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Chicago, IL

Getting to Know Chicago, IL

Finding apartments in Chicago to suit your needs should be easy. Why? Because Chicago is more than just a windy city--it's also a diverse metropolis with something for everyone. There's a lot to do here, from professional theater to world-class dining, and it's easy to get from place to place with Chicago Transit Authority's public transportation.


Areas of Chicago
To experience the city at its finest, you have to live there. The only question now is: In which part of Chicago? That depends on your interests. Two of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the area include Lincoln Park, filled with renowned restaurants, much-loved theaters and upscale boutiques, and Logan Square, which offers craft breweries, inexpensive local restaurants and bike-friendly streets.


Did You Know?
Chicago is divided into three main sections, the South Side, North Side and West Side, so make sure you use the correct names if you want to sound like a local. If you're looking to make new friends in the area, sign up for an improv class at The Second City, the nation's most influential improv theater and a launching pad for comedy's most familiar faces.


Seasonal Activities
Another great thing about living in Chicago is the change in seasons you'll get to experience each year. In winter, ice skate outdoors or warm up with a hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy more than 20 miles of lakefront vistas with approximately 19 miles of bike paths and about 15 miles of beaches. A fan of vibrant fall foliage and abundant spring flowers? Chicago won't let you down.


Landmark Cultural Attractions in Chicago

Chicago is known for its breathtaking architecture and public art, including world-famous landmarks like Willis Tower (formerly Sears), Cloud Gate and John Hancock Center. You can also explore the most-visited museums in the country, such as Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago Children's Museum. At Chicago's lakefront Museum Campus, you'll find The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, and Shedd Aquarium.


If you love the performing arts, visit the Landmark Loop theaters in the Downtown Theatre District. These theaters, ranging from large auditoriums to small, intimate venues, host musicals, plays, dance productions and more. See a highly anticipated regional premiere of a Broadway musical or an edgy independent play at Cadillac Palace Theatre or the Tony-award-winning Goodman Theatre.


Chicago Apartments and Neighborhoods

Many families moving to Chicago choose to live in the suburbs, where you can find quiet towns and tranquil parks without sacrificing proximity to the city. For affordable options, try Glen Ellyn, Oak Park, or Willowbrook, all known for their high-quality public schools and family friendly neighborhoods. The number of apartments in Chicago's suburbs is expected to continue to increase, making it easy to find a newly built complex close to Evanston and Northwestern University.


Public Transportation and Commuting in Chicago

You can easily explore the city with Chicago's many forms of public transit. If your destination isn't within walking distance of your new apartment, you can hop on one of the many buses or board the above-ground subway, part of the famous L system that loops around the city. You also won't have a problem finding a cab, and, weather permitting, you can take a water taxi along the lakeshore or Chicago River. Chicago also features two international airports, O'Hare and Midway, which together offer service to more than 245 cities.


Top 5 Festivals and Seasonal Events in Chicago

Known for its arts scene and its cultural diversity, Chicago offers an abundance of festivals and holiday celebrations throughout the year. These are five of the many exciting events the city offers:


  • St. Patrick's Day Parade: Every spring, the city dyes the Chicago River green just before floats, Irish dancers and marching bands take part in one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country.
  • Chicago Pride Parade: Counted among the most well-known Pride events in the U.S., this four-mile parade through Boystown features more than 200 floats and is bookended by dozens of parties at local bars, restaurants and clubs.
  • Lollapalooza: This legendary music festival welcomes indie favorites like Arcade Fire, hip-hop icons like Chance the Rapper and new, up-and-coming bands to Grant Park every summer.
  • ZooLights: View more than 100 light displays, pay a visit to Santa Claus and watch live ice carving at the Lincoln Park Zoo's winter holiday celebration.
  • Christkindlmarket: One of Chicago's most distinctive holiday traditions, Christkindlmarket was inspired by the traditional Christmas celebration held in Nuremberg. Sample authentic German food while browsing hundreds of booths selling gifts and crafts.


Fun Things to Do in Chicago

Chicago offers museums, theaters and restaurants, but you can also enjoy the city's many free activities, such as seeing Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, strolling through Chicago Botanic Garden, and exploring the Lincoln Park Conservatory.


Sports & Recreation
If you're a sports fan, there are plenty of places to catch a professional game in the Windy City. Visit historic Wrigley Field to enjoy a box of Cracker Jacks and cheer for the Cubs. You can watch the White Sox play at U.S. Cellular Field or root for the Bears at Soldier Field. The United Center hosts Blackhawks hockey and Bulls basketball, and Toyota Park provides a home for the Fire soccer team. If all those options aren't enough for you, Chicago also hosts minor league and college teams, so you'll never run out of sports to watch.


Chicago Families with Kids

Plan a full day of family fun at the free Lincoln Park Zoo, a 35-acre home to animals ranging from penguins to lions. You can also let your kids explore the interactive activities at Chicago Children's Museum or introduce them to Sue the T. Rex at The Field Museum. Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the nation, uses its size as an advantage by offering a wide array of magnet and specially focused schools.


Outdoor Living in Chicago

Chicago's motto, Urbs in Horto, means "City in a Garden," and Chicago lives up to its name with more than 8,000 acres of public parks. Visit the innovative Pritzker Pavilion and Crown Fountain at Millennium Park, stand in the spot where President Barack Obama celebrated his 2008 election victory in Grant Park, and visit the zoo and conservatory inside Lincoln Park.


Dining in Chicago

Chicago has more than 7,300 restaurants, ranging from fine dining establishments to eclectic neighborhood joints. Attend foodie festivals, shop at local markets selling ingredients from around the world, and enjoy the city's iconic specialties like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.


Nightlife in Chicago

Whether you like opera, live local music or improvisational comedy, you won't have to travel far from your new Chicago apartment for fun after dark. If you're looking to relax in a comfortable lounge or dancing with your pals, Chicago has plenty of exciting venues that make it easy to make friends in your new home.


Shopping in Chicago

Indulge in a shopping spree on the city's Magnificent Mile, which runs along Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street. This retail haven provides an array of upscale and discount stores to meet any budget. Pick out furnishings for your new apartment, or choose local souvenirs to send to your family and friends.


Oak Street is home to Chicago's chic Gold Coast neighborhood, which offers those interested in fashion abundant opportunities to find the latest trends from across the globe. Personal service is a top priority in these upscale boutiques.


On Division Street and along the Southport Corridor, you'll find specialty shops selling the work of local designers. Pick out an outfit to support the artists who also reside in this beautiful city.


Getaways from Chicago

Chicago is 1.5 hours from Milwaukee, WI, where you'll find craft breweries and one-of-a-kind local restaurants. South Bend, IN, home to the University of Notre Dame, is also less than a two hour-drive.