Smith & Sons (3)

Ranked as #20 in the US “Best Places to Live” USNews.com (U.S. News & World Report), Top Up and Coming Cities (Thrillist) along with countless other awards including past nominations in the The Top Five Most Popular Destinations for Millennials (The National Association of REALTORS), Best Places to Retire in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report) and others, Grand Rapids, MI has really made a name for itself.

But why are many new Grandrapidians (as Grand Rapids residents are known) moving here from Chicago?

  1. Location – (it’s a whole new world yet not too far from any friends in Chicago.)
    • From Grand Rapids to Chicago is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. A suburb of Chicago? Not quite, but the distance is certainly not long making “work at home – commute to CHI possible.” Plus it’s close enough where if there are fun things you enjoy about Chicago – it is very manageable to enjoy them.
    • Lake Michigan is about 25 minutes from Grand Rapids. Combined with over 10,000 inlet lakes, plus award winning rivers and streams – the water activities and beach enjoyment are endless.
    • Up North – for decades the “UP NORTH” area and lake shore area have been sought after playground for those from Chicago – imagine having that within a short drive or right out your own backyard!
  2. Getting Ahead – having your dollar go farther is always advantage no matter what your stage of life.
    • The Cost of Living average for Grand Rapids 94.5 ( as noted on bestplaces.com ) compared to Chicago cost of living at 105.7 (also found on bestplaces.com.) Cost of living index is measured on a scale of 100 – 100 being the national average. Those under 100 allow your dollar to go farther – those over 100 your dollar would not buy as much of the daily things for living.
  3. Travel Time – It has been said you can get anywhere in Grand Rapids in 22 minutes or less, across town, “outta town”, etc.
    • The average commute from a Chicago suburb to downtown Chicago is currently about 60-75 minutes – without traffic. those of you that have experience know it can be closer to about 2 hours on some days – but even then unpredictable
    • Google maps is actually accurate for travel times in the Grand Rapids – why? Our traffic patterns are fairly predictable and that allows for accurate projections on travel times.
  4. Entertainment – you mean people choose Grand Rapids over Chicago for entertainment?
    • Grand Rapids hosts an amazing array of cultural festivities. Frankly they are easy to attend, good entertainment value vs ticket price  and the downtown parking rates and availability have appeal.
    • From Beach towns to Winter Wonders, Museums, Symphony, Live Theater, Opera, Broadway shows, and more….Check out an extensive list of things to do here:
  5. Jobs – Yes, Grand Rapids is home to several large corporations making the list of some of the top employers in the world, in a variety of industries with a multitude of career options.  Making such lists as #1 – Mid-Sized Metro for Economic Growth Potential (Business Facilities),  Top Metro for Sustainable Development (Site Selection Magazine). Recently a job fair was held to attract new talent to the area where it was reported more than 1/3 of those attending where from Chicago and looking to move to Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids has a lot to offer.  Winning award after award in a variety of categories (for a great list of even more reasons by West Michigan check this out: The Right Place.) Think it might be right for you? Feel free to start exploring all Grand Rapids has to offer. Have questions? Just Ask – we’re known to be one of friendliest towns in the world as well!

Originally drafted in Jan 2016, this blog post has become one of our top performing posts, organically appearing in numerous searching. Updated now February 28 2024 with fresh links and updated data. Enjoy!

We would love to hear from you!

Let’s connect and get you on the path to success!

A few words from our clients:
We can’t say enough good things about John. He is an awesome realtor! We bought our home with his help and just recently sold it with his help. He is highly knowledgeable about the Grand Rapids area market and his expertise and professionalism has shown through both times we worked with him...John is a wonderful communicator and a genuine person. His sincerity has been evident in his commitment to making the purchase and sale experience as seamless and informed as possible. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have worked with John and strongly recommend him without reservation!
E&T VanBuskirk
John helped us sell our house when we moved out of Grand Rapids 3 years ago and recently helped us purchase a new house when we moved back. He is very professional and knowledgeable of the area and market. I would recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell.
S&K Weber
We moved to the Grand Rapids area 11 years ago and John was very patient as we found our first home and made the experience absolutely seamless! When we were ready to sell and buy again we knew to reach out to John. As we remembered and appreciated, John is an absolute professional and was and advocate for our best interests at all times during this wild market. We found great value in our new home and he helped us get top dollar for our sale. Grateful to have him on our side though the whole process. You won’t be disappointed!
Lance W
It was a wonderful experience working with John. His professionalism, honesty, experience, and knowledge of the Grand Rapids market, helped us in multiple ways. John sold our home in one day, was honest about what we could expect from offers, and was spot on. As we progressed toward finding our new home, again, he was extremely knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, home values, and history of the homes. We are more than happy to say, that he helped us find our dream home within our budget! Anything I needed, he was there through emails, texts, or phone calls. He definitely put in a lot of work for us. Without a doubt, I will ask for his assistance again when the time comes. Thank you John!
T&A Lascari
Purchased and sold with John, he is: Professional, an extremely good communicator, precise, and acted on our behalf 24/7. He kept us up to date on listings for purchase and preparation advice for selling our home. He was knowledgeable about neighborhoods. Photography for sale of our house was impressive. We were appreciative of the guidance regarding making offers, inspections, when to list our home, writing contracts, detailed review and presentation of offers on our home and being realistic about our purchase of new home. Great experience, Great Realtor.
J&G Junod
We have worked with John to sell 1 home and buy 2 homes and he is an incredible realtor! He is professional, prompt with communication, honest and patient. We had quite the list for what we were looking for and John was always available to answer questions and get us in to look at a home. His knowledge and connections in the industry made both the buying and selling process go smoothly. We simply cannot recommend John enough!
Chase and Nicole O
John Rice is hands down one of the best realtors in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas. We have utilized him as our realtor on two separate occasions, once over 10 years ago, and again over the last several months to buy/sell. He is incredibly knowledgeable and uses his expertise to help guide you in your choices throughout the realty process. He is professional, kind, has impeccable attention to detail, responsive, and clearly loves what he does. Choose John for your realty needs…he is the best of the best!
Amanda W
We have worked with John multiple times now, both buying and selling homes. We 100% recommend him and he’ll always be our go-to realtor for any future real estate needs. John is experienced in the industry and well-known and respected. He is extremely professional and knowledgeable, on top of being an all-around nice guy. He is responsive and answered all of our questions along the way. We asked John for several referrals for other services (lender, cleaner, etc.) and we were very happy with all his suggestions. John is honest and will listen to your concerns/opinions. He is never pushy, but gives great advice based on his years of experience. We are so thankful for the guidance we received from John to make our recent home buying and selling experience successful and quick! If you need a realtor, call John.
G&E Webb