Chicago has been on the map as the “Midwest Mecca” since 1833. What was once the passageway from east to west, is now a cutting-edge city nestled in the center of the country. Built on innovation and industry, Chicago continues to grow as new start-ups and technology companies fill the downtown district. Google, for example, recently set up its Chicago headquarters in the West Loop neighborhood.
Chicago is also considered the creative center of the midwest. Imaginative minds flock to the Windy City for artistic opportunities and some of the best art schools in the country. Over the years, this population has left its mark on Chicago’s aesthetic. Famous artists color the walls of otherwise ordinary-looking buildings, and sculptures can be found peppered throughout the local parks. It’s impossible to go far in Chicago without seeing some form of creative expression.
If you're a young professional in Chicago, you might want to take a look at which neighborhoods are best for young professionals.
Somewhere between the harmonious blend of artistic vision and business-minded innovation, a multitude of small and fresh-faced companies find their home in Chicago. From holistic health stores and yoga studios to local boutiques and watering holes, this city has a network of niche storefronts just waiting to be discovered. Not to mention the unrivaled food scene! With a melting pot of cultures within the city limits, any type of craving can be satisfied here.
The vibe of Chicago lies in the sweet spot between individuality and community. This city pairs a classic Midwestern friendliness with a focus on networking and career advancement. There is a strong reverence for Chicago’s history and architecture, but also a booming community involved in change and growth. People come to Chicago to immerse themselves in a bustling city and enjoy the opportunities it has to offer.
Your first visit to Chicago calls for all the must-see spots: find a rooftop to view the downtown skyline, grab a beer at Goose Island Brewing, and spend a day at the Shedd Aquarium. But don’t think that’s everything you need to see! There is a mile-long list of hidden gems nestled throughout the city. Check out the oldest jazz bar in the city, the Green Mill, located on the north side.
Enjoy some of the best Thai food at Tac Quick, just outside Wrigleyville. Stop in for a rooftop cocktail at the J. Parker, located atop the Lincoln Hotel. Then, finish your day with a walk through the Lincoln Park Zoo— offering free admission year-round! From foodies to outdoor aficionados, there’s a little something for everyone in Chicago.
Things to Know
The most important thing about living in Chicago is that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rules all. Many residents choose to leave their cars behind due to heavy traffic, expensive parking, and accessible public transportation. A lot of people bike during the warmer months, so always be sure to check your side mirror before getting out of an Uber! The cost of living in the city is, not surprisingly, higher than the surrounding areas. However, average salaries rank higher than many other cities, and infinite opportunities for career advancement help make the price tag a bit more manageable!
Use our Ultimate Chicago Neighborhood Guide to choose which neighborhood is best for you.