I’ll admit I’m a suburban girl at heart. I was born and raised there, protected and nurtured there. It’s where my family and a good number of my closest friends are (now that we all moved back from the city!) I truly feel at peace living in my home with a big backyard and pleasant neighbors. I have fun fixing up and decorating the house exactly how my husband and I want it. Now that we are in our late 20s (heck, almost 30’s), we don’t really feel the urge to go out every night and party until dawn. Now we have a great time just having friends over for bonfires or walking in to town to the local wine bar or ice cream shop. I even love to grocery shop here, mostly due to my obsession with food, but also because you can actually walk down the aisles of the store without getting boxed in or jostled by the million other people shopping with you. I also live right by the Prairie Path, which is a well-kept gravel path that stretches from Cook County to Kane County. It meanders through many towns and is a perfect place to run or ride your bike.
Growing up in the burbs, I was lucky enough to be within walking distance of our little downtown area and the train into the city. I would take any chance I could get to go into the city to visit the Art Institute (back when it was “suggested” donation) or go shop on Michigan Ave. with my mom. When looking at houses in the burbs, one of my requirements was that it was close to the train so that even if I wasn’t working downtown, I had the option to hop on the next train and get my city fix. Fortunately, we were able to find the perfect house within walking distance from train, which is especially nice since I do in fact work downtown.
I always knew that I wanted to live in the city once I graduated from college though. There is a certain allure to Chicago that no other city has. As soon as I could afford to, I moved out of my parent’s house in the burbs and got myself a tiny, old one-bedroom apartment in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. I LOVED it. It’s still my favorite apartment. It’s where I truly learned to be independent, to do everything on my own without relying on my family or roommates. I’m a firm believer that every person (especially women) should live by themselves at least once in their life. You will learn so much about yourself!
The two things I loved most about living in the city were the amazing weekend brunches and the exciting night life. When my husband and I were dating, we went to brunch almost every weekend. I’d say we tried nearly every brunch place on the upper Northside of Chicago. Brunch places in the city just seem to know how to do things right. There is always some form of alcohol, whether it be mimosas or bloody marys, usually an amazing pastry treat, and a creative new way to build a breakfast sandwich. I actually find myself daydreaming about some of the brunch items I’ve had in the city over the years. I’ve even tried to recreate them, but I just can’t seem to do them justice.
As for the night life, there is so much to do, it’s almost overwhelming. You could head to a bar to listen to a band that just might be the “next big thing,” catch a Cubs game, laugh til your side hurts at one of the comedy clubs, drink a boot of beer at the Chicago Brauhaus. Basically, you name it, the city has it. But what it also has is the crowds of people EVERYWHERE, the high costs of food and drinks (and parking!), the dirtiness of the streets, the danger of getting mugged – even in the nicer neighborhoods. But like most things in life, you have to take the good with the bad. I sincerely enjoyed my time in the city, I wouldn’t change that for the world. But for now, I’m perfectly happy splitting my time between the city and the burbs.