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Andrew Huff / April 7, 2010 12:52 AM

Question suggested by Emily L. If you have an idea for a Fuel topic, email it to

If the suburbs count (and they do), the reason is simple: The suburbs are the suburbs. I couldn't wait to get into the city, where the action is.

mary / April 7, 2010 6:42 AM

southern suburbs for me, and while i agree with andrew, the real reason i'm in chicago is because i went to school on the east coast and realized how much i loved chicago.

joanna / April 7, 2010 8:52 AM

I moved here for grad school, but chose the school cause the city had so much to offer

Josh / April 7, 2010 9:10 AM

Job. Girl. Not necessarily in that order. W. Michigan native, the city offers so much more.

vise77 / April 7, 2010 9:15 AM

Jobs, mainly. Big-city excitment (which has worn off after more than a decade here, and after leaving my 20s well behind me). Main reason: Chicago, despite the views of many who live here, is still in the Midwest. I am one of those freaks who love the Midwest. The grid still gets me.

Krissy / April 7, 2010 9:31 AM

From the desert southwest -- wanted to live in a city with public transportation, and Chicago had a good one in 1999.

flange / April 7, 2010 10:22 AM

moved for work because publishing had largely dried up in my east coast home town in the late '90s. it didn't take me long to realize i'd made a huge mistake. this city lacks so much that east coast cities have. i'm not sure when i'll move back yet.

George / April 7, 2010 11:00 AM

Originally from a tiny town in NE Indiana and my future wife was here. I also wanted more opportunities after graduating from college. I couldn't be happier here and can't imagine leaving.

cory / April 7, 2010 11:03 AM

I followed my wife's academic career here, from Boston and, before that, New Jersey.

Jeff / April 7, 2010 11:12 AM

A girl.

Dubi Kaufmann / April 7, 2010 11:25 AM

I immigrated from israel because America is the land of opportunity.
My grandmother said I was an Americanophile.
I chose Chicago because that's where the American part of my family lives.

Mike / April 7, 2010 11:26 AM

Also a girl. I've lived here 12 years and I loved about nine of them. Now I feel stuck here -- and the livability of this place gets worse by the day now that our inept leaders are no longer riding a real estate boom that fooled some into thinking they were effective.

The Box Factory / April 7, 2010 11:27 AM

I am originally from England, but met my wife here while on vacation. After we married and lived in Europe for a while, we decided to move to Chicago for a minimum of five years. That was back in 2000, and we have no plans to leave anytime soon. It's a great city and it has been good to both of us, so thanks Chicago.

joshua / April 7, 2010 11:50 AM

from Texas originally but went to college in St. Louis and met plenty of people from Chicago and others who were moving here after graduation.
when school finished, it was the easiest place to stick in terms of finding a job and having a waiting social circle upon arrival. i've enjoyed discovering the midwest charm and have even developed a resistance to the cold. unfortunately my stamina for heat is long gone as a result.

kate / April 7, 2010 12:22 PM

The Map Room.

My dad's job moved us from New Mexico to the suburbs when I was a kid.
I spent a lot of time "downtown" (really, it was Ukranian Village and Logan Square) in high school, which secured in my mind that I would get out of the suburbs and move to Chicago.
When I was in college my brother lived in the city and I'd visit him on breaks and I discovered Map Room on one of these visits.
Post-collegiate apartment searching had one requirement: find a place within walking distance of the Map Room.
I've left the neighborhood but still make time to visit The Reason I Moved to Chicago.

Baldeesh / April 7, 2010 12:48 PM

My friends were doing it.

I grew up in the south suburbs, and was kind of sick of it. It was very stagnant. There are people in the south suburbs that believe the city of Chicago is full of gangbangers and you'll get shot/mugged/carjacked if you go there after dark.

A.Lewellen / April 7, 2010 1:36 PM

Born and raised here so no comment there but what Baldeesh said is true. When I travel and people ask me where I am from and I say Chicago their follow up question on more than one occasion has been "What suburb?". When I explain that I actually live in Chicago, as in the city they are genuinely shocked. The other end of this is that a lot of people who live in the suburbs when traveling when asked probably just say they are from Chicago when they are really from Homewood or Schaumburg or somewhere. I know it's petty but this irks me.

bob / April 7, 2010 1:44 PM

i was recently in an airport, heading home to chicago. someone asked me where i was from and i said chicago. she said 'where abouts?' and i responded, um, chicago, the city of chicago. she seemed confused. chitchat ended there.

Anon / April 7, 2010 3:08 PM

I was just out of town and talking to some friends of my sister's who announced they had recently been in Chicago. Actually, they'd been in Dundee. I didn't correct them, but they got all slackjawed at the idea of living in the city.

Pangloss / April 7, 2010 4:00 PM

I lost my job in Los Angeles in November 1985, and got a call from a place in Chicago asking me if I'd be interested in relocating to Chicago. I signed a five year contract, and walking over the Michigan Avenue bridge for my first day of work on December 2, it was 4 degrees with a howling wind. I didn't know if I could last the winter, let alone five years. But by the time I got through my first summer here, I considered it home for good.

Carrie / April 7, 2010 4:02 PM

My mom was living here and I came to visit her one summer... and decided to stay. I was 10 and it's been a full 20 years now that I've been here and I love it.

Baldeesh & A.Lewellen-- I get the same reaction when I tell people I actually live in Chicago. It's funny to me. It's almost always followed up by "you're brave. I could never do that".

Michelle / April 7, 2010 4:06 PM

I wanted to live in a city where I didnt need a car and could take the subway every day.

Mary / April 7, 2010 7:32 PM

I moved here from Orlando six years ago because I always wanted to live in a big city. I couldn't afford NY. LA is shitty. SF was too far from my family. I chose Chicago after vacationing here for a week with my family. When I first moved here, I was completely enthralled with the energy, architecture, food, etc. Now, I am contemplating leaving. It's getting more expensive by the day, and our politicians just seem to want to fuck the taxpayers up the ass. It makes me sad to see this wonderful city destroyed piece by piece. I really, really dislike the Midwest though. I'm more of an east coast girl and hope to get out here before I hit my seven year anniversary.

mennefa / April 7, 2010 9:20 PM

...and hot dogs.

Val / April 7, 2010 10:43 PM

Chicago has it all. Vibrant and alive, a little too cold in the winter. I came here partly for a boy and partly to finally be on my own away from my family. I broke up with boy a year after moving, and stayed 3 more years. Best move I've ever made.

Now, after traveling and spending all my money I'm back at home in Iowa saving up again and gettin on my feet. I miss it dearly.

renita / April 8, 2010 8:45 AM

My then boyfriend. Who is now my husband. Also, I didn't want to live in Kentucky for the rest of my life -- it was a good move career-wise and personally. (OK, so I live in the suburbs, but honestly, it's NOT THAT BAD!)

madachode / April 8, 2010 8:58 AM

I was born and raised on the sw side. I am wondering if all of you suburbanites before moving to the city actually said you were from chicago when a away but in reality lived 20+ miles away from the city line? Also to the foreigners that fell in love with the city, remember you are still visitors here.

j / April 8, 2010 9:52 AM

Threw a dart at a map of the United States with the intent of moving to the Top-30 Metropolitan area closest to the dart.

LittleJill / April 8, 2010 10:45 AM

I moved here for a job, company went out of business, moved to St. Louis for two years for a new job, that company went out of business, moved back and don't like it nearly as much as I did when I lived here from 1999-2004. So I don't think I will stay much longer. Especially if my current company goes out of business!

David / April 8, 2010 4:28 PM


anne / April 8, 2010 4:37 PM

I was finishing up grad school in Montana when I needed a job. Chicago was halfway back east to Virginia (still maintaining the all-important parent buffer of several states), I had some friends and family friends here already, and there was at least the chance of a job in the world of educational publishing, in which I already had some experience. I had never so much as connected through O'hare, though, and all I knew of Chicago was built off of John Hughes movies. It was a big gamble that's paid off pretty darn well. Would be perfect with some mountains nearby!

ac / April 8, 2010 5:09 PM

a girl.

fluffy / April 8, 2010 8:05 PM

my ex was from Detroit but we met in Texas/college. He didn't want to move back to Detroit so we settled for Chicago. I've always lived in big cities and hate the suburbs. I'm divorced now but can't afford to live in NY.

Tim / April 9, 2010 12:32 AM

I moved here from Baltimore. (yes the city of "The Wire" please stop asking) I like Chicago for it's neighborhood charm and it's big city attitude. I also like that I can be anonymous in this city.
I felt at home here the second I stepped off the train and have not looked back since.

Sarah / April 9, 2010 7:23 AM

Grad school, and a desire to get out of New York City after 9/11.

lmy / April 9, 2010 9:31 AM

have you ever been to sioux city, ia? i moved to get away from an abuse boyfriend. i had friends who said i could live in their dining room until i got on my feet. i left with $75 in my pocket and it's the best decision i've made in my life so far.

Texas T / April 9, 2010 10:55 AM

My husband and I were getting a little bored in Austin so we picked a major city to move to. Since we both loved dance music, Chicago was an obvious choice. Nothing like some jackin' Chicago house!

Our now two year old toddler was born in Chicago proper, so we now have a Native Chicagoan in the family.

nocomment / April 9, 2010 12:50 PM

this city feels alive even in the most unfriendly of its climate conditions.

people still have time for each other, but you can still be all existentialist about life.

David / April 9, 2010 5:39 PM

The University of Chicago ... and, of course, the joy of the city!

JP / April 9, 2010 9:46 PM

I came here originally for a semester, ahem, "abroad". All my friends at my east coast college were going places like Brazil and Belize, but I didn't have the grades or the wherewithal to do the same. A friend of mine had just defected from said college to Columbia College Chicago, and I created my own "junior year abroad" plan in Chicago, mostly because my friend lived there. Long story short I ended up transferring to Columbia, taking nine years total to finish my undergrad, met my husband, and here I still am, 18 flippin' years later. When people ask me where I'm from, I generally say Chicago; its the place I've lived the longest.

Hal / April 10, 2010 6:54 PM

Came to Naperville for work from Houston and drove into the city one night. I fell in love with it instantly, visited a lot and eventually was able to transfer here (that took about four years). Fifteen years and haven't looked back, though the 3% difference in the local unemployment rates is sometimes a bit hard to ignore.

booger / April 11, 2010 4:05 PM

every goober moving to this city is either from ohio or michigan. and they don't know how to park in urban areas, and they jog in the street against traffic. go home, detroit needs residents!

Lee / April 11, 2010 8:12 PM

I wanted to live in a vibrant city with good public transportation, where I could walk everywhere and where I wouldn't need to own a car. Chicago offered that without being overwhelming or oppressive like New York.

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