Chicago is known for its concentration of intensely diverse cultures and mouth-watering cuisines. This urban jungle has been ranked the second most beautiful city globally. It has a lot to offer, from its magnificent museums and works of architecture to a host of job opportunities waiting to be explored.
Before moving here, you must understand how the city operates and what to expect.
The windy city of Chicago is divided into several regions that portray as much diversity as the inhabitants of the neighborhoods.
- DOWNTOWN CHICAGO
Also referred to as the loop, downtown Chicago is one bustling region located at the city’s eastern border, which houses most of the city’s tourist attractions. From historic art museums endowed with historical artifacts to the Shedd Aquarium, the Navy Pier, the Willis Tower sky deck, and exciting views at the parks, downtown Chicago is sure to keep you in a loop of fun-filled activities.
- CHICAGO’S NORTHSIDE
The north side of Chicago stretches across neighborhoods down the north and east of the Chicago River. Known for its state-of-the-art skyscrapers and affluent communities, Chicago’s north side is one of Chicago’s business hubs.
- CHICAGO’S WESTSIDE
This part of Chicago is a culturally historical scene as it is home to immigrants that moved to the city. It was and still is the most affordable area to live in.
The westside’s popularly known for its lush vegetation and contains three of the largest parks in the city, Douglas Park, Garfield Park, and Humboldt Park.
The Illinois medical district, as well as the famous Cook County jail, are also situated on the westside. This district is also home to world-renowned technology organizations like Google and Uber.
- CHICAGO’S SOUTHSIDE
Home to the University of Chicago, the southside is known to have a variety of ethnicities and cultures that merge into affluent and middle-class communities. The south side offers a host of aesthetic sceneries to be explored. You will find several cute beaches and parks here. It also has established educational and medical organizations and architectural landmarks.
- CHICAGO’S FAR NORTHWEST SIDE
This part of Chicago is, on average, occupied by Polish communities and is home to parks such as Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park, and Portage Park. The far northside is known for organizing some of the grandest annual festivals in Chicago. Some neighborhoods like Avondale and the Polish village of Jackowo are also situated on the far north side. There are also a number of senescent theaters in the area.
- CHICAGO’S FAR WEST SIDE
The far west side of Chicago accommodates a diversity of residents and some historic structures and is home to blues legends and legendary park scenes. Notable restaurants and Garfield Park are located in this laid-back area of the city which doesn’t seem to attract tourists and other bustling parts.
- CHICAGO’S SOUTHWEST SIDE
The southwest side combines neighborhoods such as the Crestwood, Palos Hills, Oak lawn, Crest hill, and the Chicago ridge. Some sights to be seen in Chicago’s southwest side include the historic Union stockyard gate and the Chicago blues museum, where lovers of blues music can wander about for a while.
- CHICAGO’S FAR NORTH SIDE
The far north side is typically a calm neighborhood with friendly residents. The area boasts of beach areas that attract both locals and visitors. The far north side is also home to the famous Rogers Park and Lincoln square.
- CHICAGO’S FAR SOUTHEAST SIDE
This part of Chicago is mainly known for its Pullman historic district. The far southeast side is not as populated as other parts of the city and has a great deal of land. This side of Chicago is suitable for those that prefer quiet neighborhoods. Some exciting features of the far southeast side include the Pullman clock tower and factory and the Southeast historical museum.
- CHICAGO’S FAR SOUTHWEST SIDE
Known for its bona fide Irish pubs, the far southwest side of Chicago has a depth of Irish culture and residents. Generally known for its magnificent Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, which lures an astonishing amount of tourists, the authenticity of Irish heritage in these parts is undeniable. The far southwestern side also has other attractions like the Irish film festival and important historical sites like the Givens castle and Morgan Park.
WORKING IN CHICAGO
Over the years, Chicago has come to be recognized internationally as one of the focal points of Technology, Finance, Manufacturing, Science, and Engineering. The various sectors in Chicago enable individuals to establish careers in fields of their choice.
The finance sector in Chicago is one of the leading sectors of its kind in the world today and one of the biggest industries in the city. Home to financial establishments such as the Chicago stock exchange, the Chicago mercantile exchange, and the Chicago board of trade, the city also ranks as the second-best city in finance in the United States. Chicago has very high potentials for offering opportunities and molding careers in finance.
- SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
Third, in the ranks of science and engineering in the United States is Chicago. The city is a breeding ground for innovative science and technology and offers many opportunities for individuals seeking to work in this sector. Science and technology are one of the fastest-growing industries in the world today, and the city of Chicago is a forerunner in the industry.
- MANUFACTURING AND FREIGHT
Chicago has numerous manufacturing industries ranging from food production to plastics and recycling companies. The manufacturing industry, although not as preeminent as it initially was, is still one of the city’s most important industries. The freight industry is also significant in Chicago and has continued to thrive along with the city’s booming population. This industry continues to expand due to the dependence of other sectors, such as the manufacturing industry on it and is also open to being explored by individuals seeking employment.
The city of Chicago offers many choices when it comes to education. There is an array of public and private schools to pick from that will be suitable for your child and convenient for you. Although private schools tend to have higher expenses, public schools are much more affordable and mainly located within the neighborhoods. This is an advantage if you are looking at the proximity of the schools to the residential areas.
Also, the educational system in Chicago has provisions for private schools that accommodate children with special needs. Notwithstanding, special needs students are also assisted in public schools. Unfortunately, this assistance can only go as far as the school’s budget can offer and how much is allocated to kids with special needs. In reality, the provision can’t do much. It is best to enroll them in private schools where provisions have already been made; this way, you know your child is in a school they can quickly adapt to.
Chicago is also home to some of the best universities in the country, such as the University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Loyola University Chicago.
The windy city of Chicago has its fair share of all four seasons, which Lake Michigan primarily influences. The winters are frequently snowy and cold but come with a lesser amount of snow compared to other cities. This brings the average annual snowfall to 36 inches. However, over three years, Chicago experienced winters with heavy snowstorms that accumulated over 10 inches of snow in the space of one to three days.
Springtime in Chicago may take longer to come as winters sometimes last till April. Nonetheless, spring comes with most of the thunderstorms the city experiences, making the atmosphere tepid. However, there are cool days courtesy of the nearby Lake Michigan and sunny weather. Summer is accompanied by more humidity and warm temperature, which is excellent for outdoor activities. Meanwhile, autumn can take on a bit of heat from summer but becomes more placid and enjoyable over time. There are also likely heavy rains in autumn before winter settles in again.
CHICAGO’S FOOD SCENE
Chicago is richly endowed with its food scene and was even rated the best restaurant city in America. Virtually every corner has some form of tasty treat that will send your taste buds on a rampage for more.
The city’s culturally distinct residents make the place a literal boiling pot of various cuisines. Chicago is famous for meals such as the deep-dish pizza, a combination of heavy dough crust, tomato sauce, and lots of cheese, the jibarito sandwich, one of the best beef sandwiches you will ever have the pleasure of eating, and pizza puffs that are a complete delight. This Italian beef sandwich is every meat lover’s delight with generous slices of beef, the flaming saganaki, which is a relish of different unique flavors, the Chicago-style hot dog, which is said to be the best thing at Portillo’s and a host of others. Street food is something you will love about Chicago. You’re sure to spot more than a dozen unique food carts across the city selling hotdogs, street popcorn, and pizzas.
The city also has a generous spread of pubs and bars across its neighborhoods that gives ounces of spice to nightlife in Chicago. The city’s pubs and bars serve everything drinkable, from dainty cocktails to perfectly brewed beer and whiskies that leave a punch. Some of the best pubs and bars are the Billy goat tavern in millennium park, the Tiny Tapp, which hosts a band, the Weather Mark Tavern, the Curragh Irish pub, Franklin tap, the darling, and Emmit’s Irish pub.
TRANSPORTATION IN CHICAGO
Chicago has one of the most efficient transportation systems because it is an essential part of the city. Due to its large and still growing population, the city of Chicago has come up with several means to meet the transportation needs of the people.
If you are a first-timer in the windy city, it is best to get acquainted with the various forms of transportation, mainly to make moving around easier and faster. Public transportation is recommended.
The Chicago transit authority foresees the operations of trains and buses in the city, where passengers can have access with a Ventra Card Pass to go on the trains or buses. If you are new in town, it’s better to get this card before moving around to have easy access to transportation. It’s also essential to know that the train lines start in downtown Chicago or the loop and goes across the entire city. Also, buses move across the city’s main streets and have a red LED display that shows the names of streets as the bus passes. This will come in handy for those unfamiliar with the city when trying to get around.
Taxis are also a way to get around in the city of Chicago. However, they are not readily available at street corners, and you can’t hail one off the streets either. It is best to book one online beforehand, so you don’t get stranded. It is also recommended not to use a car within the city to avoid getting caught up in traffic gridlocks which tend to be very frustrating.
Another way of moving about in the town which could contribute to a healthy routine is bike riding. It is a compact and efficient means to move while providing regular exercise.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO
There are many fun-filled and exciting activities the windy city has in store for you. From visiting historic sites and museums, attending exciting festivals, and enjoying fine dining experiences, there is always something to do.
- CHICAGO PIZZA TOURS
Chicago is a haven for food enthusiasts. The Chicago pizza tour is an innovative tour that is fun and educational to explore the city. The tour had to adapt during the lockdown period but still gave food lovers a culinary experience that can’t be easily forgotten in a hurry.
- VISITING THE CITY’S MUSEUMS
The Museum of contemporary art Chicago is a sure bet when grinding. Don’t be fooled; this museum is far from dusty and boring. The museum has different displays collections ranging from videos to fashion, music, and photography. The museum also hosts talk shows among writers and artists and other various performances. Another interesting museum to see is the Field museum of natural history. This is a place you should check out if you are partial to prehistoric times. The museum has various fossil displays that are sure to intrigue dinosaur enthusiasts. The museum of science and industry is also suggested for science lovers.
- THE NAVY PIER
Chicago’s Navy Pier is a must-see site; it’s a little over a hundred years old but is constantly buzzing with life and far from crumbling. There are a host of boutiques, restaurants, gardens, and ancient attractions you can’t help but be fascinated about. Not only is the Navy Pier a perfect place to unwind, but it is also the scene of thrilling fireworks during summer.
- MILLENNIUM PARK
Nestled along Lake Michigan, this historical mass of vegetation is another beautiful site to visit. Several different events, shows, and performances are hosted in the park throughout the year. Whatever time you choose to visit Millennium Park, hopefully, you get to experience and enjoy one of these shows.
- THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Established in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago is situated in Grant Park and is one of the most iconic and most prominent art museums in the United States. The institute is home to over three hundred thousand various art relics on display. This is a very suitable spot for art lovers.
- LAKE MICHIGAN BOAT TOUR
This is another interesting sight to see. The tour features a relaxing boat ride and a view of significant landmarks across the city, and an exploration of its rich history. This is a fun way of ditching the crowd and spending a well-deserved relaxing afternoon on smooth tides.
- DONUT WALKING TOUR
Truly AMAZING! Chicagoans must love donuts. This tour cuts across the best selection of the loop’s best donut shops, and yes, you do get to taste amazing treats on tour. Talk about tantalizing. This is a great activity to engage in, especially for those with an unflinching sweet tooth, plus it’s fun for the whole family.
- GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY
This is another beautiful stop when touring the windy city. The Garfield park conservatory is an enclosed glass dome that cuts across twelve acres. Beautiful vegetation, plants, and flowers are seen in the greenhouse. This is a lovely spot to escape the busyness of Chicago’s metropolis.
- LINCOLN PARK
Home to a conservatory and a zoo, the natural landscapes and sceneries of Lincoln Park are sure to intrigue lovers of Mother Nature.
- BEACH TIME
Some frequently visited beaches include Oak Street Beach and North Avenue Beach. Time out on the beach will help you catch some breeze and sunshine during the summer and is perfect for unwinding with the family.
- MAGGIE DALEY PARK
A hit with the kids, the Maggie Daley Park is known for its 3-acre play garden. This is an excellent place to let the kids run around for a while and maybe have some family bonding time if you’re up for it.
The city of Chicago has a lot to offer and has a little something for everyone. The cuisines are top-notch mixtures of diverse cultures you can’t help but admire, and so are the neighborhoods and residents. The concrete jungle is beyond dull, dry, and boring, with fun and exciting activities to indulge in all year round. Also, you don’t have to worry about schools for the kids; Chicago is home to some of the best educational institutes in the United States and will cater to your child’s academic needs. If you’re not one to move about a lot and decide to live within the city, there are competent universities your children can enroll in while keeping them close to home and family. You can’t move to a new city without a source of income to rely on, and Chicago makes it even easier to acquire jobs with its dynamic system that allows individuals to build credible and reliable careers in the field of their choice. The warm parks and beaches are suitable for early morning jogs that can shake you out of sleepy lightheadedness and help you get started on your day ahead. The city’s parks and beaches are also perfect for spending lazy afternoons and enjoying the beauty of nature. The windy city also has a myriad of sites and festivities that gives residents the advantage of relaxing and unwinding and balances out the busy lifestyle of Chicagoans. Chicago is a fascinating city you will come to love eventually.