Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, just behind New York and Los Angeles. And it’s just as exciting as you’d expect a city of its size to be.
It’s home to gargantuan companies like McDonald’s, Boeing, Sears, and Kraft Foods. It’s chock-full of fun parks and interesting museums. Residents and visitors can find great food, including deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches, around any corner. And, of course, Chicagoans are some of the most dedicated sports fans in the country.
CNN recently named Chicago as one of the top 10 cities people are moving to. With its numerous parks, active nightlife, and relatively low cost of living, we can’t blame anybody for wanting to move here.
Whether you’re just considering a move to the Windy City or already have plans to move there, here’s what you need to know.
The Scoop on Neighborhoods
Chicago is as historic as it is diverse. Seventy-seven distinct neighborhoods make up the city, and each neighborhood offers its own distinct perks.
Urban and Historic Neighborhoods
If you want a true big-city experience, look for a place in one of Chicago’s urban neighborhoods. Roscoe Village, Humboldt Park, and Andersonville are all rich in history and culture. In these neighborhoods, you’ll find a diverse mix of Puerto Rican, Swedish, and German influences, as well as vibrant art galleries and shops.
Lakefront and/or Upscale Neighborhoods
If you’re looking for a great view of Lake Michigan, consider moving to the South Loop, Lincoln Park, or Gold Coast neighborhoods. You’ll find award-winning restaurants, historic sites, and sprawling parks in each neighborhood.
Numerous suburbs surround Chicago, all of which offer their own unique charm. Evanston is about 12 miles north of downtown Chicago and is home to Northwestern University. If you’re looking for strong school districts or a lively art and music scene, Evanston is for you. Communities like Wilmette, La Grange, and Wheaton are also popular.
Where to Grab a Bite to Eat
Foodies love Chicago. Whether you crave deep dish pizza or handmade pasta, Chicago has something for everybody.
Chicagoans take their pizza seriously. That’s why you’ll find dozens of pizza joints scattered around the city. It’s almost impossible to go wrong when choosing a pizza restaurant, but here are some of the most popular:
- Pequod’s Pizza. If you’re in the mood for Chicago-style pizza, Pequod’s is your go-to restaurant. You’ll have a hard time finding a thicker, crispier crust anywhere.
- Boiler Room. If thin crust pizza is more your style, head over to Boiler Room. They make their huge thin-crust pizzas in a rotating oven, and also offer a number of specialty pizzas.
Beef and Sausage
Most tourists don’t leave the city without trying some Chicago beef or a Chicago-style hot dog. Here’s where to get your fill:
- Mr. Beef. In 2010, the Travel Channel’s Food Wars named Mr. Beef the best place to get an Italian beef sandwich in Chicago. Stop in to try their signature dish-an extra juicy beef sandwich topped with spicy giardiniera.
- Franks ‘N’ Dawgs. FND is one of the longest-running hot dog joints in Chicago. It serves up handmade sausages topped with just about anything you could ask for.
The Best Parks and Attractions
Chicago has no shortage of exciting parks and attractions. Whether you just want to take a stroll after work or are looking for a day out, you’ll never be bored in Chicago.
Millennium Park opened in 2004 and has since become one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. Home to “The Bean” sculpture and the Crown Fountain, Millennium Park is a great place to get outside and mingle with people from all walks of life.
Chicago Arts District
Take a walk through the Chicago Arts District to get your heart and imagination pumping. The district hosts 2nd Fridays Gallery Nights every month, during which you can visit 30+ art displays for free.
Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise
Many Chicagoans consider the skyline a living piece of art. And perhaps the best way to see Sears Tower and the Jewelers’ Building is on a boat tour. Along the cruise, you’ll learn about Chicago’s rich and interesting architectural history. Plus, you can take it all in from a
stunning view on the water.
Tips for Moving to the Windy City
Once you’ve decided to move to Chicago, you’ll probably want a few insider tips.
- If possible, move in the spring or fall. Chicago winters often bring heaps of snow, while the summers can be brutally hot. Moving during the spring or fall will save you from weather-induced complications.
- Look for housing well in advance. Since Chicago is home to so many unique neighborhoods, many people are on the hunt for very specific places to live. Starting your search early will give you a leg up on other buyers.
- Don’t forget to request a parking permit. Although you don’t have to obtain a moving permit to move to Chicago, you’ll need a parking permit for many neighborhoods in the city.
- Hire movers to organize and coordinate your move. Whether you’re moving downtown or into the suburbs, you’ll thank yourself for letting a local moving company do the navigating and heavy lifting.
Chicago is a vibrant, thriving city, and moving there is an adventure. Browse our other blogs for more tips on how to make your move to the Windy City as stress-free as possible.