Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

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Anonymous User
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Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:57 pm

I have offers in each city. The firms are equal in my eyes. Cannot decide. Help. Can residents please talk about their likes and dislikes with respect to each city?

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ph14
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby ph14 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have offers in each city. The firms are equal in my eyes. Cannot decide. Help. Can residents please talk about their likes and dislikes with respect to each city?


Where are you from?

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rayiner
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:03 pm

DC is a cultural desert and most of the metro area is suburban wasteland. Chicago is a world-class city in terms of food and culture, and even the suburbs have great public areas and usable transit. DC is unbearably hot and humid in the summers. Chicago is freezing cold 8 months of the year.

DC has a rapidly growing metro area, while Chicago is mature and stable. Much of DC's economy depends on federal spending. Chicago's is based on manufacturing and finance.

Chicagoans are chill and laid back. DCites are snooty but actually have prole suburban taste.

The work in the two cities is very different. Lots of regulatory stuff in DC, lots of litigation and finance in Chicago.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:07 pm

rayiner wrote:Chicago is freezing cold 8 months of the year.


I think it's ~4 months per year in the sub 50 degree temperature.

Chicago, to me boils down to: rent is cheaper, but the weather is worse.

igo2northwestern
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby igo2northwestern » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:Chicago is freezing cold 8 months of the year.


I think it's ~4 months per year in the sub 50 degree temperature.

Chicago, to me boils down to: rent is cheaper, but the weather is worse.

Oops, sorry about the anon use

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:12 pm

What firms are you considering? What practice area do you want? Just saying the firms are equivalent isn't really getting at the big issue of substantive differences in work.

PS I'm making the same decision but am considering a lot of idiosyncratic factors

portaprokoss
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby portaprokoss » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:21 pm

rayiner wrote:DCites are snooty but actually have prole suburban taste.

Ever read Class by Paul Fussell?

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rayiner
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:Chicago is freezing cold 8 months of the year.


I think it's ~4 months per year in the sub 50 degree temperature.

Chicago, to me boils down to: rent is cheaper, but the weather is worse.


IMHO, weather is a wash. I'd rather deal with Chicago winter than DC summers in a suit (and its a formal place, you will wear a suit).

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courtneylove
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby courtneylove » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:27 pm

OP, i live in chicago and can tell you that rent is pretty cheap, and there is a lot going on in the city. the public transportation is horrible, and it does get cold, but a lot of bands come through and there are a lot of places to shop, eat, etc. my biggest gripes are getting groceries, ridiculously embarrassingly horrible terrible and awful public transportation (you need a car), and constant airport drama. the weather isn't even that bad; it gets really cold but there are a lot of sunny days, and they get the streets cleaned up. forget flying from october - may though. o'hare is so dramatic about everything and i don't think i've ever taken off on time.

if you live up north, like lincoln park, belmont, etc., and are near a cta or metra stop that gets you in to work, it probably wouldn't be bad at all. you'd probably be happy picking chicago in the end. there is always stuff to do, people are pretty nice here, some of the neighborhoods are cute and each have their own little scene.

i'm a new yorker though and i have spent some time working in DC, and i'd probably pick DC in your situation just to be on the east coast, proximity to ny, prestige, etc. DC just feels more ambitious and mobile to me than Chi. DC is crazy expensive though, and is hot as fuck in the summer-- i mean it is like, death on the sidewalk miserable.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:29 pm

rayiner wrote:DC is a cultural desert and most of the metro area is suburban wasteland. Chicago is a world-class city in terms of food and culture, and even the suburbs have great public areas and usable transit. DC is unbearably hot and humid in the summers. Chicago is freezing cold 8 months of the year.

DC has a rapidly growing metro area, while Chicago is mature and stable. Much of DC's economy depends on federal spending. Chicago's is based on manufacturing and finance.

Chicagoans are chill and laid back. DCites are snooty but actually have prole suburban taste.

The work in the two cities is very different. Lots of regulatory stuff in DC, lots of litigation and finance in Chicago.


I can't say I've lived in Chicago, but this is wrong about DC. I grew up in San Francisco (certainly pretty world class), and DC is actually an amazing city culture-wise (I lived there eight years). Lots of delicious restaurants, amazing festivals (e.g. National Book Festival), and things to do (biking, attractions, concerts, etc.). Its a great city for professionals in their 20's, as there are lots of young educated people who love to socialize. It's very cosmopolitan given the internationals living there, and it doesn't feel insular like, say, Boston does, because nobody who lives there is really from there. While there are haves and have nots, you will find that, too, with the South Side of Chicago. DC is probably one of the strongest cities in the U.S. right now, obviously shielded from the downturn due to government. I would pick DC in a heartbeat. The 'burbs of DC are no worse than any 'burbs you will typically find elsewhere.

There are downsides. For me, it was the stuffy sense of self-importance that people typically have because of their jobs. Also, the transient feel of the city because people typically just stay a few years.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby jessuf » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:34 pm

So I've only been to Chicago in the winter and lived through a DC summer so far. I thought the Chicago winter was pretty much unbearable, but that's coming from someone who is used to milder east coast winters. The DC summer only lasted July - August this year, which wasn't a big deal to me. It was more the humidity than the actual temperature I disliked. Now it's absolutely gorgeous out.

In terms of shopping/food/nightlife/etc., I think it really depends on where you live. The suburbs in VA and MD are SUPER quiet. There will be some malls or good restaurants, but everything seems dead past 8pm. VA is really nice if you are a family man/lady, but if you are younger and want a younger lifestyle, you'd be geographically confined to a smaller area in DC. I don't know anything about Chicago suburbs.

If the DC office is one I interviewed with, you should choose Chicago. :wink:

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rayiner
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can't say I've lived in Chicago, but this is wrong about DC. I grew up in San Francisco (certainly pretty world class), and DC is actually an amazing city culture-wise (I lived there eight years). Lots of delicious restaurants, amazing festivals (e.g. National Book Festival), and things to do (biking, attractions, concerts, etc.). Its a great city for professionals in their 20's, as there are lots of young educated people who love to socialize. It's very cosmopolitan given the internationals living there, and it doesn't feel insular like, say, Boston does, because nobody who lives there is really from there. While there are haves and have nots, you will find that, too, with the South Side of Chicago. DC is probably one of the strongest cities in the U.S. right now, obviously shielded from the downturn due to government. I would pick DC in a heartbeat. The 'burbs of DC are no worse than any 'burbs you will typically find elsewhere.

There are downsides. For me, it was the stuffy sense of self-importance that people typically have because of their jobs. Also, the transient feel of the city because people typically just stay a few years.


I grew up in DC. It's got the worst food scene of any major city I've lived in or visited. The festivals are nothing compared to say Lolla in Chicago. The 'burbs of DC are much 'burbier than Chicago's or San Francisco's. More importantly, only about 1/10 of the DC metro area lives in the city, while 1/3 of the Chicago metro area lives in the city. As a result, there are a lot more 'burban proles overrunning DC than Chicago.

Travel and Leisure ranks Chicago #5 in the US for food: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/1 ... er_One_New. DC doesn't even make the list.
Last edited by rayiner on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:35 pm

OP here. FWIW, I have a family. Will live in city for 2-3 years then buy house in the suburbs.

Also, I don't want to mention firm names. Both are great firms, I'm just thinking about city now. I've lived in Nashville & Columbus.

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rayiner
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. FWIW, I have a family. Will live in city for 2-3 years then buy house in the suburbs.

Also, I don't want to mention firm names. Both are great firms, I'm just thinking about city now. I've lived in Nashville & Columbus.


The Chicago burbs are far, far better. The transit infrastructure in DC is shit, pure shit. There is no commuter rail to speak of, and traffic into the city is incredibly bad, with rush hour extending for most of the day. Chicago has cute little suburbs with walkable cores and commuter rail straight into the Loop. It's not even a contest.

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jessuf
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby jessuf » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. FWIW, I have a family. Will live in city for 2-3 years then buy house in the suburbs.

Also, I don't want to mention firm names. Both are great firms, I'm just thinking about city now. I've lived in Nashville & Columbus.


Well, in terms of this, I live in Capitol Hill, which is very close to all of the downtown offices. There are families galore here, and the park across from my house has a playground and is always crawling with kids. It seems like a nice and safe place to raise kids and meet young couples.

The only thing I dislike about DC is the club scene. There are some great bars, but if you like dancing, the club scene is pretty dismal. However, not sure if that is your thing since you have a family.

And there are definitely no commuter rails, but rush hour does NOT extend into most of the day. I own a car and drive to VA and MD a lot and do not encounter rush hour outside of normal hours. Inside the city, traffic isn't bad except right at Dupont Circle.

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IAFG
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:49 pm

I've lived in both and would choose Chicago over DC.

I don't like the self-important Hill lackeys, the lack of culture or art, the rent costs. A lot of what there is do to is free though, and that's nice. And thanks to big fed, DC seems to chug along pretty well no matter the economic climate. One of the most appealing things about DC is how stable it feels.

As for the weather, you can't go out in DC due to the heat, and you can't go out in Chicago due to the snow, pretty much a wash. Chicago just has more going on though: more of a restaurant scene, more of a cohesive culture, more performances & fine arts.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:50 pm

In DC, there are suburbs and then there are suburbs. Moving to Springfield is going to be a hellish commute. The metro extends to northern Virginia though and you can pretty easily live on the metro line or within a short drive of one.

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rayiner
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:53 pm

Jessuf wrote:And there are definitely no commuter rails, but rush hour does NOT extend into most of the day. I own a car and drive to VA and MD a lot and do not encounter rush hour outside of normal hours. Inside the city, traffic isn't bad except right at Dupont Circle.


Traffic inside the city isn't bad. Traffic in the suburbs getting into DC is unbelievably bad. I used to commute 17 miles from Great Falls into DC. It could easily take me almost an hour and a half each way.

DC is #1 in the country for traffic congestion: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc- ... story.html

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby KidStuddi » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:56 pm

rayiner wrote:IMHO, weather is a wash. I'd rather deal with Chicago winter than DC summers in a suit (and its a formal place, you will wear a suit).


Maybe some of the notoriously stuffy firms still have a business formal dress code, but the vast majority of this city, including the lawyers, come to work in business casual.

Exceptions for client meetings or what have you, of course, but D.C. is no different than the other major legal markets in this regard.

Chicagoans are just mad because they're constantly among the worst dressed cities.

As GQ put it:

Chicagoans like to hedge descriptions of their style with, "It's not New York, and it's not LA..." It's self-conscious Midwestern. Lucky for them, harsh 11 ½-month winters serve to excuse a look that screams third-coast-insecurity: The Parka Pierogi. Ingredients: Blown-out Nikes; torn cargoes; favorite novelty T-shirt; Bears/Bulls/Blackhawks hoodie—all wrapped up in a totally nondescript parka. Are those things municipal-issue?—Robert Fischer


http://www.gq.com/style/fashion/201107/ ... z26giRYHOF

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby thelaststraw05 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:59 pm

There is a lot of pro-Chicago, anti-DC trolling in this thread.

The cities rank pretty similarly for me. People who say that there is no worthwhile culture in DC haven't really explored. We have a number of world-class museums (Smithsonian) that are free. There are a lot of galleries throughout the city that are either free or relatively affordable. If you want good classical concerts the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap bring some of the best from around the world. In the last year we had the Russian Ballet in town and often have great dance of many forms. We don't have the extended runs of musicals that Chicago gets, but we are always a stop in the off-Broadway tours.

I will agree, Chicago is a little ahead of DC as far as cultural events and food. It is important to remember the population differences though. Chicago is the third largest city by any measure (the tightest definition being the incorporated city at a population of 2.7 million or a larger definition of the metro area at a population of 9.5 million) DC ranks much lower (the tight definition at 671k and the metro area at 5.7 million... but that definition stretches out to WV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington ... -MD-WV_MSA).

There are a some great things that coming with living in a big city. There are always 100 different things to do and you'll never exhaust your options. However, if you want to live in a smaller city and still have a lot of the benefits of big city culture, you really can't beat DC. Oh, and Metro beats the pants off the 'L' and Metra.

This has turned out to be pretty pro-Washington, but that is primarily because of the pro-Chicago/anti-DC tenor of previous posts. Currently my only offer is in Chicago. I will gladly move to Chicago if it stays my only offer. But if I stay in DC I won't feel like I am being culturally deprived. The only way you feel at all culturally deprived in DC is if you come from NYC, Chicago, or MAYBE Los Angeles. If you are from anywhere else in the country, you'll be fine.

Added randomly at the end after seeing rayiner's most recent anti-DC comments. My wife and I rode the Metro to work pretty much everyday. If you love near Metro in DC you are far better off than living near Metra in Chicago. Metra in Chicago doesn't connect to the 'L', so after commuting 30 minutes in on Metra you have to either take a cab, hope your office is near Union Station, or walk the half mile to the 'L' and hop on. Metro goes everywhere in DC and is pretty convenient throughout much of Northern Virginia or Montgomery County in Maryland.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby basilseal » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:01 pm

portaprokoss wrote:
rayiner wrote:DCites are snooty but actually have prole suburban taste.

Ever read Class by Paul Fussell?

Phenomenal.

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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:04 pm

Jessuf wrote:And there are definitely no commuter rails, but rush hour does NOT extend into most of the day. I own a car and drive to VA and MD a lot and do not encounter rush hour outside of normal hours. Inside the city, traffic isn't bad except right at Dupont Circle.


What? There are heavily used commuter rails.
http://mta.maryland.gov/marc-train
http://www.vre.org/

I've been here 25 years, "rush hour" is 7am-7pm in and around Washington. If you think traffic here isn't bad you haven't lived in another major metro area.

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thesealocust
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby thesealocust » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:07 pm

We built Chicago because getting between the east and west coasts took a long time and everyone wanted a nice, central location to stop for food / pissing / rest.

After inventing the airplane, Chicago's decline began. It has continued unabated since then, and will continue into the future. Mark my words: There is absolutely no reason for a city to exist in the location that Chicago is, and as the population pieces that together (read: becomes increasingly unemployed / cannibalistic) the city shall fall.

It was born and so it shall die.

Of course, DC is a swamp, so that's not ideal either.

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Borhas
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby Borhas » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:09 pm

Chicago is a backwater

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IAFG
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Re: Having a hard time choosing between DC and Chicago.

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:10 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
rayiner wrote:IMHO, weather is a wash. I'd rather deal with Chicago winter than DC summers in a suit (and its a formal place, you will wear a suit).


Maybe some of the notoriously stuffy firms still have a business formal dress code, but the vast majority of this city, including the lawyers, come to work in business casual.

Exceptions for client meetings or what have you, of course, but D.C. is no different than the other major legal markets in this regard.

Chicagoans are just mad because they're constantly among the worst dressed cities.

As GQ put it:

Chicagoans like to hedge descriptions of their style with, "It's not New York, and it's not LA..." It's self-conscious Midwestern. Lucky for them, harsh 11 ½-month winters serve to excuse a look that screams third-coast-insecurity: The Parka Pierogi. Ingredients: Blown-out Nikes; torn cargoes; favorite novelty T-shirt; Bears/Bulls/Blackhawks hoodie—all wrapped up in a totally nondescript parka. Are those things municipal-issue?—Robert Fischer

http://www.gq.com/style/fashion/201107/ ... z26giRYHOF

Ah yes, whereas DC "Hollywood for Ugly People" fashion sense is leaps and bounds ahead.




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