What to Do When Only One of You Wants to Move

What Every 20-Something Needs to Know Before Moving to Chicago

Oh, Chicago. The city is a perpetual third wheel in the New York-LA media pipeline. What could this town have to offer an upwardly mobile 20-something like you?

Well, as it turns out, Chicago has plenty to offer you. If you’re moving here, it’s time to throw out your preconceptions about the Windy City and open your eyes to a place that is big, vibrant, and fully deserving of its designation as a world-class city.

To help ease your transition, we’ve provided this guide to all things Windy City and after reading this, you can’t say we didn’t warn you about the Navy Pier.

Sketch Comedy is Alive and Well

Chicago’s famed and illustrious Second City comedy club is the destination for fans of improv and sketch comedy. The club’s list of alumni is quite intimidating; Tina Fey, Steven Colbert, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, and Steve Carrell all cut their teeth here. Best of all, admission is cheap, with tickets usually running around $20 to $30. It’s a great spot to spend your first weekend in town. Who knows, you might just catch the next comedy great trying out their routine before they appear on “The Tonight Show.”

Beach Supplies Are a Must

If you’re shocked that we talked about beaches and Chicago in the same breath, you’re probably not alone. Chicago may bring up visions of having to wear a parka year ‘round, the city does actually boast some glorious summer weather—and there happens to be a really big lake nearby where you can enjoy it. Sandy beaches line the city’s waterfront and, for a little more seclusion, you can have a weekend getaway up north at Wisconsin’s picturesque Door County peninsula. Or, you can head south and hike in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. For people from the coasts, who view the Midwest as landlocked farm country, spending time around the Great Lakes can be an eye-opening experience. 

Sports Are Kind of a Big Deal

If you thought people were passionate about sports in your city, chances are Chicagoans can put them to shame. You’ll quickly learn this when your otherwise reasonable friends turn into raving fanatics whenever the Bears, Blackhawks, or Cubs are on the tube. Wrigley Field, the famed home of the Chicago Cubs and the second oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country, casts such a wide cultural net that it has an entire neighborhood named after it. Needless to say, you’ll want to learn to love Chicago sports or else find a good place to hide on game days.

The Navy Pier Is Not as Fun as it Looks

Most newcomers to Chicago will find themselves at the Navy Pier at some point. The 3,300-foot-long pier looks, from the outside, like a place of untold delights, with families frolicking down the boardwalk and taking turns on the Ferris wheel. Once you enter its vortex, however, you’ll soon find yourself trapped in a black hole of overpriced souvenirs, crowded chain restaurants, and—on summer weekends—a sweltering mass of humanity unlike any you have ever seen. If you must go, make it a one-time thing. Once you do, you’ll see what we mean. 

But the Field Museum Is Where It’s At

If there is a tourist attraction in Chicago that lives up to the hype, it’s the Field Museum. Permanent exhibits include Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the world, and the DNA Discovery Center, where you can talk to real working scientists about DNA research. This isn’t just a place for tourists to visit, either. With special exhibits switching out regularly, a long-term resident can find a reason to check it out several times a year.

People Have Fierce Hot Dog Loyalties

You may have heard that Chicagoans love their meat in tube form. Nevertheless, newcomers are often surprised by the sheer number of hot dog joints sprinkling the city and its suburbs. There’s the famous Portillo’s, which rose from humble beginnings to build dozens of locations throughout the city. And a trip to Jimmy’s Red Hots is also a must. Be aware it’s a cash-only dive that serves up no-nonsense Chicago dogs. And make sure you don’t ask for ketchup—you’ve been warned.

The Music Scene Is Amazing

Chicago has an astonishing musical pedigree that spans multiple genres. The city shaped modern blues, helped popularize Jazz, laid the groundwork for Rock and Roll, and invented House. Musicians nowadays reflect this diverse heritage, with everyone from Kanye West to Wilco calling Chicago home. If you’re looking for live music in an intimate setting, you can head to popular venues like The Hideout. If headliners are what you’re after, have no fear; top acts always include Chicago on their tours. 

Your Neighborhood Matters

Like other cities of its caliber, Chicago is a city of distinct neighborhoods. Choose wisely before you move in, as this decision can have ripple effects throughout your social life. Like cheap suds and football with your mates on weekends? Wrigleyville is for you. Want something a little more artsy? Try Wicker Park or the Ukrainian Village. You can even expand your search beyond the city proper in dozens of nearby suburbs. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll find it, as long as you do your research before signing a lease.

There Are Lots of Cool Jobs

It turns out Silicon Valley isn’t the only place you can expect to find Ping Pong tables and beanbag chairs at the office. Chicago boasts an emerging start-up scene that offers a host of flexible jobs with great working environments. Great employers for young professionals include Sprout Social, a downtown social media management company, and Red Frog Events, an event-planning firm. If you’re on the hunt for a job, you’ll quickly find out why so many young people choose to start their careers in this great city.

When you make your move to the Windy City, the last thing you want is to spend your time loading and unloading furniture. Use FlatRate Moving instead. Call us today to learn more about our convenient moving services.


Author bio:

Sarah Pike is a freelancer, writing instructor, and small apartment dweller. She loves productivity apps, RomComs, and home décor blogs. You can find her on Twitter at @sarahzpike.