chicago is not like ca at all.
it's a cool town. Lots of stuff to do, and people actually care about their city.
sports teams suck, yet sell out all the time.
restaraunts are simply amazing, best i've ever been to short of New York. None of that namby pamby food either. everything you could ever want, from SuperDawg's to the highest level of gourmet cuisine in the US.
nightlife, as good as california without all the idiot wanna be gangsters running around, yes there are some but nothing like east or west coast.
True ethnic districts (kinda like NY) and some of the most interesting shopping in the world imho.
There are very few places that can hold a candle to the art/literature/scientific/ecological mix that exists in chicago. one vs one yes, but not the mix.
some bad spots, but nothing like LA or brentwood or even east St louis.
easy to get around as long as you dont mind driving and paying attention. They do not suffer idiots well and if you drive like one, you'll pay for it quickly.
good honest midwest people for the most part. lots of racial diversity, and lots of class diversity. Not everything is rosey, but if i had to pick another big city to live in again, Chicago would be my choice.
"Sweet Home, Chicago"