umpteen opportunities to learn, discover and evolve, with so many cultures and backgrounds to gain inspiration from.

Also Read: 5 Best Cheap Neighborhoods to Live in NYC

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to move from Chicago to New York?

Your moving cost from Chicago to New York will largely depend on some variable factors like the size of the household you are packing and moving, the quantity and weight of household and personal items, whether or not there are specialty items or any add-ons, and the number of laborers required to move your things. You can expect your moving cost to be anywhere between $2500 and $7000.

Is Chicago or New York more expensive?

New York is more expensive than Chicago. Chicago is about 36% cheaper to live in. This is because the average income you would need to earn in Chicago to live comfortably ranges from $37,000 to $40,000. But it is also important to note that your employers will also pay about 12% lesser salaries than in New York City.


Is New York pizza better than Chicago?

Both New York City and Chicago have a high reputation for their pizzas, unique to the cities. They have distinct characteristics and flavors, so you know whether it is a New York pizza or one from Chicago. The most distinguishing characteristic is the pizza crust. New York pizzas are known for their thin crusts, while Chicago’s pizzas have thick crusts, hence ‘deep dish pizza’. So depending on your preferences, you’ll be able to decide which kind of pizza is the best for you.

Is New York safe?

Even with its pretty large population, New York City is one of the safest large cities in the world. Thanks to the efforts by New York government officials, the Big Apple has a criminal violence rate that is 32% less than Chicago. While people moving to any new city should always be vigilant and careful with their belongings, New York is relatively safe to live in.

Are Chicago and New York City similar?

Chicago is a lot like New York, probably more than any other city in the United States. But Chicago has all of New York’s desirable qualities, like the availability of delicious ethnic food in highly popular restaurants, leaving behind the annoying ones like the noise on the road, thanks to incessantly honking car horns.

Also Read: Moving From Chicago to Florida – A Complete Guide

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.