Moving From NYC to Chicago: Movers, Costs, and Benefits

There’s a lot to plan when you’re handling the NYC to CHI route. In this article, we’ll get you up to speed. Read on to see what you can expect from a long distance move, and see our top picks for New York to Chicago movers.

New York has gotten crazy expensive, and just plain crazy. But if you’re attached to that big city lifestyle and the crappy weather, have we got a city for you! Let’s talk Chicago!

WAIT! WAIT! DON’T RUN AWAY! Despite your misgivings, Chicago is actually an up-and-coming city, with a lot of opportunities for growth. It won’t break the bank, and it won’t be a massive lifestyle change. That’s two points in its favor, and there’s a lot more to love.

Whether you’ve already been thinking of moving to Chi-Town, or you’re just that desperate to escape from New York, iMoving can help you get there.

We’re the only online platform that lets you shop around, get quotes, and book your movers entirely online. No house calls or phone calls required.

But enough about us. Let’s dive right in and see what you can expect from an NYC to Chicago move…

How Much Does It Cost to Hire Movers from NYC to Chicago?

A New York to Chicago move will cost you anywhere from $1,351 to $9,900, although we’ve seen the odd move that was a little pricier or a little cheaper. It’s a big window, but the final price is largely determined by how far you’re going and how much you’re taking with you.

New York and Chicago are about 790 miles apart. Not much you can do about that, except be thankful that you’re not moving to California instead. It’s a long haul, but it’s no cross-country relocation.

Fortunately, you can still take action to cut down on costs. Before you shop for a quote, it’s a good idea to downsize. Get rid of your old, unused, or otherwise unwanted belongings. This way your movers won’t add them to the final weigh-in, and you won’t be charged for all that extra stuff.

3 Best Movers from NYC to Chicago

Now that you know how much you’re paying and how long you’re waiting, let’s take a look at who’s doing the actual loading and hauling. Here are our favorite moving companies from New York to Chicago:

1. Lift NYC

2. Maxi Moving 3.

Samba Moving


Lift NYC

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  • Professional Team
  • Customized Services
  • Transparent Pricing

Lyft NYC isn’t just a great moving company - they’re masters of local logistics. Big cities (like New York) don’t always let movers park their semi trucks on those crowded streets.

The solution? Use staging area on the outskirts, and use a smaller truck to ferry stuff back and forth. Lift NYC is partnered with local staging companies to make NYC moving that much easier.

We’re big fans of Lift NYC, and it’s not just because they make New York moving simple and smooth. They’ve always impressed us with their professional, in-house staff, and any time we deal with a mover that keeps operations in house (as opposed to subcontracting), we like to show them a little extra love.


  • Extra care when packing
  • Partnered with staging companies for easier urban moves
  • Professional in-house staff
  • Secure storage
  • Box delivery if needed


  • May have to plan far in advance for long distance moves

Maxi Moving

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  • Licensed Professionals
  • In-Home Estimates
  • Transparent Pricing

Maxi Moving has a great range of services, and they’ve got the ratings to prove it. From loading and packing to specialty options like “magically getting your couch out of the apartment when it’s too big for the elevator”, they’ve got the custom moving scene on lock. Every move is different, and boy do they know it.

Maxi Moving made it on our list for a good reason. They really go the extra mile to make sure your belongings are safely handled, and with that hug range of services, you can custom-tailor your move to perfectly match the furniture.

Plus, they’ve got great customer service. They’re around 24 hours a day, and they’re highly-rated online.


  • High ratings
  • 24-hour support
  • Special equipment for complicated items
  • Great customer service
  • Broad range of options


  • Extra services come at an extra price

Samba Moving

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  • Customizable Options
  • Experienced Teams
  • Affordable Prices

Your New York to Chicago move will take from 2 to 21 days, but in all honesty, you’re looking at a week or two if you’re only moving a studio or a one-bedroom.

Want to get it done faster? Samba Moving is the answer. They can get you out of town YESTERDAY, and they can also help you move if you only have a tiny amount of stuff.

Samba Moving is our go-to for those emergency “my roommate is a psycho” or “I just landed my dream job” relocations.

They can wrap, pack, and transport with the best of them, but they can also do it in a hurry. And if you didn’t have the time to really downsize before shopping for your quote, they offer storage for extra flexibility!


  • Last-minute moving
  • Low-weight/low-volume moving
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Secure storage
  • White-glove service


  • Prices peak during summer months

How Long Does Moving Take?

Long distance moving takes between 2 and 21 days. That 2-day minimum is pretty firm for the NYC to Chicago route. Under federal law, drivers aren’t allowed to clock more than 400 miles of interstate travel per day, and those 790 miles are really cutting it close.

On the best of days, and with completely ideal conditions, you move will be done in 2 days. But it’ll most likely take much longer. Moving companies don’t like to send half-empty trucks all over the place, so they’ll wait until they can fill the trailer with multiple moves. This means you’ll have to wait for pickups and dropoffs along the way.

Some movers offer express delivery, but it comes at a price. Take a look at our favorite moving companies, and see which one is best for those last-minute relocations

What Factors Affect the Cost of a NYC to Chicago Move?

$1,351 to $9,900 may seem like a lot of money, but there’s a method to the madness. Let’s take a look at some of the most common factors behind the price tag:

1. Distance

We’ve mentioned it before, but the distance between point A and point B is probably the biggest factor behind your moving cost. More miles means more money, so prepare your wallet for the 790-mile trek from New York to Chicago.

2. Weight/Volume

Aside from the distance, the sheer amount of stuff is the next most important factor. Fortunately, you can downsize to reduce your price a little. Movers will either assign a weight (in pounds) or a volume (in cubic feet) to all of your belongings, so the less you have, the better.

3. Packing

Yes, you can save money by packing by yourself, also. But this is one of those moments where shelling out a little now can save you a real headache later. Not only is professional packing much more convenient, it’s also an important prerequisite in case you need… 

4. Insurance

Insurance. Do you need it? If you value your belongings, yes. Moving companies are legally required to offer a basic insurance plan, but this is usually just for $0.60 per pound of lost or damaged items.

Break a 4-pound laptop? Enjoy that $2.40. If you want full-value coverage, you’ll have to pay extra. You’ll probably have to pay for packing, too.

5. Access Fees

Access fees apply to all those tricky hallways, tight staircases, and elevators that require some serious tetris skills. If your place is an obstacle course, your movers will charge you extra. It’s a good idea to get in touch with them ahead of time so they know what to expect (and so you know how much they’ll be billing you).

6. Shuttles

Long distance movers typically use semi trucks for interstate hauling. The only problem is most cities don’t allow semi trucks to park on their teeny tiny little streets.

In these situations, your movers will have to use a smaller truck - a shuttle - to transport everything between the main truck and your front door. Not cheap, not convenient, and no thanks to city hall.

7. Specialty Moving

We’ve been in the moving game for over a decade, so we’ve seen some weird asks. Sure, you’ve got pianos and pool tables, but there’s also vintage motorcycles, modern art, and everything else that won’t fit in a Home Depot box. Your movers will have to build custom crating, and in some cases even use a winch to lift stuff out the window.

8. Assembly/Disassembly

In some cases, your movers won’t have to break out the crane. But they’ll still need to break out the toolkit. Some long distance movers offer furniture assembly and reassembly. It makes life a lot easier, but much like packing, it comes at an extra price.

9. Gratuity

This one isn’t explicitly included in your quote, but it’s good to keep it in mind. Tips are accepted and expected in the moving industry. It’s hard work, and unless your movers explicitly decline gratuity, you should budget out a tip. 15% to 20% of the total cost of your move is a good number, to be divvied up across your whole moving team.

Why Do People Move from NYC to Chicago?

Why do people move from New York to Chicago? Good question. While it may seem like a raw deal, there’s actually plenty of reason to move to the Second City:

  • Cheaper: You knew this one was gonna be on the list. Chicago is a lot cheaper than New York City. It’s right at the bottom of the gentrification curve, which means prices are only going to start going up. Better get out there while you can.
  • Similar, yet different: Moving to Chicago isn’t like moving to Iowa or Nebraska or something. It’s still a big city, with tons of city life and lots to keep you occupied. The culture is different, but it’s not going to give you whiplash.
  • Plenty of opportunity: And since Chicago is a big city, that means there’s plenty of work opportunities. From finance, to tech, to everything in between, Chicago has jobs for those anyone who’s searching.
  • Friendly(ish) locals: Horror stories about the crime aside, there’s a case to be made that folks in Chicago are a lot nicer than New Yorkers. We realize that’s not a very high bar, but it’s nice to know you won’t get that New York attitude all the time.
  • Easy to get around: Chicago isn’t like LA. The city’s really walkable, and they have public transport that actually works. If you’re from New York and you’re trying to get around Chicago, you won’t have too much difficulty getting used to it.

Things to Do in Chicago

New York is hard to beat when it comes to activities, but Chicago has plenty going for it. Take a look at some of these popular sights and attractions in your new hometown:

  • Millennium Park: Look up Chicago, and one of the first things you’ll see is that big ol’ chrome statue that looks like a bean. That’s it. It’s literally called the Bean. It’s in Millennium Park, which also offers plenty of lakefront scenery and greenery.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: When people hear about Chicago, they’ll either get scared off by the crime, or scared off by the weather. At the Art Institute of Chicago, you can escape both. Browse through thousands of masterpieces, and feed your brain a little.
  • Street Festivals: When it’s not like 30º below, Chicago does get some nice weather. During the summer, it’s actually nice enough to host street festivals. These are like big block parties with vendors, music, and great street food. What’s not to love?
  • River Cruises: The Chicago River is a major lifeline for the whole city. Sure, you’ve heard of them dying the whole river green on St. Patrick’s Day, but you can also enjoy a tour or two and learn about your new city while up on deck.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo: We had to put this one on the list. Not only is it a giant zoo with thousands of cool critters, but it’s also totally FREE. It’s also right in Lincoln Park, so when you’re done with the zoo, you’re still in a great neighborhood.

NYC to Chicago FAQ

A quick Zillow search shows that the median home price in New York City is about $750,000. Chicago, on the other hand… you’re looking at about $300,000.

You can live pretty comfortably in Chicago for about $1,300 a month (not including rent), while in New York you’ll be paying closer to $1,600 - but that rent is going to be way steeper. So yeah, Chicago’s a lot cheaper.

The cheapest way to move long distance is to just DIY the whole thing. But once you rent a truck, pay for gas, and shell out for food and lodging, those savings will dry up pretty quickly.

It’s also easy to overlook all the work (and paychecks) you’ll be missing when you’re doing your packing, loading, and hauling. Sometimes it’s just more efficient to pay for the pros.

We recommend booking your movers 2 to 3 months in advance. It seems like a long window, but it’s pretty much 8 to 12 weekends for you to deal with your planning and prep.

Giving yourself more time means less stress in the long run, and you may even be able to score some sweet discounts by booking far enough in advance.

Every mover has their own no-go list. Generally, they won’t transport anything that can damage their truck. If you have anything that’s flammable, pressurized, perishable, or alive, you’ll have to move it (or dispose of it) yourself.

We’re not just talking gas cans and cats and dogs, either. Nail polish remover, hairspray, succulents - these are all prohibited.

You should never pay the full price of a move before it happens. A couple hundred bucks, or a few percent as a down-payment, sure - but never the entire price.

This is unfortunately a pretty common scam in the moving industry, so if your mover asks for all the money up front, you should find someone else to work with.

Moving from NYC to Chicago? Tell us more and let’s get packing!

You made it! Thanks for reading all the way through. If we had a gold star, we’d definitely throw it your way. Fortunately, we’ve got something even better: a whole marketplace of New York to Chicago movers, all a few clicks away.

At iMoving, the moving pros in our network are ready to help you hit the road. If you want to make the move from New York to Chicago (or you just want a more detailed quote), your first step starts with us. Tell us more about your move, and let’s get you packed!

Harrison Gough

Harrison has been writing for real estate and moving companies for the past three years, but his knowledge isn't just from behind a desk. Having moved over a dozen times himself, sometimes with professional help and sometimes on his own, he's learned firsthand what makes moving smooth and what makes it stressful. When he's not writing, he's looking into ways to make his next move simpler.

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