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Moving to Chicago: Hidden Gems, Local Quirks, and Entertainment Galore

Find Your Internet - Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau on July 3, 2020

Find Your Internet - Moving to Chicago: Hidden Gems, Local Quirks, and Entertainment Galore

With more than 2.5 million people calling Chicago home, the Windy City is definitely a popular place to live. This Midwestern metropolis is rich in history, job opportunities, and things to do—you’ll never be bored when living in Chi-Town!

If you’re moving to Chicago in the near future (or considering it), here are some hidden gems you should know about as you get ready to call the city home.

So Many Neighborhoods, So Little Time!

As the third largest city in the country, Chicago is broken up into nine districts and 77 neighborhoods, so you’ll want to carefully research different areas to find a location that best fits your lifestyle.

The North Side of Chicago is one of the more popular residential areas, as it’s home to Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park, as well as numerous museums, shopping destinations, and top-tier restaurants. Within this district, there are 12 neighborhoods, from Old Town to West Ridge, all with their own personalities and attractions.

If you happen to arrive in Chicago during the summer, you can get a taste of what the city has to offer—literally—during the annual Taste of Chicago food festival.

Brace Yourself for Sky-High Taxes

As with most large cities, Chicago has high tax rates that could potentially impact your budget. Expect to pay a combined state and local sales tax of 10.25%, as well as a 2.25% grocery tax and a recently increased .5% restaurant tax.

Ditch Your Car and Grab the L

Despite the high taxes, there are plenty of opportunities to save money on transportation. With crowded highways, long rush hours, and expensive parking, Chicago isn’t exactly a car-friendly city. Owning a car becomes even harder in the winter, when copious amounts of snow—we’re talking an average of 37 inches per year—make it even more challenging to find parking.

Luckily, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides a variety of alternative ways to navigate the city, including eight “L” train lines and 129 bus routes. It’s the second largest public transportation system in the country, and in the summer, you can get around on foot via the downtown pedestrian walkway, called the Pedway, or by bike.

Get on Board With Chicago’s Traditions

Chicago can be a little quirky, which is half the reason people love it so much. For instance, every St. Patrick’s Day, hundreds of thousands of people crowd the banks of the Chicago River to watch the water turn emerald green before heading out for some city revelry. This annual tradition has been around since 1962!

As you explore the Loop, you might even run into another Chicago standby, the Puppet Bike. This traveling puppet show features cute characters dancing to oldies hits.

Deep Dish and Beyond

Sure, Chi-Town is known for its deep-dish pizza (and you’ll want to visit Pequod’s Pizza for a life-changing deep-dish experience), but it’s also a complex culinary destination! Be sure to get your hands on a Chicago-style hot dog and an Italian beef sandwich. Neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Little Italy, or Greektown are more than equipped to satisfy all your foodie cravings.

If you happen to arrive in Chicago during the summer, you can get a taste of what the city has to offer—literally—during the annual Taste of Chicago food festival.

Enjoy a Music Festival or Two

Another perk of living in Chicago is its impressive lineup of yearly music festivals. Lollapalooza, which features pop, alternative rock, and heavy metal acts, is one of the most well-known, but there’s also the Pitchfork Music Festival, Riot Fest, and the Chicago Jazz Festival among others. No matter what type of music you’re into, you’ll get a chance to rock out with thousands of like-minded audiophiles.

Discover the City’s Hidden Gems

Beyond the usual tourist spots, Chicago has a number of less-popular destinations that are worth a visit. Need a quiet spot to hang for a few hours? The ninth floor of the Harold Washington Library is home to a beautiful winter garden with free WiFi. If you’re looking to shake up your weekend routine, head to SPIN—a bar dedicated to ping-pong, complete with several tables and dedicated ball boys and girls who will find your rogue balls.

There’s so much to see, do, and explore when moving to Chicago—so much so that you might not know where to start! However, once you’ve settled in to your new home, you’ll quickly start enjoying all that this diverse city has to offer.

Camryn Rabideau

Find Your Internet - Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in fashion, beauty, home, smart technology and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to combine her love for fashion and writing.

Camryn is a regular contributor to popular media sites such as Martha Stewart, Food52, InStyle, Taste of Home, USA Today, Reviewed.com, The Spruce, Elite Daily and The Everygirl. She has also worked with several Fortune 500 companies to create engaging articles for their content marketing initiatives.

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