If you’re relocating to Chicago with visions of deep dish pizza in your head, you’re in luck. This corner of the country sports some of the best eats – one of the reasons the city has a level of hometown pride that has few rivals. Think the Midwest is homogenous? Not this cultural hub! As cosmopolitan as NYC but much, much cleaner and not nearly as expensive, Chicago attracts everyone from artists to financial professionals.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to settle in the Windy City.
- Chicago is the 9th most expensive U.S. city to rent in, but a one-bedroom crash pad will only cost you half as much as the same place in Manhattan. More bedrooms equal more rent but if you’re a single guy or gal working a white collar job, you may find you have plenty of cash leftover after paying your landlord.
- This city has a whopping 245 neighborhoods, and as with all cities, some are considered hipper (or classier or more artsy) than others. Finding Chicago apartments in some of the trendier areas of Chicago, like Wicker Park, might be tough but you can find plenty of great options within any budget.
- But there are good reasons to move in during the summer months – particular the city’s many street festivals and fairs. These happen just about every weekend and are a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the aforementioned hundreds of neighborhoods that make up this diverse city. The city’s official website will usually have the details
- Already here and looking for connections? Network After Work can clue you into upcoming networking events. There are also plenty of late night parties all year long. Adler Planetarium, MCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art) and Art Institute all host monthly after-dark mixers where young professionals meet. The tickets can get pricey but the connections are amazing.
- Private member clubs like the Soho House Chicago or The Wing Chicago for women is also a great way to get to know your locals professionally and socially.
- Owning a car in Chicago? Why bother! Chicago has the second largest public transportation system in the United States, with a 24-hour rail system that’s easy to navigate plus 140 bus routes (some of which drive through the night). There’s also Divvy, the city’s bike share system that has more than 3,000 bikes at 300 pickup/dropoff stations. Wary of biking in the city? Chicago has been called the second best city for cycling in America by Bicycling Magazine.
- If you’d be sad without four seasons, Chicago has you covered. It’s known as the Windy City, sure, but the average wind speed in Chicago isn’t much different than in other parts of the US. It is, however, a city of extremes. Winter is cold and there’s plenty of snow. Summer is hot. April showers get heavy. And if autumn is your jam, some of the most gorgeous fall weather can be found here.
- Bring your beach towels! Mention the Midwest and it’s unlikely you’ll conjure up visions of sunbathing in the sand, but sandy beaches line Chicago’s waterfront. Lake Michigan, thanks to its size, feels every bit as beachy as a coastal ocean shore.
- There are plenty of indulgences to be had. The city is famously known for its deep dish pizza and its feud-fueling hot dogs but don’t let the sports bar food culture fool you into thinking that’s all there is. In 2013, Chicago was named “Best Food City in America” by Andrew Zimmern and it was named GQ’s “Greatest Drinking City in America” in 2014. Bottoms up!
- And it’s a hot tech destination. Looking for a job where the perks include video games and beanbag chairs at the office? Chicago’s emerging start-up scene is only going to get better, so if you’re moving to the city before job hunting chances are good you’ll get lucky.
Whether you’re moving to the Windy City for work or just for a change of scene, you’re going to find lots to love in this busy, culturally rich and laid back locale.