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How to Plan for Your Move to Chicago

Located along the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL, is a big city that feels like a small town. Each Chicago neighborhood has its own vibe and feel, and they're all quite different from one another. The city is well-known for its top-notch comedy clubs, with Second City being the most famous.


The Windy City is also known for its deep-dish pizza and the longstanding feud between the Cubs fans of the north side's Wrigley Field and the White Sox fans of Guaranteed Rate Field on the city's south side. If you're considering a move to Chicago, this big-hearted city of the Midwest is a welcoming and exciting place. Moving to Chicago requires some preparation, and these tips will help you get ready for your next big adventure.


What You Need to Know When Moving to Chicago


One of the first things you'll notice about living in Chicago is that its streets are laid out in a grid. This makes things easier to find. Public transportation not only serves the Loop and heart of the city, but it also extends into the suburbs. It's easy to take the elevated train system, or "el" north to Evanston, northwest to Skokie or west to Schaumberg.


In the summertime, you can take advantage of the city's bike-sharing program. Chicago's cost of living is higher than the rest of Illinois, but it's lower than New York City's or Los Angeles'. Parking is one of the biggest expenses after rent and food, and parking spaces are in high demand. There's a reason why Chicago is the "Windy City." In the winter through early spring months of the year, chilly winds blow across Lake Michigan, often bringing lake-effect snow squalls.


Compelling Landmarks to See in Chicago


When you're strolling through some of Chicago's neighborhoods, such as Wicker Park, Hyde Park or Logan Square, you'll see some beautiful examples of bungalows and greystone homes. The city is also home to many landmarks of note. If you look at the skyline, you'll notice two pillars, one at the north side of downtown and one at the south end of downtown.


The Sears Tower, now called the Willis Tower, is a 110-story office building. Finished in 1973, it was the world's tallest building for a short period of time. On the city's north end, the John Hancock Center is a 100-story tall residential and commercial space. It's home to the world's third-tallest residence. A few other landmarks to look for include Merchandise Mart in the Loop and the Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe. Near the University of Chicago Campus, check out the Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park is one of the best landmarks to visit in the summertime.


Chicago's Top Indoor Attractions


Shopping in the boutiques of the Gold Coast or Magnificent Mile is one way to spend an afternoon, but you may also want to check out some of Chicago's cool indoor attractions. The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the world's top natural history museums. It's home to Sue, a Tyrannosaurus rex.


Nearby, the Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium complete Museum Campus. The Museum of Science and Industry is located near the University of Chicago campus. Chicago Museum of Art is a top destination, and it has an entire room devoted to glass paperweights. The National Hellenic Museum is a must-see.


Outdoor Places to Explore in Chicago


Chicago also has lots of fun places to explore. Navy Pier is home to a naval museum, Ferris wheel, indoor mall and other attractions. The Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Park Conservatory offer both indoor and outdoor exhibits and programming. The city's public beaches and bike paths provide additional opportunities for outdoor adventures. Grant Park often hosts concerts and special events such as the Taste of Chicago.


Moving Tips for Relocating to Chicago


As you plan your move to Chicago, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The most popular times of the year for a move are May through August. Moving services will be at a premium, so you'll need to make your reservations well in advance. Summers can be hot and humid while winters are often cold and snowy. Parking dibs are a thing during Chicago's snowy winters, so be prepared with a plastic chair or orange cones.


May is the wettest month of the year. Chicago's rush hour extends from about 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. and resumes from about 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. If possible, you might want to consider using the CTA's public transportation if you aren't living close to work. If you work downtown, get a map of the Pedway as soon as you arrive.


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