What to Know Before Moving to Chicago for College

Starting college marks an important milestone and a fresh start in life on your road to adulthood. As the third largest city in the country, the City of Chicago is a high-energy city with a thriving art scene, cultural diversity, incredible food, and a bustling economy. While moving here will undoubtedly be a great experience, there are a few things you should know first. Before you pack up and leave the parental units behind, here are some Chicago moving pointers courtesy of Cheap Chicago Movers ( Whether you decide to live in a dorm or an apartment, these guys can help you get all moved in before classes start.

Housing is Expensive

College dorms present easy access to classes, offer affordable living, and provide ample opportunities to socialize while you acclimate yourself to a new city. So if you’re considering the less affordable option of moving into an apartment, make friends fast because you’re going to need a roommate. Chicago remains on the top 10 list of expensive rental markets in the country, with the average apartment rent coming in at $1,958. Each of the 77 neighborhoods presents their own charm and heritage, but consider living just outside of South Loop to cut your expenses. One mile and one train stop could save you hundreds of dollars per month.

It's really expensive to rent an apartment in Chicago, so you may want to consider living in a dorm instead.

It’s really expensive to rent an apartment in Chicago, so you may want to consider living in a dorm instead.

You Won’t Need a Car

Chicago Transit Authority services the entire City of Chicago and its 40 neighboring communities and airports via bus and rail, making it one of the easiest cities in the country to get around. A single ride of the “El” – aptly named for its elevated segments built in the 1880’s – will cost you $3, but a monthly pass will cost you just $100. This means that the more you ride, the more you save! As an added bonus, taxis and Ubers are aplenty, so you won’t need to be a hermit to explore the City of Big Shoulders.

You Can Eat and Drink Out 21 hours a day

Skip the college cafeterias and sample the local dive bars, trendy eateries, and ethnic take-outs offered in this late-night foodie city. Try the popular joint El Burrito Mexican after a game at Wrigley Field where a burrito as big as your head will cost you about $5, or Weiner’s Circle on Clark St. in Lincoln Park. Many bars are open until 4:00 a.m. and liquor establishments open at 7:00 a.m. six days a week, which means you can eat and drink out 21 hours a day (once you turn 21 of course)!

You’re Going to Need a Winter Coat

The daily average high temperature in January is 31 degrees Fahrenheit, and this city definitely lives up to the moniker “the Windy City”. Wind chills can drop down to negative temperatures as early as December, so skip the fashionable pea coat and invest in a good down winter coat.

Winters here are brutal, so make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Winters here are brutal, so make sure you are dressed appropriately.

It’s Great for Dating

When it comes to affordable date nights, Chicago delivers. Cultural institutions like the Art Institute, Field Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry are all FREE for Chicago residents when you pick up a Museum Passport at your local library. And with more than 500 storefront theater companies Chicago, including famed late night sketch comedy venue Second City which helped launch the careers of entertainers like Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert, Chicago is also considered the theater capital of America. In the summer, you can hop on the Metra train northbound and check out the Chicago north shore’s world-class music festival, Ravinia Festival.


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Settling In: Exploring Our South Loop Neighborhood

Whether you’re a new student at Columbia College Chicago or an alumni who has been away for awhile, we’ve written a guide to South Loop just for you. Columbia College Chicago moved to its current address at 600 Michigan Avenue back in 1975, and we’ve loved living in the heart of the vibrant South Loop area ever since. Here you’ll find fantastic dining experiences, endless amounts of shopping, and many other attractions that are waiting to be explored. Check out a few of our recommendations below in order to best introduce yourself to this amazing part of the city.

South Loop Restaurants

You can find almost anything that you’re hungry for in Chicago’s South Loop restaurants. If you’re looking for cheap, casual, and delicious eats, pop over to Cafecito at Wabash and LaSalle. This Cuban eatery offers amazing salads and pressed sandwiches in an unpretentious atmosphere. It’s also one of the only places around where you can find authentic Cuban espresso, which is perfect if you’re planning on a late night study sesh.

If you’re looking for a good place when the parents come to visit, then consider the Maine-inspired Acadia where you can indulge in a 5 or 10-course tasting menu. Acadia’s famous Deer Island Maine shrimp is served on a bed of noodles made from cuttlefish, and the savory Stoning Maine lobster pie is a local favorite.

There are plenty of fun dining experiences to be had in South Loop.

There are plenty of fun dining experiences to be had in South Loop.

After a rough day of classes, be sure to head to Devil Dawgs for some good ole Chicago-style comfort food. Guests can choose from over 15 different toppings, making it easy to create a hot dog just to your liking. If you aren’t in the mood for a hot dog, Devil Dawgs also serves tasty chicken sandwiches and hamburgers.

Shopping Destinations

If you love arts and crafts projects, or just need some inspiration for your next school project, then make sure to visit the two-story Artist and Craftsman Supply. The creative staff will be happy to help out with crafting ideas or help you locate the supplies you’re looking for. From watercolors to carving tools, this large shop is filled with almost every type of art supply that you could possibly need.

If you’re a stud looking for the latest streetwear, then Jugrnaut is the perfect shopping destination.This store began as is a home-grown apparel boutique that specializes in comfortable and casual urban clothing for men. If you want to rock comfy clothes for class without sacrificing your style, Jugrnaut is the place to shop.

Activities in South Loop include fitness opportunities in the park.

Activities in South Loop include fitness opportunities in the park.

Endless Activities

Columbia College really couldn’t be located in a better Chicago neighborhood. Campus is tucked right between Millennium Park to the north and Museum Campus to the south, which are both two of the most desirable destinations in the city. You could spend weeks just discovering all the of museums and parks in our neck of the woods, but we’ve seen it all and have a few favorites. Just a short 20-25 minute walk from campus, the Adler Planetarium is one of the premier observatories in the world. Here, you can see compelling exhibits like “Mission Moon” and watch informative shows like “Cosmic Wonder”. Each month, the planetarium puts on a show called Adler After Dark, that provides live entertainment, guest lectures, and amazing glimpses at the cosmos. A little farther south, in the Prairie District, the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens offers visitors the chance to honor the contributions of women in Chicago and the United States while participating in the many activities that the park offers, such as yoga, movie nights, or taking one of the many classes offered in the field house facility. This quaint park is a great place to spend a warm Spring day studying or to escape the grind of exams.

Thanks to our partner Great Guys for contributing to today’s post. Great Guys offers cheap long distance moving services to get you where you need to go without breaking the bank. Whether you’re moving to a new dorm on campus or you’re moving somewhere to start your first job after graduation, keep Great Guys in mind for your next move!


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