What are you looking for when you pick the city where you want to live? Do you even pick, because some people stay in the same place where they were born and never move anywhere, sometimes because they don't know there could be places where actually you'd be happier to live, sometimes because they want to stay close to family and friends (nothing wrong with that). But me, I've always been looking for the perfect place, where I could enjoy almost every day, I really didn't want to think "oh I wish I was ___", I wanted to be already where I wished. So far I can't complain, beside my hometown Milan (Italy) I lived 5 years in Miami, 7 months in Santa Barbara CA, 2 years in Las Vegas and few months in Chicago. Chicago wasn't my first choice but it was a move necessary to do for personal reasons. I had many people telling me how beautiful of a city Chicago is and that it was time for me to relocate to a "real city", less superficial, more metropolitan, historical etc. But I still think that when people talk about places, they don't really know what they mean: they haven't lived my life and always have the tendency to believe the best life happens to be in big, "real world" cities. I disagree. Those are some comparisons I did between Vegas, capital of the "superficiality" and Chicago, one of the main US "real world" cities. Starting with Vegas: Some people call superficiality what I call simplicity. Vegas is a simple city. Smaller than most US cities, divided in 4 chunks (north east, north west, south east, south west), not very trafficky (beside weekends on the strip), based on entertainment and tourism (which is where people get the superficiality from), most famous areas are the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, overall a safe city, 1 season (a hot summer and a cold summer), it's dry and never rains.
Job wise, currently hard to find (especially if you're a guy).
Friends wise, not easy, have to agree, Vegas is a transient city, many people comes and go, I met some weird, crazy ones (Vegas can make you like that), some distant immersed in their world. But I made few strong friendships there, nonetheless.
Summer is extremely hot, but hey... that means pool parties ;) Vegas is perfect for those people who never want to grow up, leave the 'dream life feeling' and don't like conventionality.
Chicago is big. I mean very big. Chicago I learn is not only downtown, but all the suburbs surrounding it. It's a lot of distance from place to place, and traffic can be terrible. It's a very rich city tho, a lot to offer: concerts, theatre, museums, good schools, lot of bars, music, nice cafés, definitely more history than Vegas. I see why European people like it. Many good different areas, some bad ones (don't go south!). BUT...Holy crap, the winter. Really, the winter ruins the city. It's very hard for me to enjoy going to a place in Chicago, when it's 0 F outside. And it's so damn long... I heard spring and summer are beautiful, I don't doubt it! But can you enjoy a couple months of warmth without having the thought of winter on your mind ? Winter makes life complicated. More clothes to buy, frozen hands and feet, you get sick more frequently, and the streets are just an obstacle course
Job wise, probably more opportunities for both sexes.
Friends wise, well many people know each other from high school and such, relationships are long lasting and stronger I believe, more common ground, habits and culture. Vegas is a madhouse ! People are from everywhere.
What do you think of where you live? What characteristics you find very important to have? I'd love to hear.