Friday, June 23, 2006

The Upsides of Downtown: Frugal living in the heart of Chicago

Sure, living downtown in a big city can be kind of pricey. But there are also some amazing perks: not just quality-of-life benefits, but things that can save some serious money, too.

This list is based on my own experience in Chicago, but I'm guessing much of it applies to other people in other cities as well:

  • No need for a car.
  • Spending less on public transportation by walking instead.
  • Getting lots of exercise from walking, so no need to pay for a gym membership.
  • Lots of big apartment buildings/condos with exercise rooms, so no need to pay for a gym membership.
  • Lots of restaurants around, with lots of coupons. (Every 3 months a coupon book comes in the mail with buy-one-entree-get-one-free coupons for 8-10 restaurants within walking distance, so most of our dinners out end up being half-off!)
  • And best of all, there are so many incredible free entertainment options within walking distance! Millennium Park has tons of free concerts in the summer, and free ice skating in the winter. There's SummerDance: dozens of free one-hour dance lessons all summer long, plus live music to dance to afterwards. There are movies in the park. There are free evenings at the Art Institute. There are fireworks at various times year-round. There are all sorts of parades. There's easy access to the great deals designed for tourists, with all sorts of neat freebies on "theme weekends." Man, I love Chicago!


Kira said...

I also don't own a car, and there's a grocery store three blocks away, and I walk to work. I think that a lot of people are just so used to having cars and doing things outside the city that they are often surprised to find things within it. But without a car, you find out about a lot of stuff by walking past it. =)

~Dawn said...

Out in the surburbs if you walk anywhere here they view you one of two ways.
1. Stranger than strange
2. Too poor to be in the 'burbs

It's a sad commentary. But when I lived in the city I loved not having a car and losing weight from walking everywhere.

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