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Chicago is often considered a capital of global architecture, with a population that rivals that of New York and Los Angeles. Nicknamed the Windy City (originally for its blustery politicians, but these days for its blustery weather), it has a large metropolitan area with an impressively diverse economy, and is a major hub for finance, business and entertainment in the Midwestern region.
Things to Do in Chicago
Chicago is one of the most visited cities in the U.S., and for good reason. One of its most iconic buildings is the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), which held the title of the world's tallest building from 1973-1998. Chicago is also home to a thriving theater industry with hundreds of theaters scattered throughout the city. If you're an art lover, you can view modern and classical works of art in the many museums and galleries in the city, several of which offer free admission.
The rich cultural scene of Chicago also includes music, with the city being particularly well known as a hot spot for jazz, blues and hip-hop. It was the birthplace of the smooth Chicago blues, and is where electronica house music originated. You can enjoy classical outdoor concerts at both Millennium Park and Harris Park, hosted by the city's world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Here are just a few of the neighborhoods you'll want to explore in Chicago:
You can find Lincoln Square on the north side of the city, and its history as a hub for German immigrants is evident in the number of German bakeries, restaurants and other businesses that still reside there. The Apple Fest is a longstanding annual tradition in the Lincoln Square community, celebrating the arrival of fall with autumnal-themed crafts and a creative variety of apple-themed foods.
Recently named one of the hippest and happiest neighborhoods in the country, Wicker Park is known for its active music scene, unique boutiques and status as a favorite destination for foodies. Your neighbors will include artists, families and young professionals.
The Chicago Loop is considered Chicago's downtown area, home to the central business district and City Hall. You'll enjoy being at the center of it all, with a wealth of art, culture, dining and entertainment options to choose from.
You may know Hyde Park as the neighborhood where President Barack Obama started as a law professor, or as the location of the main campus of the University of Chicago. It's also one of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods, and notable past residents include Nobel Prize winners, civil rights activists, musicians and of course, the 44th president of the United States.
Tips for Moving to Chicago
Keep these important things in mind to make your move to Chicago as easy as possible:
- Water: The City of Chicago manages residential and commercial utilities, including water services.
Electricity: One unique characteristic of Chicago is that you have the legal right to choose your power company, so it'll be up to you to shop around for the best deal.
- Transportation: Public transportation is provided by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), with bus and train being widely utilized across the city.
Vehicles and Parking: All vehicles in Chicago must have a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker, or their owners will be charged serious fines, so be sure to purchase one within 30 days of arriving in the city. Parking restrictions vary throughout the city.
Chicago School Options
Chicago has nearly 700 schools, including district-run public schools and a variety of charter schools. There are also a number of magnet schools for you to consider, providing specialized study tracks that include fine arts, science and technology and agriculture.
Chicago Housing Information
The real estate and housing market in Chicago is very diverse and offers an extraordinary range of choices, from apartments close to Broadway and the downtown arts center to three-bedroom colonials in the suburbs. There are many different diverse neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own distinct personality and vibrant culture. You'll find homes and apartments more affordable than in other parts of the country, such as New York and San Francisco, making a big-city experience accessible on any budget.