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Moving to Chicago?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Moving to Chicago with relevant information for expats.

Friedrich Schloßberg

Living in the USA, from Germany

"At first, I tried to google all information on Chicago. Then I found InterNations and some of its local scouts gave me a personal tour."

Kristina Serou

Living in the USA, from Sweden

"It is great to live in the Windy City and to enjoy the American way of life. However, I am also glad to attend InterNations events to meet other expats."

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Chicago at a Glance

Moving to Chicago

If you’re planning on moving to Chicago, you may enjoy this tidbit of information: it is said that its name is derived from the Native American “shikaakwa”, meaning “smelly onion”. If this does not persuade you to move to Chicago, read our InterNations Guide for information on neighborhoods, health, visas, and transportation!

The First Skyscraper and More: 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 transportation. While the Illinois International Port District in Chicago hasn’t been performing up to par financially 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. The city’s impressive skyline is 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. 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.

There’s a Place for Everyone: Where to Live in Chicago

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.

Discover Chicago’s Most Popular Neighborhoods

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:

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.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

InterNations Expat Magazine