Call it whatever you want: the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, the City that Works, or the Hog Butchering Capital of the World—Chicago holds a unique place in American history. Built as a fur trading post in the 1800s, Chicago eventually made its name via the meat packing districts and the bootlegging of Al Capone.

In my personal opinion, Chicago is the mostly uniquely American city—one where the dreams of both the poor and the rich are equally within reach, where people will give you a laugh and a smile free of charge. Overall, Chicago is a great place for anyone to live, but we’ve compiled a list of reasons why its a great place for Millennials to live.

1. It’s affordable for everyone.

We Chicagoans tend to view New York as a slightly older brother, one that’s a little more successful but had to make a lot of trade-offs to get that success. That being said, comparing the cost of living of Chicago versus that of New York puts Chicago way ahead.

According to CNN.com, if you make $50K in Chicago, in order to live in Manhattan you need to make $97k to keep the same lifestyle. Even if you do New York on a budget, you’d still need $74k to live in Brooklyn. So, unless you want to rent a closet in the Bronx, choose Chicago over New York—you will actually have a decent place to live with your prestigious salary.

2. Chicago has an amazing music scene.

When people think of Chicago music concerts, they often think immediately of Lollapalooza. Let me tell you, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have that, North Coast Music Fest, PitchFork Music Fest, and, my personal favorite, RiotFest, a mud-flinging, moshpitting three-day punk rock festival held each September in one of Chicago’s multiple gigantic parks.

But the festivals aren’t the end of it. I live within walking distance of multiple concert venues, and, on any day of the week, I can stroll out and see music of one type or another. One recent Sunday night, I paid fifteen dollars to see The Mowgli’s at a venue walking distance from my place. You don’t get that elsewhere.

3. Chicago serves as the go-to place for most of Midwest.

Both the East and West Coasts have this general status-orientation that kind of just doesn’t exist in Chicago. Besides the millions of hard-working natives who live here, smart, aspiring farm kids from every part of the Central US flock to Chicago to try to make it.

For that reason, we have a strong crop of people who know how to work hard, how to treat people right, and how to make people smile. You’ll never run out of new people to meet, because new ones are arrive from Michigan, from Wisconsin, from Ohio, from Kansas, from all over the backbone of the country, every darn day.

4. Chicago has tons of restaurants serving amazing food.

Listen, I’ve lived here for 25 of my 26 years, and I still have not seen most of the restaurants in Chicago, and not for lack of trying. Sitting in class yesterday, I received recommendations for a far North Side seafood bar called the Angry Crab and a reminder to buy what is called “the best burger in Chicago” at a place called Au Cheval.

And that’s just the start of it. Pizza? We have that. Barbeque? Of course. Mexican? Definitely. Italian? No doubt. Whatever your palate craves, we have it, and I promise you won’t tire of finding new places to try.

5. Chicago is breathtaking in so many ways.

If you do decide to live in Chicago, I promise, you will be stunned by its beauty. For me, this happens often when I see the skyline from a different direction. We are the birthplace of the skyscraper, and we did not spare any effort n running with that idea.

If its not the skyline, it might be spending one night with friends at the beach, pass a bottle around until the sun rises over Lake Michigan. If its not that, it might be the Van Gogh’s at the Art Institute of Chicago. Or it might be how placid this city of 10 million people becomes after a major snow storm.

While it’s hard to put into words, you’ll have to trust me. If you move to Chicago, one day, one moment, you’ll stop, you’ll exhale, and you’ll just go, “Wow. This is what I was meant to see, meant to experience. This is why I am in Chicago.”

Featured photo credit: Snake Charmer/ James Roach via flickr.com

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