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Tell me about Philadelphia....or Chicago


closetohumping
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I may have to relocate to one of them within a year, no need to elaborate on the reason other than to say it's related to family.  Any of you live in either place?  I tend to like urban cities and outside of NYC and Boston, I think these two are next.  Been to Philly, have a generally positive impression of it.  I'm not unfamiliar with dense living as I did live in DC years ago.

 

Budget: 600-850K, 3 br or more. If I have to rent I'd like to keep it below 4K for a 3 br.

 

Willing to live in the burbs but brief research has shown I can live closish to downtown to both.  The issue is schools I'm guessing. How do they compare in regards to:

Urbanity

Housing value

Weather

People

Location

Food

Economic future

Other details

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Chicago's cold as fuck. Like so fucking cold. That's why we left. Also, I didn't want to have to live through the winters living in the suburbs. And the non-magnet schools are pretty terrible regardless of where you live, if you're in the city limits. Also, the taxes are insane. 

But everything else about the city is awesome. Incredible food. So much fun shit to do. Tons of culture. And perfect summers. The summers are incredible. 

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38 minutes ago, irishtexan said:

Chicago's cold as fuck. Like so fucking cold. That's why we left. Also, I didn't want to have to live through the winters living in the suburbs. And the non-magnet schools are pretty terrible regardless of where you live, if you're in the city limits. Also, the taxes are insane. 

But everything else about the city is awesome. Incredible food. So much fun shit to do. Tons of culture. And perfect summers. The summers are incredible. 

How are the people?  Midwest nice? I know the taxes are crazy but I'd be coming from California.

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2 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

How are the people?  Midwest nice? I know the taxes are crazy but I'd be coming from California.

People are great, for the most part. Midwestern hospitality. Friendly. Funny. I loved it there. I love going back to visit in the summers. I just couldn't stomach the winters anymore and was at somewhat of a dead-end career-wise where I couldn't afford to buy a decent place in Chicago. At this point in my life I'd be more open to living in one of the burbs immediately bordering the city like Oak Park or Evanston where you can still get into the city relatively easy via the El or the Metra. But the schools make it difficult to live in the city. They're very bad. You'd almost have to put your kids in private school.

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2 hours ago, closetohumping said:

I may have to relocate to one of them within a year, no need to elaborate on the reason other than to say it's related to family.  Any of you live in either place?  I tend to like urban cities and outside of NYC and Boston, I think these two are next.  Been to Philly, have a generally positive impression of it.  I'm not unfamiliar with dense living as I did live in DC years ago.

 

Budget: 600-850K, 3 br or more. If I have to rent I'd like to keep it below 4K for a 3 br.

 

Willing to live in the burbs but brief research has shown I can live closish to downtown to both.  The issue is schools I'm guessing. How do they compare in regards to:

Urbanity

Housing value

Weather

People

Location

Food

Economic future

Other details

One thing to keep in mind about Philly burbs, you can get good value and an easy trip into the city from some really nice spots in South Jersey (Moorestown, Cherry Hill, etc).  Home values are solid and affordable in the range you're seeking, weather is much better than Chicago.  Some really good public and private schools in that area, 1 hour from the beach, and there's all sorts of neat little towns around there (Moorestown is a really cool little historic town, lots of nice farms to buy organic foods/milk etc. just a short drive away, 2 hours from NYC, etc.)  

 

I lived in that area for 10 years (it was 20 years ago now), but I've visited many times and it's still a nice, quaint area.  

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3 minutes ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

They boo everything in Philly.  

But they do have Gritty, which is nice.

Ice Hockey Sport GIF by NHL

Very true.  I've taken a bunch of my friends from up there to Cowboys/Eagles and Cowboys/Giants games in Irving/Arlington, but as good of friends as we are, they said they'd never take me to an Eagles/Cowboys game in Philly because their fans are so terrible.  

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1 minute ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

They boo everything in Philly.  

But they do have Gritty, which is nice.

Ice Hockey Sport GIF by NHL

I’ve been there once.  Didn’t really care for it.  The only way you could possibly convince me to live there is if you gave me a complimentary membership to Pine Valley.  Chicago on the other hand would be lovely 8 months per year.

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15 minutes ago, The Ace of Aces said:

Philly's great. If you want to live in the city, around Ritterhouse is going to serve you well. If you want outside the dense city but still walkability, anywhere along the Main LIne works. Swathmore, Ardmore, Wayne, Haverford, etc. 

 Private schools dominate and should be your priority. 

Thoughts on King of Prussia?

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I lived in Chicago for a while, and I agree with @irishtexan, it gets stunningly cold there in the winters.  But, is Philadelphia much better in that regard?  The wind in Chicago is brutal, though.  

I will say the people in Chicago are awesome.  It is truly a huge city with a small-town vibe.  One thing I loved was the way various ethnic neighborhoods seemed to be distinct -- Italian, Polish, Jewish, etc. were all fairly homogeneous, but really welcoming.  I lived with a Polish family for awhile, just south of Skokie, and it was a phenomenal experience.

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24 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

But, is Philadelphia much better in that regard?

Yes. The coldest 3 months in Philly are like 8-9 degrees warmer on average. 

And - from what I hear - Chicago is typically "colder" than whatever the temp is. 

Edited by ztejas
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24 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I lived in Chicago for a while, and I agree with @irishtexan, it gets stunningly cold there in the winters.  But, is Philadelphia much better in that regard?  The wind in Chicago is brutal, though.  

 

Yes.  Winters are cold in Philadelphia, but nowhere near as brutal as Chicago.   Philly gets cold in the winter, but it's not the unrelenting snow and wind and sub-zero temps of Chicago.

I lived in Chicago for many years, and loved it there.  I think if I could magically pick up my job, family, friends, etc. and go anywhere, I'd be back in Chicago.   Agreed, it is like a city with a small town vibe.   Also, as mentioned above, probably need to be in one of the close in suburbs to get decent schools.

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12 minutes ago, Reynolds Woodcock said:

I have nothing to add, except Philly itself is fucking awesome. Have taken multiple day and weekend trips from nyc and always have a great time.Pennsylvania as a state is a dump, but Philly fucks.

Penntucky?

48 minutes ago, NIUHuskies said:

Forget Chicago, why don't you consider Milwaukee. Smaller than the other two. Money stretches further and you are 90 minutes from The Loop.

That is a thought.  Already doing some comparison shopping.  You get a much nicer home in the Chicago area vs Philly.  I'd imagine Milwaukee would give you more bang for your buck.

1 hour ago, midtown said:

I'd go with Philly jsut because of your access up and down the eastern seaboard

Pretty big factor for me honestly.  Also may just get a smaller place close to NYC.

2 hours ago, shnsajax said:

Property Taxes in Jersey were pretty awful from what I remember. 

Correct.  Pretty bad in Illinois also.  Hence living in Pennsylvania.  Lower taxes

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I'll add that a few of my friends from Chicago got sick of some of the big-city bullshit that comes with living there and moved to Milwaukee. They absolutely love it there. I've visited there 4 or 5 times and I've always had a blast. It's basically Chicago's northern-most "suburb" but with it's own identity. It's got a lot of the good shit you'll find in Chicago without the big-city bullshit. 

However, while you think "I'm only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago" you will not go to Chicago as much as you think unless you have a specific reason to go there. This same thinking may apply to Jersey's access to the eastern seaboard, but I bet you'd be more inclined to take weekend trips to NYC, Boston, Baltimore, DC, etc. People from Milwaukee don't typically take weekend getaways down to Chicago.

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Former Chicagoland resident.  The suburbs aka villages are fucking pristine - most of them has their own walkable downtown with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks along with a Metra stop. On the West Suburbs you have Hinsdale, La Grange, Elmhurst, and Glen Ellyn. The north suburbs are damn nice with Winnetka (Home Alone), Glencoe, Glenview, Willmette, Highland Park, and Evanston. Oak Park is nice but too close to the hood for my taste.
 

The biggest downside are the property taxes which keep your house price from appreciating. Your $850K house will be roughly $18-20k in prop taxes annually to support the fancy public schools, parks, and all the other village amenities.

Weather isn't a problem - doesn't get that cold anymore due to climate change. And summers are legit - North Ave Beach, rooftop/patio bars in the West Loop, day drinking on Sat in Wrigleyville, and chasing ass in Old Town/Viagra Triangle. Working downtown in the Loop is gorgeous - most buildings are pretty new and have stunning views from the top floor conference rooms. And you have St Pats in March where they dye the river.

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3 hours ago, irishtexan said:

I'll add that a few of my friends from Chicago got sick of some of the big-city bullshit that comes with living there and moved to Milwaukee. They absolutely love it there. I've visited there 4 or 5 times and I've always had a blast. It's basically Chicago's northern-most "suburb" but with it's own identity. It's got a lot of the good shit you'll find in Chicago without the big-city bullshit. 

However, while you think "I'm only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago" you will not go to Chicago as much as you think unless you have a specific reason to go there. This same thinking may apply to Jersey's access to the eastern seaboard, but I bet you'd be more inclined to take weekend trips to NYC, Boston, Baltimore, DC, etc. People from Milwaukee don't typically take weekend getaways down to Chicago.

I live about 35 miles for. LA.  It may as well be in Utah.   Hardly ever drive in

1 hour ago, 6th Street said:

Former Chicagoland resident.  The suburbs aka villages are fucking pristine - most of them has their own walkable downtown with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks along with a Metra stop. On the West Suburbs you have Hinsdale, La Grange, Elmhurst, and Glen Ellyn. The north suburbs are damn nice with Winnetka (Home Alone), Glencoe, Glenview, Willmette, Highland Park, and Evanston. Oak Park is nice but too close to the hood for my taste.
 

The biggest downside are the property taxes which keep your house price from appreciating. Your $850K house will be roughly $18-20k in prop taxes annually to support the fancy public schools, parks, and all the other village amenities.

Weather isn't a problem - doesn't get that cold anymore due to climate change. And summers are legit - North Ave Beach, rooftop/patio bars in the West Loop, day drinking on Sat in Wrigleyville, and chasing ass in Old Town/Viagra Triangle. Working downtown in the Loop is gorgeous - most buildings are pretty new and have stunning views from the top floor conference rooms. And you have St Pats in March where they dye the river.

Sounds awesome.  What are your thoughts on Naperville and how much it viagra in the triangle?

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2 hours ago, 6th Street said:

The biggest downside are the property taxes which keep your house price from appreciating. Your $850K house will be roughly $18-20k in prop taxes annually to support the fancy public schools, parks, and all the other village amenities.

As an Austin resident, it's funny to see the outrage . . . that is literally dead nuts on the blended property tax rate within the Austin city limits.

I guess where it goes south in Illinois is the added 5% flat income tax rate.

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2 hours ago, 6th Street said:

Former Chicagoland resident.  The suburbs aka villages are fucking pristine - most of them has their own walkable downtown with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks along with a Metra stop. On the West Suburbs you have Hinsdale, La Grange, Elmhurst, and Glen Ellyn. The north suburbs are damn nice with Winnetka (Home Alone), Glencoe, Glenview, Willmette, Highland Park, and Evanston. Oak Park is nice but too close to the hood for my taste.
 

The biggest downside are the property taxes which keep your house price from appreciating. Your $850K house will be roughly $18-20k in prop taxes annually to support the fancy public schools, parks, and all the other village amenities.

Weather isn't a problem - doesn't get that cold anymore due to climate change. And summers are legit - North Ave Beach, rooftop/patio bars in the West Loop, day drinking on Sat in Wrigleyville, and chasing ass in Old Town/Viagra Triangle. Working downtown in the Loop is gorgeous - most buildings are pretty new and have stunning views from the top floor conference rooms. And you have St Pats in March where they dye the river.

I would just add that the only one of these suburbs that is on the el, as opposed to having to take the Metra into the city, is Evanston.  I lived in Evanston for a while and loved it there.  Still very close to the city with easy access, and with a lot of walkable neighborhoods with restaurants, bars, etc.   The other north suburbs mentioned are nice, and I have family who lives there and happy there,but for my taste too suburban.  I've heard Oak Park and Naperville are nice, but know less about them.

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I know Naperville very well. It's big enough to be it's own city. Nice downtown with a river walk, some decent bars, and an Apple store. Yes there's a Metra stop but it's long ass ride to downtown, > 1 hour if you're not on an express train and a pretty long ass drive to the Loop thru traffic. Personally if I lived in Naperville, I probably wouldn't get downtown very often.

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Naperville is not really Chicago, Chicago.

The winters here are cold, but I don't know about brutal. And I'm African. You will get hellacious days every now and then (though they truly seem to be decreasing in frequency every year), but one thing to realize is that this is a city that can still have a good time and function in the winter, unlike some places that just shut down. 

As for your budget, we live in West Loop, which while not downtown, is truly within the city. 4 bd,r just over 2,000 sq ft and was $800K. But that was a couple of years ago. Just got appraised and now $960K. I think you will be able to find something in one the various neighborhoods that make up the city. 

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2 hours ago, lemonlime said:

I would just add that the only one of these suburbs that is on the el, as opposed to having to take the Metra into the city, is Evanston.  I lived in Evanston for a while and loved it there.  Still very close to the city with easy access, and with a lot of walkable neighborhoods with restaurants, bars, etc.   The other north suburbs mentioned are nice, and I have family who lives there and happy there,but for my taste too suburban.  I've heard Oak Park and Naperville are nice, but know less about them.

I’d imagine Evanston prices are jacked up because of northwestern 

1 hour ago, naija said:

Naperville is not really Chicago, Chicago.

The winters here are cold, but I don't know about brutal. And I'm African. You will get hellacious days every now and then (though they truly seem to be decreasing in frequency every year), but one thing to realize is that this is a city that can still have a good time and function in the winter, unlike some places that just shut down. 

As for your budget, we live in West Loop, which while not downtown, is truly within the city. 4 bd,r just over 2,000 sq ft and was $800K. But that was a couple of years ago. Just got appraised and now $960K. I think you will be able to find something in one the various neighborhoods that make up the city. 

Leaning towards Lincoln park if I head that way. Naperville housing looks more affordable than sugarland in Houston.  

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5 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

I’d imagine Evanston prices are jacked up because of northwestern 

Leaning towards Lincoln park if I head that way. Naperville housing looks more affordable than sugarland in Houston.  

Sugar Land analogy is fair

Lincoln Park is an excellent choice. So much to do there up and down Clark and over at the park itself.

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34 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

I’d imagine Evanston prices are jacked up because of northwestern 

 

Maybe.  Although I doubt moreso than the other north shore burbs mentioned.  It's not like Winnetka is cheap.   But, while I still have a lot of family there and am familiar with the area, it's been years since I've lived in Chicago.  I lived in Evanston for a while, and then moved into the city to Andersonville.  And I was renting at the time, so I can't really speak to housing prices.

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13 hours ago, lemonlime said:

Maybe.  Although I doubt moreso than the other north shore burbs mentioned.  It's not like Winnetka is cheap.   But, while I still have a lot of family there and am familiar with the area, it's been years since I've lived in Chicago.  I lived in Evanston for a while, and then moved into the city to Andersonville.  And I was renting at the time, so I can't really speak to housing prices.

I've heard Andersonville is pretty cool too.  I mentioned LP because it seems to be the only Chicago neighborhood with decent public schools.

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  • 4 months later...

Chicago has multiple authentic feels IMO. Every part of the city feels different to me. The Loop, North Loop, West Loop. Lincoln Park, Near North Side,  Gold Coast. All different, all authentic Chicago. 

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27 minutes ago, Mo Horn said:

Chicago has multiple authentic feels IMO. Every part of the city feels different to me. The Loop, North Loop, West Loop. Lincoln Park, Near North Side,  Gold Coast. All different, all authentic Chicago. 

There's not much of a difference between those neighborhoods. They're all full of rich white people (except for Naija in the West Loop). Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

But you're right in that a lot of neighborhoods have their own identities. The further away you go from downtown and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the area, the more pronounced those differences are. 

What's your agenda, closetohumping? How old are your kids? Are you wanting to check out family-friendly cultural shit? Where are y'all staying?

 

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33 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

This is a with kids trip. 

Then you're better off hanging out around River North, Loop, West Loop, and Lincoln Park. Hit up the free zoo in Lincoln Park, walk along the river walk, and rent bikes to ride down the lakeshore to Millennium Park and the Art Institute. Find a Portillo's 

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