So you have decided to move to the American Midwest city of Chicago, Illinois and you need some direction and guidance to help you settle into your new home? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Chicago, also the third largest city in the United States, is famous for its magnificent architecture, beautiful skyline and its unforgiving winters. It’s a city that is rich in culture, has excellent food, and a happening outdoors life.
But before you start your research for accommodation and living, we highly recommend that you hire a moving company to make your life easier. As relocation can already take a physical and emotional toll, we suggest that you make your transition smoother and less hectic by hiring professional Chicago movers. Contrary to popular belief, moving companies actually cost you less than if you were to organize the move all by yourself.
Read on to find out about the top things you should know now that you are moving to Chicago!
Chicago is a city where people will identify and associate you with your apartment or house location. So where you live is extremely crucial to your networking opportunities, social life, and overall lifestyle.
As a metropolitan city, Chicago has been divided into 77 community areas with around 245 neighbourhoods. Whether you choose Wicker Park or Lincoln Square, remember to rent before you buy. Also, before settling on a place, consider factors such as price, commute and lifestyle preferences.
Ideally, start looking for a place at least 1 month before you decide to move. Applications for apartments can get extremely competitive between June and September, so plan accordingly. You can even use online apartment locators to make your search easier. And if you are single, consider a roommate as they can help you save almost half of your housing cost in Chicago.
As a city that spans 234 square miles to be exact, it can get overwhelming to choose where to live. Below we have broken down the four main district areas to help you apartment hunting:
● North Side – This is a very lively side of Chicago, where you can find posh neighbourhoods such as LakeView and Roscoe Village. With convenient commute, great shopping options at Bucktown and an active music scene, it’s a friendly place to live.
● South Side – This is a very culturally diverse part of town, with some favourable neighborhood options such as Hyde Park and Ashburn. It is also the home of the University of Chicago, so expect a lot of students! Also, this is a great option for families.
● West Side – This side of Chicago is an experience in itself. It is filled with ethnic restaurants and cultural monuments to explore. With affordable rents, it’s a pretty popular option.
● Downtown – This is probably the first stop for all tourists. Housing the famous Bean at Millennium park and endless shopping options at Michigan Avenue, Downtown is the heart of the financial district. Areas such as the The Loop and Gold Coast are great if you’re ready to splash on living.
When it comes to food, Chicago is the place to be. Boasting over 8000 restaurants, it is a food lovers paradise.
When in Chicago, be sure to try out the deep dish pizza, Italian beef and the polish sausage. And remember, never ask for ketchup on a hotdog in Chicago.
While Chicago houses some of the most revered Michelin star restaurants in the world, such as Alinea, Acadia and Boka, it also has some great options for those looking to budget on their food expenditure. With options ranging from authentic Indian food to Vietnamese cuisine, you will surely find your go to place in this food mecca of a city.
Additionally, there are many bars and cocktail places that are open late into the night, so you’re set to have a good time. Also, be sure to check what places have a special after work, because this way, you can have a great night without draining your bank account.
For those into fresh, organic food, Chicago has a number of farmers markets and independent grocery stores to choose from. So depending on where you decide to settle, remember to run a quick internet search and find your nearest option.
The best way to get around Chicago is by using the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Referred to as the “L” by locals, it is the fastest and cheapest way to get anywhere.
The CTA is the most convenient and preferred option of any Chicagoen. All you have to do is purchase a Ventracard and top it of regularly and tap it while you are on the go. But always remember that it’s not always going to be on time. So when planning to head out, add at least 10 minutes to your travel time. Once you get the hang of the routes, try making your route faster by using the bus system as well. Your Ventracard will work for both the CTA and buses.
With plenty of bike lanes stretching throughout Chicago, you can also bike around the city by renting bikes at one location and leaving it at another.
And if you are in the mood, why not walk? The Chicago Downtown pedestrian walkway system, known as the Pedway, consists of numerous overhead bridges and underground tunnels that provide fast access to get around different parts of the city.
However, if you plan to own a car, prepare for some extra costs. First off, you need to get a City Vehicle Sticker, which is an annual tax by the City of Chicago for all vehicles inside city limits. Secondly, parking, if you are lucky enough to find a spot, is going to cost you by the hour, and it doesn’t come cheap.
Expect winters to have sub zero temperatures and heaps of snow, with the record low temperature of -23° in January 2019. It is no wonder that children get a few days off from school when it becomes too cold to step outside.
November will be the beginning of the winter spell, while the December and January cold is likely to hit you smack in the face. As February and March start to wear you down, temperatures start to normalize around April, with some regular showers. The best months in Chicago are between May and October, so expect a lot of buzz and outdoor events. Keep in mind that July is Chicago’s hottest month, so expect to utilize your crop tops and shorts during the summer months.
If you are moving from a warm climate, be sure to pack extra blankets and invest in quality winter wear. A sturdy jacket or a good coat can last you as long as 10 years!
You can find tons of things to do in Chicago during your spare time. Whether you are with family, friends or by yourself, this city has something for everyone.
First off, you need to take in the breathtaking architecture Chicago has to offer. Book an architectural boat tour and look out for discounts for the best deals! If you want a birds eye view of the city, head to the John Hancock Building for a gorgeous 360 view.
Family hangouts places in Chicago include visiting museums, such as the Museum of Science and Industry, the Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum. You can also pay a day long visit to the expansive Garfield Park Conservatory. Other than that, some favourite spots include the Navy pier, Millennium Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Despite the fact that beaches are only accessible in the summer months, they are a popular option for family and friends. Check out 31st Street Beach, Montrose Beach, Oak Street Beach and North Avenue Beach to relax, go swimming and maybe even play beach ball.
There are festivals and events happening all the time in Chicago. Check out Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park, Second City for a comedy night, Broadway in Chicago and Randolph Street Flea Market.
Make sure you carry out detailed research before planning on moving. Chicago is a great city for just about anyone, so don’t get worked up about shifting. Very soon, Chicago will become your favourite place to live!