Chicago at a Glance
Moving to Chicago
A Brief History
Chicago was founded in 1833. Historically, the city has been a transportation hub between the eastern and western USA as well as between the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Due to its geographic location, Chicago has been used for both shipping and rail transport. While the Illinois International Port District in Chicago financially hasn’t been performing up to par in the last decade, it remains one of the USA’s few inland cargo ports able to compete with regular cargo ports.
The Great Chicago Fire back in 1871 left the city’s entire Central Business District in cinders, and the city you will see when you move to Chicago is the result of a long rebuilding process. One of the only buildings that survived the fire was the Water Tower. When you first move to Chicago, the city’s impressive skyline will be a sight to behold. In fact, the world’s first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885!
The city’s architecture is one of its highlights, and the city’s infrastructure is another favorite aspect among expats moving to Chicago. Furthermore, soon after your move to Chicago, you will note that the city is as diverse as it is entertaining!
Chicago is one of the most notable cities in the entire country – but the US has a lot more to offer! After exploring your new hometown, you should definitely take the time and experience the many other legendary cities that make the US so attractive to tourists and expats alike.
Where to Live
Due to its size, Chicago has neighborhoods for most tastes and budgets. Which neighborhood is best for you depends on several factors: whether or not you plan on moving to Chicago with your family; if you prefer living in an apartment or a house; and, of course, the price you are willing to pay.
Before moving to Chicago, it is a good idea to pay the city a visit and simply walk around to get a feel for the different neighborhoods. Usually there is a “For Rent” or a “For Sale” sign in the window of available apartments and houses with a private telephone number of the owner or the realtor.
There are 77 neighborhoods in Chicago, and below we will list a few, which are well-liked by residents. The city can be divided into five general areas:
- North Side - Lakefront: If you prefer moving to Chicago’s lakefront, Lincoln Park and Lakeview are within walking distance, immediately north of the downtown area. Lincoln Park is a relatively calm and family-friendly neighborhood with tree-lined streets. Apartments and brownstones are readily available here, and residents can enjoy all 1,208 acres of the neighborhood’s namesake park along with its zoo. Similarly, Lakeview has plenty of green spots.
- North Side: Lincoln Square and Roscoe Village are some of the preferred living spaces among people moving to Chicago’s North Side. Single-family homes are common here, which naturally attracts many families with children. The area is safe, not too far from downtown, and there is a wealth of outdoor activities along the Chicago River.
- Downtown: If you are moving to Chicago without children and will be working in the city with a relatively comfortable income, this central neighborhood might be your best bet, as you’ll be right in Chicago’s financial and governmental heart.
- West Side: Logan Square is a good choice for expats moving to Chicago who can’t count on too generous a paycheck. The relatively low rents and the leisurely parks make it a popular neighborhood among working-class Chicagoans.
- South Side: Hyde Park offers pretty much anything from small studio apartments to mid-sized mansions. Home of the University of Chicago, it is popular among students and consequently, it is one of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. If you are looking for international flair, you can surely find it here!
In general, most neighborhoods in Chicago contain some form of park, be it in the Loop area, Grant Park, Lincoln Park etc. Whatever your reasons are for moving to Chicago, the third largest city in the US, you will be able to go for leisurely strolls in a lush green area close to your home.
Before moving into your new home in Chicago, get informed about your rights and duties as a tenant in our guide to renting accommodation in the US.
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