So you’re moving to Chicago? First off, welcome! We are so excited that you’re settling down in The Windy City. As lifelong Chicagoans, we may be a bit biased, but we happen to think this Midwest city is the best there is. There’s just no place like sweet home Chicago!
In order to help you prepare for your new destination, we’ve compiled a list of things you should take to heart so you can truly enjoy this special place for years to come.
You’ll Wanna Research the 77 Different Neighborhoods
There are over 77 neighborhoods in chi-town. 77?! And each neighborhood has its own unique personality. So when looking for a place to live, make sure you do your research on the neighborhoods.
Unlike many other cities, downtown isn’t exactly a place to live. “The Loop” is really only home to work buildings and there aren’t many residential units. In fact, most of the restaurants and cafes downtown are closed on the weekends! Instead, you’ll have to look to all of the unique neighborhoods that live within and around the city of Chicago. From Lincoln Park to Ukrainian Village, there are so many wonderful neighborhoods to choose from! Chicago is more than a grid: don’t skimp out on this part of your planning.
Just Accept the Cold
Yes, it is going to be cold. Accept it and move on. Winters aren’t super fun in Chicago, but you’ll quickly get used to the chilly temps and absurd amounts of snow. We’re not gonna lie, January through April are tough. Buy a warm coat with a hood, some waterproof snow boots and lots of winter accessories. You will survive!
The payoff: we promise those freezing days will be long forgotten once June hits. Suddenly, the city transforms and for the next four to five months, everyone in Chicago is instantly happier; People emerge from the indoors, rooftop bars open up and patios will soon be filled with city dwellers getting their Sunday brunch on. There’s really nothing like summers in Chicago!
Consider Public Transportation For Day-to Day Life
If you live in the city, you can probably ditch your car (especially if you don’t have a designated parking spot in your building). Public transportation is relatively safe, effective and budget-friendly in Chicago. The “El” (our subway system) can get you all over the city for $2.25 a ride. The bus system is pretty good too. There is also Divvy (our city bike program) and we have lots of bike lanes all over the city. So consider selling your car to save money and get around the city a lot faster!
Take Advantage of the Many Free Activities
There is so much to do in Chicago…especially during the warmer months. The summertime is always chock full of music festivals, movies in the park and free activities in just about every neighborhood. The colder months are a little more difficult however, but we often check out the website Thrillist or Time Out Chicago to find free or inexpensive activities near us.
Really Explore the Lakefront
Even though we’re far from the coast, we have our own little version of a waterfront… Lake Michigan! It’s a huge body of water and is actually quite beautiful. Chicago has beaches (like legit sandy beaches!) and you can still hit up the beach on a hot day in the summer. There are also running and bike paths for miles and miles along the lakefront, which is perfect if you enjoy exercising! Take advantage of this unique part of the Midwest.
Learn to Love Sports
There’s no denying it, Chicago is a sports town. We’ve got the Bears, the Blackhawks, the Bulls, the Fire, White Sox and Cubs! That’s a heck of a lot of teams to love. If you’re moving to Chicago, then we suggest you find a team to root for because going to games is always a fun activity in the city.
And even if you’re not a sports fan, you should still keep your eye on the game schedule. Streets and bars near the stadiums are extra crowded during games, so you’ll want to plan accordingly, one way or the other.
Now that you’re armed with all of that information, we hope you’re more eager than ever to plant your roots in Chicago. Welcome to the best of the Midwest!