Are you trying to decide between moving to Chicago or Seattle? Both of these beautiful cities have traits that make them great places to live. With each city having its pros and cons to living in them, knowing the differences between Chicago and Seattle are essential to choosing the right place for you and your family.
Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and is even the third largest city in the United States. Located in Cook County, IL, Chicago is near the shore of Lake Michigan, and the surrounding cities are Oak Park, Evanston, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Aurora. A few iconic landmarks in Chicago include: Millennium Park, the Navy Pier, Chicago Riverwalk, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Magnificent Mile.
Then over 2,000 miles west, Seattle is the largest city in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest region. It’s considered a thriving LGBTQ+ community and is a tech hub. Seattle is part of King County, and the surrounding cities are Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Tacoma, and Everett. A few iconic landmarks in Seattle include: the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Ballard (Hiram M Chittenden) Locks.
Now, you might be wondering how to choose between Chicago and Seattle, and the simple answer is by comparing and contrasting the advantages and disadvantages of the two cities.
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Pros And Cons Of Living In Chicago vs. Seattle
Are you curious about which city is superior to the other? We’re breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of both Chicago and Seattle to help you determine which city is better for your current needs.
Living In Chicago Pros
If you love to explore your own backyard, the benefit of living in Chicago is that you’ll never run out of places to see and experience. Some of the most popular attractions are the WNDR Museum, 360 Chicago, Museum of Ice Cream, Skydeck Chicago, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Buckingham Fountain, and Cloud Gate.
Besides exploring, some additional benefits include having a great food scene, diversity, culture, freshwater beaches, and finding a home for a reasonable price.
Chicago is considered one of the best places to live in Illinois and is close to the prestigious Northwestern University. Chicago’s total crime rate per 100k is lower than the national average by 27.3%.
Living In Chicago Cons
While Chicago is a walkable city, getting around the city of Chicago is still terrible. It has heavy traffic, and not as many public transportation options as Seattle. In addition to the heavy traffic, you have to drive a long way to get to the mountains or the beach. Plus, the violent crime rate is higher than the national average, although there are still plenty of safe neighborhoods in Chicago.
Living In Seattle Pros
One of the main benefits of moving to Seattle is the endless things to do and places to explore. Some of the most popular attractions for both tourists and residents include: the Seattle Aquarium (home to the Seattle Great Wheel), Chihuly Garden and Glass, Discovery Park, The Museum of Flight, Kerry Park, Seattle Center, and Woodland Park Zoo.
In addition, Seattle has excellent public transportation, but it’s also a very walkable city–you can easily live without a car. It’s close to nature, has plenty of career opportunities, has no state income tax, has a BIG food scene, and has some of the best coffee in the US.
Speaking of a food scene, if you’re a foodie, then make sure to check out these popular Seattle restaurants: The Pink Door, Shaker + Spear, The Capital Grille, Spinasse, Tilikum Place Cafe, Six Seven Restaurant, and Le Pichet.
Living In Seattle Cons
The cost of living in Seattle is terrible. It’s 67.8% higher than the national average. While, on average, you do make more money than in Chicago, you will need to budget wisely to ensure you can afford to live here. And the total crime rate is above the national average, but there are still plenty of safe and family-friendly neighborhoods.
Comparisons Of Chicago vs. Seattle
When you compare Chicago and Seattle, Chicago has a higher population than Seattle, but despite the difference in the number of residents, the percentages between females and males are similar. In fact Chicago is almost 2 million population larger than Seattle. The median age is the same for both cities, and it tends to lean towards a younger age group–making both cities perfect for young professionals.
Chicago Population and Demographics
- Chicago Population: 2,696,561
- Chicago Population Density: 11,841 people per square mile
- Chicago Median Age: 36 years old
- Chicago Female vs Male: 51% Female and 49% Male
- Chicago Median Household Income: $66,576
- Chicago Educational Attainment: 87.1% of residents have graduated high school, and 43.7% have gotten their Bachelor’s degree
Seattle Population and Demographics
- Seattle Population: 733,904
- Seattle Population Density: 8,750 people per square mile
- Seattle Median Age: 36 years old
- Seattle Female vs Male: 49% Female and 51% Male
- Seattle Median Household Income: $110,781
- Seattle Educational Attainment: 95.9% of residents have graduated high school, and 68.3% have gotten their Bachelor’s degree
The Cost Of Living In Chicago vs. Seattle
Chicago is a more affordable place to live when compared to Seattle. While both are above the national average for Cost of Living, Chicago is less expensive because it’s only 7.4% higher in comparison with Seattle, being 67.8% higher than the national average. In addition, according to the Economic Policy Institute, if you have a family of four, you’d need $15,022 more to live comfortably in Seattle than you would in Chicago.
Typical Chicago Living Expenses
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: $20.00
- Domestic Beer (1 pint draught): $5.50
- Milk (regular, 1 gallon): $3.18
- Bread (1 loaf): $2.88
- Oranges (1 lb): $1.43
- Apples (1 lb): $2.33
- Beef Round (1 lb): $7.33
- Eggs (regular, 12): $2.98
- Average Cost of Gasoline Per Gallon: $5.25
- Fitness Club (Per Month, 1 Adult): $59.64
- Average Chicago Utilities Per Month: $421
- Chicago Cost of Living Index: 7.4% above the national average
- Average Chicago Cost Of Living For A Family Of 4 (Economic Policy Institute): $92,894
- Chicago Monthly Rent (Average): $2,206
- Chicago Median Home Price: $328,000
Typical Seattle Living Expenses
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: $20.00
- Domestic Beer (1 pint draught): $7.00
- Milk (regular, 1 gallon): $4.24
- Bread (1 loaf): $3.81
- Oranges (1 lb): $2.40
- Apples (1 lb): $2.70
- Beef Round (1 lb): $7.88
- Eggs (regular, 12): $3.55
- Average Cost of Gasoline Per Gallon: $5.29
- Fitness Club (Per Month, 1 Adult): $59.11
- Average Seattle Utilities Per Month: $406
- Seattle Cost of Living Index: 67.8% higher than the national average
- Average Seattle Cost Of Living For A Family Of 4 (Economic Policy Institute): $107,916
- Seattle Monthly Rent (Average): $2,334
- Seattle Median Home Price: $845,000
Chicago vs. Seattle Crime Rates
When you compare the total crime rate per 100k people, Chicago is a safer place to live than Seattle. While the violent crime rate is higher in Chicago than in Seattle, the overall crime rate is still lower than in Seattle and the national average.
Chicago Crime Rate
- Chicago Total Crime Rate: 1,705 per 100k people, which is 27.3% lower than the national average
- Chicago Violent Crime Rate: 987 per 100k people, which is 154.5% higher than the national average
- Chicago Property Crime Rate: 718 per 100k people, which is 63.3% lower than the national average
Seattle Crime Rate
- Seattle Total Crime Rate: 5,499 per 100k people, which is 134.4% higher than the national average
- Seattle Violent Crime Rate: 626 per 100k people, which is 61.4% higher than the national average
- Seattle Property Crime Rate: 4,873 per 100k people, which is 148.8% higher than the national average
Chicago vs Seattle Weather/Climate
While the weather during the winter can be similar at times between Chicago and Seattle, there is still a big difference in climate throughout the year. For example, Seattle gets a lot more rain than Chicago, versus Chicago gets 4x the amount of snow as Seattle. Depending on the type of weather you prefer can help you decide which city you’d want to call home.
Chicago Weather & Climate
- Chicago Climate Type: Under the climate classifications, Chicago is considered a “hot-summer humid continental (Köppen: Dfa)”
- Chicago Average Rainfall: 30.6 inches per year
- Chicago Average Snowfall: 9.8 inches per year
- Chicago Average Daily High Temperature Range (Yearly): mid 50s degrees F to mid 80s degrees F
- Chicago Average Daily Low Temperature Range (Yearly): mid 20s degrees F to mid 50s degrees F
- Chicago Best Time To Visit: Between June and September
Seattle Weather & Climate
- Seattle Climate Type: Under the climate classification, Seattle is considered a “Mediterranean zone (Köppen: Csb)”
- Seattle Average Rainfall: 44.5 inches per year
- Seattle Average Snowfall: 2.9 inches per year
- Seattle Average Daily High Temperature Range (Yearly): low 50s degrees F to mid 70s degrees F
- Seattle Average Daily Low Temperature Range (Yearly): low 30s degrees F to mid 50s degrees F
- Seattle Best Time To Visit: Between July and August
Chicago vs. Seattle Public Transportation
Seattle is the leading city and is ranked #1 for public transportation compared to other US cities, so if you don’t have a car, Seattle is the perfect city for you.
Chicago Public Transportation
- Chicago Public Transportation System: Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
- Types Of Transportation Available In Chicago: Train, bus, metro rail, car, taxi, walking (a very walkable city)
Seattle Public Transportation
- Seattle Public Transportation System: Seattle Department of Transit
- Types Of Transportation Available In Seattle: Link light rail, king county metro transit, Seattle streetcars, monorail, taxis, limos, town cars, walking (considered a very walkable city and is pedestrian-friendly)
Chicago vs. Seattle Economy
Seattle has a lower unemployment rate than Chicago and the national average. And the average salary in Seattle is $11,000 more than in Chicago. Surprisingly, Chicago’s top employers are all within the city, whereas Seattle’s top employers are in the private sector.
Overall, when compared with Chicago, Seattle has a better economy because it has a higher salary and a lower unemployment rate.
- Chicago Average Hourly Rate: $20.27
- Chicago Average Salary: $75,000
- Chicago Unemployment Rate: 5.6% which is slightly higher than the national average
- Chicago Top Employers: US Government, Chicago Public Schools, and City of Chicago
- Seattle Average Hourly Rate: $36.00
- Seattle Average Salary: $86,000
- Seattle Unemployment Rate: 2.6% which is slightly lower than the national average
- Seattle Top Employers: Amazon, Costco, and Microsoft
Sport teams are common in both cities, so if you’re into watching the big games, there are options in both Seattle and Chicago!
- Chicago: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Blackhawks
- Seattle: Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Mariners, and Seattle Kraken
Chicago vs Seattle Distance
How far is it from Chicago to Seattle? The total distance from Chicago to Seattle is 2,063 miles, and it takes around 30 hours (depending on traffic) to get there. The quickest way to get from Chicago to Seattle is by the I-90 W.
Chicago vs Seattle: Where Are You Moving?
Regardless if you choose to move to Chicago or Seattle, Federal Companies is the best team of movers. For the past 107+ years and 200k customers served, we have been the top-rated moving company. Call us today at (309) 690-0000 for a free estimate!